Triangle of Promises

A story about a mother who uses lies to keep her promise to her daughter.

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8. Mum's POV

 

As soon as I see her, I feel myself breaking down again. A mixture of confusion and hurt is written across her face as she's pulled into the room and pushed into the seat in front of me. Nerves begin to swirl in my stomach, and I can feel bile rising in my throat. But I push it down. Because I have to.

I'm lucky they've given me this chance - the last chance to speak to her until she has to be taken away to be 'fixed'. And I'm grateful. But how am I meant to tell her? That all along I've been hiding the darkest secret, yet only in an attempt to keep a promise from the one person I loved?

The policeman gives us a moment to look each other in the eye, before saying. "You know the rules. Now stay seated, and we'll just be outside."

He leaves, the clicking of the door so loud in our silence. And I'm lost for words. Where do I begin? 

"Mia...I -"

But before I can really start I see a lonely tear fall from the corner of her eye, and I watch as it falls to her hand, laid out on the table in front of us. I watch her shoulders trembling with fear, her eyes red from tears and red from anger. 

"I'm so sorry, Mia. I'm so so sorry..." Tears begin to prick at my own eyes and I resist the temptation to run over and hug her tight. I must stay strong.

"Why am I here?" It comes out as a whisper, her voice hoarse. But how do I reply when I'm facing my worst nightmare? The nightmare I've dreamt about having for years now? The one I've always been trying to prevent.

I run a hand through my hair. "Mia, I'm sorry..."

"Don't tell me you're sorry!" She yells suddenly, banging her fist on the table, "You tell me we have to run from Dad, you shove me in a hotel room, and now I've ended up in a fucking police station! What happened?! Why can't you tell me what happened and stop telling me how fucking sorry you are?"

And I hate myself in this moment. I let her down. I let my own daughter down by thinking the truth is the best way out. And I don't know what to do but cry. Tears fly down my face, stinging my cheeks and I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry and yet it isn't enough.

"I tried to keep you safe," I cry, eyes focusing on the table rather than her bloodshot pupils, "I tried to save you, to save you from everyone but I couldn't do it any longer. I broke my promise to your Father and to you and I'm sorry. I just..."

I ball my hands into fists, wanting to punch the table out of hurt, out of pain, out of grief. I'm so stupid. I'm ruining her. I'm ruining her life!

"What is it, Mum?" And I can't bear the pain in her eyes, "What aren't you telling me?"

"He's gone." I whisper, tears streaming down my face, "He's gone and I'm lost and I promised him more. I promised him more than this."

"Who's gone, Mum? Who's gone?!" She yells, suddenly panicked. And I don't know if I can tell her. I just don't know yet. This is only part of it.

"Your Father." 

I tremble, my body shivering as I watch her react, confusion once more plastered across her face.

"But he's after us. Shouldn't it be okay that he's gone because we're safe?" She questions.

"You don't understand!" I say, "he was never after us!"

"Well if he was never after us, then why did you take me away?" Her voice begins to rise.

"To protect you, Mia. All I've wanted to do is protect you..."

"To protect me from what?" She shouts, beginning to lose her temper. "Protest me from what, Mum? From death? So I wouldn't know what this cruel world does to people? So I don't have to deal with it? I'm not a child! I know how to deal with the consequences of death. I know, Mum! I fucking know!"

"Then why won't you listen to me?" I cry, agitated that she doesn't understand. She never understood! She never will! She doesn't know what I've been through...

"Fine! Tell me the reason you protected me from it all then?" She counters, "Tell me why you protected me from my own Father's death?"

"Because you did it, okay?" I scream, tears raw than ever before attacking my face, attacking hers, piercing whatever love used to be between us. 

"You did it," I whisper, falling back into my seat.

And I know now that whatever is left is broken. Whatever relationship now lies is gone. And I can almost see the memories flying before her eyes, in recognition, in realisation.

"I killed him." She whispers, hands shaking, shoulders sagging, body heaving in grief. "I killed him."

And all there is left to do is slip my hand onto the table, over hers. 

Because I did what I could.

I tried to protect her.

But sometimes you have to do what you're afraid to do, and let go of the ones you loved the most.

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