Budding

I stared blankly at the white wall in my quiet and empty room. It was sparse now that the bed had been packed and sent to our new home. All the shelves on the wall were now gone. The books that usually littered the floor were all tidily organized into separate boxes based on their genres, thanks to my Mom. I sighed. It still felt like a dream. So unreal. We really were going to move from this house. My mom tried to reassured me that everything would be alright, but I couldn’t help the tightening on my chest as a result of my anxiety. I took a deep breath to keep myself from having a full-blown panic attack. It wasn’t a good timing to be paralyzed with panic attack when you were on moving day. Too many thing to be done. I let out another sigh.

“Are you done or do you need more time?” asked Mom from the doorway. She looked at me in concern.

After letting out another huge sigh, I turned to her and said, “I’m done.”

She smiled sadly and gave me a brief but tight hug. I stopped myself from crying in her embrace, but just barely succeeded. She looked at me right in the eyes and said the magic word again, “Everything’s going to be just fine. We’ll get through this together. Okay?”

I only nodded. There was nothing else I could do, because I didn’t think that anything would be fine after this. It would be hard. I didn’t think that this was the wrong thing to do, but it surely wasn’t easy.

“Come on. Let’s go,” Mom said while taking my hand and guiding me out of my room. Well, former room.

***

I stared at the blank white wall on my room. My new room. After a few hours on the road, we finally reached our new house. It was smaller, but it was understandable since it would only house me and my mom now instead of two more people. I choked and felt hot tears threatening to make their way out of the corner of my eyes. I stopped my train of thought right there. I wouldn’t break down. At least not now. But when the darkness came, and I was safely curled inside my blanket, it wouldn’t stop as easily.

“Hey,” called Mom from behind me. Again, she was leaning on the doorway. She looked tired and sad. Well, she always looked so sad after the incident. I shook my head to clear it from that thought.

“Hi,” I answered with a slight smile. It wouldn’t do to make her worry about me being all down and depressed. Not when she was, most probably, even more heart-broken that I was.

“Let’s do the clean-up tomorrow. How’s that sound?” she asked.

“Sounds good.”

“Good,” she said, smiling. “Let’s freshen up a bit then head out for dinner?”

“Okay,” I answered shortly.

Then we took our turn showering — there was only one bathroom — and changed our clothes to get out. We walked around the neighborhood to find something to eat and once we did, we ate in relative silence. We ate slowly, as if we both didn’t want to go back to the house because then we would be preparing for bed, and it meant facing our own demons. At least here, we could pretend that nothing had happened and we were just two people — mother and daughter — enjoying their dinner. But at last, we finished both our meal and we needed to get back to the empty house.

When we reached the front door, we both stopped out of mutual but unspoken understanding. Our first night in this new house — home, I reminded myself — with just the two of us would be the hardest, I knew. So when Mom suggested that we slept together in her room, I nodded eagerly. I didn’t want to spend the night alone, because I knew my night would be plagued by nightmares and restless sleep. So we got ready for bed still in silence, and tucked ourselves inside the mattress laid on the floor, because the bed wasn’t here yet.

“Are you asleep?” Mom suddenly asked after a while.

“Not yet.”

“Do you,” she stopped. I could hear her clearing her throat before she continued, “…want to talk?”

I was quiet. Did I want to talk? With her? I wasn’t sure I could keep myself from crying if I did start to talk. And that would only add to her grief. I couldn’t do that to her. I wouldn’t.

“No, I’m good,” I lied.

She went silent. Then I felt her move from beside me and the next thing I knew, she spooned me and stroking my hair gently. She kept doing that for a few minutes then suddenly I felt something wet and warm on the back of my neck, followed by a soft sob. I bit my lips to keep from crying as well.

“Sorry,” she whispered.

I touched her hand on my hair and turned my body towards her. I hugged her slowly shaking body tight and by that time I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing out anymore. It was just so hard. It had been hard that day when it all happened and it was still as hard today, almost three months later. It wasn’t that we couldn’t cope with the grief, but to lose two of the most important people in our lives on the same day and in the span of only a few hours apart was just too much for us both. It was taking its toll on my study because I couldn’t stop remembering how she would tutor me whenever I was stuck with studying for my tests. It took away the smile from both me and my Mom because usually she was preparing breakfast for four people instead of two, and she kept on seemingly forgetting that fact and always laid out four plates on the table instead of two, which resulted in a heavy silence. Finally, she just couldn’t take it anymore and decided to move out from our old home since it was just too full of their memories. It was hard to leave the house, yes, but it was harder to stay.

So, as I held my crying Mom that night, I knew for sure that moving here was the best decision for the both of us. Dad and my sister would always live in our hearts and maybe we would continue to grief for a bit longer, but at least here, we could start anew. We could have a fresh start and I hoped that they wouldn’t blame us for this decision. I knew they wouldn’t. They would want us to be happy. And we would. Be happy that is. But for now, I held my Mom just a little tighter and cried as hard as I could. I could feel my heart breaking again as I remembered that day when they were lowered into the cold ground and the priest said his prayers. We cried and cried.

We both cried ourselves to sleep that night. And the next morning, I stirred when Mom started to get up, to prepare breakfast, I assumed. We looked at each other and for the first time in three months, we shared a real smile. Not one laced with sadness, pain, and grief, but a real smile that showed a hint of happiness. Just the smallest hint of happiness already made me feel lighter than ever. And when I went to the kitchen and I saw two plates on the table instead of four as usual, I knew for sure that we made the right choice moving here. Because those plates meant we were already starting to heal. A small sign, but it was a start. And I felt content, so I let myself let out another small smile as I hugged my Mom tight and told her good morning.

(P.S. : So, if you haven’t notice, this story can be the continuation to my previous post titled ‘Not The End’. Hopefully this one can give the other story a bit of a happier note. Lol. But this can also acts as a stand-alone. Thanks for reading.)

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