Erica eyed the photos of Anne, her daughter. She removed the dust that had accumulated over them through the weeks under the bed that had once belonged to Anne, and stopped at one that she herself had taken one autumn day. She saw her there, beautiful as always, her chestnut hair flying above her shoulders. Erica remembered the wind that was blowing that day, strong and freezing, perfect for Anne to wear that gray sweater that brought out her hair and made her look undoubtedly cute, especially when she smiled. And that was what Anne was doing in the photograph, smiling.
Erica ran her hands through her hair, the same color as her daughter's, and sensed that she was going to burst out in tears, as she had on many occasions these three terrible weeks. Seeing her daughter smile, so beautiful, caused in Erica a unique sensation that kept her on her feet, hope, the feeling that allowed her to keep moving and doing the day's chores.
She placed her eyes again on her daughter's face, her blue eyes returned the gaze and she felt an immense pain that could only be explained as a deep cut in the heart. Every time she looked at the picture she realized more and more what they had always told her: ''Seeing Anne is like seeing a picture of you when you were young Erica''.
She smiled upon remembering those moments, when Anne was still with her.
The icy wind of autumn was flying through the air freezing my body, a body used to the deadly heat of summer, which was already gone. The blue sky, that was completely cloudless, shone upon the whole city; peculiarly giving me the sensation of warmth for just a few seconds, for later it was apparent that it was one of those suns that the only thing they offered us was light.
The watch my mother gave me on the day Anne was born struck two in the afternoon. A small ray of sunshine maintained our living room lit. The chimney lay extinguished, because neither Anne nor I had bothered to fire it up at all. A smooth, thin line of smoke was coming out of the firewood, the last place that conserved some of the heat of the day before, as it had maintained intense flames all day long, without any rest at all.
My daughter and I were sitting at the table, having lunch.
-Look mom- Anne started. What at unforgettable conversation.
I knew what Anne had in mind, for I attacked immediately
-No honey, I won't let you go, you know I won't stay calm if I'm not sure of where you are and with who you are-
I tried to say all this in a very peaceful way, because I knew that if I knocked down the tone of tranquility, my daughter would raise her tone as well.
-but mom! I'm gonna be with Isi at her cabins and with the rest of us, you know Javi, Fran... besides I...- Anne begged me, but I cut her off mid-sentence.
I stated this completely firmly, and gave Anne a I'm-not-changing-my-verdict look, Anne, upon noticing, fell silent instantly and put back all of her attention onto the half-eaten food on her plate, without saying any other word until she had emptied her plate. She stood up from the table and headed straight toward her room, not even glancing back at me. I knew that gesture, she used it every time she needed to show me what she felt at the instant.
The scene repeated itself again and again; on every occasion we were alone. Generally, this happened in meal times or when we were in the car heading to my daughter's school, but lately, these talks were occurring in every moment Anne could put them onto the table. It seemed to me that Anne really wanted to go.
Isidora was one of Anne's best friends, and I cared about her. I had seen her grow up, just like I'd seen my daughter in the process, however, now she was causing a little revolution in my family and that made me feel some rage at her, even if I didn't want to.
Since last week that Anne had been with this thing of going for the weekend to the beach, where Isidora’s family had some properties with cabins near the coast. Isidora’s cabins and the beach itself were relatively close to our city, so a car crash wasn’t what was worrying me, and even though Anne was now fifteen and could take care of herself, a feeling (one of those only a mother knows about) told me that my daughter should not attend .
I knew Isidora very well. She was a responsible and exemplary girl; I knew she would not do anything reckless but… Who was to say that nobody was going to do it for her?
Anne was nothing alike Isidora, their personalities were very different, and that kept them together, the opposite is attracted they say or something like that, anyway, I never knew about what they talked, or of whom they spoke but I knew that whatever either were going to do, they’d do it together.
Bu didn’t that mean that if Anne, the most inclined one to make daring actions, would carry Isidora on doing them? Or maybe that meant that Isidora, somehow suffered the craziness of a temporal delirium and wanted to do something, daring obviously, Anne would do it undoubtedly and totally willing?
No, of course not, my daughter had self-protection sense, at least a little, and if something odd was starting to happen, she would leave the place, or at least she’d so for Isidora… yes she’d do it Isidora.
The doubt brought her back to reality so suddenly that the lacking of air hit her lungs. She picked up every single photograph, put them all in her hands and gave them one last look of caring before placing them in the little box to let them sleep until the next time melancholy woke up in her.
Erica had everything prepared, everything in order. She only needed to see again her daughter’s final, and hers as well.
About Anne nothing really was discovered. They just found out that she’d got lost at 8 in the morning on the second day of the trip with her friends. It was never known why, nor who, nor even if she was dead or alive. But Erica was sure of only one thing, and that was that her daughter no longer was with her. Something happened, but she wasn’t with her, to hug her, to touch her or to just look at her. And that upset her and left her in the biggest distress.
She did her work as she had planned it. Everything was executed as it had been thought. And in a second, Erica found herself running along a garden holding her daughter’s hand, just like she had dreamed for so long.
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