Not thinking I jump out of bed, tripping over blankets and my own feet. Running down the hall to my daughter's room I barged through her door and rushed to the side of her bed.
“Sybil? Baby, what’s wrong?” I asked, pulling her into my chest.
“There's something in my closet.” She said as she wrapped her small body around me. “It came through my door then went into my closet.”
“It’s ok baby.” I told her as I held her tight and stroked her hair. I looked around the room to see if I could see anything or anyone. But I saw nothing and felt nothing other than my daughter crying into my neck. “Let’s go sleep in momma's bed. Okay?” I asked her and she nodded her little head that was buried in my neck.
Laying down in my bed I keep her tight to my chest pulling the blankets around us. I really hoped she wasn’t going to take after me but with me anything’s possible.
From a young age, I could always see and hear things that were not always there. And as much as I hate her father James I hoped she would take after him.
My mother's family thought I was crazy but my father's side understood as my grandmother would see things too When she was alive. They always said “That’s what happens when you mix old Viking and Celtic blood baby. It exposes you to the spirits.” But I don’t know how much I believe that.
I saw things as a child but it wasn’t until my late teens that I started feeling things around me. There was always a presence around me that for some reason I knew was evil but wouldn’t hurt me. I haven’t felt the presence much since her father left but I have a feeling it’ll be coming back soon.
I wake up with little fingers poking my cheek. I slightly opened my eyes enough to watch her when she went back to poke me again. I quickly opened my mouth and lightly bit at her fingers making her shriek loudly.
“Good morning honey.” I said as I pushed her hair out of her face.
“Morning momma.” She said as she laid down on my chest.
One thing about her is that she loves to cuddle but it depends on the person. She doesn’t like when people touch her, no matter who it is. She always prefers me or her father but with him gone she stays glued to me.
At the young age of 3, she understood that her father had left and didn’t plan on coming back. She didn’t know everything, just that he was gone. Apparently, me seeing and hearing things was just too much for him and the fact that his daughter might turn out the same. One night after putting Sybil to bed he hands me papers saying that he signed away all parental rights and that he couldn’t do it anymore. So now it was just me and her against the world. And she was comfortable with it that way.
“What’s for breakfast momma?” She asked as she played with my hair.
“What would you like?” I was surprised she asked, normally she skips breakfast. Unlike my parents, I don’t force my child to eat if she’s not hungry, especially foods she doesn’t like.
“Can I have french toast sticks?”
“Of course baby but go brush your teeth first. Deal?”
“Deal.” She said running into my bathroom and running on the water.
I made my way to the kitchen but stopped in her room first. I stood in the doorway with my eyes closed trying to feel something. I felt something but I wasn’t sure of what it was so I continued to the kitchen. I put the food in the oven and waited for it to cook and for my child to make her way into the kitchen.
She quietly made her way to me sitting in an island chair across from where I was standing.
“Are you ok momma?” She has always worried about me since her father left. It always feels like I’m raising an adult stuck in a child’s body.
“I'm perfect baby. I have to work tonight so are you ok with Aunt Nikki picking you up from school and staying with her tonight?” I asked her. Normally I pick her up from school but inventory day at a club is hell.
“Why can’t Aunt Nikki live with us? There’s more than enough room for her and she’ll be closer to us.”
She’s never asked me that. I loved the idea but was still surprised.
“I’ve never asked her. But she wouldn’t be here all the time because she has to work and she has other things she does.” I explain to her as I plate her food.
“Ok. Thank you.” She says as I slid the plate in front of her. Manners was the easiest thing I ever taught her.
“Welcome baby.” I walked around the kitchen starting the dishes when the doorbell rings. Looking at the TV screen on top of the cupboard I sighed seeing my boss. Walking to the door I slowly opened it.
“What can I do for you, Luca?” I said as I moved to let him in.
“Good morning doll. I want to go over things for the club.” He said as he followed me into the kitchen.
“Luka!” Sybil yells as she slid off the chair running to him. He was the only man she let touch her. Honestly, he was the only man that she would talk to that weren’t my brothers. He understood what I dealt with and took the time with Sybil to gain her trust.
“My little dove! How are you this fine morning?” He asked leaning down picking her up.
“I’m good now. I saw someone last night walk into my closet. And I got to sleep in momma's bed.” She told him and he looked at me eyes wide.
“And are you ok dove? That must have been really scary?” He asked her and I saw his arms slightly tighten around her.
“I’m ok. Momma makes everything better.” She said.
“That she does dove, that she does.” He said as he set her down.
“Sybil, go get dressed for school we need to leave soon. You have clothes in my room.” I tell her and she runs off and up the stairs.
“Is she good? She’s never mentioned anything like that to me before.” He said concerned walking towards me.
“Yeah, I think so. That was the first time she mentioned it since it happened.” I said as I looked up at him and he cupped my face with his hand.
Luka was a blessing in disguise after James left. He gave me a job at the club that paid better than my last job as a manager. He let me put Sybil first and never complained if I couldn’t make it in. He even helped me get her into the best school. There are times I see him more at my house than I do at work. He knows Sybil’s schedule, what she likes and doesn’t like. He acts as her father and I let him for some reason.
“So what about the club?” I asked him as I washed the rest of the dishes.
“New hires. I want you to interview them. Everything’s good on their applications but I want your opinion.” He said as Sybil ran down the stairs.
“I’m ready momma.” She said as she stood next to Luka.
“Not yet little dove, your hair is a mess. Come here.” He lifted her onto a chair and grabbed a hair tie and brush from the stash in one of the drawers. He quickly French braids her hair and I’ll never understand how he doesn’t it so fast. “Now you’re ready for school.”
“Luka, can you watch her while I get ready?” I asked him even though I know he’ll say yes.
“Of course. Go get even prettier.” He says grabbing Sybil's bag making sure everything’s in there as I walk away. Ten minutes later
“Ok time for school!” I said as I walked back into the kitchen to them spelling random words.
“Have a good day, I’ll see you later, Dove.” He says hugging her. “And I’ll see you at the club.” Looking at me.
“Bye Luka.” We said at the same time as he walked out of the room.
Walking Sybil to school and picking her up is the highlight of my day. There are other things that bring me joy but I never thought I would be a mother. And her questions about anything and everything on that morning walk is something I never thought I would enjoy.
“Ok baby Aunt Nikki is going to pick you up today so at the end of the day look for her. Okay?” I reminded her.
“Yes, momma.” She said with sass.
I lightly grab her cheeks, squishing them. “Alright. I love you, I’ll see you tomorrow.” And I kissed her cheek.
“Love you, momma. Bye.” She said as she ran off to her small friend group.
As I stood there I got a weird feeling. It felt like someone standing over me watching me and my daughter. ‘Fuck!’ I think to myself. That feeling let me know that my daughter did see something and there was nothing I could do about it but teach her how to live with it and that it wouldn’t hurt her.