Maya Cane ran downstairs where her loving parents were waiting for her, giggles erupting from her lips as her father holstered her up in the air. They were finally leaving for that camping trip he had promised her for her birthday. Her father was always away flying around the world but he had finally come home from aviation to celebrate her tenth birthday. Everything was packed and her mum was waiting for them by the car.
“Come on guys we need to leave if we want to make it before sundown”, her mother said with a smile of pure joy on her face.
“Let’s go princess”, her father finished throwing her over his shoulder.
“Daddy, I am so excited, do you think we’ll see lots of wild animals? I want to see Mr. Bear, can pet him?
“Oh princess I don’t think Mr. Bear would be happy to see us but don’t worry am sure we will see one or two but I can’t promise you will be able to pet him”.
“Hey are you two coming, we are getting late? Her mother called out to them again already in the passenger seat of the SUV. In minutes the family of three was leaving, they reached the highway singing their family road trip song by Vanessa Carlton.
“Hey, mummy can I have a muffin?
“Yes sweetie go head,” she said looking in the back seat where Maya was strapped in. She loved her mother’s cooking and more so her baked goods, they were so delicious besides that her mother was a well-known baker in Arizona. Her mother was born and raised in phoenix with her younger sister who was now leaving in New York. When their parents passed away her aunty Monica had left Arizona and never came back only called to ask her mother for money.
As for her father, he was an orphan who was raised in an orphanage in Florida but moved to Arizona when he married her mother after meeting her at a state bake competition in Florida. They fell in love at first sight and in less than six months they had gotten married and had her when they all settled down with stable jobs. Her mother started a bakery while her father got a job in the state aviation. Life was good her parents gave her everything she wanted and she worked hard at school, in fact, she was the best in her class.
She chewed on her chocolate muffin as she watched the countryside go by, the sun was shining bright, birds singing, everything was fine until that dreadful horn of the big truck went off.
It was coming right at them, her father yelled for them to get down as he struggled to dodge the truck but it had already lost control, it fell across the road the big timber trunks it was carrying came rolling towards them crushing the windshield of their SUV, then everything went dark for her.
The next time she opened her eyes she was in a hospital bed. A lady introduced herself as her aunt. The doctor rushed in to room with a nurse, they started examining her and when they were done they informed her aunt that everything seemed okay. The doctor then turned to her asking,
“Do you remember anything dear?
She closed her eyes and thought hard despite the mind shattering pain. Then it all came flashing back. The truck losing control, the timber crushing their car, she opened her eyes crying asking for her parents.
“Where is mummy, where is dad? She pleased, Mummy, daddy am scared”, Maya cried. She was screaming in pain, the nurse held but her aunt was looking on as she asked the doctor to give her something to put her back to sleep. Another nurse showed up with a syringe and injected something into her I.V. She wake up in the middle of the night to find her aunt sleeping but she woke up when she heard the sobbing.
“Hey you’re awake, good because we need to talk.....uh...am sorry your parents didn’t make it but you have to be strong and move on, okay? Sobs hiccup sobs hiccup is what she got as a reply.
“Did you hear me, young lady, answer me? I hate it when am not answered”
“Yes aunty Monica”
“And don’t call me aunt just call me Monica, okay?
“Yes”, Maya hiccupped.
She was discharged after another two weeks, Monica took her straight to the cemetery to say her greetings and goodbyes to her parents. Maya placed the roses by her parent’s gravestones in never-ending tears. They drove home, and there Monica told her they were leaving for New York as soon as the last installment of the payment of the bakery was made. Monica had sold her mother’s bakery and their house too.
They left for New York the next Friday when the last payment was made. Maya cried nonstop she was leaving her home her parents her life and moving to a new place. She was so scared but her aunt didn’t tolerate her sorrow, she just barked at her and told her to move on with life. Monica lived in a studio apartment on the East side of central park. They lived together for about a month, Monica worked at a local bar as a singer.
As for Maya she no longer attended school since Monica told her to beg on the streets so that they could get money for food, life in the new town so hard and difficult. It was always cold even in the house and her aunt refused to get the heater fixed. One day she returned to the apartment to find the door a jar, wide open rushing in she found the apartment totally empty and her aunt nowhere to be found, she tried asking the neighbors and one of them told her that Monica came with her boyfriend packed everything up and moved out of the apartment. To top it all off the landlord was already showing the room to new possible owners which left her with nowhere to stay.
She cried herself to sleep right there on the cold pavement of the building. She was totally alone now, no family no home, and nowhere to go or anyone to turn to, the only family she had had just abandoned her and runoff.
TWENTY YEARS LATER…………………………..
Maya was seated enjoying her mocha latte in Holly’s cafe waiting for Jenny to arrive, today was her parents' death anniversary so she had gone back to the church in Jersey to prayed for them and also visited the orphanage where she grew up.
Twenty years back when her aunt had abandoned her, she had stayed out on the street for a week, the cold nights ate at her bones, and the hunger drained her life force. She was so weak that breathing became so difficult she passed out, luckily one of the ladies from her aunt’s former apartment who had been giving her bread some mornings found her passed out cold on the pavement; she rushed her to the hospital.
She woke up later in the night but breathing was still hard. It was as if someone had clogged something in her chest which pained her a lot, the doctor showed up immediately, Mrs. Linda behind him. Linda was the lady who had brought her to the hospital
“How are you feeling young lady? The doctor inquired scribbling some notes on his pad
“I…h...Hu…rt…so…much,” she whispered
“It’s okay honey don’t strain your self,” Mrs. Linda said brushing away a black lock from her burning forehead
“The tests are back am afraid she’s got severe pneumonia, anyway for now let’s monitor and treat her hopefully she will have improved by the end of the week,” the doctor informed Mrs. Linda.
Maya stayed in the hospital for a good three weeks until the doctor told them that she was good to go home. That night at the hospital she cried wondering where she was going to go, she had no home, no family. The next morning she sat on her hospital bed waiting for Mrs. Linda to come back with her prescriptions, then decide her fate, either abandon her or help her. Mrs. Linda showed up with her prescriptions and right behind her stood a nun.
“Hey honey I got your medicine”, she said placing it in the bag pack she had bought for her. It contained all her belongings which were a dress, a pair of panties toothbrush, pair of socks, Vaseline, shorts, and a T-shirt. She didn’t even have a photo of her parents with her. It pained her so much she started crying silently.
“Hey honey don’t cry, what’s the matter you’re not sick again are you?
“No Mrs. Linda”
“Then what’s the matter, honey?
“I…I just miss my mummy and daddy a lot”.
“Here, here it’s okay Maya, am sure they wouldn’t want you to cry and get sick again, so hush dear”, she said hugging her and Maya held on to her tight.
“Maya honey I want to introduce you to someone, Linda said pointing at the nun standing by her bedside. This is sister Mary she’s from the St. Mark church down in New Jersey, she will be taking you with her, you will be staying with her until your aunt Monica comes back, so I want you to be a good girl okay”.
“Yes Mrs. Linda”, Maya replied.
After the sister and Mrs. Linda finished talking with the doctor, they came back to pick her up before they left for the orphanage. They arrived at the St Mark orphanage which was part of the church. Sister Mary handed her to a sister Rosalind who took her to the room she was going to share with four other girls.
With time she got used to the orphanage, they would wake up and go for prayers then go to school then back to the orphanage. Life lightened up for her a bit, sister Rosalind became like a mum to her and she was her favorite.
She would tuck her in at night, help her with her homework, and fought the administration when they wanted to send her into the foster system, ever since that day sister Rosalind took on the responsibility of taking care of her until she got into college and decided to get a part-time job which paid for her college and university. She helped out with the bookkeeping at the church and orphanage and worked at a furniture company as a sales lady thanks to Sister Rosalind who convinced a friend of hers whose husband owned a furniture company to give her a job.
The money she saved up helped her through university where she graduated as a financial analyst. After graduating she had told Sister Rosalind that she was going to move to Manhattan and try looking for a job, but Sister Rosalind had refused to say the city was dangerous and that she should keep her job at the furniture company. She clearly remembered the conversation they had
“Darling I can’t let you move to the city it’s dangerous there and besides I talked with Betty she said that her husband is willing to give you a job in his accounts office”.
“Please don’t worry mother Rosalind I will be okay, I just want to try my luck there, anyways if things don’t work out, I have a home with you. I will come back, try life here”.
“But darling I…..”
“I will be alright mother”, Maya said hugging her. She called Sister Rosalind mother ever since they bonded together.
“Promise me darling that you will come back if things don’t go well, I love you my little one, and you have gone through a lot of bad things in the past. I only want the best you.”
“Please don’t cry mother Rosalinda, I will be okay. I love you,” Maya said hugging the woman who had filled some of the void in her heart.
“Maya, we need you back on earth, hey, hey”, Jenny waved her hand in front of Maya’s face jolting her out of her memories.
“Oh! Hey, fashionista. Your ten minutes late, you know am not a patient person”, Maya said hugging and smiling at her very close best friend.