Chapter Twenty - Sunrise On The Cliffs

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Mom as frail as she still was helped me to my feet and ushered me into the car she had been sitting in. Once I was seated she walked around to the other side and opened the door, sitting beside me in the back seat of the station wagon. Despite my complete confusion, relief washed over me and in that moment all I felt, was thankful that I had found her. All too quickly the relief allowed the confusing that had been simmering to boil over. I was confused as to why she was here, why she had left rehab, and why she hadn't even told me she was leaving? She must have sensed my confusion because without even needing to say a word she grabbed my hand with hers and squeezed gently.

"Emelia, I know you must have a million and one questions for me." She paused then let out a soft sigh. "The truth is, I haven't had such a clear head since before your father died."

A few days and she was cured? Was that even possible? I wished it was, but I knew realistically getting clean didn't work like that. I'd watched her try to stop once before, she'd been so ill. The withdrawals alone seemed to be enough to tip the scales back into addiction.

"A clear head doesn't mean the urge to drink won't come back." I replied warily.

"I know." She whispered back. "But something else happened and being in that place... it was no longer conducive to what I need."

I frowned. What had happened to change her mind so fast? It had been her idea to go this time, I hadn't sent her kicking and screaming. My stomach dropped, maybe she had only ever gone to please me, because she thought it was what I wanted.

"Mom, If you only went because of me then -"

She squeezed my hand harder and shook her head emphatically. "Honey, I wanted to go. I wanted to get better not only for you... my beautiful, patient daughter, but for myself as well. I've wasted so much time...." Her voice trailed off and wavered near the end of her sentence. I looked at her, as she stared out at the dark abyss in front of us. A tear rolled down her cheek, then another and another. I swallowed hard, my resolved crumbled and I turned to face her completely.

"Mom, what's going on?" I pleaded, she was holding something back, I hear in her voice.

Mom looked down at my hand in hers and pulled it in close to her chest. She sighed deeply and then began to speak.

"When I was in the hospital the doctors ran a few tests. A couple of them had came back abnormal. So the Hospital arranged for some more tests to be done at the rehab clinic once I was there and they confirmed this morning that I have cancer."

Her words assaulted me, winded me, filled me with a pain I had once felt and had never wanted to feel again. I couldn't lose her too. Not like Dad, not when I was finally going to get her back.

This wasn't happening, it just couldn't. Cancer? Fuck Cancer.

"So you're out of rehab for Chemo right?" I whispered, my voice barely even there, I tried to sound strong like her words hadn't just rocked me to the core but I failed miserably. Tears fell from my face in thick streams as I gazed at my beautiful mother who somehow was keeping composure as I fell apart. She shook her head and pulled me in close, until my head nestled against her. She held me like she had when I was a child, and for a moment I felt safe.

But that moment was only fleeting, because when she spoke next, she murmured the words I had hoped I wouldn't hear.

"I'm dying Emelia."

I shook my head, refusing to believe that any of this was real. I closed my eyes and begged to waked up from whatever horrible nightmare I'd found myself in. Only I didn't wake up somewhere else, because this was real.

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