My good friend Stephanie (http://thestephanieconnection.blogspot.com) has been posting some completely fantastic stories and I just couldn't help but search myself and ask myself what my story was. Amazingly enough, it took only a matter of moments for me to start my story. I knew exactly where it would begin and the names of the characters popped into my head.
Here for your reading pleasure is Chapter I. I have no idea how many chapters this story will have to share because when it stops flowing out of my like water, I will put it away for awhile.
Chapter I – The Perfect Summer
Alice was just starting summer break between Kindergarten and First Grade when she heard the slamming of the front door. Mommy and Daddy were fighting again and this time it seemed that Daddy wasn’t coming back. Only he did come back, just long enough to grab a few pots and pans out of the cupboard so he could “cook some soup for dinner” he said. Then he left for good.
She should have cried then. She should have said ‘Daddy, don’t leave me’, but the truth is that Daddy was never there anyways and with him gone, hopefully Mommy would yell less. How could you miss what you didn’t have or didn’t know you were supposed to miss?
Mommy was always so tired. She got up before the sun, made the breakfast, made the beds and cleaned the house. Every single day she cleaned the house. You could almost tell what time of day it was by when the vacuum cleaner came on. You knew it was time to get out of the house when you heard that vacuum. If you didn’t, the chores were handed out. Dust this, pick up that, put that away. Always in that frantic voice as if there were never enough time to get it all done.
Alice wondered, get WHAT done? If you dust and vacuum every day, how could there be any dust to remove or any dirt to vacuum in less than 24 hours? But every day Mommy did what every “good” housewife did and had the house clean, kids clean and supper waiting on the table for Daddy who always seemed to be working late or in a meeting.
The table was set and supper was on it promptly at 6:00 every night. Not 5:59 and not 6:01, but 6:00 on the dot. We would wait for what seemed like hours for Daddy to come home. By the time the call came in, supper was usually cold, but we ate it anyways. “Sorry kids, Daddy has a big meeting in the morning and says we should start without him” Mommy would say to us. We knew the moment he didn’t walk in the door right at 6:00 that he wouldn’t be joining us for dinner. It was all or nothing with Daddy.
Why couldn’t Daddy be there once to see Mommy’s smile fade from her face? Why couldn’t Daddy see that she had fretted all day that she wasn’t a good enough wife and that’s why he didn’t want to come home? Alice was only 6, but she saw it and knew.
After Daddy left, Mommy went through quite a change. She just stopped. She stopped cleaning, she stopped cooking and she stopped making the beds. Mostly she stayed in her room and hid from the world. Alice could hear her crying softly in her room during the day. Sometimes at night Mommy would cry loudly enough that it would wake Alice up. Alice wondered what to do. Should she go in and comfort her Mommy or put the pillow over her head and go back to sleep?
Finally Alice had to do SOMETHING. She quietly pulled back the covers and climbed out of bed. She crept into Mommy’s room and quietly whispered “Mommy, are you okay?” At this point Mommy really burst into tears and scared Alice so badly that she ran back to her room and hid in her closet. You see Mommy thought that she was careful enough that Alice didn’t know that she was unhappy.
But Alice knew.
Alice wondered if Mommy was unhappy because she was left taking care of her. Did she wish that Daddy had taken Alice with him when she left? Why didn’t Daddy take her with him when he left? Did Daddy not want her either?
Lot’s of unanswered questions in her mind left her unable to sleep for many nights. Nobody noticed the dark circles growing under her eyes. Nobody saw that her clothes were now loose because she was hardly eating anything. Nobody realized that she didn’t smile or laugh anymore.
It was at least three months after Daddy left before Alice saw him again. He offered no explanations or words of encouragement. He hardly talked to her at all. She didn’t know what to say to him either, but it seemed like telling him that she missed him would be the right thing, even if it was a lie.
Oh yes, Alice had learned how to lie. Brilliantly some might say. People would ask “how are you today” and Alice would lie and say she was fine, good, dandy even. “Are you enjoying your summer Alice?” “Oh yes, we are all having so much fun” she would say. “This has been the best summer ever…”