Hello, there! YAY FOR FRIDAY! What will you all be doing this weekend? 🙂
Today, I’ve got another CWWC entry, along with a small photoshoot of Ivy. 😉
Loren, I used all three prompts!
“She needed a hero, so that’s what she became. She saved so many lives.”
My father pulls my warm, colorful quilt up to my neck. “You know the story. Why do you ask me about her me so much?”
I twist the patchwork fabric in my hands. “I miss her.”
My father nods slowly, his hands moving methodically as he picks up my books and clothes that are scattered carelessly around the room. “Your mother was messy, like you.” He slides a worn red novel with gold lettering onto the bookshelf. “Books were her life. She had hundreds of books on every subject imaginable. We used to joke that she should open a library.” He smiles sadly as he folds a pair of jeans. “She had a big heart. Sometimes I think it was too big- she wanted to help everyone.”
“She loved books? You never told me that. Where are all her books now?”
A mix of sorrow and anger washes away the longing smile on his face. “I got rid of them.”
My heart sinks. “Why would you do that?”
He turns and walks out without another word, turning off the light and closing the door firmly behind him. It’s like a silent message: We’re done talking about that.
I pull my blanket close around my neck and think about my mother. I was still a gurgling toddler when she died, but I have a few memories of her warm smile and gentle hands. These thoughts are comforting in the frosty darkness.
The night passes slowly. Cold air seeps through my creaky window, making me wish I had a hundred more quilts to wrap myself in. When morning finally comes, I’m exhausted and cold. I stumble out of bed and pull on a thick sweater. Breakfast is a cold bowl of cereal. I eat slowly while my tabby cat rubs against my legs, purring loudly. My father is nowhere to be seen.
At school, I stare blankly out the window, lost in thought. My teacher reminds me several times to pay attention, but my mind isn’t focused on class. I’m thinking about my mother’s books. Why would my father get rid of hundreds of books? I wonder who he gave them to, if there’s a way to get them back.
As my last class ends, the students file noisily out. I’m left alone at the smooth brown desk, my head turned towards the window as I think. As the teacher turns to leave, she pauses and looks back at me. “Madeline, are you alright? You’ve been awfully quiet today.”
I pull myself out of a daydream to respond. “Oh, I’m fine, ma’am. It’s just… did you know my mother?” She nods understandingly. “Yes. She was a good woman. She died a hero.” I smile. “I know. Thanks.” She pats my hair and steps quietly out. I slide from my chair and follow, my books tucked tightly under my arm.
As I trudge down the sidewalk towards home, a chilly wind threatens to knock me off my feet. A few busy shoppers hurry by, clutching their bags close. When I finally reach my house, I stomp in, shivering. My father is still gone- but I’m used to it by now. I fix myself a sandwich and eat it hungrily.
All of a sudden, I hear something- a muffled thump coming from above my head. I drop my sandwich and glance fearfully at the attic stairs. Something’s moving up there.
I grab a flashlight and slowly ascend the creaky stairs, wishing I wasn’t alone. When I swing open the attic door, a strong musty smell fills my nose. I shine the flashlight behind dusty boxes and crates, my heart pounding furiously.
Suddenly, something jumps out from above me with a yowl. I scramble backwards with a scream, then realize it’s only my cat. I laugh shakily. “You naughty girl.”
As I turn to leave the attic, something catches my eye. I step back into the freezing darkness and shine my flashlight on an old, white cardboard box. I see something written on the side in my father’s messy scrawl.
Bad memories. Do not open.
I almost drop the flashlight as I read and re-read the words. Bad memories?
Despite the warning, my curiosity is too strong to ignore. I pull open the cardboard flaps and sneeze as dust flies everywhere. I reach down and pick up the first thing in the box- a newspaper clipping. I squint in the weak light from the flashlight and begin to read.
WOMAN KILLED IN SHOPPING MALL FIRE, SAVES HUNDREDS
Marie H. Jacobs was killed in Friday’s fatal fire at the local mall. Officials say she warned hundreds of unaware shoppers instead of saving her own life. The firemen wouldn’t have arrived in time, witnesses tell us. The town is indebted to the courageous acts of this woman. Funeral processions will be held December 14th.
My hands are trembling so badly, I almost drop the paper. Father never told me when Mother died. According to this newspaper, today is the 10th anniversary of her funeral.
I blink back unshed tears as I turn back to the box to see what else it holds. When I peer into it, I can’t help letting out a choked gasp.
I reach into the box and carefully lift out stacks and stacks of dusty, well-loved books. When I pick up the first book, I realize it’s not a book at all.
It’s a diary.
I flip to the middle and begin to read.
Saturday, May 4th, 2005
My sweet Madeline took her first steps today! I can’t believe my little baby is one..time flies! She is such a little joy that I couldn’t live without….
I’m laughing and crying all at the same time as I read my mother’s long, winding description of what a sweet baby I was. I can see from these pages how much she loved me. How much she cared. The tears roll down my face and splatter onto the musty pages. I’m crying so hard, I don’t hear my father climbing the attic stairs.
Suddenly I feel a firm hand clutch my shoulder. My father’s voice is barely a whisper.
“What do you think you’re doing?”
I look up at him and choke back my tears. A mask of grief and sorrow covers his face, but deep down I know he was selfish to keep these things from me.
“I loved her too, you know. You didn’t get rid of her books. You lied.”
He drops his head into his hands. “That box isn’t to be disturbed.” I set the diary down and take his trembling hand, then pour out the words in a rush. “Can’t you see? These books, the diary. She left a bit of herself in the pages. She wouldn’t want us to lock that away.”
At first he doesn’t move, his arms hanging limply at his sides. Then, slowly, sadly, he looks down at me with a broken smile. He wraps a strong arm around my shoulders. “You’re right, Madeline.”
Those three little words make my heart leap. I sink onto the ground and he settles next to me. We read her diary by flashlight, laughing at the way she captures my baby antics. The books are next- heaps of them. We flip through the pages, smiling at her handwritten notes on the corner. Show this book to Madeline, someday.
We both miss her terribly, but she left a priceless treasure behind. Her love for us is forever captured in the pages of these books- and no one can take that away.
Be sure to comment and let me know what you thought! I had so much fun writing that. 🙂
I’ve been experimenting with indoor photography lately…. I found that having a reflector is VERY handy! I have THIS ONE which was $8.00 and I love it. 😀
I set Ivy up on the kitchen table with a foam board background. I used my reflector, and here was the outcome…
I LOVE HER SHIRT! 😮 ❤ 😀 It’s from If Dolls Could Dream on Etsy. Their shop is awesome and you should totally check it out!
What are your thoughts on my photos? 🙂
Gracias, readers! Have a lovely day. ❤
SECRET MESSAGE TIME! xD Yesterday I went outside with my sister. We picked wild blackberries, startled quail and turkeys, collected feathers, and saw a bunny. It was fun! 😀