by Brianna G. Harte
I cocked my head. “No, I’m alone. I’ve been alone for so long, without anyone to touch me or even see me besides Odessa. You can’t be my mama. If you were, why didn’t you come earlier?”
Her lips quivered as I stepped backward. With an arm, she waved toward one of the empty hospital beds, looking just as mundane as all the others. A thin, white sheet clothed both the mattress and the flat pillow. Simple turquoise curtains decorated the tiny section along with the same monitor, switches, and wires as the one Odessa was in not too long ago. As I focused on it, an eerie feeling attached itself to that particular section of the emergency room.
“I was taken here when my sister, your aunt Gwenevere, found me unconscious in our home. I woke up in that bed over there, with injuries that the doctors believed fatal. Needless to say, they couldn’t save me. While I died, Gwen told me what she saw. She told me . . . that she couldn’t find you.” She stopped, eyeing me with glassy, fragile eyes.
I frowned. “Who hurt you?”
“Your father. Do you remember him and his drinking? No, of course not. You would remember me if you could remember him . . .” A pause. “I’m sorry. Well, he drank a lot during the nights. His temper blew often, and you were so scared. I did what I could to protect you. But, one night, he started to get really loud. When he came at you, I interjected, so he hit me. I don’t remember much after that. For so long in this lonely death, I’ve wondered if you made it out alright. I returned to our home, but you weren’t there, and neither was Alin.”
Shaking my head, I allowed her to approach in her soft way. “I don’t know what happened. Why can you?”
Moments passed without an answer. “I wonder . . . there were pictures of our family and my good friends beside the bed that my sister brought in. I found a few cards there too; a get well, documents, and a license with my name and address. I followed them. As I returned home and had gone to my sister’s, I regained my memories. There was a newspaper article about what had happened, so it could have triggered more of those that were missing.” A smile creeped onto her face. “All that matters now is that I’ve found you, finally.”
As her hands gently fell upon my shoulders, her forehead reached down toward mine. I let her, believing her story, wanting to believe she was my mama. Her eyelids closed as our heads met. At that instant, images flashed in my mind. Pictures of the young woman claiming to be my mom, and her hugging me with love. She didn’t have any of the bruises on her in them, making her seem fresh and even more lovely. Memories of other adults glowing with happiness. Visions of a house with simple toys scattered across the yard. Sights of a man and the woman before me on the porch. They swept by my mind quickly, yet they stayed in my mind, letting it seem fuller than before. They were like pieces of a puzzle, slowly building on to make it whole.
As we separated, my eyes opened wider. “You are my mama, aren’t you?” While we embraced each other, I whispered, “I love you.”
Copyright © 2015 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.
Links to previous parts of “On the Other Side”