Absent

By. L

Absent

ABSENT

I held the picture in my hand, the only picture I had left to remember her face. It had been torn, burned, and ripped but I still took it everywhere I went. The woman in the picture that I constantly stared at with longing desperation, is my Mother. Now, I say mother but she didn’t raise me, in fact I have never met her or even heard her voice. A mission or journey I should say is what I embarked on, that scorching summer day in June. Summer in California makes you feel as if your blood is boiling, but I was fixed on her. The woman in the picture, the woman with the dark eyes and Raven Black hair, and I too have these exquisite traits . Up until this day I was made to believe that I was different; Deceived, lied to, and trapped in a life that was truly never mine. On the back of the picture were too small words, Don’s Diner.

When I found the diner I didn’t immediately go in. I sat down, in the heat watching from afar, to see if maybe I could get a glimpse of her. I don’t know what exactly I expected to find, but I wanted it all the same. There was this hole, like a piece of me was missing, a hole that I was determined to fill, whatever the cost may be. Finally gathering my courage, I walked into the diner and sat down at the table in the very back. Shoving my hood quickly on, I peered out at people every so often. The waitress came over to me with a big smile on her face, what can I get you darling? She said, I replied; Just some pie, please. Cindy was her name, and she stared at me for about 10 seconds and then remarked “you have money don’t you?” I slapped 10 dollars on the table and she walked away and a moment later I heard the diner door open. When I looked up, what felt like a shot of adrenaline coursed through my body. The woman that had walked in had raven black hair but I couldn’t see her face. Then just as I was about to get up and charge her, she turned around. Mom! I shouted out at her, and then quickly regretted it. As I moved my eyes down from hers, down to her cheeks and then her chin, I realized that she was not the woman in the picture. My excitement and Joy quickly turned into sadness and my composure became zombie-like. Embarrassed and distraught I raced out of the diner, tears streaming down my face. I sat down and put my head on my legs, why did I go on this journey?

When I returned home my parents were furious, they wanted answers, answers to where a 17-year-old girl could have been. They thought I was out doing drugs or getting drunk with my nonexistent friends. I couldn’t bring myself to tell them. Even though I hated them for lying to me, I wanted to tell them what I had found stashed in the back of their closet, and where I had gone impulsively but I decided to keep it a secret.

When graduation approached I had a swirl of emotions. I was finally going to get out of this small cramped town and make something of myself. However, I found myself thinking of her again. Instead of going on another miserable trip, I decided to do what an adult would do, since I am 18 now, and I hired a private detective. His name was Sheldon get it done-Pinkerton, and yes that was his legal name. Sheldon was not born with the middle name get it done. Whatever lifestyle choices he made to bring him to that decision of changing his middle name to get it done, I will never know, but he did live up to it. I found Sheldon on craigslist of all things, I know kinda shady, but I was desperate and running out of time. I did not want to start my new life with unfinished business and if I didn’t find her before I graduated that’s exactly what would happen. Sheldon got right to work, he took a blood sample, a saliva sample, and started his pursuit. Sheldon didn’t really seem like the reliable type, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, seeing as how he was less shady than the other two I had asked for help.

The day before graduation I got a call from Sheldon, he wanted to see me in person and said it was important. As I walked through the dusty, moldy, and pungent building where he works and lives, I could hear my heart pounding. Soon, my heart was the only thing that I could hear, I imagined walking through the door and seeing her standing there. I tried not to get my hopes up too high, I started getting flashbacks of Don’s Diner. I arrived at Sheldon door, the S in Sheldon on the door was scratched off so it read Heldon. I could see the silhouette of Sheldon standing behind the door, I took a deep breath and reached for the door knob. As it creaked open I saw Sheldon standing there, he had this look, a look that can only be described as morose. Sheldon asked me to sit down and said that he had found my mother. I couldn’t stop smiling, I was so happy but yet Sheldon still looked gloomy. Then he said my name and paused; Caroline, your mother died seven years ago. My joy and happiness once again was ripped from my grasp, and I could see her face in my mind fading as he said those words.

Graduation day was finally here, and even though I feel grief I also feel relieved. I will never know her, the woman in the picture, the woman with the raven black hair and dark eyes. But I am relieved, maybe I was never meant to know her. The ghost that has haunted my dreams, mind, and life. As I looked out in the crowd I could see my parents sitting there smiling and tears of joy filling their eyes and for the first time in my life, I felt whole.

fact or fiction
Read next: Understanding the Effects of Addiction on the Family
Lauren sosa
See all posts by Lauren sosa