Standing still, and observing. I’ve spent 14 years of my life in this room. The walls still hold the same pastel yellow colour as it did the day it was painted. The carpet still sponge between my toes, on every step I make.
Taking a deep breath, I hold onto the the foot of my bed stand and close my eyes. So many memories fill this room. I let my eyes drown, as they begin to moisten. Running my thumb round that small chip in the bed knob where I chipped my tooth. Never will I forget the pain of being an over excited child. I remember that day all so clearly.
It was a winters evening, about two weeks before New Years Eve. 8 years old, and I was wearing my favourite pjs; pink and white shorts and a vest top, with a big daisy in the centre. I felt so summery, and mum would always call me “her little crazy daisy.” I remember that she was trying to get my to go to bed, but I was too excited.
“My crazy little daisy, you are! Are you not frozen?!” She would say, between laughing and forcing me to laugh my tickling my sides. Course, it never failed to make me giggle! I was way too hyper to go to sleep. “No mum! I want to stay awake for the whole night!” I said, jumping on my bed. She kept gasping in a non serious way. I was way too happy that night. It was the day I found out about Lily.
Mum and dad tried to keep it a secret from me for a while, but they couldn’t contain it for much longer. We were watching my favourite film, The Parent Trap. I was in the middle of my mum and dad. Munching away on our popcorn and suddenly, the doorbell rang. Dad got up and went to the door. Unaware of the secret, I continued to munch away at the popcorn, my eyes fixated on the film. “Honey, these are for you.” Dad came in with the most beautiful lilies I had ever seen. Mum got up and went over to inspect. I felt confused, and I remember going over and seeing some confetti that said “Congratulations!” Picking at the confetti, I held it in my hand and asked “What have you done mummy?” Dad stood on the corner of the table, and mum stood on my left, admiring the card. She picked the remote up and paused the film. It just came out, “You’re going to be an older sister.” and she showed me the card from Aunt Jackie. I started screaming and jumping. I was going to be an older sister! I was so excited, that I nearly knocked the flowers off the table. Dad and mum both smiled, and I jumped in for a big family hug. The first words that came out of my mouth were “Daisy and Lily!” I just knew, that if we were going to have a baby, it was going to be a girl, and she was going to be called Lily.
Mum grabbed my arm and pulled me in for a big hug. I lost my balance, and thwack! I hit my tooth against the bed knob! I was in tears, holding onto my tooth in agony. Mum tried to console me, telling me it was all going to be okay, and stroking my hair. I began to frantically look for the piece of tooth I had “lost.” I clearly didn’t realise that even if I had found it, I couldn’t stick it back on. Luckily it hadn’t chipped a lot off, it was more of a scrape, but wow. Over excitement as a child was a very dangerous feeling to be lost in.
Licking over my chipped tooth, I suddenly let go of the bed knob. I didn’t want to become too attached to my memories. This was already a hard situation for me, I didn’t need to make it harder on myself. Pursing my lips, I blink away the tears and grab my suitcase, before heading out the door.
I don’t look back.
I shut the door tightly.
I move on forward.
Heading down the stairs, I hear quiet murmurs in the kitchen. I try to make as little noise as possible, but my suitcase wheels decide to smack themselves into my ankles as they roll down the steps. It’s not that I’m escaping. I just…I guess I don’t want to make this as big of a deal than it is. Taking a deep breath, I rest my hand on the top of the case, and walk to the kitchen.
“Who knows what’ll happen…”
“We don’t have to do this.”
“No no…She’ll be fine-“
“It doesn’t have to be this way-“
“We are going through with this.”
Mum and dad have drifted apart over the last few years. It’s all to do with the next few minutes. See, I’ve never really known what I’ve wanted to do when I hit this age. University hasn’t really been a big hit for me, and I haven’t secured myself a job…heck, I’m not even in a relationship. In class, when discussing the future, you know you get some people who have a fully thought out plan? They know how many kids they want, and what they’re wedding theme will be, what job they’ll have and so on? And for the majority, no one knows what they really want to do, but have an idea? So they’ll go to university, because they get a qualification, or they get straight into work, and look into other options. Well for me…I go with what physically affects me. If my body reacts to a choice, I’ll listen to the reaction. If I don’t feel, physically, that something is the right thing to do, I won’t do it. Simple. I don’t want to be a master of one trait. I don’t want to ponder through life, knowing there are so many options for us to take, and I only take one path. I’m becoming metaphoric. Sorry, I do that a lot when I think about what the future holds. The thing is… we create our future. The future doesn’t hold anything for us unless we make decisions.
Mum told me to pack my bags, and find who I am. She did it at 20, so only two years older than I am now. She told me, not to return unless I find who I am, and what I really want out of life. She is sending me away with good intentions. I’ve always been like my mum. I like the same style of music, I choose food over makeup any day, but I appreciate my looks. I guess she see’s me in her. I guess she feels that I am lost, and I need to find her.
I double check my case is by the door, and that I have everything. You’re stalling. just go in and get this over with. Closing my eyes, I turn away from the case and head to the kitchen for the last time.
Dad is sitting there with bags under his eyes, and his frizzy hair pushed back. Mum is alive, but also just as tired. Dad is playing with the handle of the tea cup, at the head of the dining table. Mum is by the sink, washing the dishes. Dad is against the idea. Mum is for it. I bite my lip, hoping someone says something before I do. Dad focuses on the handle. He hasn’t looked at me since I went to pack my bags. It’s like he’s trying to get used to that fact. Trying to make it easier on himself, that he is sending his daughter away and who knows if she will return. I want to say “I’ll be back in 5 days. You needn’t worry.” But there’s this twinge in my stomach, that knows that part of that statement isn’t true. And it’s not the duration part.
“You got everything?” Mum asks, as she places the pot on the side of the sink, letting the water drain.
“I think so.” I wait by the door. I daren’t enter the room any further. I’m not angry at my mum’s decision, as I wouldn’t have agreed to it if I was. I guess I never saw it coming, and I guess that’s why I agreed to it.
“Okay. Well I want to give you something before you go.” She leaves the room and heads to the study. She speaks very matter of fact. I know this is just as hard for her, as it is for dad. I’m their eldest, and I’ve always been close to them both; I’ll always be their little Daisy. I keep my arms behind my back, and locked in position. Dad still hasn’t looked at me. Instead he focuses on that…stupid handle. I just want him to look up. I don’t say a word, because it won’t change anything. Inside, I’m pleading he looks up. I want him to look at me like dad would. He doesn’t. He remains there. Still. Tired. Disappointed.
Mum returns with an old green leather notebook. There is a little black elastic tie wrapped around the book. On the wrinkled spine, there’s a tiny chipped engraving of a N. She hands me the book and says “This will guide you through your journey.” Holding onto the book, I nod, not really getting what she meant by that. She looks at me one final time, and pulls me in for a squeeze. Taking in the moment, I hold onto the shoulders and take one final smell of mum. She pulls away and brushes the hair from my eyes. Locking onto her deep brown eyes, I feel the moment. I appreciate what an extraordinary woman I have been raised by, and I wouldn’t want it to have been any other way. She rubs her hand up and down my arm, before leaving into the garden. I watch Dad, who is frowning and focusing on the same chipped tea cup. Waiting would be the right thing to do, but I feel I’ll snap if he doesn’t say or do anything, so I begin to turn away. Just as I leave the door, he begins softly, “This cup, is so old.” I stop, and listen. Turning myself to face him, he remains to admire the cup. He continues, “This is such a bad cup to drink out of. Every time your mum makes tea in it, I hate it.” He runs his finger over the chipped handle, and chuckles.
“Get rid of it then.” I say. Pursing my lips to refrain from saying anything more, he shakes his head.
“I’ve had this cup my whole life, you know?”
Rolling my eyes, I snap, “What does that matter? If you hate drinking from it, throw it out.” I walk away from the kitchen, and head to my suitcase. I don’t want to be discussing tea cups, and tea. I don’t want to stall any further. Picking my jacket from the coat holder, I place mum’s book on my case. I keep myself facing towards the door, so that there’s no going back. Picking up the book and my case, I open the door and hear a soft deep voice begin.
“I’ve had this my whole life. I don’t keep it because of it’s quality, or the way it looks. If I wanted to get rid of it, I could. There are bins, there are charity shops, there are other people who would admire this tea cup. However I choose to hold on to it.” I try to keep my body facing forward, but my spine is twisting. Feeling the twinge, I turn, and see Dad holding the cup. He is looking directly at me, and says “I hold on to it, because my little Daisy chose it for me.”
I wait. Not knowing what to say in response, I watch Dad. He begins to shake, and holds the cup closer to his chest. “ I know you’ll do well…I know you will find who you are again. Lily would have wanted that…” Tears fall down my Dad’s cheeks. He looks like an old man, hunching over looking at the ground, holding a small cup to his chest. Lily’s death has been a burden on us all. We all know we’re never going to get her back, but it’s been hard on Dad. He blames himself constantly. I try to hold back from cancelling the trip. It would be easy to say “Forget the trip. I don’t need to do this.” but then who am I really living for? And I know for a fact, Dad wouldn’t want this. I suddenly find myself walking to him, and placing my hand over his and pushing the cup further into his chest. I kiss him on the forehead, and words fall out of my mouth, “I promise. I will return.”
A moment’s silence and stillness. All I feel is my father breathing against me. I get up and leave him with the cup in his hand, and I head out the door. I don’t look back. As much as I’m being sent to find myself, and I’m not to return until I do so, I’ve agreed to this. I’ve made this choice. I’m making my future.