It’s Tuesday. I know it’s Tuesday because The Twins are up early and singing. I yawned, stretched (as much as I could), and said good morning. The Twins were always happy, usually. Their grief only shows once in a while, but since their father comes to visit every Tuesday, nothing can break their mood today.
“What do you think he’ll tell you this week?” I asked, truly intrigued. Their father, I believe his name is Claude, visits every Tuesday because that’s when he gets back into town. He’s a model; a male model. Can you believe it? I’ve seen his face plastered on billboards and even in some of the girls’ lockers at school. When they first told me his name, I almost laughed. But it was true. Their last names matched and I remembered reading the article about his children being murdered.
Never crossed my mind it would be their mother that committed the crime, though. She was a model as well. The girls spoke of some magazines she had been in but I can’t, for the life of me, put a face to the name, which is a good thing. I don’t want to remember that woman at all, but it’s nice to see how they react to their father. I try never to intrude, although I can hear their whole conversation. Well, his one-sided conversation. Although the girls talk about how much they want to say when he arrives; in the end, they spend all their time crying.
Their father always tells them about the places he’s been and where he is going next. I know he leaves them flowers because I can hear the rustle of the plastic they are wrapped in. And then he apologizes. That’s when I have to put my fingers in my ears and sing, “I’m Henry the Eighth, I am” to myself! The first time he came to visit, I hadn’t known what was coming. He said he was sorry, I assumed for missing a day or coming late, but it wasn’t that simple.
He cried, apologized for not being home when they were murdered. I burst into tears at the same time he had. Oh, the pain! I can still feel it deep in my belly. He loved his girls, and not only was he sad but in his voice, you could hear his anger. Their mother was put on death row. Last the girls heard, she was still alive, but we would probably never know for sure. He never talked about her to them, and I hoped he never would.
“Two more days, darling. How are you holding up?” I heard above me. I rolled my eyes upward stupidly; I do it every time! I know Grace can’t see me but I feel it would be rude if I didn’t look in her direction when spoken to.
“I’m not sure. Hearing Sawyer the other day – it really hurt.”
“You’ll be fine! What did I tell you? He’s probably already forgotten all about you.” Henry the Eighth chimed in.
“Oh Henry, stop! Don’t you see she’s just a girl? Things like that take time to understand.”
I heard them bickering back and forth but I tuned it out. Henry the Eighth was right; Sawyer was going to forget about me. Matter of fact, he probably already had a date to the prom. No doubt the product of all the consoling from the other girls in school. I took a deep…breath? No, I don’t breathe anymore. I just closed my eyes and imagined trying to calm down. It didn’t work though because I could still hear them bickering, and now the girls were crying even harder as their father walked away.
Is this it? This is how I’m spending eternity? The crunching sounded again, this time a little closer to home. Someone was here to see me. I shush everyone and wait, listening closely. When I heard the first sob, I knew it was my mother. Oh, mommy.
They say a teenage girl will never get along with her mother; that we’ll go through an “I hate my mom” phase. I never went through it. Matter of fact, me and mom were best friends. We did everything together! Shopping, boy hunting, nail salons, hair salons, tanning salons; everything, I tell you! Of everyone in my life, I miss her the most and I know she misses me too.
“It’s only two days away.”
Geez, not her too!
“I couldn’t -.”
“I couldn’t keep it in the house. You should have it, here with you.”
I heard the unmistakable sound of plastic, and then a zipper. Could it be?
“I know you won’t be able to wear it, but I hope you know that even though you won’t be there, you are still the prettiest girl at the prom.”
Tears are flooding my eyes by the time she’s done. My mom brought me my prom dress. Then it hit me!
“Huh?” he said, rather grumpy and jumpy.
“Has anyone tried to escape since you’ve been down here?”
There was a long pause. So long, I almost thought he’d fallen back asleep.
“Henry!” I screamed. This time, I heard his head hit the top of his casket.
“Oh, Little Bird, why do you want to know?”
I smile every time Henry calls me Little Bird. It has become a nickname for me. Who knows why, but I like it.
“Because, I’m going to prom!”