Far From Home

Chapter 1: Bad Memories

Sydney's life began tearing to shreds on her seventh birthday, just before she was about to blow out the candles on her birthday cake.. Everything seemed fine. Everything was perfect. The night was going well. The sun was setting just over the mountains, and the oranges and pinks of the sun rays complimented the sky well. Her parents stood by her smiling with the biggest, now that Sydney had remembered, fake, smiles she had ever seen. Sydney remembered every single detail of that night like the back of her palm. The wind blowing softly and made the fire on the candles dance slightly. The purple over-alls she's been wearing and the white shirt with black butterfiles on it underneath, her feet kept warm in a pair of blue socks that had green flowers on the top. Her parents stood by her, her mother wearing that yellow sundress her father bought her the previous year, no socks, no shoes. Her father was wearing that blue plaid shirt that Syd thought made him look like a nerdy professor and a pair of brown khakis. And in that single moment everything was perfect. She couldn't have imagnied a better birthday. A couple gifts were stacked on the table next to the cake. Her father's arm around her mother's waste as they looked up at each other and smiled and back down at Sydney. Sydney too had a huge smile plastered to her face. Her brown eyes, big as saucers looking down on her cake. Then it happened, just as Sydney began to blow out the candles on the cake, the phone rang.

The single phone call that made her life go down the drain from that moment on.

When the phone started ringing Sydney jumped and a few candles blew out as her sudden movement caused a small sudden burst of air. Her father's arms dropped from his wife's side. He looked down at her and she looked up at him, Sydney stood across the table and looked at the both of them. For a moment no body moved, no body spoke and the only noise that could be heard was the rustling of the blinds against the kitchen window.

"Who is it mommy?" Sydney asked. But her mother stood still and didn't respond or make an effort to. "Mommy." She called out again. This time she turned her focus to her daughter. She shook her head and blinked her eyes slowly breathing in and out once.

"Probably...probably...just...just...TV bills." Her mother choked out.

Sydney slanted her head sideways and bit her bottom lip. "What's wrong mommy?" She asked. "Are you going to get the phone mommy?" She asked again. Every since Sydney could move, whether that be crawling or scooting her curiousity always got the best of her. She was always trying out new things and hurting herself. Once when she was five, her mother took her to an antique shop. Hundred of antiques from dolls to dishes lined the walls. In all sorts of colors, shapes and sizes. The woman at the counter greeted Sydney's mother and soon enough her mother and the woman at the counter were deeply enevopled in a conversation about some red and yellow China dishes.

Sydney began wondering around on her own, touching all the sparkly things that caught her eye. She observed a couple vases and plates and a small statue of a green dragon that stood on a low counter. But then she layed her eyes on a small doll. It stood about eight inches tall and was made out of some kind of shiny hard material. It didn't look like plastic. The doll's hair was a bright red color, and the most beautiful brown eyes Sydney had ever seen and she thought they looked much like hers. Sydney looked up at the doll in awe, and utter amazement. That doll was the most beautiful thing Sydney had layed her eyes on. The green painted on ruffles, and the tiney black ballerina like shoes. Red cirlces painted on her cheeks and painted on pink lips.

Sydney took a glance at her mother who was still talking to the woman at the counter. She turned back around and looked at the doll once more. She had to have the doll. She felt as if she needed the doll. Sydney looked at her nearby surrondings and found a small stool, it stood about twelve inches high. She eyed the stool and she eyed how high the doll was up. It looked about right. She took another glance at her mother. She was still talking to the woman at the counter. Her mother turned around briefly and waved at Sydney. Sydney smiled back and once her mother had turned around again made a dash for the stool.

She placed the stool directly under the shelf the doll was at and stepped on it. She reached up but she couldn't reach it, yet it was close. She felt as if she could feel it on the tip of her fingers. The hard cold ceramic against her little pale fingers.

"Come on, come on." Sydney fumbled out as she used every once in her body to try and reach further. But she couldn't.

"Ohhh." She breathed out in disappointment.

She turned around and looked around the shop. She thought to herself what could she add in addition to the stool. She scratched her head and then layed her eyes on a stack of purple velvet books. She snapped her fingers and stepped off the stool rushing towards the books. She reached out for the books, when she saw an old man's hand reach out and grab it. When the man noticed her reaching out for the book her stopped and smiled at her.

"Can I help you little girl?" The man replied with another smile. "Do you want this book?" He asked. "There aren't any pictures in it." He insisted. Sydney studied the old man for awhile. He leaned against an old wooden cane that looked like it had its fair share of life. He wore a small brown plaid hat on his head and a pair of matching brown pants. Syd bit her lip.

"I don't like picture books." She spat back. "I prefer the ones with lotsa bog words and stuff." She replied. The old man began to chuckle slightly.

"So you are a big girl then?" He asked. "Can you read this book then?"

"I don't want to read that book." She said as she pointed to the book. "I want that doll." And she pointed to the doll up on the shelf. The old man looked up in the direction she pointed. "And I'm going to use those books to get it."

"You know little girl..." The man began. "I could get it for you myself." He offered. Sydney crossed her arms and shook her head.

"I can get it myself, I just need those books." Syd replied confidently.

"Are you sure?" The old man asked hoping she'd give in. He stood up straighter and rubbed his hand over his back.

"I'm sure." She replied. The old man handed her the book.

"Alrighty then." Sydney smiled at him and took the book and grabbed the others. She began to walk away but then she stopped and turned around.

"Oh and mom says if everyone does everything for you, you'll never learn how to do it for yourself." She smiled at the old man and turned back around.

Sydney walked back over to the shelf and placed the books on the stool. She stood back and looked at the safety of the book stool she had just made. She walked closer and straightend the books further making sure the edges were lined up with one another. She stepped back to make sure it was safe again and this time it was to her liking. She lifted her right leg and climbed on to the book stool adn reched up for the doll. This time she could actually feel it. The cold ceramic against her fingers. She grabbed the doll and held it tightly between her fingers and the palm of her hand.

She lowered her left leg to get down and thats when the books finally gave way and she fell to the floor. The ceramic doll shattering nearby her on the floor. Her mother and the woman at the counter and the old man heard the noise and stopped what they were doing and looked towards where the sound hand come from.

"Sydney." Her mother called out. No reply. Her mother frantically jumped and walked over to where she saw a few boxes tumbled over and walked down the aisle. "Oh my god." She cried out. "Sydney, are you ok?" She said as she knelt over her. She picked up Syd's head and layed her head on her lap. She looked up and saw an older man looking over her.

"Little girl?" He called out.

Sydney's mother looked up at him. "Do I know you?" She asked brushing her hair out of her face. The old man shook his head and said no. Then Sydney started to cough and Sydney's mother looked down at her.

"Oh Sydney?" She cried. "I was so worried about you." Her mother said as she lifted Syd's head up and hugged her. She pulled away and examined her daughter. "Are you ok? What were you doing? What were you looking for? How did..." Her mother continued to mumble out.

"I'm ok mommy really, I just wanted a doll." Sydney replied and pointed to the broken ceramic doll shattered into a thousand tiny pieces on the floor. "I slipped and fell." Syd replied. "And the doll broke." Sydney turned around and saw the old man she'd been talking to minutes earlier.

"Have you learned now?" The man asked with a smile on his face. And Sydney smiled back at him.

Her mother turned her focus to Sydney's father. "No honey, it's ok just...ignore it, we'll...I'll get it later." Her mother said as she walked to her daughter's side. She brushed Sydney's smooth long brown hair out of her face and smiled softly. "Close your eyes and blow out the candles."

Sydney glanced at her mother, then back at her father and with that she bent down and blew out the candles.

"Now make a wish." She heard her mother say quietly. One by one the candles went out, and after the fire was gone, but she stayed a bit longer, making her wish.

When she opened her eyes, her father was now squating besides her mother with his hands on her shoulders. She looked at her parents and said, "I made the greatest wish daddy." She said with a huge smile. "The best one anyone could ever ask for." Syd said smiling.

Her father looked at her softly, she could notice a little disappointment in his eyes, but she didn't question it. She knew he was tyrying to pretend to be happy for her, for this day only. "What did you wish for?" He asked smiling. Sydney rolled her eyes.

Sydney smiled sweetly as she bit her thumb. "I can't tell you daddy, or else it won't come true." Her parents looked at one another and burst out laughing. Sydney soon joined them and for that moment, everything in Syd's little upside down world was perfect, the laguhing her parents shared with each other was genuine, it was real, they laughed together as a couple, not as individual human beings, as husband and wife, mother and father.

A couple minutes later when the laughter had finally died down her parents snuck out of the room whilst Sydney was looking at the wrapping used on her gifts. Reds, yellows, pinks and oranges. Red, it had always been Syd's favorite color. The brightness of the color, the powerfulness of the color. Red was blood, red was hunger, but most of all red was romance. Red was love.

Then the phone rang again. Her parents could hear the phone's rinigng echoeing through the house into the kitchen. Silence. They stopped speaking and everything in the house was quiet.

But then Jack spoke. "I thought he wouldn't be calling on our daughter's birthday, Laura, this is after all a family moment." He'd stressed the word family. He could see the shame and guilt in Laura's face, but he didn't stop. The things she had done, made his heart shatter into a million little peices. Made his heart go dark and cloudy. She looked down, tucking a few strands of hair behind her head.

"I did tell him, I told him not to call today, or tomorrow that it wouldn't be a good time." The phone rang again. "You don't think I told him that already?" Laura questioned, but Jack didn't respond.

"Then why is he calling?" Jack asked angrily stepping away from his wife, a woman he could only imagine perfect and nothing less, was now a woman who had brought utter disgust to him.

She finally looked up wipping away a single tear that began to slide down her cold cheek. "I don't know." That was all she said, when she realized the phone was no longer ringing. "The..." She began, and before she could finish her sentence it had come to mind so fast, crashing down on her like a boulder. "Sydney." She whispered. She took to her feet rushing towards the living room to find Sydney standing with the phone cord dangling from her little pale fingers. She could hear from the phone a beeping dialing tone.

Her mother stood frozen. She couldn't move. This wasn't how she was supposed to find out. She inched slowly closer to her daughter.

"Sydney..." She began.

"Sydney." She heard a voice call. "Sydney." And she heard it again. "Sydney!" The voice yelled but it wasn't her mother's. "Sydney, wake up." The voice said again and this time she felt something grab her arm.

She jolted up. "I'm awake." She said startled. "I'm up, and awake." She said as she wiped her face. She looked to her left and saw Nadia standing there with her eyebrows fixed upwards. "Awake now?" Nadia said sarcastically.

"Smart ass." Sydney retorted. She looked to her left, and noticed that Francie was gone. "Hey Nads." She said catching her friends attention.

"Yeah what."

"Where's Francie, wasn't she just here?" Syd asked surveying the room. She saw students rising from their chairs and a few still copying notes from the board. "Ohhh." She said quickly. "Class is over already?" Syd asked. Nadia began grabbing her books and began to stand up. Sydney leaped out of her chair and helped her up.

"Thanks Syd." She said as she smiled. Sydney could tell she was embarassed. She didn't like needing to be helped out of a chair in college, amongst her friends with flat evely toned bellies. Abs that shined when they were short tube tops or bikinis, clothes that Nadia could no longer wear. "Darn baby, getting in the way of things." Nadia joked. "Literally in the way of things." She added and Syd let out a small laugh with smile that accompanied her laugh.

"Nads, I can give you a ride home if you like?" Syd asked as she walked back to her desk grabbing her things. "It's ok I'm totally free tonight, I hang out with you, maybe get Francie, some root beer and some vanilla ice cream."

"Totally free?" Her friend asked. "Really?" She smirked.

"Yeah, does being pregnant affect your hearing." Syd joked. "I said totally fr..." And she stopped. "Either it affects your hearing or gives you killer memory." Syd said as she walked over to her best friend. "Plans with Noah." "Right, damn what would I do without you."

Nadia smacked her arm. "Don't be a wise ass, you don't wanna know how improved the area is in dealing with wise asses." Syd broke out laughing.

"Fair enough." Syd responded. "Wise ass, no more." She replied as they began walking out of the class room.

"So Syd, when's your dad coming, I thought you said he said he was going to come and visit, soon, some time?" Nadia asked as she rubbed her stomach. "Is he still coming?" She added.

Syd looked down at her feet and then gripped her books firmer. "Yeah, he said he would, but I don't know at least not ye..." Syd said when she bumped into someone spilling her books and papers into the air.

"Ah...geez I'm really really sor..." He began but paused when he saw the woman he nearly knocked off of her feet. "Sorry." He choked out as he looked at her face observantly. Syd starred back at him. Embarrassed he ducked his down and began picking up their books and papers.

"It's ok." Syd began. "It's fine really, I should have been looking up, straight, forward?" Syd said. She looked up at Nadia who only raised her eyebrows and motioned for Syd to hurry up. Syd widend her eyes and mouther, 'ok, ok I'm going.'

"Uh...here's your stuff." He said handing her her things. "Books, papers, everything still there." He said as he pushed his glasses up on his nose. He let out a small nerdy chuckle and raised his arm. "I'm Will, Will Tippin." And he smiled again.

Syd returned the smile and said back, "Sydney, Sydney Bristow." She took her hand back and tucked her hair behind her ear. "Nice meeting you Will."

"Yeah, yeah, you too." He said as he stood up followed by Sydney. They stood for a while looking at each other, until Nadia faked a cough, that didn't work.

"Oh my." Nadia yelped and Syd and Will turned their focus on her.

"Nads, what is it?" Syd said as she walked closed. "Is it the baby?" Nadia began breathing in and out rapidly and then she suddnely stopped.

"Yeah but it was just a kick, I think it wanted me to go, and stop standing here." She said. Syd smiled sarcastically at her and nudged her arm.

"Well I should probably go anyways." Will said breaking the little chat between the two. They both looked up at him.

"Oh...yeah...ok..." Syd mumbled. "See you later I guess, maybe."

"Yeah, I hope." Will said shyly.

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The End of Chapter 1