Brave Girls Don’t Cry

TW: car accident, mention of a mild childhood trauma experience

The room had dusky pink curtains with a slightly raised thread pattern, I can clearly see them outlining the mission brown painted window sill. My little night light bathes the room in a warm glow behind me but It’s dark outside and cold, I can feel the chill on the glass pressed against my forehead as I stare past my reflection and into the abyss watching the moonlight reflects off Mrs B next doors’ immaculate white pebbled driveway.

My hot breath fogs up the glass and I am suddenly aware I’m crying, crying because I’m allowed to cry here alone in the night, I am allowed to stop pretending when nobody can see me.

The phone rang earlier when I was already meant to be asleep but I wasn’t, I was still reading. I heard Dad answer “Hello” then he said “where is she?” Then I heard his footsteps as he came up the stairs and told me “mums been in an accident” and we went straight to see her at the hospital.

There’s a nurse sitting on a chair at the end of the bed watching her. Checking to make sure she’s breathing I guess. I asked if she is going to die, Dad said he doesn’t know, he looks scared, I’ve never seen him look scared before. Her face is messed up pretty bad, I had to be brave and not be scared to look at her, I was starting to cry but the nurse told me not to cry, she said I had to be a big brave girl and look after my Daddy now.

I am trying to be brave and not be scared but she looks really scary, I know she’s my mum but she doesn’t look like my mum anymore. Her eyes are so swollen they can’t open anymore, there’s blood on her and she has a lot of tubes everywhere making her breath and machines checking if her heart is still beating. She has to have a really big operation tomorrow and I know I might never see her again and if she does live then she might never be able to see again or walk again.

That makes me sad, I can’t imagine her being dead or blind or in a wheel chair. I know I’m supposed to be brave but I need to cry I can’t help it, I really don’t want her to die. I shouldn’t have let her go out tonight, I knew that a bad thing was going to happen, I knew it, I even asked her not to go but she went anyway and I should have tried harder to stop her.

Maybe I shouldn’t have told her not to go, maybe that made her take a moment longer to drive away and that’s why the bus hit her car, and that’s why she might die now. I don’t want to have to go to her funeral, I don’t know what funerals are really like just what I see on TV.

I imagine my own funeral sometimes when I’m sad, but I don’t think anyone would really want to come.

Maybe they’d say nice things about me? I think you have to wear black and it’s always raining and everyone cries and wears sunglasses even though it’s raining. Would I have to say things

about my mum? Would I have to tell everyone it was my fault?

I was 9 when that happened but the memory was mostly lost until today. She didn’t die, she walked and her vision was okay. I know she spent weeks in the hospital but I don’t remember anything else until the day she came home, a fleeting moment of hilarity for an otherwise difficult time.

My parents and I walked up to the front door of our house and our cat rubbed against mums legs apparently excited that she had returned, she said hello to him and he meowed then looked up at her where he saw the big white bandages all over her face, then he just yowled and ran away as fast as he possibly could. We all just laughed and laughed and laughed.

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