Happy Birthday Lisa.
The only thought that was going through mine and Allyson's minds as we walked down the dark street but neither one of us said it. We kept our eyes glued to the pavement and kept our feet in a forward motion toward the carnival ahead of us. We wanted a way to celebrate. We wanted a way to forget. She was the one woman that treated me like her own daughter and helped raise me when no one else would. She meant everything and we had to just keep our heads up. Neither one of us dared to say it out loud however.
Lisa was dead. She was gone and we still felt the weight of guilt.
Our hands were stamped in green ink as we passed through the gate and into the brightly colored world of fast movement and ex-convicts, otherwise known as carnies. The two of us strode immediately towards the people we knew and talked briefly. All of us gathered in our own desiganted groups and went off on our own twisted adventures.
Midway through the night, the base of my brain started to get a weird feeling within it. Almost like something was tightening around it, shutting me down. Suddenly the beautiful bright lights around me turned into my worst enemy as they towered over me and shoved me to the ground in a spinning mess. Allyson immediately saw this movement and sank to her knees to try to catch me. She missed of couse. Never did have very good coordination, but it didn't matter anyway. Everything was suddenly too loud, too fast, way too damn bright and I couldn't move. The tightening in my brain suddenly shot behind my eyes and I doubled over with a loud scream. The pain remained there, pulsing; daring me to open my eyes again. I pushed my palms into my eyes and fell over into the cool grass. Al had ran to get some cold water for me and before I knew it, the paramedics were holding me up.
Being in the home situation that I was in at the time, anyone with a bit of authority was bad news and I knew I had to get out of there. Bringing attention to myself is never a good idea. I waved them away; telling them I was just fine. It's just a headache and it'll go away soon.
"But you know migrianes are a neurological disease right? Have you gotten that checked? And by the way, where'd you get those bruises from, sweetie?"
Yeah right, like you really care about that, I thought. And I didn't care if my migrianes were a disease or not. I just wanted my pills so I could drift off someplace where I couldn't feel anything. Struggling to my feet and into Allyson's arms we walked away as Al waved off the questioning paramedics. We sank into the darkness and into the ravines that ran along the road so we wouldn't be pulled in to the usual fighting pits that formed in the parking lots.
We walked side by side for a very long time. Time doesn't quite have a meaning when those episodes happen but I could tell by Allyson's face that she was tired of the silence. We stopped outside of a small, run-down diner and layed down on top of the old pic-nic tables out front. She stared at the stars while my arms draped over my eyes and my breathing fell into rhythm with the pounding pain. I felt like going to sleep but I knew there was still too much hanging in the air for me to just turn off.
I could hear Allyson's soft sighing to my side, a couple sniffles, and then silence. I moved my arms and through the pain, I looked over at her.
"I really miss her, you know? I mean, I'm glad that dad stopped drinking and my brother is nicer to me now, but it just feels like I'm all alone sometimes. I try to hard to do what I think she'd want me to do, but I wish she was just there to tell me. Hell, I wish she'd give me rules, ground me, tell me to stay away from the boys. But she's gone....It was easier to deal with when she was in the nursing home because we knew she was at least still there. I miss my mom so much, Mariah. Why'd she have to die?"
I closed my eyes tightly again, but not because of the pain this time. I was looking for an answer. Lisa, please help me with this one, I kept thinking. My friend needed me now and even though she only asked me one question, it was the hardest that I could've ever been asked. But the more I looked for an answer, the more I suddenly realized that my pain was fading away. No medication needed. Perhaps it was just a lost mother's love. And suddenly I had the words.
"Remember when we were kids and we had to cover up all the mirrors and windows so Lisa wouldn't hurt from the light? She's walked into the purest light that anyone could imagine, and there's no pain. Remeber when she couldn't drive because of her siezures? She has beautiful wings now and I bet she's speeding to the ends of the universe just because she can. And after the wreck when she stayed in that bed half alive for those four years without being able to talk to us? She's with us now. She can see us, she can hear us, and she can speak to us now even if we can't always hear her. God wasn't taking her away, Allyson. He was giving her back to us."
The look on Allyson's face is one that I'll never forget. Through our disputes and down times; when I'm begging her to leave a man that uses her but she chooses to stay; during the times when I'm dragging her home in her drunkeness, I see her face on that night and I see her mother and I suddenly can't be mad at her anymore. I see every inch of serenity and goodness that she has in herself. Tears flooded her eyes and she leaned onto my shoulder. But she wasn't crying anymore. There was no sobbing or sniffling, no soaking my t-shirt. Only a sligh vibration that I at first mistook for silent sobbing. Then happeend the strangest outcome I could imagine. The slight vibration against my chest was her laughter. She suddenly looked up at me with light glistening in her eyes and took my hands. Her smile grew wider as she jumped to her feet on top of that table and pulled me up with her.
When we were younger we used to tell each other a line that we were going to say together and then count to three and shout it. Sort of like we were telepathic twins, only we were cheating. She held out her hand in front of my face and began to count down. She didn't even have to say the phrase first. The words had been there the entire time. On three we threw our heads back and shouted up to the heavens. To Lisa, wherever she is.
"Happy Birthday, Mom! We love you!