A warm hue of red and yellow splashed across my face. I blinked a few times as I squinted into the captivating horizon. Soft chirpings reverberated along with the breeze as I pulled my sweater around tighter. I straightened my head from the hard and cold slab of stone and rubbed the spot on my face which had been flattened.
"Sunrise, mom," I whispered to nothing.
Well, it would have been nothing to whomever who was watching me talk to the air. But I was not talking to the air. Did you not hear me say "mom"?
I looked down at the slab of marble, polished just last night before I slumbered off beside it into my swirling world of dreams.
20/09/1957 – 1/04/1992
A woman admired,
A friend missed,
A mother loved.
A mother loved.
I was only seven. I thought someone was pulling a crude prank on me. But even when I woke up the next morning, nobody told me "April's Fool!" And so I waited…spending every first day of April after that year watching the sunrise here, with what remained of her, hoping against all hope that maybe I would hear her voice, assuring me it was a stupid, reversible joke. But that hope brought no returns.
I often thought back to the year when I was five, when she brought me out to watch "Ghost". I was so intrigued by the idea of a ghost as Sunday schools have only taught me that there was heaven and there was hell. Black and white. No shade of grey in between.
So I asked her after the movie, "Are there really ghosts, mommy?"
She laughed and I caught a twinkle in her eye.
"I don't know, honey. I have never seen one."
Her answer failed to satisfy my curiosity. I stayed up all night, whispering occasionally, or otherwise staying absolutely pin-drop silent, encouraging ghosts to try to talk to me and maybe ask me for their help. I willed against my yearning to sleep, just to try to hear voices which weren't mine. I got out of bed at half past six in the morning with panda eyes and a slump of disappointment. As I ventured around to seek consolation from my mother, I found her sitting on the swing in the backyard.
"Honey! What are you doing up so early?" She asked as she pulled me onto her comfortable lap and enveloped me with warmth I would never be able to find elsewhere.
"Mommy, do we really go to heaven or hell when we die?"
She looked at me shocked. Then her eyes twinkled as revelation caught up with her.
"You stayed up all night thinking about the movie, didn't you?"
I smiled at her sleepily as I answered her with another question, "So where do we go when we die, mommy?"
She looked away and gazed dreamily into the sunrise.
For one short moment, I wondered if she was thinking about dad. I barely knew who dad was. I can hardly recall him…and even less of how he left. I never told her this before, but I did not need a dad. I had her, and she was everything to me. She looked back into my eyes and planted a kiss on my forehead.
"Nobody really knows, honey."
"Where do you think we go, mommy?"
She gazed away again…eyes brimming with tears of reminiscence.
When she finally answered me, her voice was barely a whisper but I heard every word of it.
"I don't know. Maybe…maybe there is another world out there waiting for us…somewhere beyond the sunrise."
I followed her gaze and rested my head against her heaving chests. I could hear the faint beatings of her heart as she held me closer. Suddenly, I missed the sound of one heartbeat. It startled me and fear shrieked through my veins. I threw my arms tightly around her neck as sobs began to choke my throat. I nuzzled my head against the nape of her neck and felt an amazingly warm sensation spread throughout my body. She did not question me but waited patiently for me to calm myself.
I held on to her without wanting to let go.
"Sweetie, it's okay. I'm right here."
My crying failed to cease. She raised her right hand to brush the back of my head soothingly.
"Mommy," I said in between violent sobs. "Don't ever go away. I don't know the way to the other world. What if I can't find you, mommy?"
She pulled me away just to put enough distance between us so that she could look me in the eye. I saw the reflection of my red eyes in her tears. Her lips were set tight but they quivered as she tried to comfort me with a smile.
I would never forget the sound of the voice which then assured me, "You will find me, honey. You will. I promise I will never, never be too far away."