A Mother's Love

Story By StormDancer

Alyssa set down her beer on the bar counter top and rubbed her head, willing the ache to go away. She looked at the beer sitting on the counter. She knew she should stop, yet no matter how much she drank her sorrow was still there.

"Damn Cancer, Damn doctors, Damn Death," she muttered, "And while you're at it, damn life for all I care!"

She picked up her beer and downed it, motioning for another.

"Damit Mom," she murmured, "Why'd you have to go now? Why couldn't you have waited for me? Why did you have to let me yelling at you be the last thing I said to you? Damit all, Mom, why?"

She stared into the empty mug. It was said wisdom could be found at the bottom of an empty glass, well, she saw no wisdom. She only felt an aching void where once there was love.

Against her will, memories began to intrude upon her melancholy thoughts.

A younger Alyssa, 3 or 4 maybe, was stomping up the stairs, screaming.

"I hate you!' she bawled, "You never let me do anything fun!"

Her mother stood, firm and unrelenting at the bottom of the stairs.

Later that same day, Alyssa came up to her mother again. Her face was covered in tears once again, but her face was no longer screwed up in rage.

"It hurts, Mommy," she cried, pointing to her knee where a brush burn could be seen, "Mommy, make it better?" she pleaded.

Her mother kissed the hurt knee, and Alyssa hugged her mother with innocent baby love.

Alyssa sighed. Somehow, her mother always could make bad things better, whether it was a hurt knee or a broken heart.

Now 15, Alyssa was once again screaming at her mother.

"Don't worry, Mom, I'll be fine! Everyone else is going! Mary's parents will be home, and there will be no drinking! I promise! So just let me go, already!"

Her mother nodded, reluctantly allowing her child to go to the party.

"Mom?" Alyssa had called at about 2 the next morning, "Can you pick me up? It's no fun here. Everybody's drunk. I just want to go home," she pleaded.

There were no questions asked than. Alyssa was picked up, driven home, and put to bed with nary a word. The next day, of course, all hell had been set loose, but than there was nothing but sympathy.

'Why didn't you ever let me thank you, Mom?" Alyssa asked the air, "Why couldn't you have held on for me, just a bit longer? So you could know how much I feel?"

She ran her hand through her hair, short because her mother had wanted it long, black because her mother had adored Alyssa's natural blonde.

"I'm telling you, that boy isn't good for you!" a 17 year old Alyssa's mom insisted, "he's going to hurt you again and again!"

"No he won't" Alyssa exclaimed, "I love him, okay! We are perfect together and nothing you're going to say is going to stop me!"

When Alyssa had later come home sobbing, having caught him cheating on her, her mother stroked her hair and murmured words of comfort.

"I don't hate you, Mom, you know that? I never did," Alyssa assured her, but she knew her mother had understood. Her mother had understood everything. She was just starting another beer when someone sat down beside her. Glancing over, she saw a fairly handsome man, dark and brooding, perched on the stool next to her.

"Hey," he said, addressing her. She nodded back.

"That stuff any good?" he asked. She stared at him in confusion, than realized he must have meant the beer. She shrugged, and he gestured for the bartender to get him one of what she was having.

He moved closer to her, and she didn't move away.

"So," he asked flirtatiously, "What brings you here tonight?"

"Nothing much," she replied, subconsciously flirting back.

"I remember you!" he exclaimed suddenly, "You're Alyssa, right?"

She nodded cautiously.

"You don't remember me?" he asked in mock hurt, "Senior year? We were tight."

"No," she replied in amazement, "you're him?"

"In the flesh," he grinned cheekily, "So, how've you been?"

"Better," Alyssa responded curtly.

He was not put off.

"Yeah, well, I've missed you. I made a big mistake back than, and I've regretted it ever since."

At Alyssa's scoff, he slammed his fist into the table.

"I really have! You were everything I've ever wanted!"

Alyssa yearned to be convinced, yet something held her back.

"Look, how about you come to my place now and we can catch up and than you can decide if you trust me or not," he suggested as if it were the most innocent thing in the world.

Alyssa stared at him. She wanted to go, oh how she wanted to. He had been her first love, and when he had broken her heart nothing could console her. She wanted so badly to be held by him again, to let him protect her. She began to agree, but than felt her mother's arms around her, comforting her.

"You don't need him," her mother had told her, "And now you know that."

Alyssa felt the arms that had always truly protected and consoled her around her once more.

"Thanks, but I have to get home," she told him. He had the grace to look disappointed, but didn't watch her walk away.

The next day, Alyssa opened her newspaper to see his face plastered on the front page.

"Wanted for attempted murder and rape!" the headline said. As she read, she stared at the page in amazement. This man who had said to love her had taken a girl home last night, an innocent girl, and now she was barely alive.

How close, Alyssa wondered, had she been to becoming the ruined girl? What would she have become, if not for a mother's love and help?

"Thanks, Mom," she said gratefully, "I love you."

And she knew her mother heard.