by Chanel M. Sutherland
My mother wore a blue dress the night she left us. I was half-awake, watching her retreating figure shimmer in and out of my vision, sometimes as solid as a sapphire, other times translucent as fog.
I must have stirred because she stopped and turned. I remember she smiled. I don’t remember her walking back; I must have slipped into sleep again. Moments later when I resurfaced she was there, leaning over me. The heaviness and torpor of sleep battled fiercely with a nagging fear that something was wrong.
She spoke — words I’d heard her say many times before. Yet, on this particular morning, my four-year-old brain sensed a new weight to them.
“Be a good girl. Take care of your sister.”
Fading again, I said her name. Mommy.
When I fully woke, she was long gone, but the word lingered like a ghost throughout the room.