"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."
- Norman Vincent Peale
I opened my eyes, it's morning again. Snow was falling outside my window; it's the first snow fall of the winter season and exactly 33 days before Christmas and my 11th birthday. I could smell Aunt Sarah's breakfast, some ham and egg maybe.
I went in front of my mirror and brushed my long curly bronze hair, they say I got it from my mother. I never met her, she died as soon as she gave birth to me, I'm a premature baby, she's just 7 months pregnant to me at that time but the train she rode crashed, maybe if she's just not carrying me, she might have survived the accident. I never had a chance to see her even in a picture; Dad burned all of them though I still believe he keeps some in his room. I stared then at my white small face, at my jade green eyes identical to my father, that's what I think. I'm not a hundred percent sure if we have the same shade of green or I also got this from my mother. I can't gaze at his eyes because it makes me feel so uncomfortable to read the emotions on them, is it hatred or agony? I don't know.
"Good morning, Alexandra, you're on time, I just finished serving breakfast. Let's eat," Aunt Sarah greeted me as I entered the kitchen. She is my father's older sister and never married. She acts as my mother ever since and often tells me stories about Mom because according to her, she's her best friend.
"Hmm.. Good morning, too, Aunt Sarah. Where's Dad?"
"He left for work early today; he seems to have an important meeting."
And I said nothing, he has always been like this but why do I still feel so sad? I never felt I'm his daughter. Maybe if I'm a maid in this mansion, I would believe that the young girl living here is Aunt Sarah's real daughter and just Sir Anthony's niece. Argh, he will just talk to me if he will ask something about his house but no questions expected by a child from a parent like about school stuffs. I'm the top student of our class, persevering, friendly, sweet, everybody in school admire me... But he never cared. They think I'm perfect, but only some knows the bitter truth that makes the line of perfection unreachable for me.
It's Saturday, no school. After eating, I went upstairs to finish my project. Before I enter my room, I noticed the door at the end of the corridor; this door leads to the attic. That place isn't really restricted for me, but in my ten years of existence, I've never been there because Aunt Sarah once scared me that ghosts are staying in the attic. But now, I can't feel any fear... Just curiosity.
I walked to that door, held the doorknob for about a minute, hesitating, waiting for the fright to come, but I felt nothing, so I opened it anyway. There's a staircase, I stepped slowly that it seems it will take eternity before I make it to the attic. Then, I finally reached the last step, it's dark and I found the switch of the light quickly. The yellowish light revealed the very large room, and like the attics I watched in movies, it has spider webs and dust, dust, dust, and dust. It was filled with lots of old tables, wooden boxes, and the walls were painted red, a weird choice of color for an attic, huh?
I walked around and stopped in front of a small square table in the corner, there's a small black box on top of it. I wiped off the dust covering it with my already dirty hand. A name "Heidi" was elegantly carved on top of it. The only Heidi I know was my classmate when I'm in 2nd grade and there's no way this was hers. Another is the fictional orphan character something, I don't know about it for I'm not interested, and there's no way that someone in the house is a fan of that story. Another wave of interest hit me, I opened the box, an unfamiliar lullaby began to play, and inside was a miniature of a woman playing a piano.
The surrounding began to blur and I hear an irritating and super duper ever deafening noise, then it's dark, and after that, nothing.
The next thing I remember is that a young and pretty woman was waking me up.
"Oh dear, wake up, wake up. Can you hear me?" she asked, her frightened voice sounds so soft and sweet.
"Where am I?" I asked as I opened my eyes. I'm in front of a house in a street that seems so familiar to me but I can't clearly see it in my memory.
"Can't you remember anything? Oh come, let's go inside, it's freezing here.." Yes, there's snow everywhere, it's the first snow fall of the season, right?
She brought me in front of the fireplace, covered me with a very thick blanket, and left me. I'm in a simple but elegant-looking living room, just about the size of my bedroom. The carpet was peach and the walls are painted white. There's a piano on the side of the window, a Christmas tree on the other corner and a small table and four chairs at the center. There are wonderful paintings hanging on the walls. Surely, I've never been here.
The woman returned and handed me a cup of hot chocolate drink and still looks so worried. She has a white skin, warm dark brown eyes, and a long curly bronze hair with a hair clip on the left side... Wait, am I meeting my mother?
"Are you feeling okay?" she asked.
"Yes, I'm fine, thank you," I answered after I drank a little of the choco drink. I'm still wondering, is this Santa's gift to me? I've been a good girl.
"Someone knocked loudly at the door, and when I answered it, I found you, I thought you were dead because you're so cold and I can't hear you breathing," she said.
"Oh... I'm sorry.. I... I can't remember what happened.. I'm just in our attic and found a box-" I stopped, someone knocked at the door.
"Oh, maybe that's my mother.. Wait," she smiled at me and left.
When she returned, she's with a small blond woman with lovely blue eyes, maybe at her late thirties or early forties, but despite of her age, it can clearly be seen that the younger one inherited her beauty from her. She retold to her mother how she found me and asked what they will do. The old woman came near to me and held my right cold hand.
"Of course we can keep her while she's looking for her family. She's a beauty.. And look. She has the same curly bronze hair like you, Heidi," she said in an excited tone and smiled at her daughter. "I'll leave you for a moment, it's time to cook dinner," and Heidi's mother left.
Heidi. I closed my eyes and scanned my memory. Who is she? I am completely sure she's not my mom. My mother was named Megan... Megan Walker. There's no Heidi in her name... So it's just a coincidence?
"Come, let's change your clothes in my room.. I still have my old clothes and I think you can use them.. Wait, can you remember your name or will I give you one?" she asked.
"Oh no.. No.. I'm Alexandra."
"Alexandra.. Wow. That's my favorite name, it means protector of mankind," she answered with a smile and led me upstairs.
There are just two rooms and we entered the one in the left side. Inside is
a large bed, maybe three people can occupy it, the walls are painted white like the living room, there's a small bookshelf with books about arts and music beside her bed, a study table beside the door, a wooden cabinet beside the window with plain pink curtains.
She opened the cabinet and pulled the drawer at the bottom, she brought out a pink long sleeved shirt and yellow pants. She left me for a while to change my clothes and I called her again when I'm done.
She told me to rest and lied with me on the bed as we wait for the dinner Heidi's mother, Mrs. Laura, was cooking.
"This bed is too big, right?" Heidi laughed softly. I still feel shy so I just nodded and smiled at her.
"I have a sister, a year older than me, and we slept together at this bed. Our mother bought this enormous bed when I was seven because she couldn't take it anymore checking us in the morning... The two of us were really scary when we sleep, we continue moving until the other was pushed and fall of the bed, we're both unconscious of course," she laughed again, but this time I can trace there's sadness on her voice.
"Where is she?" I asked curiously.
"She's already not here.. It's a long story, really."
"I'm willing to listen even if it will take 20 years," I promised her. She laughed one more time, and it's one of the loveliest sounds I ever heard.
"How old are you, Alexandra?"
"I'm ten, turning eleven on Christmas."
"Wow, so are you willing to give up your 20 years just to listen to me?
"You'll be thirty when I'm done," she smiled.
"How old are you, Heidi?"
"I'm eighteen, young and beautiful, and why my darling?" she answered with a giggle.
"Well, I am willing to give up my twenty years if you're willing to give up yours to tell me your story. You'll be 38 when you're done, eew," I answered and we laughed together. It's so easy to trust her, to be with her comfortably as if we've been together in years rather than minutes. We heard Mrs. Laura called us for dinner. Heidi helped me up.
"Well then, I'll tell it to you next time.. And I'll shorten it as much as I could so that it will not take 20 years, I don't want to reach 38 before I end my story," she told me with a wink as we walked downstairs.
I always thought I know what a home is with my Aunt Sarah. Now, I
realized the warmth I felt before was nothing compared to what I feel right now with Mrs. Laura and Heidi eating together in this small round table. I suddenly felt jealous of them.
After eating, Mrs. Laura volunteered to wash the dishes and asked Heidi to let me sleep.
"I feel so good that someone is beside me again on this big bed... I miss my sister so much, and I always feel so lonely when I move and I'll touch nothing except for the pillows," Heidi told me after she turned off the lights and lied beside me.
"So can't I listen to your sister's story now?"
"No, I'm not yet done summarizing it."
"Hmm... Heidi, where's your father?" I asked, I couldn't think of anything more to say and I really wanted to know her.
"Oh, my father? He left us like twelve years ago.. I can't remember. He has a new family now and he never visited us," she answered blankly.
"I'm sorry to hear that," I replied and I meant my words.
"No, you don't have to be sorry. It's nothing really. I felt no difference at all. When he's still living with us, he's always out and just goes home to sleep."
"Oh," it's the only thing I could reply. I remembered Dad.
"You must sleep now, you look so tired. Good night, Alex." She began humming a sweet melody.
"Good night, too, Heidi. Thanks."
And I slept; I couldn't fight sleepiness anymore with her melody.
When I woke up the next morning, Heidi was not beside me. I rose and went to the window. The snow stopped falling and the sun rose brightly. I could see the town from her window, and this reminded me that I still don't know where I am. But I would thank whoever kidnapped me for bringing me here.
I walked down the stairs and I heard a piano playing. When I entered the living room, I saw Heidi there, her fingers on the keys. I coughed intentionally to give her the sign I'm there. She looked at me and smiled.
"Good morning, little Alex, come, sit here beside me."
I said nothing but followed her instructions. I sat next to her in the piano. She was playing a Christmas song I recognized immediately, it's the song
"I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas," one of my favorites.
She stopped and I realized I'm singing it. I was embarrassed and looked down, I felt my face reddened. Then I heard again her cute laugh.
"Hey, you are good. Amazing voice you have," she said and stood up. She got some papers under the table and showed it to me. "Are you a Catholic?" she asked.
I thought for a moment. I'm a Catholic, but Aunt Sarah just leaves me in the house when she goes to church for the reason that I just play there. She assumed that maybe if I will just pray always, that would be enough.
"Yes," I answered then she smiled.
"I join the choir every Sunday, I play the piano for them and sing also."
"Oh, that's nice," I answered; I really don't know what to say. She giggled.
"I'll bring you there on the mass tonight. You'll sing with us," she said. My head began to spin.
"But.. I don't know the songs... It would be better if I'll just watch and cheer for you!" I reasoned out. She laughed melodiously again.
"Don't worry, we'll be attending the last mass and that's on seven in the evening, there's plenty of time. Here are the songs, I'll teach you," she said with a smile and handed me the papers.
The whole afternoon we sang and laugh and ate and sang and laugh and ate with Mrs. Laura, she has a wonderful voice, too... I never felt happy and excited like this in my life.
Heidi dressed me with a white dress about two inches below my knees, white stockings, and her old black shoes. She gave me an old blue jacket, it's really not pretty but when I wore it, I felt so warm.
As we leave the house with Mrs. Laura, I noticed the calendar beside the door and stopped. I can't believe what I see.
"Heidi, what's the date today?" I asked, still frozen.
"22nd day of November, Sunday," she answered. I'm confused, when I woke up at my house yesterday, it's November 22, Saturday.
"And the year?" I asked.
"It's still 1998. why?"
"1998? We're in 2008 right?" I answered, I couldn't believe it. She laughed at me.
"Don't be so funny, Alex. Hey, by that time I would be 28 and you're 20. Silly," she said fighting a laugh.
"Oh, yeah... I remember now, I dreamed last night that I traveled to year 2008 and you're still telling me your story."
We both laughed. But my laugh was a fake one. I'm pretty sure that I'm not dreaming. I went to the attic yesterday, found the black box with Heidi's name on it, there's darkness and a deafening sound then I'm here. I traveled through time? So is there any possibility that I could meet my mother? By this time, she's already pregnant of me, and she only has 32 days remaining in her life. Will I ask Heidi and Mrs. Laura if they know anyone named Megan Walker? Absolutely no. I'll solve this mystery myself.
We rode the taxi to church. Now I know why this place seems so familiar but I couldn't see this in my memory. This is Manhattan. Manhattan of the year 1998. It's different from the Manhattan where I live in the future. But despite the differences, it's still clear that it's the same place.
We arrived in the Seven Dolors Catholic Church at Pierre Street, our house was just a walking distance from here, I desperately wanted to walk to our house but I stopped myself.
We went up the short flight of stairs to the two normal-sized red doors of the church, the last time I entered these doors was like three years ago, and the feeling was weird... The thought that I'm in the time where I still don't exist.
The inside was small. The lights were yellowish and the walls were gold. The windows were stained glass, common in a church of course, and certainly there's a big cross in front.
Mrs. Laura left us and went to the seats while Heidi led me in the stairs on the left side. The place for choir was upstairs. The mass was about to start.
"Wow, Heidi, I don't know you have a younger sister, she looks like you and pretty," said a young woman in white there, maybe another choir member.
"No, she's not my sister. She's a family friend and staying with us for the moment. She will also sing, she has a wonderful voice," Heidi answered them. "Lying inside the church is difficult, but at least God will understand us," Heidi whispered to me.
"No, you're not lying. We're friends now, right?" I smiled.
"Oh, yes, of course," she answered then sit on the piano. I stand with the other choir members, they put me in front. And the mass started.
Days and days passed... Heidi and I were always together. Doing something fun like caroling in the neighborhood with her friends, skating, shopping... She's teaching me piano now, too. And I love it. She's not enrolled to school. She graduated high school last year and chose to stay with her mother rather entering college. She said maybe after two years she will study again, 'school can wait' she told me. I didn't mind if I'm still in 1998, I told Heidi that my family is in Europe now and returning on January, they left me with a family friend but he doesn't let me eat and maybe the one who left me at their doorstep. My 'white lie' worked, Mrs. Laura and Heidi didn't bother to look for that 'family friend.'
It's already Dec. 3, 1998. And we're in the living room that night. She's playing the piano while I read a book about Arts I found in her room.
"Our grandfather taught me and my sister how to play the piano... She's good, too. But she's more fascinated in arts than music. Those books are hers while the music books are mine. I play the piano and sing while she draws or paints. The paintings here are made by her," she told me.
I looked around and saw the paintings I noticed during my first time here... The paintings look so professional. I wonder what her sister looks like. She hasn't told me her story yet, but I'm in no mood to ask her about it again.
"Hey you two, it's late. Go to your room now," Mrs. Laura shouted at us from her room upstairs.
"Sure, Mom, good night," Heidi answered.
We went to her room.
"I'm not yet sleepy, you?" I said to Heidi.
"Still alive, awake and enthusiastic," she said with a giggle. "Okay, how about this, you do what you want in this room and I will finish this song I'm composing, is that okay?" she told me and went to her study table.
"Sure," I answered. I went to her bookshelf and return the art book I'm reading a while ago. I got another book, but this time it's about the Piano of the 1800s. A picture fell from the book. I picked it up. It looks like a yearbook photo, it's a handsome young man. His hair is black and it's in a clean cut, fair skin, and jade green eyes. I looked closely, my heart beating so fast, and then I gasped silently. He may look different with a smile and that haircut, but I am totally sure, this is my father.
I cleared my throat and sit on the bed.
"Heidi, who is this?" I asked casually. She turned to me. I tried to read her eyes when she looked at the picture. I couldn't decipher the emotion but I know there's something different.
"Oh, nothing," and she continued to write.
"Hey, that didn't answer my question," I answered.
"Okay, that's Anthony Weber. School's heartthrob. Just a high school crush," she answered without looking at me and laughed shortly, but no trace of humor.
"Just a crush, huh? Then why would he give you his yearbook portrait? Maybe he's your boyfriend," I teased and she laughed.
"And who told you he gave that to me? I stole that!" she turned to me and laugh again so hard. I giggled too because of her reddened funny face.
"Okay fine, some desperate woman. I'm already sleepy. Good night, Heidi," I lied at the bed and closed my eyes.
"Good night, too, Alex, I'll continue this... It's just 22 days before your birthday," and she chuckled again.
I'm really not sleepy, I just want to think. How old is Dad in 2008 now? He's just 28, so young... So somewhere here in 1998, he's with my mother... 18 years old... Heidi and he were in the same batch.
I heard a different sound. Heidi was sobbing. And by just listening to her, I could feel all of her pain... But pain from what? I wanted to open my eyes and comfort her, but she knows that I'm not easily awakened by simple sounds. So I continue pretending I'm asleep and fighting my own tears. Maybe there is something between Dad and Heidi, at least there WAS something. I slept.
When I open my eyes the next morning, it's bright. The clock said it's just 7:00 in the morning. I stood and noticed a black box... A black box with Heidi's name on top of it... It's the same box I found in our attic. I panicked; I'm afraid of opening it and return to 2008. I'm not ready to leave yet, not without solving the mystery about my father's past.
I carried it as I went downstairs. Heidi was in the kitchen with Mrs. Laura, cooking breakfast.
"Good morning, Alex, so you saw my gift to you... Or a souvenir," she said with a smile as soon as she saw me holding the box.
"Uhm... Yeah, thanks. Good morning Mrs. Laura, Heidi," I tried to smile. Heidi walked to me and gets the box from my hands.
"This was a birthday gift from Grandpa when I'm 14 years old. But I would like you to keep this... When you open this-"
"No!" I interrupted her as she started to open it. "I mean, I want to open it on my birthday... What's inside would be a surprise for me and I want to keep the thrill of mystery," I quickly said at their shocked faces. And they both burst into laughter, so I tried to laugh awkwardly with them.
"Well then, if that's what you want, here... You want to keep the thrill of mystery, huh?" she laughed again and returned to me the box.
The day went on like other days, but the same excitement and happiness was still there.
The next day, December 5, Saturday, the sun shone brightly and the snowfall stopped, Heidi and I went to the park but we really didn't have plans what we'll do there.
We walked around, chatting about random stuffs. She bumped to a man.
"Sorry," Heidi and the man both said. Then there's a long silence, they just stared at each other. The man... He's as tall as Dad, and well he's exactly the same person in the picture I found the other night. He's with a pregnant woman, maybe three inches taller than Heidi. She's so pretty, her very long curly bronze hair was tied in a purple ribbon, and her long blue dress makes her look like a model for some magazines about being a mother. She looks like Heidi so much, except for the color of her eyes, they were blue like Mrs. Laura's. She looks at Heidi with so much worry in her eyes as if they will cry. I am very sure... Finally, I found my mother... This is Megan Walker... And I'm at her womb... the reason for her death in 20 days. And another idea hit me, with the similarities, is it possible that Megan is Heidi's older sister? Beside her is a thin, black-haired woman, I'm sure again, this is my Aunt Sarah. So they were really best friends after all.
After a few seconds later, Heidi ran so fast, leaving me behind.
"Heidi!" my mother shouted after Heidi and burst into tears. Dad hugged her and Aunt Sarah put her hand on Mom's back for comfort, while I stared at them, I, too, wanted to embrace them... I'm longing for a hug from my parents... But I can't, Anthony, my father, stared at me with confusion in his green eyes... Has he noticed my curly bronze hair and my jade eyes identical to his? Maybe it would be funny if I'll reveal to them that I'm their future daughter, so before I couldn't stop myself to speak, I ran after Heidi.
I found Heidi sitting in a bench at the end of the park surrounded by big trees, she was alone there. I sat beside her and hugged her... She cried loudly. I don't know what to say so I just waited for her to calm down.
She finally stopped and wiped her tears with her hand.
"Maybe you already have some idea," she asked me and looked at my eyes. I looked away. I didn't want to see her pain.
"No, I don't understand," I lied.
"Maybe this is the right time to tell you my story," she answered and forced a smile.
"I'll listen," it's the only thing I could say. She held my hand.
"So that man is Anthony Weber. I told you he's my high school crush. The pregnant woman is M... She's Megan. She's my older sister," she looked to me, maybe waiting for my comments, I just nodded at her.
"Actually, you were right... The picture you found in my room, I didn't steal it, Anthony gave it to me," she laughed without any trace of humor. "I love him... And luckily, he loves me too.. We love each other that it seems we were in another world when we're together. We planned to get married three years after we graduated high school. And we graduated last year. He enrolled for college while I got a job. But we still have time for each other of course... Last April, one of our friends threw a birthday party. I couldn't come because I was sick. I failed to call him, maybe if I called him he will not attend the party too and visit me in my house. My sister, Megan, was also invited to that party because they were friends in Arts Club, so I told her to deliver my message to Anthony about my illness... I said that he must not bother to leave the party to go to our house and instead enjoy our friend's birthday. Megan didn't come home that night... After a month, Meg missed her period.. She was pregnant... She and Henry got drank that night and maybe you already know what happened next... Where, how... I don't know the details, when she told about that to me and Mom, I quickly ran and locked myself to our room," she paused and looked at me again.
"That night, I slept in my mother's room... Well I didn't sleep actually... Just thinking... Thinking of the pain that it's my sister who betrayed me. But I just have to remind myself that she didn't do it intentionally, that they were both unconscious. But I couldn't remove the ache in my heart, our future is now going on a different way," another tear fell from her right eye, she quickly wiped it. I shivered with the word 'future'. I wanted to tell her what her sister's future is.
"The next day, when I went downstairs, I saw Anthony and his parents talking with Megan and Mom at the living room. I walked rapidly to go outside. And when I stopped, I'm surprised that Anthony was already beside me. He held me with his two hands, stared at my eyes. Then we realized, we were both crying. He told me things he always says like he loves me and whatever happens he's still there for me... But I no longer wanted to believe his words. That will just hurt me more. He said that maybe if my sister is not here or she dies, we will be together. I slapped him in the face because of his foolish words. Of course, although I love him so much I couldn't wish my sister to be gone... She's still my sister and I love her. I left him and I ran to the nearest chapel. I never slept with my sister in our room after that. The next month, the night before their wedding, I entered our room because I thought she was not there... But she's there, packing all of her things. She'll move at Anthony's house. Before I went out the room, she embraced me, she was crying.. The only word she said was 'sorry'. I didn't move or talk, because I know if I'll talk, I'll weep too, so I just wait for her to let go of me and turned my back to her to go to the other room. The next day, I told Mom I will not go to the wedding, she didn't force me... A mother always understands how her son or daughter feels. I locked myself to our room and cried the whole day.. I cry for my broken heart.. Broken for the reason that Anthony and I would never be together again.. Broken because that also affected me and my sister. I had always asked myself why of all the women on that party, why Megan? Why does it have to her? And I always answer myself that it has to be her, at least... At least Anthony is lucky to have her as the mother of his child. Meg is caring, kind, smart and of course, strong. That's the meaning of her name, the 'strong one,'" she smiled of the thought.
"And after that, we never see each other again. Until a while ago... I'm not ready to see her yet, not now.. Not now that I thought I already moved on but still the pain is in here. However, I felt a little joy when I saw them, I'm glad that when I looked at them, I saw love. They finally learned to love each other. So... That's my story... Wow, great. I made it... Twenty years shortened to a few minutes," she said and looked at me with a smile. I smiled, too, and hugged her again.
"Don't worry, God will make a way for the three of you. He always has better plans," I told her. And I started to wonder what that way is. Can I change the future for the good everyone? I've got 20 days.
The days passed. We didn't saw the Webers again. And I didn't know what to do. Would I just wait to happen what was really meant to happen? The train accident. My mothers death. Would I return to the future? What's happening there now? The box was still with me.
I was always thinking about these things until I realized it's already the 20th of December. I waked up and my head was spinning... I can't get up. Heidi entered the room, she's dressed.
"Rise and shine sweetie, we'll leave today... Alex, are you okay? Oh, you're hot!" she said as she noticed my tired face and checked my temperature. She called her mother.
"Mom, Alex has a fever. I think it's better if I'll stay here with her," she said to Mrs. Laura.
"Where are you going?" I asked.
"We're planning to visit my Godmother just outside the town, and we would like you to go with us. But in your condition right now... Mom?" Heidi looked at her mother.
"Heidi, you know Carmen misses you so much and she's expecting you today before they move in Canada tomorrow," Mrs. Laura said with a frown.
"Heidi, you can leave me... I can take care of myself here," I said to her.
"Are you sure? We'll be out the whole day," she said.
"Yes, I would be good here... And I promise not to leave the house or allow anyone to go inside," I assured her.
"Uhm... Okay, we'll leave now. There is food in the fridge, don' forget to eat okay? There are medicines in the first drawer in the kitchen. You have the whole day to rest," she said.
And they left, closing the door lightly. I slept.
I woke up at around12:30 PM, I slept for three hours. I felt better now so I rose and went to the kitchen to eat.
After eating, I wander around the house thinking of something to do... It's really boring here without Heidi. I didn't want to watch the television, I'm not interested in the shows of 1998. So I just went to the living room and practiced playing the piano. I stopped when I heard someone knocked at the door.
I looked through the window and saw Megan outside, she was alone. I promised not to let anyone enter the house, but it seems that I'm breaking the promise with the first visitor. I opened the door.
"Oh... Good day," she said, her face was surprised but still beautiful.
"Good day, too, Madam. Uhm, Mrs. Laura and Heidi are not here today," I said, my head was facing down.
"Really? I see... Do you mind if I go inside? I just want to say something," she replied, she smiled and her eyes looked hopeful.
"No. Come in, I'm just alone anyway," I quickly answered before my mind could think what to say... Maybe it's because of my desire to be with my mother. We went to the living room.
"This place hasn't change at all, it's still as the same as I left it a few months ago," she said looking around before taking her seat. I sat in the table across to her.
"What's your name?" she asked casually.
"I'm..." I hesitated for a moment. "Alexandra."
"Alexandra... That's my sister's favorite name. Meaning protector of mankind, right?" she replied with a smile. I just nodded, I really didn't know what my name means.
"Alexandra what?" she asked again. I almost answered Alexandra Weber, thank God I remembered where I am.
"Alexandra Watson," I lied. That's the first surname that came to my mind. It's Mary Jane's last name in Spiderman. Silly, I know.
"Watson.... I don't know anyone with that surname. May I know why you're here?" she asked again. So we're having a question and answer portion. I would like to answer her that I'm here because I like to meet her and I'm grabbing the opportunity to try to change the future, but of course that would not help anything.
"It's a long story. I'm here to stay with them until my parents pick me up on January," I answered blankly.
"Oh... So you're celebrating Christmas with them, then? I see." Thank God she didn't bother to ask me what's the story of how I came here. So I just nodded. I felt so weak to show enthusiasm.
"I'm Megan Walker... Or Megan Weber now," she offered her hand to shake with mine.
"I know," I muttered as I took it.
"So Heidi told you about it... The two of you seem to be so close to each other. I'm happy for her that she met someone like you to be her sister even in a short time," she said looking down, she really looks sad.
"Yes, and I'm lucky, too, that I am given a chance to meet Heidi and Mrs. Laura," I told her and I meant my words. She took out an envelope outside her bag and put it down on the table.
"I came here to hand this letter to Heidi. It's the easiest way to talk to her since we both can't look at each other without crying. And now I think it's better if you'll be the one to give it to her... Please?" I looked at the paper for a long time. Thinking what to say.
"I love my sister so much... And I will continue waiting until she's ready to talk to me again. I'll give anything just to get back our silly laughter. Please, Alexandra, can you give this letter to her?" she begged, and I saw tears fell from her eyes. I didn't like this. Someone crying in front of me... Why were people so emotional these days?
"Sure, I will... And I'll try to convince her to talk to you again... Anyway, she already forgave you. She's just not yet prepared to meet you and D-Anthony again," I said and held her hands with my both hands. Shoot, I was closed in revealing my secret.
"Thanks, Alexandra. And oh, by the way... I am sure you'll be celebrating Christmas in Broadway. Our grandparents are there... And I will also arrive. It would be better if you'll not say it to them. It's a surprise," she told me with a smile. I tried to smile, too. But my mind was racing.
"Will you go alone?" I asked, concerned.
"Yes, of course. I don't think it's a good idea if Anthony will go with me," she said.
"I think I should go now... Alexandra, I really thank you. You take care, bye." And she went to the door, I closed the door as soon as I saw her enter her car. So that's it. Broadway. On Christmas. She'll go alone. It's a surprised. She'll ride a train. And it will really surprise everyone for it will be the cause of her death.
I went upstairs to Heidi's room and put the letter on her table. I lied on the bed and closed my eyes. The whole day I just formulated plans to stop everything, trying to figure out the outcomes... My mind flashbacked to Aunt Sarah's words about the accident.
"The train she's riding collided with another train. Many were just injured... But you're mother was one of the 43 passengers who died. Actually you're mother really didn't die in that disaster. She was still breathing when the rescuers found her inside the train an hour after the accident but about to deliver you. She lost so much blood and died after you was out," this was her answer to me when I once asked her about my mother's death about two years ago. So the problem is that the rescuers were too late.. And if they just arrived earlier, they could have saved her.
"... Alexandra... Do you know where you got your name? When you're mother was still alive, she always says she'll name you 'Dianne' which means 'heavenly'... but we decided give you that name because Megan's last words after you was born were something like 'Alexandra... She tried to save me,' and we believed she's referring to the baby, to you, who wanted to save her mother," Aunt Sarah told me this one time before I slept but I remember her words clearly. And now that hit me. 'She tried to save me'? Were the plans forming in my mind right now won't succeed? Was I really part of the past and will never change the future, the present in year 2008? Although I met Aunt Sarah and Dad at the park the other day of the year 1998, they didn't know my name was Alexandra so if Mom was really referring to me, they didn't have the idea that it was the girl with Heidi. I felt butterflies in my stomach and started to lose hope. The future was already drawn, why do I still have to make an effort to change it?
"Cheer up, Alex! There's always a way... If you'll not find it, God will make it," I screamed to myself and slapped myself. Yes, God will make it... It's His will that I'm here right? He gave me the chance to meet my Mom. And whatever happens, I would thank Him for that.