Here's To The Pain

Pain, or more specifically, grief, has five stages. They look different on all of us, but there are always five - denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. This story gives a small glimpse about how to deal with pain.


2. The Fascinating Girl

   Addison Stuart wakes up when a thin, distinct ray of sunlight falls on her face, only to find her sister’s little fingers wrapped around hers, tightly. She is having those horrible nightmares again. The poor thing has already been through a lot lately, she thinks. She slowly loosens her sister’s grip on her own hand, affectionately stroking her dirty blonde hair and slides away from the bed, slips into her usual jeans and throws on some decent t-shirt. Then, she waits.

   As she gazes at her lovely sister breathing ever so softly in her sleep, she feels her thoughts directing her to a time long ago when her sister used to be so carefree and happy. Days of when they were so full with the sweet and spice of life that they felt everything was going for them. The time just before when they were thrown over by their father in the wide solitary desert of the complicated outside world to deal with the problems, alone. How could he have even thought of doing that? Abandoning his own family just for the fun of screwing other people, as if he would achieve the greatest of things by doing something so grotesque…

   An ear-splitting shriek stirs her flooding brain, and she is not shaken by this. The source of this deafening disturbance is definitely her mother, her sick and ailing mother. She wakes up every day screaming at the top of her voice like a paranoid. Every day. Well, she is not the one to blame. She did not ask for this to happen.

   Addison’s sister, Lexie, abruptly wakes up and her eyes immediately search the entire room until they find her elder sister. She gets off the bed and darts for her, enclosing Addison’s waist securely in her arms. “It’s okay, Lex. Mom has just been a little off the edge, you know, because of the…,” Addison clears her throat to sound a bit brave from the outside, while inside her is a feeling of someone constantly hitting her gut with a baseball bat. With great difficulty she manages to say, “Just remember, it was the tumor screaming, not mom.”

   That’s right. Just when Addison had thought that things couldn’t get any worse, her mother was diagnosed with brain tumor, therefore crushing even the narrowest ray of hope left with her. Already shaken deeply by her husband’s unpredictable abandonment, her mother couldn’t take it anymore and was utterly driven mad by the course of events. The amount of money required for the treatment was simply unaffordable. Short-term memory loss and fatigue took up next and deprived her of what little was left of her. The doctors strictly ordered bed rest, and Addison had to take up the family’s responsibility to manage a square meal a day to keep filling their hungry stomachs. She got employed for a part-time job as a waitress at an Inn a few blocks away to scrape out a living.

   “Addie, when will this all be over?” Lexie asks with her hazel eyes glancing at her innocently. Oh no, not the eyes. Addison tries hard, very hard, not to get teary-eyed. Lexie has been very dauntless and courageous while going through all this hell. When she used to see the battle her mother fought, the pain she endured, the torture she scrambled through, she would just stand and stare straight at her feet, not knowing what to do.

   Struggling with her vocal chords for quite some time Addison finally speaks, “I don’t know, sweetheart. Let’s just hope this ends soon. But remember, when you lose hope, your sister who loves you inexplicably, will always be there for you.” Lexie shoots a vague smile towards Addison, filling her with rushing warmth. Addison smiles back.

   They both stare at each other for a long time. Finally, not able to stand the silence, Addison catches a glimpse of the clock and pretends to be worried, saying, “Oh my! You are going to be late for your class and make me late for mine! Hurry!” She hastily stows things in her bag, helps Lexie change her clothes and prepares to leave along with her when the door opens, showing a slim, long-necked women carrying a handbag. “Aunt Madge! Thank goodness you arrived on time, we were just leaving for school.”

   Aunt Madge has been a big helping hand. While Lexie was busy at school like Addison was, who was also consumed with her job at the Inn, she was the one who aided their mother and assisted her to recover to some point so that their mother at least had a teeny bit of sense of sanity.

   “Yeah, whatever, get the hell outta here, quick!”, she snaps. She may seem rude sometimes, but that’s another story. That woman yanked them out of the sea of despair when they were just about to drown. She may as well deserve some respect.

   Addison sprints out of the door with Lexie after waving a hasty good-bye to aunt Madge towards the bus standing in front.

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