I DARE you to be NICE

She\'s NOT dead

Natasha could feel Tinas eyes boring holes through her blue jean jacket into her back like a seething hot iron, ”what is it this time? ”

Shrugging, Tina remained silent and tore her eyes away from Natasha who was trying to whip a meal together for her sick mom in the hospital. Her mother was dying of breast cancer; stage IV, the doctors were not certain if the chemotherapy treatment would be of help – it was a 70-30 chance, but Natasha; full of faith, was certain her mother would be fine. She had to be fine.

”You do know I can tell what is on your mind if I want to. ”

Natasha pried as she continued mixing the dough for the donut with both hands and a yellow apron stained with flour on her neck.

”Exactly! Exactly that! ” Tina spilled like a can of soda waiting to be open.

Not expecting that reaction Natasha gave a small laugh still focusing on her dough, ”okay? Spill, whats this about? ”

”Its you! How do you do that? ” Petite Tina had a way of getting her audience caught up in her intense gaze filled with curiosity searching for answers and her inclusive way of making people partakers of whatever emotion she expressed. For instance, she was the curious one at the moment but Natasha could feel her curiosity so intense under her skin.

”Do what? ” She asked as she slowed.

”Know what people are thinking, tell the future, make people cry. What did you do to Iris yesterday? ”

Natasha giggled and shook her head, ”I didn do anything. It was the… ”

”Wait! Are you about to tell me the same thing that made Iris cry for hours? I don want that… ” a small pause and a pained smile, ”the last time Iris cried like that was when Dad left us. ”

Instantly, Natasha was swept into Tinas web of emotions like an entrapped insect in the entangling spiders web – she felt the pain sagging at Tinas heart and the loneliness she fought so hard to hide from every other person. ”No. Im guessing I don need to say anything that would make you cry. ”

The waters came rushing, pouring as if propelled by a force as little droplets rolled down her soft cheeks. Her heart – it was wounded, she was bleeding and she didn even know how to stop it. The bandage wouldn keep it in nor would the bridge stop the tears from bursting out. She had learned to be her doctor after so long a while; when the experts had no diagnosis or cure for her condition, and so far she had tried her best. But now – now she was tired of managing her bleeding heart, tired of being her doctor because none of the drugs were working.

”He left… Because of me. ” She said finally.

Natasha had paused whatever she was doing, and focused on Tina; she wanted to talk and she had to listen.

”He wanted a boy, but he got three girls. Iris was his favorite so he wanted to take her with him. ” A sniff and a swallow, ”and she wanted to leave with him too. But I wanted him to take me too, ” a small cough, ”so I threw a tantrum at home for two weeks when iris was packing to stay with him in New York, we were children – I was five, Iris was seven. I pretended to fall sick and refused to get up until he takes the two of us with him, finally mom gave him the condition that if he would take Iris, he must take me too. ”

***

He is here for me today! My heart pounded against my chest as those words were mumbled over and over in my heart. There he was in the room, discussing how to best care for me, mom had told me that he asked about my allergies, my favorite snacks, and my hobbies and he needed to document them well so that he would be well prepared and thats why it took him so much time before he came for me.

Just one look, I just wanted to look at him one more time!

With my little legs, I climbed up the stairs and tiptoed into the room, and saw the two of them standing close to each other; would they kiss now? Mom had taught me to close my eyes whenever I see…

…Mom was wrong, she was wicked – she didn teach me right, she should have taught me to close my ears instead because the words I heard next, sliced my heart like cheese.

”Shes not mine. Iris is the only child I have from this marriage, take Tina and Susan to wherever you got them from. ”

”What do you mean? Shes yours! And you know it! ”

”Shes short, ugly, and has short brown hair – too much a replica of you. I don want to wake up every morning to see a little Meredith running around the house. Fix it or force it on me and see how she ends up. ”

My legs buckled but didn give way for my body to collapse, and my eyes burned but didn give room for the tears to fall, I wanted to hear it all, wanted to be sure I heard it well.

”And Susan? ”

”The two little tramps take after you, I don know where you got them both from. ”

”So? ”

”Im leaving with Iris… Iris alone. ”

A brief silence.

”Then you can leave with any of them. Two of them or none of them. ”

”I believe I shall leave you to care for your three little tramps yourself. When Iris asks, Ill be sure to tell her that you refused to allow me to take her – live with that. ”

One – two – three, and all I remember was the darkness that engulfed me in a dark embrace, clawing at my little fears and insecurities, feasting on them like a delicacy so scarce.

He didn want me – because I was not good enough.

***

”It was because of me he left Iris too, ” Tina concluded with a sniff.

Smiling, Natasha wrapped Tina in a tight embrace. Immediately, Tina felt a light infiltrate the darkness that had grown thicker over such a long time and she wasn willing to let go.

Still in the embrace, Natasha prayed a single prayer, ”receive His light. He is in you, darkness has no hold. Light shines in darkness and darkness is defeated. ” With that, she released Tina from the embrace and went back to putting the donut in the oven.

It was nothing dramatic, like a majestic queen over darkness the holy spirit brooded until she could feel no trace of the hurt she held on to for years. It felt like the chains that held her hands and legs suddenly came off with no earthquake added. Peace washed over her like a river, instead of drowning she was swimming; enjoying every single wave that washed over her.

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