Sweet oblivion (sweet se.., p.4
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       Sweet Oblivion (Sweet Series #1), p.4

           Bailey Ardisone


  Is it bad to skip your first day of school as a senior? If you really think about it, out of all the days one attends school, does the first day of the last year of your high school career really matter? Hadn’t I accumulated enough days to be able to skip…one?

  Those questions kept rolling around in my head as I sat back and basked in the sun. The ocean in the distance was calm with heavy fog overlaying the small waves.

  I reluctantly smiled as I watched rays of sunlight dance upon the cold grey stone slab in front of me. I began twirling my long hair in between my fingers; "dark chocolate"—that’s what she used to call it.

  It was only September, but there was a slight chill in the air, and I knew I would get cold sitting on the ground, but I didn’t care. Nothing would move me from this spot, not on this day.

  I grabbed the two strawberry-filled pastries sprinkled with powdered sugar and the two bottles of chocolate milk out of the bakery bag and gingerly set one of each on the grey stone. I smiled as we had breakfast together.

  This was our favorite.

  Every Monday we would go to Mason’s Bakery over on Maine Street and both order the same exact thing—a strawberry pastry and chocolate milk. I knew she wasn’t really into the chocolate milk and probably would have preferred coffee, but she always got it because she knew it was my favorite. I loved that about her. I couldn’t care less if she didn’t drink the milk and got coffee instead. But the fact that she did it for me, made me love her even more.

  The clouds in the sky moved to the East, and the rays of light casting on the cold, grey stone were suddenly gone. I kept my eyes glued it and read the familiar letters there—

  Elizabeth Jean Miller

  Beloved Daughter, Wife and Mother


  It has been ten years to the day since she passed away. I was with her that morning. We had just eaten breakfast at Mason’s Bakery. It was a beautiful sunny day, and she looked so happy and carefree. She had smiled at me and told me to always remember days like these. That was a day I would never forget. Ten years had passed, and I still lived with the guilt. The guilt of knowing she died…because of me.

  She wasn’t my biological mother, but she was the only mother I knew, and I loved her as a daughter. I had been fostered with her and her husband since I was a baby. I didn’t get along with Ray at all, but she had been my whole life.

  Ray had been furious when he saw the word "mother" on the tombstone. It was just supposed to say Beloved Daughter and Wife, but since Elizabeth’s mother Jean had paid for it and knew her daughter had loved me, she called it in at the last minute and made the changes. Every time I came here I couldn’t help but stare at the word "mother" and wish she were still here.

  Being in a cemetery had always bothered me. Death was hard, I got that, but it was only hard for those you left behind. Life was what was really difficult. Everyone here no longer had to suffer, be in pain, relive past mistakes. They were sleeping on, unaware of the problems around them. Death seemed like the easy way out. Life was harder.

  I would gladly have given my life in exchange for hers. She deserved better.

  I sighed heavily as we ate our breakfast in peace. Hers went untouched, but I devoured mine like I hadn’t eaten in weeks. I had always finished before she did. She would usually laugh and make fun of my growing appetite. She would then tuck her long auburn hair behind her ears, and I knew from that gesture she was about to start another life lesson.

  “Nari, listen to me,” she would always start. Then she would say something profound, and I would promise to store it in the back of my head for a later date.

  I had been six years old the day she bought me Teddy. It had been my first day of school, and I came home hurt from being relentlessly teased by the other kids. I had no friends and was scared to go outside, even though that is all I really wanted to do. She came to lie beside me, but I knew something was up when she had a big smile on her face and both hands behind her back.

  “Nariella, I have a special friend I want you to meet,” she told me. She laughed as she pulled a teddy bear out from behind her back. She put him in my arms and as soon as I looked into his eyes, I knew we would be best friends. I had instantly loved him.

  She grinned when she saw how happy I was. I threw my arms around her neck and hugged her close, thanking her a million times and promised to take care of him. We sat on the bed for an hour trying to come up with a good name. I had laughed so hard when she said names like, “Bob, Fred, and Cornelius.” I knew they weren’t the right ones. Finally she had said, “How about Teddy?” And that was that.

  The day Ray took Teddy from me was not only the day he took my best friend, but also the day he took away something I had left of her. I had promised I would take care of Teddy, and I had failed. I hated him for it. The feeling was mutual; he hated me for causing the death of his wife. He would never let that go.

  As the morning slipped away and the clouds started to disappear, I grabbed the uneaten pastry and the now warm chocolate milk and finished them off. I would carry on this tradition every year for as long as I could.

  A sound disrupted my thoughts as I stood up and slung my bag across my shoulder. I turned around and jumped back as I saw Ray standing not five feet away giving me a look that could kill.

  I slowly backed away and hoped I could make it out of there without him making a scene. The closer it got to this day, the worse he became. As much as I would have taken her place underneath that tombstone, I didn’t want it to be by his hands.

  “What do you think you’re doing here?” he asked me quietly.

  I reluctantly looked into his cold brown eyes as he suddenly shouted, “You have no right to be here…No right! Do you hear me?”

  I looked down at the ground as my whole body stiffened. This was the only place I had wanted to be today. “I loved her too. She was my mother,” I whispered gently. I wanted him to know that even though it was my fault, I still loved her. She was everything to me.

  “She was not your mother, she wasn’t your anything,” he said angrily. “You didn’t deserve to know her. You’re the reason she’s six feet underground instead of by my side. You should be ashamed to be here.”

  I breathed deeply and bit the inside of my cheek as a tear escaped. “I didn’t mean to—”

  “Don’t say another word,” he interrupted. “You are worthless. Get out of here now. Do not defile her grave by coming here. She wouldn’t want you here.”

  That last part hit its mark, and I walked away as fast as I could. I didn’t want to think that was true. I couldn’t bear to think it.

  Thankfully, I arrived home before Ray. I didn’t want to deal with him again, so I went straight to my room and locked the door behind me. After I tore off my jacket and threw my bag on the floor, I jumped in bed and vowed to sleep the rest of the day, forgetting it ever happened.

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