I wake up. My skin ice cold from lying against the pale cement floor all night.
I don't have to touch the scar on my face to know it's there.
A noice comes from behind me. I sit up and turn to see my mother's grim face. I stare longinly at her, waiting for one thing. The one thing I know she won't say. Her harden stare meets my eyes and I turn away. "Get downstairs, now, WIllow, and finish you chores," she yells.
I groan quietly to myself so my mom can't here and rise up on my own two feet. I look down at them; study them; it'd been years since I'd worn shoes. I curl my toes. They feel stiff against the cement.
My mother leaves the room impatiently, leaving me alone for just a second. I hastily tiptoe towards the mirror to study my appearance for the first time in weeks. I haven't changed much. Maybe a bit taller, but I still have the same ugly brown hair, ugly face, and ugly figure. I haven't eaten in days. I'm too skinny. All the things my mom's told me are true. I am ugly.
I push the thought aside and hurry down the stairs. The sink is bare, that's a surprise. Usually Ihave to do the dishes. I hear the tv blasting from the living room and my mom calls, "Idid the dishes already! Stop standing around like a fool! There's plenty to do outside, now go!"
I run out the door before my mom gets violent.
"Some birthday," I hiss to myself. She forgot, I know it. My mom does not care whether it's my birthday or not.
Outside Istart pulling weeds in the garden. A bird is perched on a tree branch above me. It sings it's bird song and I smile. Istart humming along (after all, it is my birthday, I should be happy).
After I finish pulling weeds Icross the yard to the hose. Time to water the garden.
But something stops me. A voice. Is it in my head? No, it's coming from inside the house. My mother.
"Sweetie, come here," she calls.
I'm dumbfounded. Is this happening? Could it be true? My over active imagination (proven so far to only be good for giving me nightmares in dark rooms at night) jumps to all conclusions. Maybe, after all these years, she wants to start over!
Her sweet words draw me in like a moth drawn to a light. I open the screen door and run to her, ready to forgive everything she'd ever done to me.
"Yes, mom?" I ask.
"Happy Birthday," she says. I can't believe her words. The one thing she would never say had been said, "my ugly child."
I cringe at her last word. Everything I'd just been thinking was gone- just like that.
My smile fades and is replaced with tears.
"Stop crying, stupid!" she yells, then returns to the living room. Then she turns back around and throws me something. "Oh yeah, here's your present."
She pushes me out the front door and slams it shut.
Ilook down at what my mom had handed me. A dress. A rainbow striped dress.
Ilooked down at what I'd been wearing the past 3 years. It was a dress just like it. But too small. I slipped into the new one quickly, leaving the old one in the bushes.
No food, I said to myself, and no shoes. Oh well.
I return to buffing up the garden. I pull down the vines that are growing sneakily around the tree, suffocating it.
I finish the garden and then decide to go fix the rest of the yard. I wonder off into our huge yard, where our property clashes with the woods. I search the premiter, looking for something to clean.
And then I stumble upon something. I looked down, it's a grave. I read the name:
Memories flood my mind all over again. Memories I'd tried so hard to forget. But just like someone had turned a switch on a faucet, they came back.
I trace the name with my index finger.
Amber was my little sister. Five-years-old she'd been when she was taken from this world. By my mother. I see my sister's bouncy red hair and blue eyes, deep as the ocean. I remember her sweet, kind laughter that would fill the house. I remember the sound of her head as it hit the staircase. And I remember the sound of the shovel against the dirt as my mom fought to cover up her death.
I couldn't stop the tears this time. I look back at the house. I hate my mother. I hate her.
I jump to my feet and run. To the first place I think of. The old dock.
On the old dock, Isit, pulling my knees up to my chest and hug them closely. Then slowly, Ilet my feet into the water. I kick the still surface with my toes. Droplets fly everywhere like a thick mist, and the circle form where the surface had been disturbed.
I lower myself into the water, until I'm completely submerged. I hold my breath. Iwill not come back up to the surface. I cannot return to the mother that took my sister's life.
The last thing I tell myself before I'm gone, This is for you, Amber.I'm coming, sweetie. I'll see you soon.