by: T.D. Edwards
The neighbors alerted me of a problem with my mother, but their panic indicated Donovan was really the issue. Nausea twisting my gut the whole drive there, I felt surprisingly calm once inside the store. I met Donovan’s eye and he looked back at me with a vague sense of recognition. “Mommy, I don’t like this.” I let the words roll off my tongue as naturally as possible. I hadn’t used the word ‘Mommy’ in thirty years. The term felt foreign, but I needed to get rid of Donovan. Ignoring him and speaking to Mommy was the only way I knew how. I just hoped she could overpower Donovan, otherwise, there was a possibility that the next time I saw either of them, it would be from behind prison bars.
It felt strange to address her in Donovan’s presence, but that’s how it had to be. There was no time to ponder the peculiarity of it. Too many lives were at risk.
Despite the grim situation, I almost wanted to yell in triumph, not to mention relief, when Donovan stepped back and Mommy came forward with a frown on her face. Perplexed expressions of onlookers swarmed around us. Putting my pride aside, I ignored them.
“It’s not always about what you like, Sugar-dump,” Mommy said.
Sugar-dump. She had used that nickname with me until I was 23 years old and I absolutely hated it, but now it was music to my ears. Mommy was the docile one, especially when dealing with her precious little Sugar-dump, no matter how badly Sugar-dump misbehaved. It had taken me years to figure that out.
I became aware that a woman and her young son were trying to exit the store but were too afraid to pass by us. I wanted to apologize, but I couldn’t break character at a moment like this.
Keeping my eyes on Mommy, I put my hands on my hips and stomped my feet. When I spoke, I made my voice a loud girlish screech. “Mommy! I don’t like this! I don’t like this store! I don’t want to be here! I WANT TO GO HOME! NOW!”
Appalled, the woman behind us clutched her son and moved backward. The little boy almost laughed, but his mother silenced him, placing a hand firmly over his mouth.
Poor kid. He didn’t know any better. If I was a kid and saw adults acting this way, I’d want to laugh too.
“Uhm…Ma’am? Is everything all right?” the nearest cashier asked. A young man no more than 19 years old, he clearly had no idea what to do. He hastily scanned the store, searching for someone more qualified to handle the bizarre situation just a few feet away from him.
It killed me to be unable to apologize to these people, but they didn’t know Donovan. Thus, they couldn’t understand that this was not the time for apologies and social norms. These people didn’t know their safety was in jeopardy…
“Come here, Sugar-dump. Be a good little girl for Mommy.” My mother held her hands out to me as if I were a toddler preparing to leap into her arms.
Instead, I poked out my bottom lip and stomped my feet again.
“NO!” I yelled. Upsetting Mommy probably wasn’t a good idea, but I needed to get her out of the store. I rushed to the door at full speed.
Despite her age, my mother was light on her feet. While she chased after me, fear clutched my heart as I realized how much I didn’t want her to catch me. Mommy was gentle, but if she got her hands on me, there was no guarantee she’d stick around afterwards. She could always turn me over to Donovan…
Out in the parking lot, the ambulance awaited. Paramedics rushed forward to restrain my mother. During the struggle, Mommy disappeared as Donovan took over her features once more, contorting her face with his malicious sneer and making her eyes spark with fury.
I watched, my body trembling with sobs bursting from my throat.
A distraught Dr. Murphy embraced me. “It’s okay. She’s going to be all right. The best doctors in the country will be working with her.”
I was glad he’d gotten the message to meet me here, but his words provided little comfort. However, I knew there were no other options at this point. I just really truly didn’t like it.
Copyright © T.D. Edwards 2015