A Mother's Promise




Lots of people make promises; in fact I'm sure that every single person alive or dead have made a promise at one point in their lives. I'm also sure that every single person has broken a promise, no matter how big or how small. When you're young your gullible mind believes that everyone means what they say and that everyone keeps their promises; but as you grow older you learn the cold hard truth. Promises are meant to be broken. They just are; it's human nature I guess.

My mother made lots of promises and she was usually excellent at keeping them. She'd promise to do the laundry and the very next day I'd have a fresh load of clothes left on my purple comforter to sort. She'd promise to get Dad to play a game of basketball with me so I could practice and within a few minutes Dad would come out to the driveway dressed in his workout clothes. She was just dependable like that.

She promised I could be anything I wanted to be. She'd promised she'd always love me no matter what. But the biggest promise she'd ever made was that she'd never, ever leave me alone. But that was one promise she could never keep.

I glowered at the white wall of the interrogation room as I waited for the detective assigned to my case to come in. I ran my trembling fingers over the bandages covering my left upper arm; an identical one snaked around my left calf. They were just some reminders of the… incident… that stole my mother from me; a car crash.

My mother and I had been driving back from the mall a few towns away; our town was too small to have any clothing stores. I was in the passenger seat and my mother was at the wheel, gripping it tightly with both hands and following the proper etiquette of a good driver, and she was still holding a steady conversation with me as I examined my new clothes. We made it to a stoplight, a notoriously long one, and mother slowed the car down and turned, smiling, to me to say something. Neither of us was paying attention to the road; we were the first car in the line, as we had just missed the last light.

Just as she opened her mouth to speak there was a loud squeal of tires in front of us and both of our heads snapped up to see what was happening and my mother screamed, just as I did. A black Ford Explorer was barreling towards us, swerving as the driver slammed on the breaks. My mother tried to move our car but we were blocked in on both sides and before we knew it the car had smashed into ours. I braced myself for extreme pain and screamed bloody murder. I must have blacked out because when I woke up there were red and blue lights flashing close by and EMT's and police officers swarmed around me. I looked in the seat next to me to see if my mother was okay and what I saw made me scream again.

The whole driver's side of the car had been crushed into a million pieces and the black explorer was on its side nearby. Through my blurry vision I glimpsed a growing puddle of some red substance. Blood! My mother's mangled form lay twisted in the middle of it; I could see no movement what so ever. Her long brown hair was now dripping red and her tan skin was stripped with red as well. Her casual t-shirt that had once read "Team USA London Olympics 2012 ~ God Bless America" was now soaking red and not legible. Her sweat pants were in tatters and suddenly I couldn't bear to look at her any longer.

That's when a strong pair of arm gently grabbed me and began to lift me up and out of my seat. I began to thrash and yell that my mother was the one who needed help but a soft voice chided, "You're hurt as well. And look, someone else is helping your mother. Come along now, honey." In any other situation I would have told the EMT not to call me honey but I was all out of sassy comments as I looked down at myself to find and angry red gash on my left calf and a mass of cuts, bruises, and scrapes on my upper left arm. I sighed and allowed myself to be carried to the ambulance and placed on a gurney.

Throughout the whole ride to the hospital there were women trying to reassure me and men hooking me up to some medical machine. I was about to tell them all to go away because I-

"Ivy? Ivy Spalding?" asked a cleanly shaven man in a sharp grey suit and black dress shoes, snapping my out of the flashback.

"That would be me. And I assume you are the detective assigned to my case?" I replied.

"Yes, miss. Detective Lancaster. Casper Lancaster. I was-"

I cut him off by asking, "Why do I even have a case? Why do I even need a detective to be assigned to it?" my eyebrows raised in curiosity. I tried to cross my arms over my chest but my left one began to hurt so I settled for my fingers tapping impatiently on the table in front of me.

Detective Lancaster chuckled before saying, "Well, you certainly recovered quickly. Most people would be crying on my shoulder doing anything they could possibly do to help me with this case."

"That's my point! Why do I even have a case? It was just a stupid car accident, nothing out of the ordinary. Some idiot was texting while driving, probably!" I yelled, I was starting to get irritated and the interrogation hadn't even begun yet.

He chuckled again and I twirled a lock of my long brown hair in frustration. "Yes, the original thought by the police department was that it was a texting driver but with the recent gang activity in the area the police are having second thoughts!" he finally replied.

I slapped my hands on the table, causing it to rattle, and leaned forward with a look on my face that I hoped said "I'm thirteen not two!"

"You think some gang targeted us on purpose?"

"We have our suspicions. But I really do need to question you Miss Spalding."

"Question on." I replied.

"Okay, please tell your story from the point where you left the mall." He began.

So I retold my story, I managed to stay calm throughout the entire story, and I answered the rest of the questions automatically. Detective Lancaster got up to leave the room but just before he was out of the door he paused with a serious yet concerned look on his old face. "The police and your father have taken the liberty of setting up a number of appointments with a physiatrist for you. You may be in shock and we felt you might need more help to cope with all of this. You're fist appointment with Doctor Martinez is tomorrow at 1:30. Have a good night." And with that he left the room and I was alone with my scars again.

He left me with my moth hanging open and one of my fingers frozen with a lock of hair twisted around it. I gripped the table tightly with my right hand as I glared at the wall in front of me as if it were to blame for all of my troubles.

A physiatrist; they thought I needed a physiatrist! I guess one could say I might run into some mental trouble but I had confidence that I was tough. The only thing that worried me was that my mother was my rock; she had been the only one who had ever really understood me. No one at school liked me, they thought I was weird, and even my teachers had something against me. I got straight A's, and I always behaved in class and I didn't get into fights. I was just different, I noticed thing the other kids didn't; I could always tell what people were thinking by the slightest twitch in their face. I sat alone during recess under and old gnarled oak tree reading or writing or just watching my surroundings. I sat in a far corner of the lunch room too working on my homework of drawing. [I loved to draw, I like to thing I had a gift for drawing people's eyes and showing true emotion.]

I used to think no one liked me because I wasn't pretty but my mother had proved me wrong telling me that my eyes made me look slightly Egyptian, and that really made me feel good. [I had a passion for Egyptian history.] My mom had always been there for me. My mother. That thought alone brought me back to reality.

I grabbed my new crutches that I had carelessly dropped by my feet, and then forgotten about, and shoved them up under my armpits; a position which I was sure I'd never get used to. I hopped out of the room to meet my father a little farther down the hall. I could tell before I was even a few feet away from him that he was taking this just as bad as I was. His shoulders were hunched forward hand his massive hands covered his upper face and I could barely see his stubble of a beard poking out from under his hands.

My father was a tall man with a small grey beard and short black hair. His eyes had always seemed unfocused to me, like his mind was somewhere else. He was built athletically and loved a very long list of sports; but with how much he worked him barely had any time for sports anymore. He was the owner of a large, and extremely successful, company that sold a very popular line of kitchen appliances. [Was my family rich? Yeah you could say that.]

But the stress of all of this was evident as he raised his head to see me when he heard the clanking of my crutches coming down the hallway. His eyes were blotchy and red and his upper lip quivered as he said, "Hello Ivy. I'll assume Mr. Lancaster informed you of your physiatrist." That was the closest my father ever came to showing emotion towards me. He was always formal and had never understood me.

I nodded and quickly asked, "Can we go know?" I absolutely hated police offices, they always gave me shivers up my spine [not that I spent lots of time at police offices, I only walked past them and they even gave me shivers from the outside.]. He set his mouth in a pencil straight line, nodded his head, and led me out to the car. I sat in the back that time, with no desire to sit in the front seat for a while, and didn't speak a word the entire way home. I just sat in my seat and watched the familiar scenery pass by.