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Rated: E · Short Story · Emotional · #1903371
A girl visits her mother on a Sunday morning.
The pathway was one she'd memorized at a young age.

Every Sunday morning, for the past twelve years, she'd slowly made her way along the cracked sidewalk that twisted around a once-grassy hillside, spiraling upwards until a rusted metal fence stood as an entrance, the black gate that once acted as a barrier barely hanging on by its broken hinges. The trip took eight minutes altogether, and as she made her way into the wide-open area, a wave of sadness washed over her. She quickly shook away the feeling before continuing onward; this place had a habit of making any who entered miserable.

She came to a halt a few moments later, eyes drifting downward to the slab of stone set in the ground. Beside it lay a brass picture frame, the photograph inside worn and grayed from harsh rains and heavy snowfall. The woman captured within smiled out at the word, eyes crinkled and hair tied up in a messy bun. On the opposite side of the stone stood a small, wood-carved statue of an angel, hands folded in prayer and wings raised high, head lifted skyward as it gazed up towards the heavens.

She gently set the bundle of flowers in her left hand on the ground, before seating herself. The still-melting snow atop the dried grass beneath her dirtied her coat and soaked her jeans, but she couldn't care less. She hugged her knees to her chest, eyes set on the name carved into the gravestone in front of her.

"Hi, Mom."

The wind blew, and she shivered as the chilly air brushed lightly along her exposed face, freezing the skin on her nose. She lifted a hand, rubbing and slapping her cheeks softly in an attempt to warm herself, before continuing.

"I went to church today, Mom. Remember when I used to throw tantrums when you tried to drag me out of bed so we could all go early enough to get a pew up front?" She chuckled, shaking her head. "You were such an odd one, Mom." She paused, letting a small smile make its way onto her face. "Remember my seventh birthday? You tried to bake a cake, but you mixed up the sugar with salt? Dad teased you for days after that, saying he'd never let you near the oven again; he still gets a chuckle out of that when we bring up stories about you."

She laughed, and as she did so, the somber air surrounding her seemed to brighten a bit, and the chilly wind seemed to warm slightly as it blew about in a frenzy. The sun began to poke out from behind the thick, grey clouds, and the area brightened slightly. The girl suddenly perked up, grabbing at the bag slung across her shoulder.

"Oh, I almost forgot, Mom! I brought my Bible with me today!" She pulled the book out and held it in front of the stone, displaying the thick text proudly; the pages were yellowed with age, but the cover had been kept in beautiful condition. "This is Bible you got me when I first started Sunday school at church. I've been reading it a lot recently, even when at home; you'll never guess what part I'm at!"

She paused, as if waiting for a response; waiting for her mother to smile softly at her, and to say playfully: "Well, since I'll never guess, you may as well tell me!"

Silence met her cheerful statement.

Though, her smile did not falter; she would not allow her mood to be soured by the reality of death. She continued on with the conversation as if she had never stopped to begin with. "I'm on Romans; I'm actually on your favorite part. I wanted to come here and read it to you; it's such a short verse, but...now I understand why you love it so much."

She flipped through the pages quickly, before pausing and dragging her index finger down the page. She stopped, tapping her finger on the selected verse, before clearing her throat and, with a small smile, read aloud.

" And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." She slowly looked up from the book back towards the stone, smile still set on her face. "That's Romans 8:28; you used to read it to me all the time before tucking her in for bed at night. You always used to tell me hw gracious and kind the Lord was, and how blessed you were to have me for a daughter-."

Her breath caught in her throat, and she clapped a hand over her mouth to stifle the sob that forced its way out. She gulped down a few trembling breaths before quickly snapping the Bible shut.

"S-Sorry, Mom. It's..." She coughed, clearing her throat quickly. "It's cold out today...that's all."

The brown leaves, resting lifelessly upon the dried grass, were caught by a gust of wind that blew by, surging skywards and tumbling through the air as they quickly made their way down the hillside. She watched them absentmindedly, resting her chin on her knees as she did so.

"I mentioned Dad earlier, right? Well..." She stopped, running a hand through her hair in an attempt to calm herself. "Things...aren't so great at home, Mom. Dad, he's...been pretty sad lately. He started drinking again, even though he promised you he wouldn't, no matter what..." Her hands clenched at the thought of her father, stumbling into the house well into the evening, speech slurred and eyes glazed over, and she shoved the Bible back into her bag angrily, snapping the bronze clasps shut furiously.

She wrapped her arms tightly around herself, burying her face into the black-and-blue striped scarf pulled loosely across her neck. She sighed, enjoying the warmth it provided to the icy skin on her face. "Things are bad, Mom....I wish you were here..."

And, as she sat there upon the frozen ground, emotions heavily weighing upon her tired mind, she could hold the tears in no longer. Warm, salty drops drizzled down her cheeks, a few catching on her lips in their downward descent. The girl rubbed at her eyes, sobbing softly as she tried to dry her eyes. She began to babble incoherently, hiccups creating gaps in her sentences.
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