She was different now.
Ever since Mum- no, she insisted on being called Mother now- had left with my stepfather, she’d been different. When she’d returned, she hadn’t murmured quiet reassurances into my ear or shower me with affection.
No. She’d stared at me with those empty, empty eyes, just blank and so, so lifeless. It was as if she’d no longer cared to be alive.
She seemed so far away, lost somewhere else, still remaining with my sorry excuse of a stepfather.
Of course, when he’d returned, I’d slapped him in the face, laid all the blame on him, screaming accusations as I was left panting for breath after my harsh rant. My sharp tongue cut him down, yet he only smirked even as I could see fear in his eyes. He gave me a triumphant stare as he introduced me to his new girlfriend, shoved the divorce papers into my face while his new partner had the decency to look embarrassed and ridden with guilt to be doing this to a child. There were tear stains on it. Just barely noticeable, tiny little droplets at the edges that would forever be crumpled. Mum- Mother, had been crushed by him.
I remembered when she’d mourned my father’s passing, her eyes soulful and draining as they became paler. But never like this. Never those soulless, empty, empty eyes that held no emotion.
It was only losing someone she loved for a second time- this time out of her partner’s willingness.
It had taken me so much effort to cook, do laundry, care for someone other then myself. These tiny little household chores, small yet tiring things had always been done by Mu-Mother. Newly turned twelve, I’d had the luxury of never doing these small things before. I learned quickly, though, and adapted, like I always had.
I kept my tongue, carefully led Mother down to the kitchen, where I would force her to eat, to down the small portion as I watched her push away anything bigger than five spoons. Five large spoons would cause hesitance, but she would go through with my prodding anyways.
She never spoke a word, and I kept those treasured things to myself, because barely anything I said would get a reaction.
The only times I spoke at home was when we ate, and when I would do the one thing that would send a flicker of happiness into those soulless emerald green eyes- sit her down, at the bed she would lie down on and use to stare at the ceiling for the entire day- and tell her of all the happy times we’d had when I was younger. Three, four.
My photographic memory and the small storybook my real father had written helped, of course. Even through the school days I had, I would always shuffle through the loads of homework and give her that, the one thing I could do to improve her condition.
Day by day, she began settling back into the person she’d been before. She would give me some smiles.
The day she talked marked two years since she’d returned.
And the day she finally began to act like the way she used to…
I was 17, preparing for college.
I’d needed her, but she’d never returned untill now.
Those blank eyes were forever engrained in my memory, and I never forgot nor forgave.
Because my childhood had never been explored, had been cut off early and it was all because of her.
The last thing I would always hold against her was for making me blank too. In place of her, I took the role of being blank, of being emotionless, of being utterly lifeless.
That lifelessness was the only thing that had brought her back: and that was all I could ever be.