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The Notice

To this day, I can still remember the feeling inside me when she showed me that piece of paper. I knew that things would never be quite the same after that.

This was the first time I remember my soul go cold, and I could feel something inside me shut down. I suppose it was my mind and body's way of protecting itself, since it became clear to me that no one else ever would.

I was sitting in the kitchen, eating my mom's spaghetti and meat-sauce. No one could cook like my mother, and it was always good, no matter what it was. She had the touch. I wish she would have taken her skill seriously and perused it. She was very artistic; she could cook, sew and had an eye for decorating.

Unfortunately, she never seemed to recognize her own talent, and only focused on the negatives in her life. She was stuck in the past, and no matter what, she refused to let it go and move on. She fed off her own bitterness, seeming to dwell on the bad things. It's a shame. I think she could have been really successful if she had just tried. But she chose another path. She chose not to move on.

I was sitting at our white kitchen table. It was only me and my mother at home. As usual, my brothers were not there. They rarely were. I don't blame them. If I had somewhere else to be, I would have stayed away as well. My stepfather was not home either, but I can't remember where he was. I guess it's not important, anyway.

She was in one of her moods, and had been for days. I never quite knew what to do or how to act. All I knew was that it was better to act happy and pretend that everything was okay. Showing too much emotion was never a good idea, since either being too happy or too sad would have a bad outcome. She was ranting about something, and I can't remember what. It could have been about anything, really, but it all added up to one thing in her mind: that everyone hated her, and didn't care about what happened to her.

No matter how many times I told her how much I loved her, and how much I needed her, she never heard me.

I wish I remember what set her off to begin with. I remember not talking much, just letting her rant on with me just being there to listen. I kept eating, and kept my eyes down, looking down into the bowl. She went to the cupboard in the kitchen that held my grandmother's wine glasses that we always used for Christmas dinner. I saw her reach up and grab something.

She was quiet for a while, and then she placed a small piece of paper by my bowl of spaghetti.

I picked it up and read it. It was a small newspaper clipping. I could not quite understand why she was showing it to me. I don't remember the name of the person it was about, but I do remember not recognizing the name. My mind was racing, trying to figure out the meaning of the news clipping. I think my subconscious understood, since I felt my throat tighten in fear, and the tears threatened to fall down my cheeks.

I looked up at her. Her eyes were a lovely hazel brown, but they could grow cold as ice. She showed no sympathy, only calm and collected anger as she spoke.

"That is what it will say on mine, after I am gone."

I remember the taste of fear in my mouth, while my heart was beating so fast that I was getting light-headed. In one hand, I was holding the fork, and in the other, the small piece of paper.

It was like nothing I had ever felt before. It was like a switch inside of me was flipped and black smoke seeped into my body, shutting me off and allowing me not to cry.

I always wondered how a mother could look at her frightened child and just leave her sitting there. She must have felt something, surely? Or, I guess, maybe she was so caught up in her own pain, that she did not see mine.

From that day forward, every day when I came home from school, I closed my eyes and went over the steps in my head, the steps I would have to take if she had followed through on her threat.

This was the day she showed me what she wanted written in her obituary .
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