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The Covert Secret
Confession of a Teenage Girl
A peculiar noise startles me out of a deep sleep. I pull my trembling legs from beneath the covers, swinging them over the edge of my bed. I blink several times adjusting to the darkness around me, except for the light filtering from the crack underneath my door.
I grasp hold of the sheets with quivering hands as a scraping sound vibrates through my room, triggering the roars of my heartbeat thrashing in my ears.
Faint footsteps resonate from the hallway. I place my shaking hands against my chest to calm the racing pulse of my heart. A shadow lurks from the other side and I worry about my sister and mother, who are down the hall from me.
There is a soft knock on my door. My breath catches, eyes go wide, and shivers roll through me as I watch my doorknob turn.
The door gradually opens into my bedroom with a small creak. Leaning against the doorway is a silhouette of a small, petite woman. The soft glow from the light in the hallway shimmers behind her like an angel glistening with rays of light. I sag in relief and release the tight hold I had on my sheets. It's my mother, standing there looking so frail and fragile with something in her hands.
Well, at least I can identify where all the clamoring came from that woke me. For the past three days, my mother has locked herself in her bedroom and to ensure that no one would break in, she placed her dresser in front of her door. She hasn't eaten or spoken to anyone in those three days, including her two daughters.
You have to understand, she is emotionally and physically in pain. My parents were recently divorced. My father swore to her they would work things out in their relationship if she flew to Mexico for a quick divorce.
I knew he was lying to her. I don't understand how she couldn't see it. He’s been having an adulterous affair with our neighbor. How could she believe he would come back to her? I’m positive the intense, emotional pain she’s been enduring has clouded her better judgment.
He must be in love with the other woman. He seems to spend all his free time with her. I'm assuming. I'm only fourteen years old. What do I know about love?
I had told my mother, “He is conning you into going for the divorce, don’t believe him.”
She just gazed at me with those painful eyes causing my heart to break. She shrugged and nodded her head and continued to pack her bags for her short trip to Mexico.
She whispers my name, “Gabriella.”
“Yes, mom,” I said faintly. I don't even know if she heard me.
“I have something for you.” She sways a little and grabs the doorknob.
I slide off the bed planting my feet on the cool, hardwood floor and walk towards her.
She hands me three white envelopes. “Here, I want you to hold onto these.”
I examine the envelopes. The first one has my aunt’s name on it, “Theresa,” the second envelope is written out to my sister and I, “Gabriella and Elisa,” and the last envelope reads “Money.” I look at her dumbfounded.
“Please take the envelopes and hold on to them,” she says and then walks out of my room.
I don’t like the unsettling feeling stirring in my gut, so I follow her into her bedroom like a scared puppy with her tail between her legs. I’m puzzled over these envelopes and her thoughts.
She steadily sits on the edge of her bed. Sitting on her nightstand is a bottle of whiskey and beside it is a small bottle, the kind you get when a doctor writes you a prescription for medicine. My head is now spiraling with a billion thoughts.
“What are these for?” I ask, waving the envelopes in the air.
“I can't take it anymore. Your father lied to me, but you already knew that. You tried to warn me.” She pours herself a glass of whiskey. “But did I listen? No.”
I swear I must be having an outer body experience, because at this very moment, I am feeling nothing but numbness through out my body, like a floating sensation.
She takes a sip of the whiskey. “I'm going to end my life. There is nothing here for me. I have no way to care for you and your sister. I'm going to die of cancer anyway, so why prolong it.” She picks up the bottle of what looks like medicine and pops the top open. She shakes out a few little round white pills into the palm of her hand and shoves them into her mouth.
I move towards her and she glares at me with a vicious look that stops me dead in my tracks. “Stop, don't you dare come any closer. It's done. Go back to bed.” She states bravely and points to the door.
“Mom, why are you doing this, please don't do this.” I go to step towards her and an unspeakable force of energy stops me. I couldn’t move. It’s as if she placed an invisible wall between us. I am so wishing to God that this is all a dream.
“Gabriella, I want you to give your Aunt Theresa her letter and then I want you to have your sister’s birthday party as planned for this Saturday.” It's now Thursday. “The envelope with the money is for her cake. Make sure you pay for it. The last letter is for you and your sister. You are not to open it until tomorrow.”
“Mom stop talking like this.” Chills begin to slither through me like a cold, knife cutting through my skin. I can't believe we are having this conversation. How can she think we would have a party if something happened to her? I am feeling disconcerted.
My brother scampers through my thoughts. An accident claimed his life two months ago. My mother must be blaming herself for his death. It wasn't her fault a car hit him and the driver left the scene of the accident. It was horrible. My poor girlfriend who happened to be dating my brother wanted to take her own life as well. How much can a teenager deal with.
Not long before my brother’s death, he gave me his dog tags to wear. They were hard to part with, but I gave them to my girlfriend, so she'll always have him near her heart. I had no idea they spoke of marriage, but enough of that. Right now it's my mother who is hurting, feeling betrayed, lost and alone, and to top it off, was not long ago diagnosed with breast cancer. How much can one human being endure? Of course she wants to take her own life. Jeez, I might have contemplated the same thing if I was going through what she is going through.
My eyes filled with unshed tears, as her image becomes a blur. “Do you understand?” she asks me.
Understand! Understand! God, I'm only fourteen years old and she wants me to understand that she wants to take her own life and leave my poor sister and me alone. How are two young girls supposed to understand? How does she expect me to understand? I wanted to shake her, but I just nodded my head.
“Please, go back to bed,” she begs.
I nod my head again like a good obedient child and walk out of her room. I hear her little feet padding across the room, the door closes behind me and I hear the click of the lock, shutting us out of her world. What else can I do? I can't call anyone. My mother didn't have enough money to pay the phone bill, so we can’t make any outgoing calls.
I drag myself back to my room and lay the envelopes on my dresser. I glance at the clock sitting at my bedside table and it's two in the morning. I'm exhausted, physically and mentally, but I know damn well it’s nothing in comparison to what my mother is feeling. I crawl back into bed, pull the covers over me and pray this is all a dream.
I lay flat on my back, staring up at the dark ceiling of my room, my mother’s words continuously echoing in my head with images of her swallowing those pills, and I did nothing to stop her. I squeeze my eyes shut and cry myself to sleep.
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