We fought often and furiously about going out, curfew, even my hair. I hate her for complaining that my clothes are too tight or too “hobo-like”, which was the ripped jeans I wear. We couldn't seem to agree on anything. The only time that my mom and I could maintain without arguing was when we go shopping. It's amazing how once we step one foot in the mall, the fighting usually stopped. During those hours, it felt like my mom and I were friends.
That's what made it so agonizing and dreadful when I had to go shopping for a dress without her on sizzling July. When I was trying a black dress in the fitting room, the salesclerk kept offering me other dresses, saying things like, “What about this one?” and “This one will look fabulous on you.” As I was pulling the third dress over my head, I heard my aunt said in a gentle voice, “No color dresses, please. We are looking for something to wear for a funeral. Her mother just died.” Those words echoed through my head, it made me think of the nurse who had came up to me in the hospital hallway. “Your mother is very sick. She's had cancer for more than a year,” she said in a stagnant and slow voice. “Pauline, listen to me. Your mother is going to die.”
Speechless, my heart felt like it stopped, my whole body turned numb. I couldn't speak, it seemed like time had frozen. I tried to respond but nothing came out of my mouth. She looked at me with sympathy as I tried again to speak, it felt as if there was a brick down my throat. My eyes starting to shed tears, I said softy, “I know.” I sat alone, bawling in the hospital waiting room. This can't be happening, I kept thinking. Someone please tell me this isn't real.
We never said a true good-bye. The last time I saw her was when she lay in the hospital bed, hooked up to tubes and machines. I told her that I love her. She said, “I love you too,” but her tone was inattentive, faint, empty. She was leaving, already on her way to a someplace else, that was a better place,...