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“THAELOR! THAELOR! THAELOR RENEE LEIGH YOU BETTER GET OUT OF THAT BED THIS INSTANT!!” The form under the covers stirred. Moving ever so slowly to a sitting posture. Little feet dangling off the side of the bed. Tiny latte colored hands balling up to rub eyelids that revealed a pair of sparkling hazel eyes. This is Thaelor Renee Leigh, and today is the most special day in her life. The sound of large padded feet resounded off the floor in the hallway, the long strands of blond hair entered the room, cascading around a face of white features that many would consider beautiful. “Thaelor, are you out of that…oh. Good morning sweetie. Hurry up and get moving, we have a lot to do today and not a lot of time.” The little girl looked up at the face of the woman she had known as her mother since as far back a she could remember. “Ok mom.” Hopping out of the bed, it occurred to Thaelor that her feet hit the floor a little sooner than they ever had. Standing to her full height, she felt as if she stood taller than she ever had. Looking out of the window, the light of dawn had yet to break. In fact, the sounds of the night still dominated the world outside the walls of their double wide trailer. Yet today, she felt different. Her mother moved back into her room and said, “Happy Birthday love.” Yes, today was her birthday. The latest she had on this planet, and Thaelor felt really good.
“Alright, now hurry up and get in the shower. We have to boogie today. My, how my baby has grown so much.”
Thaelor’s mom reached out and gave her a big hug. Turning, Thaelor began moving toward her crates of clothes, to rummage for a pair of panties and bra to put on. Quickly she picked out her favorite anime panties and white bra, kissed her mother and went to the bathroom.
Turning on the shower head (which always made a funny rumble, rumble, squeak sound before the water came out), she began to lather her body. The feel of the warm water hitting her beige skin began to wipe away the cobwebs of sleepiness. After she had cleansed her body, Thaelor began to work on her hair. Applying liberal amounts of her mother’s favorite strawberry scented shampoo. Working her hands through her long, wavy, curly black hair, she did exactly as her mother had taught her, brushing the shampoo in, down to the scalp. Rinsing, then conditioning, then rinsing again. Making sure to rinse long enough to allow the conditioner to all come out of her hair. Turning off the water, Thaelor grabbed a towel, she dried off, wrapped it around her body, wiped off the mirror and grabbed a comb. The reflection looked like her, but she stood a little taller, looked a little more “mature.” Yes, today was going to be a great day. As today, she hoped that by combing her hair, it would straighten out just a little bit. To look just like her mom’s. As she combed, she caught sight of her eyes in the mirror. They were magical to her, the light provided allowed little flecks of blue to appear, just like her mom’s. Yet, even though she combed and combed, her hair always snapped back. Wild, deep curls of blackness that cascaded down past her shoulders. She gave a slight sigh, shrugged, and pulled it all back in a pony tail and secured it with a scrunchie. Just for effect, she swiped a few strands of hair to the front of her forehead, allowing them to dangle down like bangs just like “Uncle” Greg thought was so cute on her. It was only then that she looked down at the toilet for her underwear that she noticed, they were gone. She panicked. Looking on the sides, on the floor and behind the closet door, she didn’t see them anywhere.
“Mom!! I can’t find my underwear!”
“Are you sure sweetie? Where did you put them?”
“On the toilet. And they’re gone!”
“Are you sure? Maybe you left them in your room on your bed.”
Thaelor was positive that she took them in the bathroom with her. She would never forget her favorite pair of panties. But she did like her mother suggested. Padding back to her room, she let out a high-pitched squeal. There on the bed was an entirely brand-new outfit. A matching pair of white and yellow bra and panties, sitting atop a beautiful pink, yellow, and blue dress, accompanied by a pair of brand-new patent leather white shoes. The exact outfit she and her mother saw at the mall two weeks ago. Thaelor bounded to her mother’s room, running so fast the towel fell off her body. Throwing her arms around her mother’s neck as she sat on her queen-sized bed.
“THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!”
Her mother ignored the fact her daughter was completely naked. She also ignored the ache behind her eyes, in order to wrap her precious girl in all the love she had.
“You’re welcome sweetie. I know you liked it and I wanted you to have it for your special day.” Looking down, she smiled as she saw the round bottom that was exposed for her to see. “Ooooh…BIRTHDAY LICKS!!” Thaelor’s mom began to land soft slaps on the behind, one for each year of her life. “A pinch for an inch, and one to grow bahis firmaları on!”
Thaelor didn’t mind. She took the love taps in stride. Not wanting to let her mother go. In a feigned voice of pain, she simply said; “Ow mommy.!”
Disengaging from her daughter’s hold, Thaelor’s mother said; “Ok my little ne’kid one, go run and get dressed. We have a lot to do today.” As Thaelor ran back to her room, Lisa Ann Leigh, reached into the drawer next to her bed, pulled out a prescription bottle, and downed two pills whole. Her headaches were becoming worse and unfortunately much more frequent. “Just a little more time.” She thought.
As Thaelor was finishing getting dressed, she heard her mother yell out to her; “Come on honey, we got to go. Grab your suitcase on the side of the bed and don’t forget your key.”
Thaelor fastened the flap on her shoe and did as her mother instructed. While the suitcase wasn’t overly heavy, she was dumbfounded as to why her mother had her grab it. Maybe she was going to get to spend the night over at her “uncle” Greg’s, “aunt” Killie’s, or maybe even her favorite “Grandma” Shelly. These were the thoughts racing through her head as she took her key off the nail in her wall. Attached to an old shoestring, it had been a favorite gift mom gave her when she was still in elementary school. A sign that she had become a “big girl” and didn’t need mommy to take care of her after school anymore.
Mom was waiting at the door of their trailer. As she came closer, her mother began to mist in the eyes. “Oh…my baby has grown so beautiful. I only wish your grandmoth…” She stopped in mid-sentence. Thaelor wasn’t sure if it was because she was crying or because of something else. Drying her tears, her mom stopped Thaelor in her tracks, “Hey. You look nice. Go ahead and place your suitcase in the back of the car. But before you do that, give me that key.” She said. “My key? But mom…how will I get back in the house? I like my key.” Thaelor protested. “I know sweetie. But after today, you won’t need it anymore.” Grabbing ahold of the string, Lisa removed the key from around Thaelor’s neck. After she ushered her daughter out the door, she threw the key on the faux mantle beside the door. Landing on top of a pile of old mail, including several pinkish papers, before she closed and locked the door behind them.
Thaelor got to her place in the passenger side of her favorite toy of her mother’s. An old, faded, light blue, 1974 VW bug. Though she had ridden in other cars that were much newer, mom’s VW was her favorite. No one else she had ridden with was able to “shift” their cars like her mom. She especially loved how she would rev the engine before shifting again and making the car lurch forward. It never failed to bring a giggle out of her. The other reason she loved it so much was because of the sacrifice both of them had made. They saw it for sale on their way home a couple years ago after they got off the bus. She had watched as her mother saved money and sometimes worked double shifts at work to not only buy it, but to get it back in working order. Sometimes, she even was able to help “uncle” Greg to work on it. Her mother joined her in the car, turned the key and it immediately came to life. Nice, quiet, and reliably. This had not always been the case. Putting the car into gear and applying the gas, the team of the single mother and the birthday daughter, set out on their days adventure.
Even though the break of day had yet to arrive, Thaelor saw her world pass by in the dark. She saw the trailer homes of her friends Bethany, Candice, Summer and Lindsey go by. She also saw the darkened homes of “aunt” Killie and ‘grandma” Shelley. She also saw the still lit trailer of “uncle” Greg. The shadow of some unknown woman walking around it, as he wasn’t married and claimed to “never” keep a girlfriend. Rounding the corner, she saw the playground where she would run after her “boyfriend” Clayton after he pulled her hair for the umpteenth time. The church where her mom and she would walk to gather free food boxes every so often when she had too many bills to pay or was out of work for a little while because of her new headaches.
Soon they hit the freeway. Thaelor watched as trees were replaced with light pole after light pole. Aside from the engine giving its throaty hum, the car was silent. Neither woman saying a word. Lisa reached over and turned on the radio. It was locked on 105.5 “The Streets,” the local hip hop and R&B radio station. The song that was currently playing was the new one by Dizzy Monson, “Late Night Creep.” Featuring Juicy Boy. Thaelor had heard the song being played on her friend Kayla’s phone the other day at school. Thinking nothing of It, she began to slowly bop to the beat, unfortunately Lisa had also heard the song. Most especially the uncut version at work. She was beginning to think better of her daughter listening to a song about a woman going over to a man’s house for an illicit “three way” in the middle of the night because she was kaçak iddaa home alone bored. Even if for public radio it had been slightly cleaned up. Pressing the button, Lisa activated the 6-disk cd changer to play the third cd. The opening refrains of “Wake Up and Dance” began to play from Thaelor’s cd “Kiddie Boppers.” Thaelor looked at her mother as if to question the reason for the change. But when she caught her mother’s stern look, she thought better of it. Just then her mom began to sing along to the track. The smile on Thaelor’s face widened and both women sang along. Eventually they cleared the entire cd just as the rays of sunlight began to peak over the horizon. As the disk began to change to another cd, Thaelor finally broke the pregnant silence between them.
“Mom, I’m happy for my birthday things, but exactly where are we going?”
“Sweetie, we’re on an adventure to another birthday party with a friend of mine.”
“Ok, that sounds fun. But do you know what else I want today?”
“Do tell my little birthday girl.”
“It’s time for you to answer my questions! You promised remember?!”
Lisa let out a big sigh. She wasn’t in the mood to continue in this vein. So much to say. Too many secrets. Too painful a truth. It wasn’t time. Why was her life reduced to this?
“Sweetie…we’ve talked about this…” Lisa replied in utter exasperation. “Please don’t…”
“But Mommmmmmm, you PROMISED! I really want to know! Please?!!”
The pain began to sneak up again. No, this wasn’t the time. Why was she running out so quickly? Where did the time go? She needed a reprieve. A distraction. Anything to halt this conversation from going on. Just then, the sign caught her eye. Luck was on her side. If only briefly.
“I love you sweetie. But not right now.” Lisa said in a tone that placed an exclamation point to the topic. Thaelor’s eyes hit the floor. Tears began to form in her blue/hazel orbs. This wasn’t fair. She just wanted to know the truth.
Slowing down, Lisa got off at the next exit. The sight of a mini town coming into view as they crested the top of the hill. Turning left, Thaelor’s mom guided the car down the main road. Eventually, their destination came into view. Pulling into Thaelor’s favorite fast food restaurant: MacKie D’s. As the sun began to rise higher, so did the spirit of Thaelor as they pulled into the drive through.
“Welcome to MacKie D’s.” Said the disembodied voice over the intercom. “Can I take your order please?”
“Yes…I want two of your Ultimate Breakfast sausage biscuits, with two orders of spicy breakfast potato squares. A medium coffee with cream and sugar…” looking at her daughter, a smile crept too her lips. “And a medium Hot Chocolate.”
Thaelor’s face lit up. It was a special ritual between them. Since Mom caught her drinking her coffee one day, she told her that drinking it might stunt her growth. So instead, there were days that her mom would make a pot of coffee and gave Thaelor a cup of Hot Chocolate, so that she could feel just like her mother. After Lisa paid for the food, they got back on the road. At that moment, the cd changed yet again. This time it was perfect as Lisa’s favorite singer began to croon his top hit, “Untouchable Love.” Again, the two women began to chair dance and sing along, while they drank their hot breakfast beverages. For the moment, the controversial conversation, was placed on hold.
After another 20 minutes on the freeway, Lisa pulled into the township of Blakesfield. Gone was the scenery of city clutter and overcrowded concrete landscapes. Instead, Thaelor looked upon a world of manicured lawns, spacious businesses. White people walking dogs that could have easily been placed in ANY dog show. Others that were dressed in the finest sportswear, jogging along with phone strapped to their arms, and wires coming out of their ears. Eventually, her mom pulled into the biggest, most expensive building Thaelor had ever seen in her life. It was twice the size of her school. The cars that were parked outside were completely alien to her. Though she had seen them on the magazines in her “uncle” Greg’s house. Lisa parked in a space close to the entrance.
“Wait here just a second sweetie. Mommy will be right back.”
Lisa bounded into the structure. As Thaelor watched her mom, she took in her utter beauty. Silky smooth blond hair that fell down past her shoulders. Legs that were long and slender. Muscle tone that told of years of being a dancer. A slender waist that was topped in the back by a tiny bubble behind. Yet it was her smooth, alabaster skin that had changed over the years. Wrinkling and cracking in some places. Yet even at her age of late 30’s, to Thaelor, she was still the most beautiful woman she had ever seen.
Thaelor’s wait for her mother wasn’t very long. But her mother’s demeaner had changed dramatically. Her walk was that of a Spartan. Cold, harsh, and militaristic. Her chest heaved with every breath. Resembling more of a runaway locomotive, rather kaçak bahis than a tall, graceful woman. Lisa jumped into the car, slamming the door. For the first time in her life, Thaalor saw Lisa speaking to herself. Not only was it brand new…it was scary.
“Lying piece of…no good…can’t be trusted…Mean ass…cold-hearted…Son of a…”
Turning the key, Lisa started the car. Stripping the gears, she began to back out of the parking space. She had to fight the gears to get it into first. Once she did, the tires smoked as they lurched forward out of the parking lot…almost T-boning an SUV on the way out. It was lucky that the police presence in this part of town was scarce. They might have pulled Lisa over for doing 65 in a 45-mph zone. She was zoned. Her anger and frustration guiding her to act completely out of character. As she passed through another red light at almost 70, a horn blew. The driver breaking a chink in the haze. But it was the crying from the passenger seat that brought her back.
“Mommy! Mommy! Mommy …STOP!! STOP MOMMY! YOU’RE SCARING ME!! LOOK OUT MOMMY YOU’RE GOING TO HIT THAT…”
Lisa swerved at the last second. Careening just past a tourist bus full of terrified gawkers.
“Remember your daughter… remember she’s innocent… remember Thaelor… remember…”
Her inner voice brought her back. The terrified cries from her daughter, brought her back. The truth of the situation…brought her back. Spying a vacant lot, Lisa pulled over. Stopping the car and shutting off the engine, Lisa’s emotions finally, after years of denial, after over a decade of repression; came to the surface; and let loose. For the first time since she saw the test results, Lisa Ann Leigh let herself cry.
The pain and anguish flowed from her very soul. Years of holding onto the truth. Suffocating, stifling, bearing the unbearable weight of it all. No one person could or should live like this. Then out of the darkness, a small, shrill cry entered her consciousness. It was a call of fear, horror, pain. Looking to her right, she saw her reason for being. The very reason she wanted breath. Her reason to want more time. The anguished, tear covered face of her birthday daughter. Pulling at her sleeve, begging her to come back to reality. Hold the pain a little longer. Shut down the emotions. Be her rock. Be her protector…be her mother.
“MOMMY!! MOMMY WHAT’S WRONG?!! MOMMY SPEAK TO ME!! MOMMY WHAT DID I DO WRONG?!! I DIDN’T MEAN TO BE BAD!! MOMMY WHAT DID I DO WRONG????!! I DON’T WANT ANOTHER STUPID BIRTHDAY MOMMY, LET’S JUST GO HOME!!”
Through her tears, Lisa reached out and hugged her daughter. Latching onto the last vestige of hope and love she had in this world. Innocent, pure, and loving. Thaelor had given her over a decade of pure bliss. Being able to do what she never thought she would be capable of doing. Giving her the chance to right all the wrongs in her youth. To love. To be loved. Unconditionally. To be a mother. As she let go of her child, Lisa saw her sign. Thaelor’s lovely dress was covered in blood.
“Mommy…your nose is bleeding”
Time. A gift to all, wasted by many. Hers was running out. She had less time than ever. But it was now. No more stalling. No more excuses. It was time; for time: to have its way. Reaching into the fast food bag from their breakfast, Lisa took out the small stack of paper napkins, and held them to her nose. Slowly, the ache of her ailment started to creep to the forefront. “Oh no you don’t. Not now…its over.” She said to no one in particular.
“Mommy…are you ok?!” came the voice from the right side of the car.
“Yeah sweetie…just give mommy a quick minute.” Lisa replied. Opening her purse, Lisa took out her medicine bottle. Popping the top, she tossed 3 pills into her mouth and washed them down with the rest of her coffee. Leaning forward she closed her eyes as her head lay on the steering wheel. Silently, she said a little prayer, before leaning back against the headrest and stating to her little girl;
“Ok honey. You’re right. I did promise. I’m sorry to have made you wait so long. Ask me whatever it is your little heart desires…and I will answer them to the best of my abilities.”
Thaelor sat stunned. She didn’t know what to do. She wasn’t sure if this moment was right. Would her mother be upset? Would she be a bad girl for wanting to know? She leaned back and began to sniffle, she honestly didn’t know what to do.
Peeking out of one eye, Lisa saw the pain of indecision and concern on her daughter’s face. It was a big task and her previous actions this moment must have terrified her to mute.
“It’s ok sweetie. Mommy won’t be mad. You have done nothing wrong. You can ask your questions. You deserve that. I will not get angry.”
Through teary eyes, Thaelor’s little voice cracked and shook, but she bravely let her feelings speak her queries.
“What makes you ask that?”
“Because Skyler Bronson said I don’t look like you. My hair isn’t like yours. My skin isn’t as pretty as yours. Because I’m darker than you. Because my eyes are funny! That’s why I hit her the other day in music class. Is she right Mommy? Am I adopted?!”
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