Stop the world, what?! PART 1
6 MINUTES EARLIER
As mum has a sip of tea, my thoughts are rushing all over the place; she's not making any sense. She's talking about my grandparents, and a story… And then she says the word that shakes my entire world.
I can tell mum is looking at me, waiting for a reaction, but every single muscle in my body feels like a rock, and at the same time, like jelly... I’m unable to move, I can barely breathe, and I’m scared that if I do move, my body will shatter into a million pieces. So I just stare.
Mum is saying something about an inheritance, my grandad being dead... but no emotion sparks in me, I don’t know this person, I don’t even know his name... Mum is looking at me again, so I nod a bit hoping that will be enough of a reaction.
“You know, when I was young, I always had a burning desire to travel the whole world," she says. "And after doing so for a bit, I ended up in New Zealand. I had only just turned 19, I was still a naive girl.” She wraps my hands in hers before she keeps talking.
“That’s when I met Morris, your father.” I know my eyes are full of emotion as I hear my father’s name for the first time in my life. I can feel the tears burning there, but I don’t say a single word, still too shocked, but mostly scared that the spell might break if I say anything. Scared that mum might stop talking if I so much as open my mouth. “We met in Christchurch, a city in the South Island when I was working as a housekeeper. I was trying to save some money to keep traveling, and your father was the head of security at the hotel… And I’m not gonna lie, there was a huge spark between us as soon as we laid eyes on each other.”
Barely daring to interrupt, but really needing to know the answer to the question that has been burning in my chest since I have memory, I let my lips part tentatively.
“What was he like?” I ask in a voice that is barely more than a murmur.
“He had a cheeky smile,” says mum as she chuckles, “beautiful chestnut-brown skin, just a bit darker than yours, and deep green eyes.” She pronounces the last three words slowly, like it’s hard to say them out loud, and I can see mum’s thoughts as clear as day as our eyes meet in understandment: I have my father’s eyes.
“I’m a bit ashamed to admit, we got together within a couple of days of meeting each other.” Mum looks down to our entwined hands as she says these words, but then she looks back at me, resolution shining in her expression. ”Morris was a good man. He cared about me, looked after me, and he always tried to provide and be understanding.” She pauses for a moment, giving me enough time to picture what dad might have been like... all the images in my brain from the fake-make-believe-dads I created as a child seem to turn to dust and fly away, banishing into oblivion.
“But I had such a free and wild spirit,” mum says, getting my attention back.
“You, mum? A wild spirit?” The words slip off my lips before I even realise I’m speaking. Mum laughs brightly, surely due to the confused expression on my face.
“I was a completely different person back then,” she says, and she sounds sad all of a sudden. “Morris couldn't understand that. He wanted me to stay with him, but I wanted to travel. I wanted him to travel with me, but he couldn’t picture that life for himself... He couldn’t leave his home. He didn’t want to.”
Silence settles in as we both think about these words, as I try to imagine my mother as a wild spirit, and as I wish I could be one.
“When I found out I was pregnant, we had only been together for 6 months,” mum adds in a constricted voice. Then she stands up, startling me, and walks over to the kitchen as she mutters an apology.
It’s only a moment until she reappears, a glass of water between her hands.
“Sorry darling, I don’t want to hurt your feelings.” she says.
“Please mum,” I say, feeling confident and strong as I've never felt in my life. Even if only for a minute, I know I got this, “I can take it.” I say.
Mum sits back down, the water shaking slightly inside the glass.
“I was scared,” she says with her eyes still pointing down, “and I thought about terminating the pregnancy.” Mum’s voice breaks as she looks at me through her lashes. She takes a deep breath and keeps going, and I think about how much I wish I could be as strong as she is.
“Morris actually convinced me that it was a blessing, and that we should keep you-” Mum lets out a little sobs, but tries to hide it with a sip of water. “I am so glad he did, honey, I don’t know how I could’ve lived my life without you.”
I hug her, squeezing as tight as I can, and blinking my own tears away, commanding them to stay inside. This is not the time for me to break down, this is the time for me to look after mum. After a moment, she pushes herself away lightly, wiping at her eyes.
“As my belly grew larger and larger, our differences grew too. I missed home, I missed my parents, and Morris was constantly fighting with his own parents as they were against our union.”
“Did you ever get married, mum?“ I ask as I realise that all my fear of interrupting is gone. I understand now that mum will see this story to the end. It’s such a weird feeling, knowing that after so many years, I can finally ask questions about my father, I can get to know him.
To have a name…
To have his eyes…
To share something.
“No,” she replies with a shake of her head. “We didn’t formally, but that didn’t make Morris’ father hate me any less. I never knew why he did... So anyways,” mum pretends to brush the issue away. "I dealt with my problems by closing into myself, and Morris dealt with his own by turning to alcohol.”
She looks up at me and smiles sadly, wiping the remaining tears away with the back of her hand.
“Mum,” I say as the silence stretches between us for only a moment, “I know you gave me your last name… but did I ever share dad’s?”
She looks surprised for a moment, but then she composes herself.
“You did, actually. For the first three years of your life, you were Samantha Tutaki.” She looks at me with sorrowful eyes. “I got it legally changed to Sky shortly after we moved back over to Argentina.”
I let that roll in my mind for a while.
“So what happened, then?” I ask after a short silence.
“Then... a little girl -with green eyes and a tiny button nose- was born,” she smiles a tiny but hopeful smile as she pokes me in the nose. “And he was there the whole time, holding my hand and crying with me. And as we hugged, Morris looked into your eyes and said you must have been blessed by the Lord of the forest himself because your eyes resembled a patch of forest... and then he promised to care for you, to make a bigger effort.”
My emotions are so out of control, that I don’t even know what to think or feel anymore. My dad loved me, really loved me. Cared for me.
“And for a few years,” mum continues, “we lived a somehow happy life. We worked, did our chores, played with you, cared for you. But there was something missing in both of our lives, and a silent gap grew between us until we couldn’t ignore it anymore. Every six months or so, we’d have a fight, and argue about things I can't even remember any more.”
Now it’s my turn to hold my mother’s hands between mine. The empty glass of water now sitting on the table next to the empty cup of tea.
“I’m so sorry to hear that mum,” I say softly.
“It is not your fault darling, and I want you to know that. Really know that. None of what happened was your fault.” I nod in understanding, a million questions swimming in my head, but I press my lips shut.
“Once,” says mum resuming her story, “when you were barely 2 years old, you got caught up in the middle of one of those fights." She looks up at me, as if unsure if she should say what comes next, but then her lips are moving once more. "The details don’t matter, but I ended up having to rush you to hospital because you hit your head. And even though it ended up being just a big fright, that was the night I decided that was enough.”
“You left him?” I ask, and I can hear the doubt in my own voice. I can also see the pain in mum’s eyes as she looks up and shakes her head slightly.
“I was going to,” she replies. “I was ready to move back home with nana, my bags were packed and my flight was scheduled for the next day.”
It only takes me a moment to run through the million worst case scenarios. And I know the answer before mum finishes the story. I know for certain that what I always knew deep down, is indeed true.
“But that morning I woke up,” mum keeps saying, “and Morris was gone.” My heart sparkles with a pang of hope... maybe he is not dead after all. “And I went to check your cot,” mum says, but her voice breaks again, “and.. you were... gone.”
Note: Sorry for such a cliffhanger! But I didn't want the chapter to be too long! 🙈
Next one will be up Monday anyways! 💕
What are your thoughts on the length? Is it good? Too short? Too long?