Forgive and Forget: Part Five

Forgive and Forget: Part Five

A Short Story Series

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Leah directed her mother out of the kitchen and then gathered as many dishes as she could with Conner grabbing the rest. Leah washed while Conner dried. They fell into a rhythm as they worked in silence.

"So, you've been helping Mom out?" Leah asked.

"Yeah."

"Why?"

"She needed the help. I still think of them as family, even though I probably don't deserve to."

Leah placed a hand on Conner's arm and squeezed gently.

"You'll always be a part of this family. You've shown that by taking care of them when I wasn't here to."

Conner covered her hand with his own.

"Thank you."

"Thank you for taking care of them. I didn't know how bad it had gotten until Mom called me the other day or I would have been here. So thank you for being here when I wasn't."

"Like I said, they're family."

The two finished out the dishes in a more comfortable silence than before.

"Well, I should probably get to bed. I want to wake up early to see Dad before he gets too tired."

"Good night."

Leah went to head up the stairs.

"Leah?" Conner called softly.

"Yeah?"

"I really am sorry. For everything."

"I know. We'll talk more later, k?"

Conner shoved his hands in his pockets, his shoulders hunched inwards as he'd just taken a blow.

"K."

Leah sighed and held out her hand.

"Sleepover? For old times sake?"

Conner's face lit up.

"You're sleeping on the floor."

"I can live with that."

Conner took her hand and let her lead him up the stairs. Conner set up a sleeping bag on the floor like he had when they were kids. Leah curled up under the blanket in the room she'd grown up in and stared at the ceiling.

"I spent a lot of time hating you after you left."

"I know."

"It all seems pointless now. Hating you, I mean. It didn't do any good. I just ended up running away. Now, Dad is sick and it all just seems so pointless."

"So you don't hate me?"

"I don't think I ever really did. I was just confused and hurt. I still am. But I'm at least ready to listen now."

"I didn't want to hear you cry. That's why I sent the letter."

"Why did you leave in the first place? Your letter didn't really do much to clear that up."

"I was young and scared. We were just starting our lives. You were doing so well with college. I didn't think I was good enough for you. So I left."

"I was scared too. I just thought we could get through it together like we always had."

"I should have talked to you. Guess we both chose to run away."

Leah let out a soft snort.

"Yeah, I guess we did."

Leah turned so that she was able to see Conner's face. She found Conner already looking at her.

"For what it's worth, I always thought you were always good enough Conner."

"Your dad said the same thing."

Leah propped herself up so she could see Conner better.

"When did he say that?"

"At his last appointment. I took him so your mom could get some rest."

"Conner..."

"...He told me that I'm the only one he ever trusted with you and that if I hurt you again, he'd make sure I stayed away this time."

"Sounds like Dad."

"He hasn't lost his sense of humor."

"You think he was kidding?"

"I don't plan on finding out."

Conner laughed and Leah found herself joining in easily. She had missed him all of these years and the friendship they'd had.

"Leah?"

"Yeah, Conner?"

"Do you think you'd ever be willing to give me another chance?"

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Dear Mom, Now That I'm Older

A letter to the woman who made me the woman I am today.
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Dear Mom,

Now that I'm older, I definitely appreciate you a lot more than I did as a kid. I appreciate the little things, from the random text messages to constantly tagging me on Facebook in your "funny" photos and sending me pins of stuff I like on Pinterest. Now that I'm older, I can look back and realize that everything I am is all because of you. You've made me strong but realize it's okay to cry. You've shown me how a mother gives everything to her children to give them a better life than she had, even when she's left with nothing. And, most importantly you've taught me to never give up and without this, I would not be where I am today.

Mom, now that I'm older, I realize that you're the best friend I'm ever going to have. You cheer me on when I try new things and support me in deciding to be whatever person I want to be. Thank you for never telling me I can't do something and helping me figure out ways to be the best woman I can be. Your love for me is unconditional. They say true, unconditional love can only come from God, but mom, I think you're a pretty close second.

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Now that I'm older, I don't get to see you as much. But not seeing you as much just makes the times I do get to see you the absolute best, and I look forward to it every time. Now that I'm older, I'm not going to live at home. But, I promise to always come back because I know the door is always open. Your house is always going to be my home, and no other place is going to be the same.

Now that I'm older, I realize how much I miss you taking care of me. I miss you making me dinner, making sure I was doing well in school, and taking me to endless appointments. I miss you waking me up for school and then waking me up again because I didn't listen the first time.

But, Mom, now that I'm older, I can see all that you've done for me. I can look back and see how big of a brat I was but you still loved me (and let me live) anyways. I can understand why you did certain things and frankly, you're one bada** of a woman.

To have you as my mom and my best friend has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. So, Mom, now that I'm older, thank you, for everything.

Love,

Your Daughter

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I Can Never Thank My Stepdad Enough For Everything

It's been three years without my stepdad, but I will never forget him.

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There are so many things I wish I could have shared with you, so many memories I wish I could have made with you, and so many inside jokes we will never get to share again. All I can do is thank you for everything you have done for me.

You were more than just a dad to me. You were the 'Bubba' to my 'Big Time.' But most importantly, you were my best friend.

You were the one who always said going to the movies after school was so much more important than homework, and to this day I still abide by these words of wisdom. I still remember all of our trips to the Amish market where we got a few too many candies, which became the cause of many unwanted trips to the dentist to treat my cavities.

I even remember those times you held on for dear life as you tried to teach me how to drive. You and Mom used to get so frustrated that I could not remember which pedal was the brake and which was the gas.

All of these days still cross my mind. I still chuckle every time you would let me go late to school so I could sleep a little longer. I wish that was still the case.

I wish you had seen me off to prom just so you could have warned me for the hundredth time to stay away from boys because they have cooties. I wish you could have seen me jump at championships my senior year, you would have been so proud at how much I listened to the pointers you gave me - and I even placed third! I wish you would have seen me cross that stage on graduation.

I know you may have gotten the best view from heaven, but sometimes that doesn't substitute the front row you would've got if you were there.

Despite all the things I wish you could have been at, I thank you for helping me get this far. You taught me some of life's irreplaceable lessons.

Sometimes I think I never got the chance to say goodbye on purpose. Maybe God knew my heart could not stand to see you go. Maybe I was meant to be on a track that day because it was the place where we shared a lot of our memories.

Everything happens for a reason, but somehow I think you coming into my life was one of those things I never thought I needed. You came into my life for a greater purpose than anyone, even I, could ever fathom. You brought tons of laughter, loudness, and even Skip-Bo into my life.

I hope every day that I never forget you. I pray every night that the memories never leave. I never thought I would lose my protector and my favorite person to lean on when some days were heavier than others or a laugh was just needed to get me through the hour. Even when nothing gets better or the days just can't get any brighter, I still think of you.

Three years without you have felt like an eternity.

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