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by Renee
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Contest Entry · #1994756
Girl mother dies from a rare genetic illness that her family didn't know she had
When I was born, I heard that my mother cried. On Christmas Eve, they felt that I was old enough and we sat on the patterned couch watching my mother scream as I was pulled from her. She cried, and I wasn't sure if it was tears of Joy or the fact that she wasn't going to be able to buy Givenchy any more. My father had a very smug grin.

It was that night that everything changed. I fell asleep to the sound of Otis Redding. It was the cough that woke me up, the sound was hoarse and deep, and I could feel the discomfort of the person. I jumped swiftly from my bed, the sheets tangled around my ankles and I fell on my face. I barely turned the corner before the face on the wall greeted me. The shadow was hunched over, the back raised high and the head moved up and down. I peered through the door and saw her. She coughed into a blood soaked rag. My father was on the phone shouting and I could see the tears glisten on his cheeks. I didn't understand fully, but I knew there would be no opening of presents at four tomorrow morning.

My mother’s eyes were filled with tears and I could feel the pain grip my chest. She fell backwards onto the bed, in such away as though she gave up. My father flung the clothes he had in his arms and grabbed her.

“Dad, No!” I shouted, but it as was though I wasn't there

“You have to sit up!” he shouted and I could feel his anger burn within me, then my father started crying. He leaned on her bosom like a child and sobbed. The sound filled the room and encircled me, then it sounded like a mocking laugh, and even though I didn't really know what was wrong, I started crying too.

My mother only sat on the bed and looked on us; in between tears she rubbed my father’s back.

“Clara, take some clothes from the drawer” Her voice wasn't her own. It was filled with fear and sickness

“Mama what’s wrong” I managed to say

“I don’t know baby, I don’t know” And then she smiled, and I don’t know if that scared me more than the cough.

Father drove like a madman, the hospital was bright and I saw mother’s face.  It was hollow and I could not read her expression. They took her away and I sat alone in my pyjamas, staring at the picture of Jesus with children gathered around him. They were smiling and the light shone bright on his face, making him seem even more beautiful.

A hand touched me, so cold that it sent shivers up my spine. The hand was a bit too comforting and I felt my armour break. The tears flowed out of me like a stream, and no matter how much I wiped my face, it just poured out of me. The people in the room looked at me, some out of pity, and others I knew saw this so often, they couldn't feel any more.

The hand picked me up and guided me through a dark hall. I heard the moans of despair and retching. I heard my mother’s own voice and felt her pain wrap around me. The cough was distinct; the sighs were like the ones after a long day of cooking.

My father was sitting in an armchair; the arm placed me beside my mother. Her fingers were cold and sweat washed over her face, I wiped them with my hand. Her eyes were directed towards the ceiling, which had nothing attractive, then she glanced at me and did nothing but stare.

I shifted my gaze to the machine attached to her arm. The liquid dripping into her arm looked like tears and I felt my own starting to form, but I shook my head furiously, for my mother’s sake. We left without mother. She was sleeping, lightly snoring and coughing.

It was Christmas morning. Dad and I sat on the patterned couch listening to the record that mother gave to him last Christmas. When it stopped, we were enveloped in silence and sadness. I glanced at the picture on the wall, the happy us. We were all dressed in red sweaters. Mother’s face was beaming as she held onto my hand, father was not smiling, because he hates taking pictures, but I knew he was happy.

We spent a month at home without mother; the dishes had grease marks and our feet picked up dust. We walked around in pyjamas and ate cereal every day, and father played Otis Redding. We watched the final episode of lost, out of the blue, father started crying.

I fell asleep to my father’s crying, the phone rang and he shook my shoulders roughly.

“Clara get up!”

“What dad”

“She’s going, she’s almost gone” I had to hold my father up, but his weight fell on me and we were both crying. We got there, in our pyjamas and tear stained faces, the nurse stared in pity. They lead us through the dark hall once more, mother was gone. We held her hands and prayed, father kept trembling. I was stronger and gripped his hands while we shared tears.

Mother had a rare disease that my grandmother had. It was living inside her and we did not know. Maybe it is inside me too, and one day I will cough until I die, then I will see mother again. It was father who I was sorry for.

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