My alarm started to blare in my ear jerking me awake from another nightmare filled night, I looked over at the clock groggily as the angry red numbers pulsed in my face. My body felt heavy with sleep as I dragged myself into a sitting up position, Lily was still asleep next to me her young face peacefully glowing. I leaned over kissing her forehead as I slung myself out of the bed my feet hitting the cold tile flooring, a shiver ran up my legs and I stood up. It was far to early but I had to get both Lily and Robert for school then get my happy self off to work at the book store. I went into the shower and started up the hot water the steam billowing from the shower head.
I stripped off my loose fitting pajamas leaving them in a heap on the floor and stepped into the shower. The hot water ran over my body filling my tightened muscles with relief, I scrubbed my hair harshly trying to hurry as I got out of the shower. I dried myself off and found myself some jeans and a soft cotton t-shirt, I raked my comb through my hair pulling hard at knotts. I french braided it tightly before going back into my bedroom and crawled on the floor to my bed trying to dig out my beaten up pair of converse.
“ Lily… come on, it’s time for school,” I gently shook her awake watching her large coco brown eyes open.
“ No… too early…” She whined rolling over and getting herself out of bed, “ Do you have to go to work today Anna?”
I nodded a bit sadly, “ Sorry sweet. But, I’ve got to go.”
She sighed and went over to the small walk in closet that we had converted into a bedroom for my little six year old brother. It tore at my heart everytime I watched them get ready for school, or when they get ready to go to bed at night that there is no possible way for me to properly keep them safe and happy. Lily was barely eight at the time, she was always helping, she came home after school and fed Jack. Did the dishes, vacuumed, the laundry when there were quarters, and made sure that dinner was left over for when I got home. Jack always did his homework and got wonderful grades, he was quiet and peaceful.
I came home late most days, exhausted, I pay the bills, check the homework, I handle the responsibilities of the mother for the most part. Everyday I wonder, why did mom leave? Where was dad? While I was lost in thought Lily had gotten both her and her brothers...