Laelia had always been a bright star and had always shone more brilliantly than any of the other kids her own age, she wanted to be a Doctor a neurologist and she had the brains and grades to do just that. Laelia had grown up without a mother and father since she was 2 years old; Michael had passed away suddenly in a road accident on New Year’s Eve while coming back from a business meeting in the city. Maureen, Laelia’s mother had been devastated, she couldn’t cope. She couldn’t function without the love of her life even though she had a little girl who needed her; she had drawn into herself and had never come back out.
Maureen had gradually grown moodier and more and more depressed then one day when Laelia had come in from playing outside with the puppy Auntie Joan had given her as a companion she had discovered her mother gone. Laelia had searched the house she looked everywhere calling out to her mommy, she had grown scared and it was nearing evening, the little girl was helpless and she had no one who could give her a cuddle. Mommy! Little Laelia wailed.
Hours later Joan had come knocking, bringing bags of groceries as she did weekly, since Michaels's death because Maureen couldn’t do it, she was barely there, her once vibrant friend was but a shadow of herself and Joan had taken on the duties of a mother and a caregiver to Laelia for the last 6 months, Joan had been coming around twice daily to make sure Laelia was fed, bathed, clothed and had collected her and taken her to nursery school and brought her home after, Joan had rearranged her life entirely to fit into this little girls’ routine. But it wasn’t enough, when Joan walked into the front door she found the house eerily quiet not a whisper.
She panicked, Laelia sweetheart are you here? Where is mommy? Laelia!
There was no answer. Joan ran through the house looking in every room, throwing open cupboards and looking under the beds, she couldn’t find the little girl who had become such a big part of her life, where was Maureen? Maureen hadn’t gone out of the house in nearly 6 months, why wasn’t she here? Had something happened?
Laelia! Joan called out frantically, but still no answering call.
Panicked she ran out of the house, she checked that Maureen’s car was still in the garage, yes! The car was still there, then where were Maureen and Laelia?
It was then that Joan realized that she hadn’t seen the puppy, she had brought Laelia a little terrier for her 3rd birthday a couple of days ago and she and the little guy were inseparable, so where was the puppy?
She ran around the side of the house into the backyard to have a quick look in the kennel, she caught her breath and couldn’t contain the tears that streamed down her cheeks and the sob that escaped her throat, there she is! Little Laelia was curled up inside the kennel with her puppy getting the cuddle she needed more than anything else, relief flooded Joan and she could pull in a few breaths before she stilled and thought to herself, but where is Maureen?
Joan spoke softly touching the little girl's hand trying to wake her up gently and not smother her with tears of joy, hi sweetie where is mommy she asked Laelia when the child opened her eyes and turned sorrowful eyes to her, I don’t know where mommy is I can’t find her.
Joan had the little girl in her arms carrying her into the house, the poor child was starving he hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast because it was Saturday and the nursery school wasn’t open on Saturdays, Laelia had stayed at home with her mother, Joan had come around to make her some breakfast but that was nearly eight hours ago, when had Maureen disappeared she wondered, and where did she go?
She busied herself making Laelia some food, while the little girl gulped down her scrambled egg sandwiches Joan went to call the police station to report that Maureen was missing, she didn’t have to give a description of Maureen as Tony the officer on duty knew Maureen from high school and he had assured Joan that he would handle things. Putting down the phone she walked back into the kitchen where Laelia was sitting feeding the puppy some egg, the little girl looked up at her with pleading in her hazel eyes, Auntie Joan can I come home with you?
Joan had picked her and the puppy up and they had gone to Joan’s house for the evening, the next day Tony called to inform Joan that they had found Maureen she had stepped in front of a train the previous evening and would never be coming back.
This was one of the main reasons that Laelia didn’t have relationships as a norm, she usually avoided romance and all forms of entanglements only Joan was a constant in her life but Paul had swept her off her feet.