I was an orphan for two days. I thought it was forever, but like so many things, I was wrong. And then one day, I was right.
I'm on the grade school playground in my new school in my new town in my new life.
"You have Dorothy shoes." I reach my hand out to be closer to them.
"You can't touch them." Her voice is cold and perfect at the same time.
"I wasn't going to touch them." I want to touch them. They are too beautiful to be real. Nothing should be that beautiful. Nothing real.
"Well, you can't. Keep your stinking fingers off of them. You'll rub the sparkles off. Actually, don't even look at them." She looks at me like I'm nothing.
"Fuck you, Rosalie."
I watch the beautiful shoes that belong to the impossibly beautiful girl march off the playground and into the school.
I sit in the principal's office and wait for Charlie. I look down at my own boring shoes, wishing that they were covered in red sparkles. Rosalie doesn't deserve those shoes. She's not Dorothy. She's the Wicked Witch.
Charlie picks me up in the cruiser. I feel like I'm being hauled off to jail. He doesn't say anything.
I want him to say something.
He clears his throat and I think I might get my way. He doesn't look at me when he speaks. "I know your mother had quite a mouth on her but no child of mine will speak in that manner." Fire.
"You don't know anything about my mother. You didn't even have a daughter until she died." I don't know who I'm trying to hurt. Somebody. Anybody.
Charlie stays quiet. I've won. I could never win with my mother. She always had the last word. I don't want him to let me have it, so I keep going.
"She told me to always say what I mean. She told me! Now you want me to be a liar!"
I watch the color rise from his neck, up to his cheeks. Brow furrowed. "Saying what you mean, that's all good and well, Bella, but you can't talk to people like that. Not in my house, and certainly not at school. Besides, do you even know what that word means?"
I know that 'fuck you' is what you say to someone who is being a bitch. I also know that this is not what Charlie wants to hear.
My mother probably would have said those words right back to the principal. But she's not here. Charlie is here. Charlie and his Chief of Police attitude and his badge and his cruiser and his shoes. His ugly shoes that are supposed to be shiny, but aren't. His shoes are worn in and old. He has nothing but old shoes.
"Look, kid." He calls me kid. "I'm trying here, but I'm not any good at this stuff. I don't know how to be…."
I don't know how to be, either.
Mother's Day. Charlie takes me to the cemetery. He says it's the right thing to do.
There are flowers resting on her grave. Flowers that we didn't bring. We stand next to her headstone and I try to imagine what she looks like. What she used to look like before she was dead in the car. But I can't. I can only see her broken and smashed. I can only smell the blood. I can't remember her face or the smell of her hair or even the sound of her voice. All I have is that day.
I do remember Friday in school when Jessica told me that I didn't have a mother. She was right, but if I could do it again, I'd still punch her in the face for saying it.
I trace the letters with my pinky finger. There is only a name and the years. Charlie says she is buried next to my grandparents. But they are only names. Names I don't know.
Charlie turns away and I don't understand.
She wasn't his mother.
This is my day to be sad, but I can't.
I don't cry.
I let him have it.
One year. 365 days. I am ten years old. I go to school. I do not use four letter words. I do not say what I mean. I do not hit anyone. I do my homework. Charlie is proud of me. Everyone talks about how well I'm coping. I wonder if this is what it is like to be dead.
I know of three kinds of change: the kind that jangles around in your pocket, the kind that happens slowly, every moment of every day, and the kind that blows you away in an instant.
After all this time, there is one thing that I know for sure: fast or slow, piercing or silent, change is nothing but a thief in the night.
My mother claimed to love change. Charlie feared it. And then there was Edward. Edward changed everything, but I couldn't let myself keep him.