By Any Other Name

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: October 31, 2017

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Submitted: October 31, 2017

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When I was only four years old, I gave my mother a ragdoll for her 30th birthday. It was a very lovely doll, wearing a cream-colored dress with a red lace wrapped around her waist and a white sunhat on her head. Actually, that was my uncle’s present for me a year ago, but I didn’t know at my innocent age that it’s ridiculous to recycle a gift I received by giving it as a present to someone else. Mind you, I was very young and ignorant back then. So when I shyly handed my offering to her, she forced herself to keep from laughing and thanked me instead. She pretended to adore it so much and showed it off to my father. “What should I call her then, dear?” mother asked me while pinching my soft cheeks. “Her name is Charlotte, like the little girl from the story you read to me every bedtime,” I said while struggling to release from her grip on my face. She embraced me once more and tickled me under my chin. I bursted with laughter so hard and loud that the entire population of relatives in the room stared at me. After a long moment of silence, they joined me. Different tones and pitches bellowed throughout the place. I ran and mother chased me, both of us giggling and bumping into guests. 12 years later, I ran away from home. I left my life and family behind. I was a rebellious teenager who didn’t listen to anybody else and who disobeyed everything her parents taught her. Everyone gave up on me, even myself. When I packed all of my stuffs and clothes, nobody questioned me. When I made for the gate, nobody hindered me from leaving. But as I was about to ride on the bus, someone called out my name. I turned around and saw my mother, in her nightgown, pushing the wheels of her wheelchair hysterically towards me. She stopped and stared at me, tears falling from her eyes, Charlotte resting on her lap. For a moment, I suddenly wanted to run to her arms and stay. I wanted to tell her how sorry I was and how stupid I was to leave. I wanted to, but I didn’t. I turned my back on her and stepped inside the bus. As I sat down, I glanced out the window even though I didn’t want to. She was still there, looking at me with those watery, brown eyes. The driver started the engine and took off, but she still remained in her position, hoping that I would come out. I know that she’ll stay there all night. I know that she will camp there till the sun rises, waiting for me to come back. But I didn't come back. As years passed by, I magically forgot about that tragic night. I lived at my friend’s house in the city far from my hometown. I continued studying and eventually got my college degree. I immediately got a job in a well-known company and got promoted just after a year. I was able to buy my own house and car. I got engaged to a very good and loving man. I could say that I became a very successful person. I had all that I wanted. But I still felt that something was missing in my life. A broken part of my heart was never mended. The night before my wedding day, I was busy preparing my gown and jewelries when suddenly, the telephone rang, destroying the peacefulness and serenity of the moment. I picked it up. It was my younger sister at the end of the line. At first, I wanted to hang up because I didn’t want to talk to her. I didn’t even invite her or anyone in my family. I wasn’t mad at them anymore; it’s just that it was very awkward to suddenly give them a wedding invitation after many years of no conversation at all. But as I was about to put down the telephone, she cried very loud. What she said next shocked me. “Mother fell down from the stairs and hit her head hard! She was brought to the hospital a while ago!” she said, her voice was hoarse and quivering. I was stunned for a moment. A scene suddenly flashed across my mind. It was the picture of mother waiting in front of the bus. Her lips were all pale and continuously shouting my name. I suddenly realize that I didn’t just ran away from my family, but I ran away from the only person who loved me the most and who never ceased on forgiving me. The only one who kept on giving me a second chance though I never, ever deserved it. The day that I left my mother was the day that I left my life and my heart. I didn’t think anymore. I immediately booked a flight to my town. I was 10 hours away from them, but it didn’t matter to me. I was crying the whole time. “Please don’t die mom. Please wait for me,” I whispered to myself and to heaven again and again. Tears were spurting now and then, blurring my vision until I could barely see. The plane ride was very long that I didn’t notice that I already fell asleep. I woke up from the voice of the stewardess telling us to get ready. I quickly got off the plane the moment it landed. I shoved off the other people in line and jumped inside a taxicab. I forced the driver to hurry as much as he could. As we arrived at the hospital, I gave all the money in my purse to the driver. He called out to me but I kept on running towards the building. I asked the nurse for the room of my mom and I hurriedly went there. Wait, how could I face them? How dare I come back to them after I ran away from home? But I just shrugged those questions away. No matter how many times I convinced myself during those independent years of mine that I don't need my mother, that she's the one hindering me from achieving all I wanted in life, never had my mind truly denied my undying love for my mom. So I grabbed all the courage I had and opened the door. There were only two persons in the room: the nurse, who was on the table scribbling something on her paper, and a cloaked woman, sitting on a grey wheelchair. It was my mother! She was absolutely alive! “Mom!” I shouted as I ran towards her and hugged her. But as she turned around, she looked at me questioningly. “Who are you?” she asked me innocently. I laughed at first, thinking that she was only kidding me. But the nurse moved towards me and told me that my mother’s head concussion was very hard and deadly. It was a miracle that she still survived and lived for another day. “But honey, your mother has Amnesia. She couldn’t remember anything at all,” she said to me softly. I slowly sat down on the hospital bed. I stared at my mother and tried to sink in what the nurse said to me. I couldn’t take it any longer. I went to my mother’s side once again and asked for her forgiveness. I told her how much I love her and how I wished that I could turn back time and never left her. I poured out my whole heart to her. I looked up, and realized that she wasn’t listening to me. How absurd those people like me who repents at the last moment, who apologizes to the dead, who only begs to be forgiven when the hurt person could no longer hear him or her from the coffin! Why do I only remember her now?! Now that she already forgot everything?! I glanced at her once more. She was busy playing a doll. The ragdoll I gave her when I was four years old. “Your sister gave it to her, hoping that it would bring back her memories. And it did. But unfortunately, the doll’s name was the only thing that she could remember. She played with that doll all day. And whenever we try to take it from her, she would cry and scream,” the nurse said to me. I didn’t know if I’d be happy or sad because of what she just told me. “Mandy. What a lovely name to call the doll. Did you name her that?” the nurse asked me. “What do you mean?” I asked her. “That’s the doll’s name, right? Mandy? She keeps on chanting that name while talking with that doll. And you could see pure love in her eyes whenever she mentions that name,” the nurse said. Once again, I was stunned. Charlotte was the name of that ragdoll. But Mandy… That’s my name. She remembers my name. “I love you very much Mandy,” my mother suddenly said while caressing the doll. My eyes finally gave in, letting out all those tears it had been keeping back for many years.


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