Crystal sighed as she stepped onto her porch. Today had been another long day at work. Crystal worked at a small diner at the edge of town. She was a single mom and had one son, Tommy. Her husband, George, had been a cop. He had been on a case of child abuse. He was forced to take a child away from his mother. The child’s mother went into a fit of rage when George came to pick him up. She had grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed George. She left her son and had disappeared, she hadn’t been seen since. No one knew why she left her son after so desperately wanting to keep him and he was moved to a good foster family. After George died, Crystal had gotten a job and was struggling to provide for Tommy.
When she opened the door, Tommy ran in from the kitchen to give her a hug.
“Mommy!” He called happily.
Crystal smiled and bent down to pick him up. He jumped into her arms and kissed her cheek. Tommy was 5 years old, and Crystal couldn’t afford to send him to school so he just spent his time at home and homeschooled after her work. He was a good boy and didn’t get into trouble, usually.
“What were you doing in the kitchen?” Crystal asked.
“I made you a cake!” He said happily.
Uh-oh, she said to herself. She set Tommy down and walked into the kitchen. She was surprised to find a small cake sitting on the stove. It was baked in one of her favorite class bowls and was charred black. The wall behind the counter was covered in cake batter. There were some ingredients sitting on the table and some eggshells on the floor.
“Wow,” Crystal said, “It’s not as big of a mess as I expected. Were you planning to clean it up?”
“Yes, Mommy,” Tommy said, “but I ruined your cake.”
“That’s not a big problem,” Crystal said as she walked over to the cake, “it’s only burnt on the top, so we can fix it.”
She took the burnt cake out of the bowl and scraped the burnt surface off with a butter knife. She placed it on the table and they ate it together. Then Crystal helped Tommy clean up the mess.
“It’s time for school Tommy,” Crystal said when they were done.
“Okay, Mommy.” Tommy went into the living room and Crystal followed him.
“Tommy!” Crystal called, “Time for bed!”
“Do I have to?” Tommy asked, coming into the room.
“Yes, you do,” Crystal answered, poking him in the stomach, “and you better hurry or I’ll send the tickle monster after you!”
Tommy squealed and ran to his room. Crystal walked into his room and helped him to bed. After she tucked him in, she sat on the foot of his bed and told him his favorite bedtime story, Love You Forever.
She left the room and walked into the kitchen. She cleaned up their dinner and washed the dishes. Once Crystal was done cleaning, she went into her room. She sat on her bed and stared at the picture sitting on her bedstand. It was a picture of Crystal, George, and Tommy on Tommy’s third birthday. It was the last picture she had of all three of them together. Tommy was covered in his birthday cake, and George had a piece sticking out of his hair. Crystal was in mid-laugh, trying to clean up the mess in George’s hair.
Crystal sighed and laid down on her bed. Without bothering to get changed, she fell asleep.
Crystal woke up the next morning and made some breakfast for her and Tommy. She had just set some pancakes on the table when Tommy ran in and sat down at the table.
“Hi, Mommy!” Tommy said.
“How’s your morning?” Crystal asked.
“I’m good, Mommy.”
They ate their breakfast and then Crystal said goodbye to Tommy. She stepped out the door and headed toward the diner. When she arrived, she got signed in and started her long day of work.
At six-thirty pm, Crystal helped clean up and lock down the diner. On her way home, she stopped and grabbed some avocados and tomatoes for some home-made salsa, which was one of Tommy's favorite foods.
When she arrived home, she had a dark feeling, like something bad had happened. She shook the feeling off and opened the door. The house was silent as she walked in. Crystal waited for Tommy to run in and hug her, but he didn't.
"Tommy!" Crystal called into the house, “I’m home!”
Crystal became worried and walked into the kitchen. She set the groceries down and walked into the living room. Tommy wasn’t there.
He must be in his room, Crystal said to herself, he’s probably asleep.
She walked toward his room. There was no light coming from underneath his door. She opened the door a crack and peeked inside. Tommy was not on the bed. Crystal opened the door the rest of the way and clicked on the light. The room was empty. Crystal walked over to the bed and found a small note, scribbled on the paper. It was too neat to be Tommy’s handwriting.
“Now you know what it's like to have your son taken away from you”
To be continued...
Author Notes: The book, 'Love You Forever' is a book my mom would read to me when I was younger, and I thought it would be fun to mention it.