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Pure Heart: Chapter One

Pure Heart: Chapter One

Tonight I've fallen and I can't get up. I need your loving hands to come pick me up...

"...and every night I miss you I can just look up and know the stars are holding you, holding you, holding you tonight." -Tonight by FM Static.

The cemetery is empty when she reaches it; silent except for the drone of the town pastor. She grabs the yellow rose and the cassette tape off the passenger's seat and walks toward the grave, her lips already trembling. Nobody showed. Of course, she knew already that neither Sara nor Daniel would show. She hadn't spoken to either in over two weeks, but even if she had they'd have just told her they were too busy. Too busy to support her while she planned her mother's funeral all on her own. She could really pick 'em.

The pastor finishes with the passage she chose for him to read. While she's not particularly religious herself, her mother followed her parent's devout Catholic beliefs, so she made sure to follow them in the planning of her mother's funeral. Her uncle and his wife would be proud to know that... if they had bothered to show up. They would be here tomorrow to pick Liz up. She would go live with them and her cousin until she was old enough to move back to the tiny little house on Acorn. She'd called them a week ago to let them know what was going on. They'd said they had work. She didn't push the matter. She and her mom hadn't spoken to them in years, so if they didn't come it was no big deal . That's what she tries to tell herself anyway, but as she covers the grave with the roses and speaks her few words, the tears begin to fall and her heart screams for someone to be there with her--Anyone to be there with her--as she plays the song she'd written three months previous when her mom's savings had run dry and the treatments had stopped.

These months have been so hard,
always sending much more money out
than ever comes in,
just hoping for that one day where
the doctor says it's okay.

You've always said that we'll make it
through somehow, together--
not alone--we can do anything,

Even when it's so hard
just to get out of bed
and when I just can't breathe
and my heart feels dead,
I'll remember all of the words you said,
"Even when your world seems to fall all apart,
just remember me , I'll be in your heart."
Mom, I'll remember...
I'll remember.

The chemo and the radiation
and all the odd medication
kept you alive longer than we ever
could have hoped, but I remember
your words, near the end.
"I'm not living, baby,
I feel like I'm already dead."
And you died smiling, after
the treatments' end.

We made it through together--
not alone. Like you said,
we can do anything,

And even when it's so hard
just to get out of bed
and when I just can't breathe
and my heart feels dead,
I'll remember all of the words you said,
"Even when your world seems to fall all apart,
just remember me , I'll be in your heart."
Mom, I'll remember,
I'll remember...

Yellow roses and hazel eyes,
Tiny houses and old cars
and hopeful smiles 
and all these pleading tears.
"I'll hold your hand if you hold mine."
Just hold on tight.

And now when it's so hard
just to get out of this bed
and when I just can't breathe
and when I'm falling, falling, falling
and my heart feels dead.
Mom, I'll remember all those words you said
"Even when your world falls all apart,
Remember me. I'm always in your heart."
Oh Mom, I remember those words you said,
and I remember saying them back.

Take my hand, just hold on tight.
"I'll hold yours if you hold mine."
Mom, I'll remember...
"I'll be in your heart."

"I'll be in your heart."

You'll be in my heart...

Mom, I'll remember.

The pastor's hand lands on her shoulder and she realizes the song is over and it's time to go. Her blurred vision is a small problem, but she packs up the music tape, and whispers a final "goodbye Mom, I love you," and heads back to her car.

She's halfway there when she runs into somebody--literally--and is about to fall backward on her butt when an arm wraps itself 'round her waist to catch her.

"Woah. Easy there. No fainting on my watch. Or, at least warn me when you're going to, so I can be all heroic and catcha." The voice chuckles softly and the sound breaks through the haze that had settled over her. She was just trying to make it to her car in one piece--once there, She could fall apart--but the sound of Daniel's voice flows through the cracks in her armor like water eroding rock, and the dam breaks, opening the flood gates. A strangled sound fills the air and it takes her a second to realize it's herself. If Danny hadn't been there, holding onto her, she would have fallen to her knees.

His soft sigh rustles her hair as he wraps his arms around her and holds onto her, tightly. The sobs tear through her body like a tornado through a small town. They destroy her stomach--she leans away to dry heave into the bushes. Then they go after her lungs and her gasps turn to hyperventilating. The arms tighten around her as if to pull her pieces together again--like Humpty Dumpty--but it's just too late, because now the destruction has reached her heart. The rubble left is so scattered, it may take years to rebuild.

"Shhh... I know it hurts, and it will for a while, but she's somewhere better. She's okay now, and you will be too."

The sobbing slowly turns to hiccups--a tornado to a rainstorm--and she sniffles, muffling her answer in his neck.

"How can you be so sure? It's been my mother and me for my whole life. The two of us against the world. How do I...? How can I...?" She wipes her eyes once she's run out of tears to cry, her chest aching and her eyelids drooping. She's cried herself tired.

"Because you're strong. You're tougher on your own than you know, Lizbeth. You'll be okay." He pauses and smiles gently, "Besides, you have me."

"Great." She mutters, but it really is. Up until a few months ago, they hadn't spoken for years. It was really nice to have him back. It was wonderful to have him here. He always knew what to say, unlike Sara and the others who would have just offered up shopping.

"C'mon, I'll drive ya home. You need help packing?" He looks a little hopeful, but she just shakes her head.

"Everything but my essentials are packed away already... but... if you want to stay for a while... It's pretty weird being in the house... alone." Her voice breaks, but the tears don't come from her dry eyes.

"Sure Lizbeth. Anything you need. I'm always here."

She just nods, and he helps her into his truck's passenger seat, and they head home.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright 2012-2021 by Aria Leitner aka Colors_of_the_Wind

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