Sophie and June suddenly facing a life alone.
Suddenly waking, Sophie did not know what day it was or where she was, for that matter; besides, that wasn't her job, the knowing, but the day's sunshine pouring itself across her coverlet and warming her thinly-veined eyelids was her sudden wake up call. She yawned and stretched, letting her fingers spasm in that funny way they did when she first tried to use them in the morning. Cold they were, with no strength. She balled up her fists and felt the tingle in her fingers.
Not like her sister, June, Sophie liked to lie there a moment before letting her tiny bare feet hit that cold hardwood floor on her way to Mommie's room....
She took a breath. What had her dream about Lassie made her forget this morning?
Suddenly she was frantically searching her mind. What had happened, she could not remember. It was something sad, sad as the loss of Lassie, sadder than even that. But what could it be?
She took a deep, sharp breath: she whispered, "Mommie?"
The dust in the sunbeam across her bed was settling down, now; her mind was furiously harvesting snatches of yesterday's events/conversations: Mommie had been on the road, coming home, when what happened?
She couldn't think. No, she whispered. She could not let herself remember!
Finally, like the return of the carnage an A Bomb sucks back in from where it went, the memories of yesterday again washed over this little, precious mind, revealing that...Mommie had been in an accident...an accident in rush hour traffic...was Mommie ok?
NOoooooo! Mommie! Sophie, suddenly remembering, sat there crying little salty tears, her heart wrenching with real loss; there was no denial about what had happened, and right now, she needed someone beside her who could help her and hold her and make her feel safe.
As if on cue, in ran her big sister, "Now, now, Sophie", she comforted and soothed, "don't cry, little one" (she had always called her that, even though they were only two years apart), Mommie has gone to be with Jesus...yes, yes, that's where she is now, Sophie; don't cry, honey...
June's freckles were particularly noticeable this morning, the sun shining on her strawberry blond curls." "We have to get ready to go with Grampa and Grandma here before long...don't cry, sissy; we've still got each other, don't we?"
Sophie had her little chubby feet on the floor by then, and she was about to go out of the bedroom, when June asked her, "Where are you going, Sophie?"
Sophie only tiptoed out to the room down the hall, facing the back of the house. The door was closed. Her little trembling hand knocked, lightly at first. Getting no answer, she knocked again. Finally, when it didn't look as if anyone would answer, she turned the doorknob and carefully, tediously tiptoed in her Mother's room.
"Mommie"? "Mommmmmeeeeeee!", she cut loose with an agonized prolonged shout, an emotional release which noted the suddenness of this accident, the cruelty of this decision upon which none could be blamed, she faced the fact in that one three-year-old cry that her Mommie would never hold her again. Gone were the days of making chocolate chip cookies with her Mommie; with Mommie meeting her every day on the bus to scoop her up and hug her lovingly and gently; nothing would ever take her place, and nothing could bring her back.
How would they live without Mommie?
Who would take care of them? Last night she had heard some of the adults talking about some kids in pre-school who no longer had parents, and they said that they were being separated from one another, instead of staying together as a family. This made Sophie cry even harder over the possibility of losing her sister, too! How could anyone make her do something like leave her only sister?
Her fears and needs were more instinctive than intellectual. She needed to know who was going to be there for them, now.
June soundlessly caught up with little Sophie. "Come on", she said, "I'll fix you some cereal."
What Sophie didn't know was that June was wondering the very same things.
Chapter 1, written 4/17/2017