I roll over under the warm covers. My eyes slowly open and I look up at the ceiling. Today's' my birthday, I'm turning sixteen. I should be excited, but every birthday is a sad day for everyone I know. For as long as I can remember everyone has put on fake smiles as they hand me presents. But I know they aren't thinking of me.
I sit up and push the covers off of me. I stand up and walk over to my mirror. I look at myself. Blue eyes, blond hair. I look at the picture on my dresser. I don't know the woman in the picture. Dad says she loved me very much, more than anything. I take a closer look at the picture, going over every detail of her face that I've memorized. Dad says I look just like her. She's smiling in the picture, looking at something to the side. She's beautiful. Stunning. I look at her smile, then smile at myself in the mirror. I've never needed braces. Just like I've never needed any extra help on homework. I asked Dad if I could take the test to graduate early, he said no.
I hear a knock on my door and turn to see it crack open. I smile as Dad walks in.
"Hey, kiddo, happy birthday." He smiles and walks over and sits on my bed.
"Thanks, Dad," I put the framed picture down and walk over to sit right next to him.
"You know," He starts. I cut him off.
"I look just like her. I know Dad, and I will always know." I look at him.
"She would've been proud of you, you know." He puts his arm around my shoulder.
"Because you're already smarter than me. And, you're you."
I smile. "When is Uncle Daniel coming?"
"Sometime around noon. So why don't you get up get a shower and I'll make you breakfast."
He walks out and I go take a quick shower. I walk in my room and go over to my closet. I open the doors and walk in. I don't want to dress up fancy. Not like anybody will notice if I did anyway. I settle for skinny jeans, flats, and my mom's old Air Force t-shirt. I spray on some perfume that was hers. It smells good. I add my makeup, brush my teeth, and take one final look at myself.
I go downstairs and see Dad setting the table. As we sit down to eat I look at him.
"Dad?" I ask.
"Yeah?" He says as he stuffs his face with waffles.
"Can we go see her today?" I ask. I look back up at him and see him frozen.
"Sure, if you want." He says slowly. I know it'll be hard for him, but I need to feel close to her.
"I do," I assure him. He just nods and we finish breakfast.
We walk on across the green grass with a bouquet of roses. Her favorite. We get to the engraved granite and I set them down gingerly. I sit down on the grass and stare at her name. The bright August sun is warming me as it sets, painting the sky in pink, purple, and yellow. I don't know how long we sat there. I picture what my life would be like with her still alive. Would we be best friends? Would I rebel against my parents? I've always been jealous of girls with moms. Especially when it's time to go school shopping. Dad tries, but he usually wonders off in the store until I come and find him with a cart full of clothes. Dad lets me stay home on Mother's Day. We take the day to remember her, bring out the old photos, he tells me of her. I am amazed at how people describe her. She sounds perfect. When I was younger he used to make up stories about how she saved the world from aliens. I miss those stories. I always feel guilty when we get to the pictures where she is pregnant. Dad tells me it's not my fault, but how could it not be? She's gone because of me.
"Hey, you about ready to go?" His voice breaks my daydream.
"You know, it's not that far, I think I'll just walk home."
"Be careful, okay? Here, I'll give you my phone just in case." He hands me the phone and I put it in my pocket.
"Bye, Sam," He whispers into the night air. I can tell he's choked up, but I don't say anything. When I hear the car drive away I lay back on the grass, my head by her name. I look up at the stars. They're shining bright tonight. I feel closer to her when I star gaze. Some of the stories Dad told had her traveling through the stars. I smiled as I remember Dad telling me the stories were our secret. And to tell nobody. A secret I still have not told, and never will. I stand up and and look down.
"Bye, Mom," I smile and I look up at the stars. I see a shooting star and I can't help but wonder if that's her, saving the world.