A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times


My mum was in my dreams that night. It felt so real. I didn't know any better. I thought that she was alive again. It seemed like my life was back to the way it should be before she died and I was so relieved. For the first time in a long time I felt happy. I felt like myself again.

When I woke up, that's when the tears came. That's when it hit me that I had been tricked! The happiness was gone. A tremendous pain tore up my insides. There was nothing I could do to stop it. It was uncontrollable. It hit me so deep, so fast. Tears just came out of my eyes, and I was unaware of them because all I felt was her sorrow. They came like someone had just pushed a button. It was that fast. She was here one day, and now she's gone.

I lay in bed and tried to make it go away. It all seemed so unreal. It finally occurred to me that it was only morning, the beginning of a new day. Oh, how it seemed so long already.

If it weren't for the pain killers left over from my mum's stash just a month ago, I would never have moved out of bed. I would've let my creative soul drown me to my own destruction. I had always been seen as a strong person, and I wasn't ready to give up that strength.

I made my way down the stairs. I could hear the voices of my family already at the kitchen table. My grand-parents voices were so recognizable and clear. I heard my grandma laughing at one of her stories again. I used to look forward to hearing their voices, after I woke up. I didn't see them too often. Every morning they would sit and drink their morning coffee, and wait for everyone to wake up, and we would hang out at the kitchen table. However, I had never felt so irritated than to hear them all sitting down at the table, laughing over their coffee this morning. They were sitting there, one person less. One significant person less, but they were still laughing. Was she not the one who got up and made their coffee every morning? Was she not the cheerful one of those mornings? I suppose it was just me waking up to a harsh reality, but I felt an overwhelming sadness, and emptiness. And I supposed they hadn't.

For that reason, I usually never made it to the breakfast table. Whenever possible I avoided my house in general. My grandparents had become my worst nightmare. They used to seem so sweet and caring for us grand kids. Now, there seemed to be bad blood in the house between the different generations.

This month has been crazy here in the town. With all of my class graduating high school, it's seemed a never-ending party, like Mardi gras, where the parties get better and better every night until the "Fat Tuesday". It was June, the beginning of summer. I had always loved June because of the long warm nights, summer freedom, and the life that spring had just created. Summer always reminded me of my childhood.

My best friend, Andrea, decided to take me out for a meal on Sunday. She told me she was pregnant. She was keeping the baby. It was a complete shock, because we had been through everything together. At times, I thought we were of the same soul, but of different families. Our lives had seemed so similar until this point. Though, I knew she had always wanted a child. She hadn't exactly planned this out, but she said that timing didn't matter when it came to the love of her child. She would do absolutely anything for it. She was one of the strongest people I had ever met. I knew she would love that child, and promise it the world. She was ready to give up her life, to offer another one. I knew this child would be special. And in some ways, I felt a bit pregnant myself, like I was expecting. I felt the same way for the child as she did.

Grandpa would constantly be irritated with us. Whenever I or my younger sister would do something for our selves, he found it troublesome. He would get so irritated sometimes, and make comments to us, like "you girls shouldn't trouble your father like this. He has so much to deal with right now. You are adding to his stress!"

Grandpa had lost his wife also. He and dad would go outside and smoke, and they would talk. They would smoke about a pack a day. In our grand-parent’s eyes, we girls were to help around the house. We were supposed to be home and not spend any money, for "It adds stress to the household." Mum would've let us go. She would never let us be tied down. I slept over at friend’s houses usually to get rid of the hangovers. My household never allowed sleeping in. So If I wasn't there, who would stop me?

My grandparents became more and more perturbed at my behaviour. They sleep in the old guest room now; I knew they heard me sneak out at night, being right next to the door outside. That was the door to my freedom. I continued to sneak out almost every night of the summer, trying to enjoy the summer as much as possible. Andrea would come sometimes, but wouldn't drink. She was getting bigger and bigger. Time just seemed to slip away.

I went out shopping for the baby with Andrea. I wanted to get out of the house. Any ways we were both excited about the baby. I picked out a little track outfit for the baby, and it was so small. It was all so unreal. Andrea and I ran track together for the last 7 years I've known her, and now she's giving up her life for this baby.

Andrea's mum was too upset with her to go shopping with us. She was really too upset to even talk to her anymore. Andrea planned to get her own apartment in the fall and raise the baby, mostly on her own. Though everyone in town cringed at Andrea when they looked at her, I admired her. She was willing, already, to devote herself to another being. She was ready, and I could tell that the thought of being a mother to a new child inspired her.

I felt it too. I felt that special bond that only a mother can share with her child. There is nothing better in the world than that feeling of giving; giving everything you have, and everything you don't to make someone happy. There's nothing better besides one thing, and that is the feeling of receiving that love. The baby made me think about my mum even more now.

I was learning more and more about my mum from before she had me and my sister. She gave up so many things to have kids. She occasionally drank and hosted parties, which she never did after we were born. She had to get a full time job, and she spent the next 18 years of her life driving kids to soccer and track practice, or helping us with school. I had another dream of my mother that night. That night the whole family were at the cabins in the countryside, at our regular holiday spot. I was just turned 12, and my sister was back to being my best friend. I begged my sister to come exploring with me. She didn't want to get in trouble. I ran to mum and pleaded to go exploring. I needed to be released so badly! I had to go, or I would just be distraught, and she knew it. She smiled at me, and in her loving way whispered to me to be careful.

I felt like she knew my excitement to go and find something exciting, something new! Poor mum had to be stuck back at the cabin with dad. I was so glad not to be there. I ran through the fields, and felt so much energy like I was on an adventure or something. I jumped over almost anything there was to jump over, just to see how high I could jump. We ran around the river bend. It was deep in some spots, and low in few. We stood in the water, and enjoyed its coolness. We drank from it, and it was so clear and fresh. It was fresh mountain spring water. We pretended to be mountaineers, on an adventure, and we drank it just like rough natives had to do when they got thirsty.

There was a bright red patch of wildflowers that really stood out. They seemed so rare, all together, yet at the same time, all alone. The big ones and the smaller ones were all dependent on each other. But still, all alone in their existence. Their beautiful colour fought for our attention, we hadn't seen that kind of flower before. It was new! It was a natural source of beauty. They made me think of my mother, Mum loved flowers like that! We picked them and would give her these beautiful wildflowers. I hoped that she would enjoy them! It was a way of thanking her for letting us go, in spite of what dad wanted us to do, to stay in and help unpack. That would've been terrible!

We ran back to the cabin. But already it was too late. We couldn't give mum any flowers. We couldn't even thank her. Mum was dead.

I had reached my emotional peak. I was sick of taking pills, I was sick of feeling alone. I was sick of feeling guilty from my grand-parents. All I wanted was to see my mum. I felt sorry for Andrea. I wanted life to be back to normal. It had gotten so hard all of sudden. It was the toughest time of my life, and I was alone. I didn't know what to do. I wanted to give up. The pills and alcohol couldn't even help me now. I needed strength that I didn't have before. My mum was always the strongest person I knew. She seemed to never have a negative thought in her. I wanted to be like that so bad, but I didn't know how. Doing the dishes one night, I was cleaning the pots. I was overwhelmed, and dazed, emotionless. I took pride in the meticulousness of the job I was doing on the cleaning. It was something I was doing well. It was something I could control. I scrubbed at the aluminium pots, until I could see my reflection in them, until I saw my sombre face. I stared at that face until I was forced to turn away to wipe away tears. Then I would move to the next pot and do it all again.

I remembered how my mum would inspect the job me and my sister would do on the dishes, back when it was our sole responsibility. She made sure there were no spots on the pots. She even wanted us to shine the bottom of the pans, and make sure the copper was clear. She had known a trick to get them especially shiny. She would clean the copper with baking soda, and when I was a child, it fascinated me how clear the copper would shine. I thought it was pretty. I liked doing the dishes then. Now, almost 12 years later, I stare at the pots, amazed at how clean it really got them. I felt a sense of pride. I wanted my mum to check the job I did. I wanted her to be proud of me.

After I did the dishes, I just needed to be alone. I went to go sit outside at a place I usually went to go think in the neighbourhood. I sat underneath a tree, and leaned against it. There was an amazing sunset that evening. There were violent streaks of red, and a huge over-casting blue cloud covering most of the sky. The sun lit up only a part of the sky, but it shined so bright.

Such beautiful colours are often created when a day is especially hot. I felt such a comfort in being outside at that moment. The grass was like a blanket I was sitting on, and I began to play with the blades of grass, like I used to do when I was a kid. I was so familiar with that place; I used to go there all the time as a child to think about those problems of the past. I kind of laughed at the things I used to be stressed over; those problems I thought were so devastating and would change my life forever. Now I was laughing at them. It seemed silly to go off and try to fix my problem like I had in the past, by trying to solve it here. I knew I couldn't fix this one. Either way, I was finally ready to confront her death face to face. I felt the wind pick up, so I pushed my sleeves down, but I was happy to be out there, alone with my memories.

When I walked back in the house, dad asked me to run upstairs and get his wallet. While I was looking for it, I saw that he had already cleaned out mum’s wardrobe. I couldn't imagine how hard it would have been to have to go in that every day, seeing it half empty. And out of all the flowers we had received, in sympathy from other families, he had kept a spray of red roses, mum’s favourite flower, and he put them in a vase, on the table. There was no water in the vase. They didn't need it anymore, like my mother they were dead. It reminded me of the mortality of all life forms, no matter how powerful their strength is. Those flowers reminded me of my mum because they were absolutely beautiful. My mother’s strength was the most beauty I'd ever known.

I walked downstairs and handed him the wallet, and the phone rang. It was Andrea's mum. She was finally having the Baby! She said Andrea was still in labour, and probably wouldn't be ready for a while. I could hear her mum almost crying in excitement. I couldn't believe it was finally time.

I yelled to my dad, and started to get my things together to get to the hospital. I couldn't wait to see the baby! Andrea's life was about to change so much, and she would finally get to meet the love of her life today.

My mum was always the one to think to bring flowers or a card for someone; however I recognized that it was my job now. I was responsible for being the embracing one of the family now, and make everyone feel loved like she always had. I got Andrea the most beautiful flowers I could afford that day. I got to the hospital and she was still going through her labour, so we all waited in the recovery room for her. There were already dozens of vases of flowers in the room. I set my beautiful red roses next to some of the stuffed animals.

The baby was born December 11th, and all that was left in the vase were the wilted stems of the roses. I knew then that through the birth of Andrea’s daughter, my mother was with me again.

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Its my own fault really, its all about what I see in the world, and how it all translates for me.

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