PROJECT: CADENCE

Prologue~

October 16, 2002

It was a cold and rainy October night when the police came to our door. My father and I were watching some mystery on TV; the clock on the VCR read 11:03 pm when the doorbell rang. At first we thought that it was just someone playing a practical joke, until it became a determined knocking.

"Don't get up dad, I'll get it." I got up and walked to the front door, looked through the peephole, and when I saw that it was two drenched police officers at the door, I quickly opened it.

"Yes, um, can I help you?"

"Is this the home of Dr. Jack O'Neil?"

"Yeah,... my name is Cadence, Dr. O'Neil's daughter."

My dad then joined me at the door.

"I am so sorry, officers, do, please come in. I really don't know what has gotten into my little girl's head."

"Thank-you sir, um, I am afraid that we have some bad news." One of the officers looked at me with sad eyes before continuing,

"Dr. O'Neil, may we please speak to you alone for a moment. You see sir, there has been an accident."

'There has been an accident.' As soon as he spoke those words, I knew what had happened. My mother owned a prominent art gallery downtown. She was a tall, well-poised, middle-aged woman with middle-back length, chestnut colored hair that matched her chestnut eyes.

I was wondering why she was so late getting home; normally she would get home at 10:30 pm, however, I had just assumed that she got caught in some bad Seattle traffic.

I left the living room and went into the kitchen. There I was really quiet and listened to what the officers had to say.

"Dr. O'Neil, I am afraid that your wife has been in an accident. She was driving on the Interstate when a drunk driver hit her and made her crash into an electric pole. She suffered from internal bleeding and died shortly before the paramedics arrived. I am very sorry, sir."

As I heard this, I ran out of the kitchen and up the stairs to my room, my eyes were so cloudy and misty from my hot, salty tears.

I locked myself in my room for two whole days, without eating or sleeping. Finally, I opened my door and let my dad in. We sat on my bed and cried. We cried for hours.

I stayed out of school for so long; that I had to go to school on the weekends to avoid summer school, but that didn't matter. My teachers were so understanding, they let me make my work up gradually.

My father told me a couple weeks later the date for the funeral was set for the Sunday after next.

"Cadence, I have contacted your Uncle Judson, and he is coming down along with Mac and Gabe."

"Whatever!" Normally, I would have been so excited to see Uncle Judson, Mac, and Gabe, but now it didn't really matter much.

~One week later- October 15, 2002~

As I put on my black dress, hose, and my black pumps, I looked into my mother's beautifully carved, full-length, wooden-frame mirror at my reflection. I am not what you would call skinny; however, I am not fat or overweight either. I am tall for a twelve year old, like my mom was, with the same hair and eyes.

Uncle Judson, who was my mother's elder brother, arrived at the house at 9:00 am, along with Mac and Gabe. Every summer I would stay with them on The Vast Explorer, so that my parents could be alone.

They were like my second family, Mac and I were so close, she was like my older sister that I never had; I could tell her anything. I had a big crush on Gabe, though, he is so sweet and sensitive, and he always listens. Both of us are computer geniuses.

All three of them knew my mom and they all gave me a big hug and kissed my cheek. I gave Uncle Judson the biggest hug and then I couldn't take it anymore; I just broke down in tears. They didn't cry, but I am sure that they just didn't want to make me feel worse.

The funeral took place at the Seattle Memorial Cemetery at 11:05 am. The gathering there was small, close friends of my mother and family mainly. I stood with my dad on one side, and Uncle Judson, Mac, and Gabe on the other side.

I found that I didn't cry, well, not until the wake, that is.

The wake was at my house. I was helping serve the refreshments when a wave of uncontrollable grief forced me to run into the bathroom. I cried so hysterically and for so long, that when I had finally collected myself enough to face humans again, all of the people except for Uncle Judson, Mac, and Gabe had left.

They stayed for a while, but they eventually left. They all kissed me on the forehead and gave me a big hug, they kept saying how brave I was and that everything was going to be fine.

They were wrong. I was not brave, and absolutely nothing would be all right.

My mother was dead.

I was never going to see her again.

"AAAHHH!" I woke up with a start. I was covered in sweat, the clock on my desk read 4:07 am, 2004. It was just a dream.

Ever since my mother died, I had relieved that night in my dreams for several months.

They faded eventually, but nightmares were fairly common.

I rest my head on my pillow for a few moments, then,

'BEEP, BEEP, BEEP...BEEP, BEEP, BEEP!!' My alarm clock goes off at 4:10.

"Oh my gosh, I almost forgot! I have to pack, my plane leaves in three hours. Oh boy, I can't wait to see Uncle Judson, Mac, and Gabe again!!

This is going to be a summer to remember!