“Mom is that you?” I whisper, hoping only the intended audience can hear my voice. To see the face of my mother again outweighs the fear of what lies ahead. Family is everything to me, from an outsider’s viewpoint we might look like a family that just puts up with each other, but some of my most treasured memories involve my parents and younger sister. My dad, sneaking a forbidden second ice pop from the freezer. Handing one to me while we watch late night variety shows. My mom, effortlessly elegant dancing around the house in slippers and a handmade smock dress, twirling me around and around as we listen to “top 40s” on the radio. Even Betty, always the go-getter, independent and fierce, the complete opposite from me. While I take after my mother, Betty is the spitting image of our dad.
I was once jealous of Betty growing up, she never backed down from a challenge and always stood up for her friends and family. Now I look up to my younger sister and often turn to her for life advice. I first told Betty about my decision to move in with Louis all those years ago. She laughed, voice cracking over the phone, and didn’t miss a beat before asking “So when’s he going to pop the question?” Betty would know what to do right now. She also wouldn’t be stuck in a tree with a twisted ankle.
I crane my neck out, attempting to see more of my surroundings. Snow is softly falling and the white landscape would almost be serene in any other circumstance. I try to remember where everyone was before the intruders descended upon our Christmas celebration. Grandpa sleeps like a baby, but there is no doubt in my mind he would be first to jump into action. I silently curse my former self for not taking up his offer to go for target practice the other day. Betty jumped at the opportunity to shoot at rusty cans while I scoffed at the idea of going out in this weather.
It is awfully quiet. Should I try calling out again? Was I not loud enough? I take a deep breath, ready to take my chances. Suddenly, I see a patch of purple, and my husband’s face comes into view. He’s alive! I want to weep with joy.
“Louis!” I stage yell in his direction, still unsure of who else might be out there. He whirls around.
“Watch out!” I shout as I feel myself slip from the tree branch. A loud ‘pop’ goes off and I get a face full of snow praying my husband is the one who pulled the trigger first.
To be continued
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Family idioms / expressions
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