Midori was still sitting on the rock with her head down. The shock of having seen her mother dead was something she never really thought she’d see with her own eyes so soon. Even though it was a dream, it seemed too real, as if her mother were truly dead. It took Midori a while to regulate her breathing and calm down. Atlas was next to her, patiently waiting for her. He knew it wasn’t appropriate for him to speak first. Midori closed her eyes and sighed, trying to push down all those emotions she was feeling. She brought her hand to her heart and lightly clenched her blouse.
Midori looked up to the sky. The tears finally started to fall down, leaving her eyes red. She took a deep breath and looked forward. She was ready to talk.
— It… it was my mother.
Hearing her voice, Atlas turned to look at her. The frown on his face made his worry more noticeable.
— This place… All of this oasis… —she slowly extended her arms— To me —she moved her hand to her chest— is a paradise, without a doubt. But… —she gulped down— My mother… my mother is not part of it, you know?
Midori tilted her head to the side to look at Atlas. Her voice broke at the last sentence. Atlas just bit his lower lip while Midori looked back to the front.
— I’ve always had problems with my mom ever since… —she cleared her throat— my dad died.
Atlas couldn’t hide the surprise he felt after hearing that. He couldn’t find the right words for that situation, so he decided to just let Midori talk.
“We were completely happy. We were a small family but we were alright like that. My mother, my dad and I only needed each other and no one else.”
— Dad, dad! Look what I’ve found!
Midori ran up to his father. Her little sailor dress bouncing with her every step. The hat she had on her head complimenting her outfit. Her parents loved dressing her up. Always looked for a way to make her look adorable.
Her father was waiting for her on a red blanket, her mother’s favorite, over the fresh grass in the park they frequented. There were around two or three baskets filled with Midori’s favorite dishes. It was the perfect day to spend outside with the family.
— Oh? What is this? —he said chuckling—.
— It’s a star!
Midori showed him a petal that fell from the tree. As she said, it looked like a star.
— It’s a shooting star that fell from the tree! If you make a wish, put the petal on your hand and close it in a fist for 5 seconds while thinking on you wish, it will come true!
— That so? Why don’t you try making a wish, hm?
— Good idea!
Midori put the petal on her left hand. She had the biggest smile on her face, as she always has whenever she’s with her parents. Then she closed her eyes.
“I want to always be with mom and dad, forever and ever.”
She repeated her wish over and over again, tightly clenching her fist. After exactly 5 seconds Midori opened her eyes filled with happiness. She turned around to look at her father and smiled. Her father smiled back at her. Midori opened up her hand and the petal flew away with the wind.
“But… that fateful day had to come…”
The gasoline was overflowing everywhere. Midori was hardly conscious of what was happening around her. The smoke made it impossible for her to see. The paramedics arrived immediately. While one of them held Midori in his hands, the screams of her mother could be heard all around the neighborhood. She screamed and screamed the name of her now deceased husband. The paramedics has to held her with both arms. In that moment, the car exploded. Midori fell unconscious.
“And after that, nothing was ever the same.”
Midori and her mother were in front of the only other person they had. A black box separating them. On top of it, a picture of him. Happy, smiling. As he always was whenever he was with his family. Midori couldn’t lift her head. She was crying and sobbing uncontrollably. Her mother had a napkin in her hands, which in that moment was soaked with her tears.
— IT’S ALL YOU FAULT.
She screamed to Midori, slapping her hard. Midori’s face was covered in bruises. Tears kept streaming down her face. She tried to escape from between her mother’s legs, but to no avail, she was trapped with her.
Every night after that her mother came home drunk. The living room was filled to the brim with empty beer bottles. Midori always tried to pick up as much as she could, but by the next day it was all the same. Her mother didn’t work. The State paid her many of her expenses, including Midori’s school.
Midori arrived home as usual. Her mother was nowhere to be found. That wasn’t surprising to her, she could be getting drunk somewhere as always. She left her backpack on the floor and went to lay on her bed. She covered her eyes with her arm, trying to escape the cruel reality she was living and fell asleep for a few minutes, but a pressing force on her throat woke her up. Her mother was above her again, applying force with both hands. Midori tried to free herself but it was impossible. She was able to kick her and that made her fall to the floor. Midori took some of her clothes, quickly put them on her backpack and ran away to Aoi’s house for some time.
— I only have Aoi… and I can’t see her either… I have bandages over my eyes and even if I want to take them out…
After listening to all that, Atlas felt a small tear fall down his cheek. He was speechless. He couldn’t believe what he had heard. In a swift movement he hugged Midori, tightly holding her between his arms.
— Don’t worry, Midori. —he softly caressed her hair— Nothing bad will happen to you here, I promise.
Midori opened her eyes in surprise. She hugged him back and started to cry again. She felt overwhelmed for Atlas’ warmth and kindness, something that she hadn’t felt in a long time. More and more tears flowed down her cheeks.
And, without noticing, she woke up once again in the hospital.
TO BE CONTINUED.