The storm arrived unannounced, all at once and full with fury, just like my mom did. It happened all in the same 24 hours and interrupted the small and quiet life I had finally built for myself. After years of picking up the pieces of my family’s life, I decided to stop cleaning up after others and make something for myself. It was a little late though, for a do-over I mean. I am in my late thirties and my Mom held me by the guilt in my gut for years. It all started when my sister was born. I was ten and before then it was just Mom and me. Before then the issues in my Mom’s life were too small for me to even notice or care. All her flaws were insignificant because at the end of each night she would read me a bedtime story and turn on the princess night light in the corner of my pink butterfly room. The smell of her cigarette in the distance reminded me she was right there. I was ten when my sister was born. My mom had been meeting some guy and next thing I know it my room became half of a poorly built nursery. My mom’s boyfriend left the picture as soon as he found out it was his child-not much worth than how my mother reacted. My mom’s denial of my baby sister is how I became a mom at the age of 11. This happened two more times, all with the same dead-beat guy who would pop in for a month or two and leave me with another child to take care of.
Almost 30 years later I finally left. The youngest, my brother had turned 18 and there was nothing I could do for them anymore. I had spent my whole life doing everything for them and left myself alone and abandoned. Seven years it took me to get my life on track. I worked at a local library and began reading furiously, trying to catch up on a childhood of stories. I started in the children’s section. Not because I couldn’t read well but because I found myself engulfed by the magic that left the pages- magic that I hadn’t ever experienced. I found my way into Junie B Jones chapter books and finally read Harry Potter. I always identified with Harry. Finally, seven years later I can recommend books with almost exact precision.
The storm raged that Thursday night right after I finished up my dinner. The wind picked up and the tall oak trees next to my apartment window scratched and squealed at every gust. The noise of the storm tuned out the knocking at the door until I finally heard it. As I turn the door handle my Mom who I had not seen in seven years was at my doorstep, drenched and enraged. That night there was yelling, and screaming and every bone in my body shook with immense energy. That night Mom tried to grasp me again by the guilt she had been the creator of and for the first time in my entire life I stood tall and proved to be stronger than the storm. She left, and I know that this time she is gone for good.
The next morning the debris from the storm outside my door had to be cleaned. There was a new leak in the ceiling, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t fix. The local news station reported a couple of deaths after the storm that swept through town. And among those was the passing of the power my mother held over my head. I stepped outside and headed to work. The sky was blue, and the air was the clearest it had been in a while. The storm had finally passed.