A Chapter by Emily Lynn

~To be in your children's memories tomorrow, You have to be in their lives today- Barbara Johnson


~To be in your children's memories tomorrow, You have to be in their lives today- Barbara Johnson


It was dark. The black sky darkened the simple windows from outside, the pale ceiling fixtures and small table lamps illuminated our petite home just enough to mellow the atmosphere, just enough to shade everything in a foggy glow that made my eyelids droop and my body beg for much needed sleep.

          I tried to hide my fatigue from my mother; my red, puffy eyes, lazy steps and drowsy muscles made the attempt all the more difficult. It wasn’t that I dreaded sleep, I was just afraid I would miss out on something if I were to drift off to the black tunnel of strange dreams, the place where there were no clocks, no minutes, no hours. Time went by unmeasured and the imagination ran wild with no boundaries, no limitations.

          My brother, older by a year and a half got to stay up later then me, got to spend more precious time with our mother, time that I treasured dearly. I loved when she would carry me up to bed in her loving, protective arms where nothing could ever harm me; she would tear off my blankets as I crawled in and awaited the warmth.

She would toss each layer, each sheet, each fluffy comforter smelling of gentle laundry detergent onto my bed, cloaking me from top to bottom beneath the cozy cocoon. She would fold back the layers just so that my face would break free and tuck the blankets in all around me, like a medieval corpse ready to be wrapped in thick bandages and mummified.

She would then kiss my forehead, my cheeks, the bridge of my nose, every inch of my smiling face that remained un-smothered by the blankets as I nuzzled the soft fabric. She would tell me how much she loved me and sadly head to the door, turn off my light and leave me to the emptiness of sleep.

          I would, of course, tear the blankets from the tight constrictions of the mattress of which they were held in place the moment my mother would leave me. I couldn’t stand the tight, suffocation of the tucked in edges, I preferred the soft, warm comfort as I balled all of the blankets all around me, a mass of fabric with me hidden secure and cozy somewhere within the tangle. I never had told my mother this, I was afraid our bed-time ritual would become shorter, briefer, less intimate and so every night I would let the mummification begin until the moment the door closed with a gentle click behind her.

The separation from her always saddened me, the scent of her familiar fragrance that always comforted me when it lingered long after she had gone would be the last delight before the unwanted sleep would snatch up my consciousness and drag me to the darkness. 

Tonight however my mother seemed preoccupied. I struggled to conceal my yawns of which her all seeing eye would normally always catch causing her to ship me off to bed, but she took no notice. She tidied the kitchen, prompted me and my brother to go play as we milled around her feet, begging for her undivided attention of which we constantly craved. She was oblivious to the fact it was nearing my brothers bed time and I had still not been tucked lovingly into bed, which disturbed me in some ways as well as caused me to snicker and hope she would fail to notice for a least a little longer.


I watched my mother turn suddenly with the loud clicking of our locked door knob being turned each way in an attempt to enter. She wiped the palm of her hands on her jeans and in a fluster, hurried to the door. She stopped before unlocking it, turning her sad eyes to her two young children who watched on, a confused expression painted on their clueless faces.


She rose her shaky hand to the thick, metal, bow-tie latch above the door knob and twisted it vertical, sending the solid rectangle that jutted out from inside the door back into hiding; unlocking our front door. We watched on, wondering who it could be, our grandma or grandpa?  Maybe a friend of our mothers. She backed up slightly away from the door, allowing it to swing open gently.


A cool breeze flooded into the small house, bringing with it a flurry of light snow, tunnelling around my brother and I, sending a sharp chill up my spine and leaving goose bumps on my chilled flesh. We stretched our necks, struggling to identify the mystery person who had decided to visit so late.


My mom stepped aside, allowing my father to enter and close the door behind him, blocking off the cool, winter air. My eyes widened with the sight of him, my heart pounded with excitement, the wide grin on my face exploded and refused to diminish as I ran at him, wrapping my tiny arms around his leg in a toddler’s attempt of warm affection.


His short dark hair was dusted with glistening snow as were his broad shoulders and fanning eyelashes. Slushy snow fell from his thick, steel-toed boots, soaking the carpet below my bare feet.


My brother joined me by our father’s side as we waited for him to pick us up, hug us in return, acknowledge our presence, but he was distracted, his attention put solely on our mother whose eyes had grown glassy and swollen, her face was pale, her cheeks pink with emotion. They spoke amongst each other, and I waited patiently for them to finish.


My parents had separated when I was even younger, I was confused at first, as to why they lived in different houses, why police officers would have to come and escort us off of our fathers property and back home to our restless mother time after time, why they rarely spoke, why we couldn`t all be together; me, mom, dad, my older brother. That`s all I really ever wanted. My mother tried to explain to us that they no longer loved each other, but I knew that was a lie.


Late at night I would wake up to my mother’s heartbroken sobs, quietly I would tip toe down the hall and to her bedroom where her door would be open just a crack. Just enough for me to peek inside and see her sitting up in her bed, her hands covering her tear soaked face, softly I would sneak into her room and stand in the doorway until she would uncover her face and see me standing there in my fuzzy, fleece pyjamas. She would smile at me lovingly, and I would smile in return as she patted the mattress beside her.


I had always thought she was crying because of the separation, but as I grew older I came to the realisation that maybe she had been crying for her hurt, two young children all those times.


I loved climbing in next to her, feeling her warm arms around me, seeing her eyes dry up and her sadness go back in reserve for a short while. My brother would join us also, the three of us would lay there snuggling, comforting each other.


My father`s voice grew stern, persistent as my mother`s became pleading, desperate. I had released his leg and sat on the floor, struggling to follow their conversation. I had hoped he had come to play with us, to laugh and be silly like we loved so much to do. Either that, or to announce he was moving back in and we could be together again. As I watched their angry faces as I did my brothers solemn expression, I knew this would either be the best or the worst day in our lives, I may not have understood what was happening but I could feel the thick tension that floated in the air, dividing my father from the rest of us.


          My stomach twisted uneasily; my mother’s nose was pink, her eyebrows furrowed with an anxious frown. I knew something wasn’t right, the way her eyes were ringed with red circles, the quick, unsteady rise and fall of her chest, the cracking her wavering voice made when she managed to choke out a few last words.


Finally he shook his head and turned to leave without saying goodbye to his two small children he was leaving behind. He headed for the door and I bolted after him grabbing hold of his leg once more and pleading for him to stay. Daddy don`t go. Tears welled in my four year old eyes as they did in my brother`s as well. He stood by our father`s side, looking up at him with confusion and sadness. His face was pinched with pain, yet his eyes glistened with anger and disappointment.


I was upset because I wanted him to stay longer, to play, to love us. My brother was upset because he knew what had just happened. My father peeled my arms from his leg and my mother took hold of my hand, beckoning my brother to leave him be. Together the three of us watched as he walked out the door, walked out of our lives.


My brother was angry, him and my mother sat on the sofa in the dark holding each other and sobbing, I stood in front, confused at the source of this sadness, but I didn`t want to be left out, I hopped on the couch and hugged my brother, but he was hurt.

She doesn`t even understand! How can she be sad too!

          We will be fine. We will be okay my babies.


© 2011 Emily Lynn

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Added on April 28, 2011
Last Updated on April 28, 2011


Emily Lynn
Emily Lynn


Well. . . it's now 2020. I used to be an extremely active member here on Writerscafe before 3 University degrees, a kid and life happened. I haven't been active on this site in eight years but am now.. more..