Daddy and His Army of Dancing Pills

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A letter from a daughter to her deceased mother.

Submitted: September 28, 2018

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Submitted: September 28, 2018



Dear Mom,

Someone once told me that dreams are meant to be forgotten. Apparently it’s a scientifically proven fact that upon waking, 90% of dreams should perish from memory.

But I don’t believe it.

A particular image has been burnt into my mind since I was three. It’s from a dream, and it’s crystal clear, to the point where I can recount every single word, color, and emotion in it.

The dark, cold room, the pool of  blood on the tiled floor, Daddy, and his army of dancing pills. Those pills… they mocked me. They laughed at my pain. They screamed at me, “We control your life, we are everything. We can take away your world in a second. And guess what, sweetie? We will.” And so they did. Suddenly, you were there, and they were taking you away, and I tried to fight them, I swear I tried, but they were too strong, they were too controlling, and Daddy pushed me away into a corner and told me this was all my fault, and-

I remember waking from that dream, my face coated in warm, salty tears, feeling absolutely helpless.

I cried for you, but you didn’t come, and I started believing that it wasn’t a dream, that you’d actually left with Daddy, and that I was alone.

But I wasn’t.

You came back, and you scooped me up into your arms, and you whispered, “Baby, baby, I’m sorry. Please don’t cry. I’m here now.”

And my world was back in place.

You raised me as a single mother, working three separate jobs, and sleeping four hours each day. You ensured that I was healthy and clean, that I had enough food and clothes, and that I was getting good grades. But above all, you made sure that I was always happy.

Even when the world seemed to be falling apart, with broken stones pouring down onto your shoulders, you would always smile and tell me how beautiful life was, and how lucky we were.

I remember the day I found out about our financial issues. A seventh grader had come up to me and stated, “Naia, my father owns the apartment you live in. He told me that your mom is, like, so in debt, and that she’s never going to be able to pay the rent. He says he’s going to kick you guys out as soon as the lease ends. Must suck being poor.” She then smiled and walked off.

I went straight to the bathroom after that and cried for nearly forty minutes. Later that night, after I’d finished teaching myself the content I’d missed during my breakdown in the bathroom, I told you, “Mommy, when I grow up, I’m going to be a doctor.”

When you asked me why, I responded, “Max told me that doctors are rich.”

You laughed, and then sighed, and then gave me a hug, and said, “Naia, you’re young. You have your whole life ahead of you. Don’t worry about money, that’s my job. I’ll take care of it, I promise. We’ll be okay. Focus on yourself for now, chase your dreams. Do what makes you happy.”

Of course, you knew how important money was, and that I’d have to worry about it at some point, but you wanted me to have hope, hope that my future would be beautiful and bright, like you’d once hoped yours would be.

That’s why you supported my decision to become an actor. You could see how much I’d wanted it, how genuinely happy acting made me. That’s why you worked yourself to the bone to send me to those auditions. That’s why you took those pills to handle the stress.

Of course, I couldn’t have known at the time that the pills were back. I couldn’t have known that Daddy was back in control of your mind. Now that I think about it, perhaps he’d never even left. He was probably always there with his army of pills, screaming at you, persuading you, mocking you.

“We took away the one thing that mattered to you. Just so you know, he never loved you anyways. Or that disgrace you call your daughter.”

Eventually, as I was rejected audition after audition, my grades fell, along with your optimism and support. We started fighting about school and my future, and how I wasn’t grateful for all that you’d done for me.

I know you blamed yourself for how my life was unraveling. I know you thought you were a bad mother, for not pushing me hard enough, for raising me without a father figure, for leaving me alone in this world, so that you could finally rest with your pills.

But I need you to know it was never your fault. Never. It was mine. I should’ve become a doctor. I should’ve worked as hard as you were working. I should’ve done something that’d make your life worth living, because at that point, you were living your life for me. And I wasn’t worth it.

And now I’m awake again, crying for you, feeling so hopeless and alone. But this time, I really am alone. You’re really gone, Daddy and his army of dancing pills have finally taken you away. You’ll never scoop me up into your arms again and whisper to me that I’m okay. Never again. You’re gone. And the pills are mocking me again.

“You did this to yourself, darling. Are you proud? Good job! You couldn’t save her! Thanks for the donation! Don’t worry, she’s not going anywhere. We’ll keep her here forever!”

I don’t know how to make them stop. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do now. I don’t know who I’m supposed to live my life for anymore, because I hate myself. I hate myself, and I hate you. What do I do now? Who do I have? I know this is selfish of me, I know you were going through hell and back, and I know that I was never the best daughter, but I never wanted to do anything but make you proud. Couldn’t you have hung on for just a while longer?

Half of me is so angry. I’m mad at you for leaving me all alone, I’m mad at myself for not working hard enough, and I’m mad at the universe for all the hardships it’s cascaded onto us. However, the other half of me is happy that you’re at peace now. You deserve it. You’ve given me the entire world, even when I was oblivious to it, even when I was an ungrateful, dumb child. Mom, I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done for me. All the wars you’ve fought through, I know they were for me. I know, and I promise, I will fight all the wars headed towards me with no hesitation. I will fight for myself, for you, and for all the dreams and hope you’ve instilled in me. Your journey may be over, but mine is just beginning. I swear I will never surrender to anyone. Not even Daddy and his army of dancing pills.


© Copyright 2019 Lillian Rae. All rights reserved.

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