SHORT STORY | Drowning in Empty Spaces

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“Mom…,” I called to her, looking at her unmoving body. “Mom, come on, don’t do this to me. Help!” I screamed at the top of my lungs, hoping someone could hear. “Somebody help us… my mom… please help!”

I ran out of the room and screamed for help down the street. My tear-stained face marred that of a desperate girl; begging for help and inwardly praying for someone to answer. It was half-past three in the morning. I was seven, so I couldn’t understand what was happening. It confused me.

On the floor my mom laid, swimming in a pool of crimson liquid and cuts adorned her once flawless skin. I was glued to where I stood, my eyes staring at her lifeless ones.

I felt my cousin beside me. “What happened?”

“Help my mom, please.” I begged him. 

Mom’s room was filled with people trying to revive her and I just stood there, still trying to comprehend what had just happened. Then the ambulance came to pick her up. They covered her in a white blanket as men carried her unto the waiting vehicle. It devastated me. I waited for her, but she hasn’t come back since dawn. 

“Good morning, Magenta.” The old lady said. “Come and stay with me now, dear.” 

I was confused and stood looking at her; she looked like my mother but older. She had wrinkles, was wearing a dress and smelled like vanilla. I was observing her. I can see sadness through her eyes while she was holding my hands. “You poor little thing.” She said as she hugged me.

I was an only child. My father left us before I was born but my mom never failed to pour her love to me and I have never once felt empty like I did now. I never knew my father because my mom never spoke about him, not even once. I missed her. Where can she be? That question kept running in my mind while the old lady was packing my things and my mom’s.

“Where’s mom?” I asked. 

“Oh sweetie, she is in heaven now. She will be there for a very long time. I am your grandmother. You will stay with me now.” She smiled before continuing. “Aren’t you happy? You will stay with me forever.”

Eight years passed. At fifteen, I was still living with my grandmother. She took care of me and gave me what I needed, like what mom used to do. She was amazing, telling me stories about her and mom, and what she was like when she was young. She taught me how to cook, read and other things. 

I was in ninth grade and was not a fan of going to school. I always got bullied for my appearance, and it took me a while to get used to it. I felt like an outcast. Even my teachers didn’t care about me or what I did. I had always been so passionate about singing and dancing, but whenever I showed my skills they would always criticize me, telling me I was not good enough. It slowly killed my confidence until I had enough and stopped. It embarrassed me. Since then, I hated people even more. I felt unwelcome and thought I should just vanish. Sometimes, I think maybe I was born on the wrong planet.

When I finally finished high school, my grandmother died. I guess the world didn’t want me to be happy. It crushed my soul and turned me into a monster. I never let people to talk to me and blocked anyone who got too close for my comfort. I became intimidating, and I loved it. 

College came, and I took accountancy. I even received a full scholarship. In school, I let no one win against me. I did well and graduated. I passed the board exam and owned a firm. Success was like winning a lottery, and thinking about the people who degraded me, I only had one thing in mind -revenge.

In my company, I would always order things to be in place and required to pass all the requirements on time; slacking off was punishable, and I made sure to always get the message across. 

Then, there’s a viral outbreak -COVID 19 which resulted to other companies shutting down. I prepared my people, implementing policies, encouraging the use of personal protective equipment, and following the Department of Health’s safety requirements.

One day, I received a call from my business partner saying that gatherings were canceled because of the pandemic. I didn’t take it seriously as I was healthy. So, wearing my mask, I went out for grocery and other necessities. I got home and while washing my hands; I tuned in on the news; the viral disease was getting worse by the day. They imposed the quarantine.

Days passed, I experienced high fever and dry cough. I thought it was just flu, but breathing became hard. I felt like I was drowning and before I knew it; I was in an ambulance on my way to the hospital. Unfortunately, hospitals refused to take me in. Minutes passed, my breathing was deteriorating and as I passed out, I saw her. My mom.

“Magenta, my baby, you have come! I’ve been waiting for a very long time, watching over you. How are you, my love?” She was standing beside grandma, both smiling and looking beautiful. Crying, I reached out and held them.

“Oh dear, your heart is filled with hatred and guilt, how did everything turn out like this? I taught you love. So, fill those spaces with love and not emptiness.” Grandmother said, disappointed.

“It is not yet your time, Magenta. We will see each other soon. Teach yourself to love and they will love you back.” Mom kissed my forehead. “I love you dear, forever.”

“Check her pulse!”

“She is back!”

“Ms. Magenta, we almost lost you. This is a miracle!”

My lungs felt heavy as I scanned the place. The scene with my loved ones was still vivid. I cried, causing the nurse to immediately tend to me. 

“How are you feeling?” she asked. 

“I’m fine. But earlier I saw my mom and grandma. I want to see them again, even just in my dream.” 

The nurse gave me water, listening intently. Then, I remembered what my mother told me, a chance to love and be loved. I closed my eyes and prayed that God would give me a chance to do what my mom made me promise. 

“Negative. Congratulations, Ms. Magenta! You survived the virus! “

I never felt such a victory before this virus hit me like a brick. I knew changes needed to be done in my life. I saw a new perspective about things and it gave me a purpose by God, that’s why he gave me another chance. Looking at the mirror, I saw a person who has so much to offer than before. 

“Thank you, Ms. Magenta Padrigan for your donations!” 

Donating and helping people satisfied me more than ever. Forgiving the people who hurt me felt like releasing the chains that bound me from the heaviness that I had been carrying since my mother died. Looking at the happy faces, I could finally feel the love bursting in my heart and I can’t help but cry because I can feel my mother with me. The virus might be deadly but the actions that we were showing is worse than the virus itself. I had found the antidote. It was here all along. Love was the cure but where can we find it? Who was it? It’s simple: God is Love. Luckily for me, I had found my way back to Him and now, I am cured.

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