The shrill sound of my daughter's scream wakes me. I groan as I roll over and look at my alarm clock. 5 am! You might be wondering if it's Christmas morning...well it's not. My 8 year old daughter Alexis, entered a contest at our local mall and won. The prize, an afternoon of bowling fun with her favorite boyband 'One Direction'. She flies through my door and launches herself onto my bed. My name is Faith. I'm a 23 year old single mother. I had Lexi when I was 16. I've been on my own since I found out I was pregnant. I've worked hard to make a life for us both. I have shoulder length straight auburn hair and green eyes. I'm nothing special, but my daughter...she's beautiful with red curly hair that falls to the middle of her back and striking green eyes, she looks more like her father than me. I would do anything in the world for her. My life is all about her. I don't have time for relationships. They usually always end in disappointment and heart break, and it's not just my heart I have to consider anymore, it's Lexi's too. I don't mind though, it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.
"Lexi honey, it's 5 o'clock in the morning. We're not going until this afternoon... Please go back to bed...", I groan and roll over.
"But mommy, I turned the coffee machine on... There's coffee...", she says, tempting me from my bed. Pathetic I know. It's my weakness. Coffee. Love it, want it, could put it an IV...and Lexi knows the best way to butter me up is by filling me with it.
"Ok, Lexi... You said the magic word... I'm up..."
"Aren't you excited mommy?"
"Not as excited as you", I smile dragging myself from the warmth of my bed.
"I think you will be when we get there... "
"Why?", I question.
"Because, I think you're going to fall in love today..."
"Woah there little girl! Alexis, mommy is not falling in love today. What makes you think that?!"
"You're lonely, mommy. I hear you...crying, at night sometimes..."
I suck a breath in through my teeth and try to regain composure before answering her. "Lexi, I-I'm happy with things just the way they are...", I stammer. My smart, beautiful eight year old daughter, always taking care of me, worrying about me. It's not right. "So, what do you want to do to get ready? I can paint your nails?, I ask, trying to change the subject. Her face lights up a bit.
"Ok, and I'll paint yours", she replies, running off to her room.
I walk out and pour myself a huge cup of coffee and flick on the radio while I start making some breakfast for Lex and I. Toast, eggs and apple juice. I mindlessly listen to the announcer as I work.
"Welcome to the Natashia Silversides Show, broadcasting live from London. On this morning's show we're talking about wishes and dreams." My wish is to change the station I think to myself as I take a big gulp of my coffee.
"Caller, you're on the air...go ahead."
"My name is Alexis... but my mom calls me Lexi..."
"How old are you, Lexi?"
"You're up early... Ok, Lexi...What's your wish?"
"My mom needs a boyfriend..."
"You don't like the one she has?"
"She doesn't have one... I think she's lonely..."
"Have you talked to her about this?"
I grab the frying pan off the stove and use the spatula to scoop the eggs onto our plates. "Alexis! Breakfast is ready...", I call.
"I tried this morning, but she says she's happy with our life the way it is... but if she's happy then why does she cry at night when she thinks I don't hear her..."
"Lexi, is your mum home? Can you ask her to talk to me?"
"No! She'll be angry..."
"She won't be angry when she hears how concerned you are about her well being..."
"Wanna bet? Mom, there's someone on the phone for you..." Lexi calls from her bedroom.
"Her name is Faith..."
Oh my god. I drop the plates on the counter as my name is broadcasted over the radio waves for all the population of the UK to hear. My heart is pounding and my palms are sweaty. I reach for the other cordless phone and hit the talk button.
"Hello? Faith are you there?"
"You called a RADIO STATION?!", I shout down the hall!
"Her wish is that you find a boyfriend. She's worried about you. She thinks you're lonely..."
"ALEXIS GRACE, get out here... I'm not going through this alone!", I shout, putting my hand over the receiver.
"Faith, it's her wish. When was your last relationship?"
"Um, not sure really...", I answer, trying to be vague.
"It's been at least 8 years...cause I'm 8...", Lexi offers up.
"Lexi! I thought your wish was to meet 'One Direction', you can't have two wishes, that's greedy!", I snap.
"What's holding you back Faith?", Natashia probes.
"Um, I don't really know. I just don't have the time I guess..."
"Where's Lexi's dad?"
"He's not in the picture. Wasn't ready to be a dad..." I say, as my voice wavers. "But that's ok, we're fine. I'm fine... We'll both be fine, just as soon as I break her radio..."
"Maybe Lexi's right, maybe it's time you got out there... We'll be back after an important word from our sponsors, with our listener response segment."
"What's that?", I ask, staring at Lexi.
"Listeners get to call in and dump on you..."
"This is really fun. And helpful... Thanks Lexi..." I say, my voice dripping with sarcasm.
"And we're back... Let's take a call from one of our listeners now. Go ahead you're on the air..."
"I'd like to have her telephone number. I'd take her out..."
A loud groan escapes my lips as I slump down against the cupboards onto the kitchen floor. Could this be anymore humiliating. My wish is to hang up. I hold the receiver away from my ear, gazing at it intently, then I shift my gaze back to Lexi. Her green eyes are burning a hole through my face. I sigh and put the phone back up to my ear.
"We're not that kind of program... Faith, can I ask you a question?"
"Can I stop you?"
"Faith, are you afraid of letting someone get close because you might get hurt?"
"I'm a single mom, who's just trying to get by and give my daughter the best possible life I can... It's not about me anymore."
"What are you going to do?" she asks.
Gosh, I hope this is almost over, "I'm going to get out of bed every morning, go to work and bust my tail to make enough money to put food on our table and keep a roof over our heads, to give my daughter the happy life she deserves, and breathe in and out all day, and after a while I hope I won't have to remind myself every morning that I have a reason to do it."
"And there you have it folks, you've been listening to the Natashia Silversides Show, broadcasting live from London. A special thank you to Faith and Alexis for being with us this morning. From myself and everyone else, I wish you future health and happiness."
Lexi and I both hang up our phones together. I feel completely exhausted and on the verge of an emotional break down. I rise and walk down the hall quietly to my bedroom. "You're breakfast is on the counter Lexi, mom's going to take a shower...", I say, before shutting the door to the bathroom and locking the door. I turn the water on hot and step into the steamy oasis, before finally giving in to the sobs rising from my core. I try so hard to make Lexi's life a good one, but one thing I can never be...is her dad.