The most sacrificing of prayers proclaimed by a faithful wouldn't be enough to change what was going to happen.
All the coins in Earth's pockets thrown into a wishing well wouldn't change what was going to happen.
Adriana Birch had hoodwinked the skeleton, who cloaked himself in his black hood and carried a scythe, time after time. She was going out swinging, galloping over every hurdle that went her way, and becoming stronger because of it.
She was now worse than ever before.
The doctors tried everything within their power to fight the cancer, but the bitter end finally poked its hideous head in, and now, Adriana Birch was going to die.
Her daughter, Holly Birch, could see she accepted her fate. She had spent over a decade anticipating this moment, and much like the seasons, she didn't fear the reaper, at least not anymore. Her fall was coming. It was inevitable.
The bitterness, once there, had deteriorated and faded away, her forty-nine years of life provided her with moments to cherish forever. She was ready to advance to the next chapter of her life, whatever it may be, and Holly knew that her mother believed what was waiting for her was something worth looking forward to.
This is how she saw things, always swerving away from the easy way out, and not allowing herself to be swallowed by misery.
Instead, she chose to take a detour and to see the colors of life with optimism. Holly took solace in the numerous ideas her mother left with her. Her mother was a strong woman, one seeing the glass as half-full, even at its emptiest. Holly also knew that her mother wasn't going to give up fighting in this war until her daughter would as well. This was something not easily swallowed.
Holly didn't want for her to go, and felt even greater sorrow when she thought of the many things where her mother believed herself to have failed. Beyond the joyousness of having lived her life halfway to completion, there was a bitter or disappointed quality as well. The metaphorical kicking of herself could be sensed by Holly. She knew her mother held disappointment in not being able to provide the wondrous life her own mother couldn't offer her.
Holding back the tears, Holly thought back to the hours of her life she spent cradling her mother's hand in a hospital, and knew that tonight would be no different, but the train was pulling into the station.
She didn't want for the ride to end, though.
She wasn't ready.
They had spent most of their lives together, just Holly and Adriana, mother and daughter.
There was almost always nobody else to enter the equation. Holly's father left when she was just a couple of months old. She never asked her mother about him, and seldom allowed for her thoughts to swirl and twirl in his direction. She didn't care about her father, but she cared about her.
She cared about mom.
Adriana was all that she ever had, no relatives, no brothers, and no sisters. Nobody was taking the idea of Adriana passing away harder than she was.
Holly held her mother's hand in hers.
She stared up her arms, she stared up her arms to see holes where syringes had once pricked. She never wanted to have to see her mother like this. Those things in her nose to help the breathing. Those fucking tubes. Holly found her way up to staring at her mother's graying dark blonde hair, and her eyes glistening back at her.
She continued looking into her mother's eyes and could faintly see her reflection. The same chestnut-colored hair and eyes were on her face. Adriana looked back at her daughter with tired eyes and a weak smile. Adriana laid in a hospital bed that took a large amount of the already cramped room. The walls of the room were painted beige and the floor was hardwood. A small cabinet resided in the corner of the room, next to a small window, with medical supplies and latex gloves resting on it.
The hospital tried to the best of their abilities to make this room feel homely, but nothing could liven up this moment. The night had begun to dim the lights and Holly sat in a wooden chair beside her mother. Holly was going to miss everything about Adriana, everything about mom. How she never failed to wake her up in the morning for school, or how she called her by her full-name when she was angry.
More so than that, she was going to miss having a person who could try to relate with her, someone who knew her, and even if Adriana hadn't a clue what she was going through, she'd go out of her way to attempt to understand. All of Holly's life, she felt different from her peers. There were times where she stood in awe at the others around her, how easily they interacted and behaved, and wondered why the world wasn't crumbling around them.
To her irritation, they made life look so easy to proceed with, as if somebody neglected to tell them that living is the hardest thing in the world. She had few friends in high-school, and all their relationships felt unauthentic. A mere replica of something real. She felt like everybody else had a craving for something. Something they wanted to do with their life, but all she ever really wanted was to feel accepted, and to feel loved.
Her mother made her feel that way, and it was hard to accept that she was going to be gone, and that those feelings of acceptance were going to fade away. Nobody else understood her, and at times, some resented her. This could be said about a girl named Sydney Williams. Sydney loathed everything about Holly. Sydney was rich, whereas Holly and her mother struggled to make ends meet. Holly often had to work to help support her mother, who was unable to work because of the cancer making her bones weary and her body ache. Sydney found a certain amount of humor in this, and something that started out merely as the harassing and teasing of another adolescent became something more.
“You always did have a problem with wandering off in that head of yours. I worry sometimes that you're not going to snap out of it, and quite frankly, I will not carry you back home,” Adriana said with her voice almost cracking in the midst of the sentence. A small smile. Nothing much, but a small one. A weak one. Forced to see the bright-side of things.
Holly laughed softly, and as genuinely as possible without being at all genuine. Her mother had said the joke before, countless times even, but she didn't need to know that. Adriana rested the back of her head against her pillow and drifted her glare up at the ceiling.
“I am sure that you've noticed that there is something within you, something inside you that you feel is not inside of your peers,” the mother said with a grimmer voice than before.
The tides of the conversation had suddenly turned. Like that, like a switch being turned.
Holly's head drifted to the ground nervously, staring down and noticing just how interesting her fingers were. They had come close to discussing the nameless feeling of uncertainty, the addiction without a substance to be addicted to, and the thing that distanced her from her peers before, but that was so long ago. Before the cancer had knocked on the door and entered their life so defiantly, pushing past the locks and other barricades. Holly thought that she had forgotten long ago.
“This thing, this feeling, probably feels more bothersome than anything else in your life. I know it, because I have experienced it as well, and it probably feels like a cancer all of its own to you,” Adriana said with a saddened smile on her face.
Her daughter's ears pricked up and she looked back at her mother. Had her mother really been feeling all of the things that Holly had been feeling? The sickly feelings of the withdrawal of something never deposited, the urge to do something, and yet the lack of knowledge of what that something is? Still, Holly felt like she knew what that something wanted, what that poking and prodding at the back of her mind meant, but she didn't want to accept it.
“There are going to be times where you feel lost and scared in the world, but you have to believe that it's only normal.”
“These feelings, aren't normal, mom,” Holly responded trying to refrain from yelling.
“You're at a very difficult point in your life, and I know, pretty soon you'll start being more serious with boys, but don't sweat the small stuff, okay? Don't let that stuff consume you. You'll go mad.” Adriana laughed a little. Another one of those forced, metallic and wet-sounding laughs. Crackly and without much enthusiasm to it.
“Mom, I have these, feelings, but they're not like that. They're not like they should be, I feel frustrated, I feel sad, I feel like I am overloading. Like I'm overstocked with stuff, and I am about to explode. I need something. I just, I don't know what. I think there's something wrong, there's something that I need to find and I don't where to look. I know that this sounds like regular teenage stuff, but I don't think it is. It doesn't feel like that. It feels bad, really bad. Maybe I'm sick or something, I don't know, but it terrifies me,” Holly vented with tears running down her face as the words escaped her lips.
Holly couldn't even tell if her mother was listening, Adriana merely stared up at the blank ceiling before closing her eyes.
“Don't let it consume you,” Adriana, Belladonna's mother, repeated.
She died moments later