With that she hands me back my pillow, gives me a quick tuck, and kisses my forehead. I sure do love the kid treatment. It’s what keeps me happy inside and out. Throughout the night I tossed and turned as I dreamt a horrible dream. She no longer loved me. I cried both in my dream and in real life for what seemed like forever. By the end of the dream she was so fed up with me she told me she never loved me and was only helping me so she wouldn’t feel guilty. I woke up in a panic. What if that’s true? What if she only loves me out of guilt? I need to talk to her. Still, if she does feel that way then, why would she admit it? It is only 5am. She won’t even remotely be up until 7 or 8am. Now is the time to think about what I want to ask her. I start to pack my bag just in case. I leave just enough out to make it not seem so suspicious. Then, I tiptoe over to her room and sit right next to the door. I start thinking about what I want to say. Nothing seems right. Maybe I should just say good bye and go back home. Another hour of deep negative thinking I start to slump over and fall back asleep. No dreams or nightmares this time. I feel a shake. I moan. Again, a shake, but almost earthquake like. I swat and hit something. That something feels like a person. Oh no. I quickly sit up and open my eyes.
“Oh geez! I’m sorry!!”
“It’s okay. Why aren’t you sleeping in your bed?”
“I wanted to talk.”
“This early? What’s up?”
She sits down next to me.
“This isn’t right. I shouldn’t be here. I love you, but I shouldn’t. Maybe-“
“Wait. No more. If you want to go home, then go. I’m not stopping you. I will always care for you. You don’t have to stay here because you feel like you have to.”
I start sniffling.
“I don’t know if I really mean this but… do you only love me out of guilt?”
“What do you mean?”
“Do you only love me because you feel bad for me? I feel like that’s why. Be honest.”
“*blank*… Why would you ever feel that way?”
“I had a dream about it. You hate me, don’t you?”
“I don’t hate you.”
The sniffling turns to full out crying. I drop to the floor in the complete opposite direction of her. I can tell that she wants to do something to help. She moves her arm back and forth from her side to hovering above me. This is one of those times I don’t want her to touch me. I scoot, still crying, away from her as much as I can. She stops trying and instead drops her head into her hands to starts crying herself. It’s all my fault. If it weren’t for me stabbing myself she wouldn’t have ever had to deal with me. I curl up into a ball and give up crying. I am a horrible person. I start punching myself as hard as I can. It hurts so much, but I don’t care. The punching increases to an unrealistic cartoon sound. My body is nearly completely numb. The pain starts to go away so I hit harder and faster. The feeling becomes soothing. Just as I get into a rhythm she grabs a hold me. I struggle for a good while before she decides to sit on me.
“I never thought I would EVER have to say this seriously. Stop hitting yourself!”
She gets off of me. The pain sets in to point where I can’t even hit myself if I wanted to.
“What the hell is going on? Why would you ever think I didn’t love you?”
I slam my head back to the ground.
I dart my eyes towards her.
“I’m not mad at you. I want to understand why you would feel this way. I would never love someone out of guilt or because I felt bad for them. I love you because I love you. Please talk.”
I turn my head away from her.
I stare at the wall. I wanted to talk. Now I don’t. I want this to all be over.
“I can sit here all day. I’m not leaving till you speak.”
I roll over in her direction. The look on her face slaughters me. I let my hair cover my face so I can’t see hers. Maybe I should tell her to forget it. I’ll pretend it was all a bad dream that means nothing. I can feel her still staring at me. I throw my arm out towards her in hopes it will shoo her away. It doesn’t, but instead invites her to hold my hand. That’s not what I wanted. Too exhausted to bother struggling I let her hold my hand.
“Are you sure?” I mumble.
“Are you sure you love me?” I mumble again.
“Of course I love you,” she says wiping the hair from my face.
“I had a dream that you never loved me. You only took me in because you felt obligated to. It seemed so real. I was worried it would come true,” I practically whisper.
She takes in a deep breath.
“I’ll give you the type of answer you want. If I really felt that way I would have told you. I would have never risked my job if I didn’t think it was worth it. I love you more than anything else in the world. I would never lie to you.”
Thinking about what she said I snake over to her still letting her hold my hand. I was starting to feel better.
“Can we get off the floor now?”
“You can stay, but I have to go to the bathroom.”
She hurries off to the bathroom leaving me on the floor. A few minutes later she returns to the same spot.
“You sure you don’t want to get off the floor?”
“Could you at least sit up?”
I sit up just enough to slam my head into her lap.
“That’s not what I meant, but ok.”
I manage to grab a hold of her hand.
“Was that what was really bothering you?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you want to go home?”
“This is my home.”
“Are you sure?”
“Stop asking that. I’m sure, unless you don’t want me here.”
“We’re not going through this again.”
“Then why do you keep asking if I’m sure?”
“I keep asking because I want you to be happy because you want to be happy, not because you have to be.”
“Right now I’m not sure how I feel. I want to be here. My heart is telling me I should be here. My brain or logical part of me is saying I should go back to my parents. Why? I still feel like too much of a burden to you, especially when I do things like this.”
“What’s the difference between me and your mother when it comes to dealing with things like this? Did you ever feel like a burden to her?”
“No. It’s her natural job to…”
“But it’s not your job.”
“Not my job? Do you want me to go get the adoption papers?”
“According to those papers it is my job. I wouldn’t have signed them if I didn’t want to take you on full time, ok?”
“Ok. I’m not guaranteeing I will immediately process that.”
“I know. How about I make you some breakfast?”
“That sounds great. I don’t want to get up though.”
“Up, or no breakfast.”
I drag myself over to the couch and plop down. The pain sets in.
“What’s the matter?”
“Maybe you shouldn’t have hit yourself.”
“Sorry. Is there anything I can get you?”
“Probably not. I think I’ll just sit here all day. And not hit myself anymore.”
“Good idea. I’ll bring your breakfast to you as long as you promise not to make a mess.”
She made pancakes, yay. I’m so glad she loves me. Maybe I should tell her that.
“I love you. So much. And I am extremely glad you love me too. Promise me if anything ever changes that you will tell me, ok?”
“I will always love you. That will never change. I can promise you that.”
She hands me the plate and sits down next to me. The pain goes away just enough where I can sit up to eat. They were the best pancakes ever, mostly because I hadn’t had pancakes in forever, but also because they really were that great.