“Come on, Mr. Scarecrow! Let’s go,” I shout behind me, as I grab my favourite princess dress from the heap of toys on the floor. Mom can’t hear me because she’s in the shower. She always gets mad at me when I talk to my imaginary friends. Mr. Scarecrow is my best friend, though. I don’t understand why she hates him. It’s not like I don’t know he’s not real. So, what’s the big fat deal?
“I know you don’t like wearing my pink dress, but it’s my turn to wear the yellow one. Get in, Mr. Scarecrow. The colour really acksenshates your cheekbones,” I say, grinning wildly to myself. Mr. Scarecrow doesn’t like my pink dress. I like to tease him. I have no idea what acksenshates even means, but I hear mom saying it to her friends all the time. I figure Mr. Scarecrow would like to hear it too. It’ll probably make him feel better about doing something he doesn’t want to do.
We’re late going to the barn to see Darling, my pet donkey. Well, she’s not exactly mine. Mom’s had her for a long, long time. From even before I was around. So, I’m guessing that’s, like, before Santa even. Mom’s super old. And she can see things when she’s not even in the same room as you. People joke about her having eyes in the back of head. I know she does.
“Mom! We gotta go. Darling needs her oats,” I yell, too excited to wait any longer. I wink at Mr. Scarecrow because I can’t talk to him when mom is around. “Hurry! I got the oats in my pocket.”
My mom comes into the room and kneels down in front of me. I don’t like when she does that. It’s always something bad like my friend moving away or Theodore being gone or my baby brother puking on my bestest doll. I back away, trying to ignore her but she grabs my hand, spinning me toward her.
“Listen, honey, I need to talk to you about Darling.” She pauses and then clears her throat. “You know Darling was old, right?”
“Yes.” I don’t understand where she’s going with this and I feel a little tricked into answering her.
“She was an old, blind donkey and she was in a lot of pain, baby.” I see a tear fall from her eyes. It rolls down her cheek. “We had to help her and she’s no longer with us.”
“What do you mean?” I say, snorting back tears. “Don’t be silly, Mom, let’s go see Darling,” I say, and my hand begins to shake. I remember when Theodore left. He never came back. Not ever.
“Listen to me, sweet pea. Darling is gone. The same way Theodore, your old guinea pig is gone. She’s not coming back.” Her voice changes and so does her face. She looks sad.
I can’t take it anymore. The hot feeling inside me takes over. “I HATE YOUR GUTS!” I scream at her. “HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME? I LOVE DARLING!” I yell even harder, “THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!” I stomp out of the room and dart upstairs where I can be alone. When I get to my bedroom, I crumple into my pile of toys and tears trickle down my face.
My rubber ducky stares back at me and I squeeze him, needing his smiling face, and then I gather the strength to head back downstairs to my mom. Deep down, as much as I hate it, I know I don’t want Darling in pain. I don’t understand why she was in pain or why the pain won’t go away, but mom never lies. She always knows best. It just hurts so much. I miss her already.
“Mom… I-I’m sorry for yelling at you,” I hang my head, afraid she’ll be mad at me. She walks over to me and wraps me in her arms and I feel safe again. I feel like I’ll be okay and so will Darling.
“Why don’t you ask Mr. Scarecrow if he’d like to join us for teatime today, honey?” she says, wiping the tears from her eyes. I’m so happy she’s finally decided to give Mr. Scarecrow a chance. I can’t say no.
“And Rubber Ducky?” I ask, looking up at her. “We’re all sad about Darling.”
“Yes, and Rubber Ducky,” She says, smiling. “Now, let’s go enjoy a cupcake, shall we?”
I nod and grab her hand. “Let’s,” I whisper.
© 2016, Anisa Claire. All rights reserved.
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