28. Sleep Tight, Sunshine.
Posted Monday, October 5, 2015 // 3:58 AM
"Noah! Noah! Wake up you lazy bum!" Maddie's voice cracks up the silence. She starts to bounce up and down on my bed. I stir, still cannot open my eyes like it has been glued together. After a while, Maddie went silent. I thought to myself that I can still go to sleep for few more hours. It is Sunday, I am not supposed to be working unless there is an emergency call, which I hope so not. As my mind starts to drive into the dreamland, a small figure jumps onto my back. "WAKE UP, NOAH! WAKE UP, WAKE UP, WAKE UP!"
"Madison, please. I am trying to sleep. I am so so so tired," I beg, in a grumpy voice which is not sexy at all, unlike what the girls usually say. Maddie starts to fake crying because it usually works. "You promised to bring me to the Ice Cream Shop and listen to me singing for my recital." I let out a sigh, slightly annoyed. I open my eyes and see her smiling at me with her crooked teeth showing. Here's a thing about Maddie, nobody can be mad at her for too long. She is a bunch of cuteness that is too hard to handle, despite the fact that she is actually a down syndrome kid.
Especially when it comes to her eyes. She was born with different coloured eyes. She has a jade-coloured eye the right side and ocean blue on the left side. Needless to say that her wavy ginger hair, also can be one of the attractions that she has. Nobody can look at her without taking a second glance. She is odd. A beautiful kind of odd.
I get up and change myself into a sitting position. We both sharing glances. Before she knows what I am about to do, she laughs and starts to run. However, her tiny little legs cannot go any further than mine, I manage to catch her and bring her into my arms. "Where do you think you are going, dear missy Little Red Hoodie," I tickle her and her laughter echoes throughout the whole living room.
"Go and bathe, you stinky bud," mum shouts from the kitchen. I can already smell waffle batter. The usual menu for Sunday morning. I just smile and go to the bathroom to take a bath. When I realised that I am starting to plan my future, I know it is the right time to get out of from there. I pick a plain white shirt with ‘Professional Paramedic: Don't Try This at Home' written across it which I got for my birthday this year from my colleagues. I then pair it with a black skinny jeans and put on my beanie because let's be clear, my hair is a mess.
I walk myself to the kitchen and take a deep breathe to let the smell fills up my lungs. They surely do need some good taste of air sometimes. Do not know if that is medically approved but who cares? Maddie has already eaten 3 pieces of waffles. I take the plate and place two waffles and top it with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. As soon as I put it in my mouth, I can feel the whipped cream melts in my mouth. Tastes like heaven, as Maddie would say. I stroke her hair. Mum has put her hair on piggy tail today. It has always been her favourite hairstyle. She says that it shows her facial structure even more although she barely has any. She is too mature for her age.
I still remember the day dad left us. As the people around me were shedding tears, I let out a sigh of relief. Maddie was 6 years at that time and I was 16. The only question that she asked me, I spend my whole life answering is, "Why can't our dad just love us like any other fathers could, Noah?" The sobs and the tears that fell. It is still fresh on my mind. It does not do any justice for a 6-years-old girl who still craves for her father's attention. Somehow, I feel like dad should have left us before Maddie was born.
It has been almost six years since dad left in peace, leaving us in pieces. Every month in 3 years, his drug-addict friends would come and ask us to pay his debt. Sometimes we failed to do as we were told, so they would always find anything on the house to break. Until that one fine day, the police finally came to the rescue and locked them up in prison, where they belong. I hate dad. He broke us and we are the ones who have to pick up the broken pieces, getting ourselves bruised and wounded from doing so. I hope the police has caught him and place him with his friends.
I look up to Maddie and ask her, "Shall we go now?" The sparks from her eyes shine brightly which literally answer my question. We go to the usual ice cream shop and Maddie always chooses the same flavour which is Rocky Road. I go for the Salted Caramel for today. "So Maddie... You said you want to sing the song for your recital performance to me?"
"Oh, yeah yeah yeah! I almost forgot about that." She stands up and straighten her dress. She even clears up her voice which made me giggle. "Good Morning, teachers and friends. I am Madison Soleil Williams, and I dedicated this song for myself. Enjoy." I crack up a laughter and she just smiles as she begin to sing her favourite lullaby, You Are My Sunshine, that I always sing to her every night if I have the time to do so. Her voice makes me feel warm. She sings it until the end despite the fact that we are in public, we do not care and we will never do. I hug her tightly I think I might break her bones.
Madison Soleil, I have always liked her middle name. Soleil. It means the Sun in French. Which portrays her character, a sunny and cheerful girl. Just like the Sun, she brings the light in mum and I's life. I wish she knows that. She might be not normal in appearance, but she is by heart. Maybe even better than these people who strive for perfectness in themselves. "You know Maddie? You are my sunshine."
It is Maddie's birthday tomorrow. I already have something in mind. Although she did ask me if we can go to the new bakery that has just been opened by the streets, downtown. Mum just smiled when she heard that. She knew that I have planned something for my little sunshine. It has only been 4 hours since the emergency call from my workplace, but I have already missed her. I do not know why my heart is longing for her and mum so much. Probably because it is her birthday tomorrow and I feel the need that I have to be with her by the time it was 12:00 a.m. to wish her happy birthday.
"Noah?" I immediately from my wake up from my daydream. "We are here," Emily, one of the paramedics, says to me. "What now?" I have been a paramedic for almost two years. Straight after I graduated, I decided to try on for the paramedic. I remember when I was younger, I always said that I want to save people's lives. I want to be a hero and that is who am I now. Not really, but close enough.
"Suicide attempt." This is the reason why I have been promoted to be an assistant. I know how to deal around people who are suicidal. I take a look at the record and jump out from the van. I go to the front door, where a lady is tearing up. "Good evening, Mrs Watson. If you do not mind, I am going to ask you a few question while you show me the way to the room." She then leads the way and I ask her few personal information that I need to know. We have reached to the room. "Thank you for cooperating, Mrs Watson. But I must ask you to leave and I am going to talk to her. Don't worry. Everything will be fine," I smile to her as a sign that I am calm and this is my job. So, I know what to do.
As I am about to knock on the door, my phone vibrates. I take it out from my front pocket and look at my screen. It is mum who is calling, probably wants to remind me to wish Maddie happy birthday because it is already five past twelve. I have to ignore it because if I wait for another minute, someone is going to lose her life. So I just put it back inside my pocket and continue knocking on the door.
I do not wait for the respond. I push the door slowly, not to scare her. "Faith?" I say in the calmest voice I can get. A girl who looks about sixteen is sobbing in the corner of the room. I try to get closer slowly so she will not act aggressively towards me. I look around her room and I can say that it is a very dark, messy room. Unlike every other girls' room which always looks cheerful with a splash of colour. But this room, the wall is painted in dark grey. Which I guess, resembles her days. Pills are scattered around her and a few bottles of medicine are lying on the floor. I kneel down in front of her so I can face her and try to defend myself if she tries to do something to me.
"Faith?" I call her name in my deep, low voice. She looks up, "Go away." Her voice. She does not sound like she is really pushing me away. Her voice sounds like she is begging me to save her. Like she is tired. "I can't, Faith. I know you want me to save you. I can hear it through your voice. I can see it right in your eyes. You are screaming for help." The sobbing just gets harder. "Faith, listen to me. You know, you do not need me to save you. You, dear beautiful lady, are surrounded by a black hole that is trying to get you in."
"No, you don't understand! Every part of me is begging me to end this. It hurts me in every edge of my skin. I cannot do this any longer. I will destroy my own self eventually. I AM the black hole!" I sit beside her, trying to get comfortable so she can let me take her hand and pull her out from that dark, demonic place. "Listen, Faith. You cannot destroy yourself. Not if you don't let it get into you. This is why I am here, Faith. I am here just to help you. You cannot live in that dark place any longer. But that doesn't mean that you have to end your life. You just have to let me help you to get out. To recover. To live a happy life. It might take time for you to fully recover because there is going to be some point in your life that you might relapse. It is okay. It takes a few failures to motivate you to keep going. You just have to want it, Faith. We still have hope." I can her see the tears starting to dry. She just stares at the grey wall blankly.
"So, let me help you?" She does not respond but I take her by the hand anyway and lead her to the van. We still have to put her in the psychiatric ward until she is mentally stable. So we can make sure that she will not do any harm to herself anymore. Faith's mum cannot stop thanking me and showing her gratitude. This is why I keep doing what I am doing. We then get into the van to send her to the hospital. She is still staring into the nothingness. By the time we reach the hospital, her face starts to light up with her awkward smile. She looks away from me. I can see her blushing, though. Just before I close the van door, I call up on her. "Have faith," I grin.
We are now going to another destination. I do not know where we are going but I keep it to myself, too tired to ask. However, I recognise the path that we are heading. "Damien, where are we going?" I ask in a very worrying voice. "Can you please not distract me? I am driving and we are nearly there anyways." I sit back to my place. My heart is racing. No matter how hard I try to take a few deep breaths, my heartbeat just cannot slow down. I think my heart just stop when we reach to the next destination. I recognise this place. I grew up in this place. I live here. It is my house.
Without hesitation, I push the door. I see the whole living room is in a mess. It is like the world has turned upside down. I think my world just did. I look around for mum. "MUM?" I would try to call her in my calm voice but I just cannot. I can feel that I am out of breath when I see a pool of blood in the kitchen. I run inside and I can see mum lying on the floor with a kitchen knife impaled in her stomach. "No, no no no no no no. It can't be." I shake her body but she lies still. I check for her pulse with my trembling fingers.
"No, mum!" I cry my heart out. I can feel my colleague is trying to calm me down. It does not work. "Maddie..." I whisper to myself. "MADDIE!" I look for her everywhere and finally find her lying on the bathroom floor in her bathroom robe that is soaked wet. She coughs so hard. The bathtub is filled with water. "Maddie, what happened?" I question her in a very panic voice. "Maddie bathed... And dad... Came... Angry... Ask mum money... Drown me..." My heart is about to explode. I thought that he has been caught by the police. Maddie is out of breath. I try to pick her up. "EMILY. UPSTAIRS." Few moments after that, Emily and Patrick come with a stretcher. They lay Maddie down on the stretcher and bring her to the van. I just follow them. I literally cannot do anything. I just cry and cry and cry beside Maddie.
I cannot believe that I did not pick up the call. I prioritised other people's life, a stranger, even, while I harm the life of the ones that I love. I should have picked up the phone. Then, it will never happen. I managed to save a stranger's life but not my own family's. Not even mum and barely even Maddie's. What kind of hero am I? My whole world comes crashing down. I am about to lose Maddie. I am about to lose my sunshine.
"Evan..." Maddie mumbles. I look at her. "Yes, Maddie?" I stroke her ginger hair like I always do. Her eyes fix on mine. Her beautiful mismatched eyes. I cannot believe that this beautiful odd is going to leave me anytime sooner. We have not even celebrated her birthday yet. I cannot believe that some boys will never get to see her beautiful eyes and fall in love with it. I cannot believe that I will not be able to see her go to high school, go to prom or even get married and have children. I cannot believe that I cannot see her growing up and I have to live without her. It is so sad to think that before any other boys could break her heart, dad already did it.
"Maddie wants to sleep... Lullaby..." This is it. This is the time. I feel like I want to follow her and end my life. Funny how I try to save someone's life with all the great speech that I always give, but when it comes to me, I know I just do not have that beacon of hope any longer. This has to be the end of it. I want to end my life but I know Maddie will not want me to. "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine... You make me happy when the skies are grey," my singing is alternating with my sob. I bury her head on my chest. My tears fall on her cheek. "You never know, dear, how much I love you... Please don't take my sunshine away." Maddie exhales her last breath.
Sleep tight, sunshine.
sorry if this appear to be quite different than my story. i don't think this is my best though. i haven't been writing for so long ahhhh. i need to get right back on track.
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