We used to play dress up here, in this room with the faded pink walls and scent of cherry. That's why the carpet's stained with red nail varnish and lipstick. It all epitomizes her with her character imprinted on every surface. The dust coated curtains stop sunlight from coming into the room, it's musky and dismal, a shadow of the past. It’s been five years, I still come in here and cradle myself into the corner, remembering what it was like to be a mother. Melissa would have been eleven years old now, the age you take your child to high school, the age they consider themselves adults, although Melissa had already grown up by the time she was five. This was her sanctuary, a place where no one but her and I could enter. Tugging her duvet in the morning readying her for breakfast, watching her play with her favourite toys during the day, and whispering a story at bedtime under the fort that we spent a whole day building, are all reoccurring memories in my mind. That’s all gone now. The bookshelf once filled with fairytales now belong to a charity shop, and her sodden clothes from my tears of loneliness have long moved on. The only thing left was also the hardest to get rid of.
I hesitate to open the door, no one has been in this room but me and Melissa, now there will be another body who will experience what we have. As I opened the door, light bleeding through the room, there it was, and soon it will be gone. The perfect wood, carved ever so careful by my husband, two curving pieces of beech wood, greeting us with smiles. The softness of the fur that encloses the stuffing, rushes through my memory. Five years, and that stuffed rocking horse is the only essence I have left of her. I walk inside and once more I am greeted with the smell of the magnificent cherry fragrance that will always belong to this room. I widen the door slightly, as I watch my best friend make the transition from the hall way to Melissa’s room, embracing the energy that so few have experienced. I cannot help but gulp, yet it is a strain to do so when I am fighting back tears.
Catherine, my best friend since college, she was there at the birth of Melissa holding my hand, she was there at the funeral of Melissa by my side. She was also there afterwards and had the strength to stop me forcing pills down my throat. I still to this day do not know whether to thank her or curse her for putting me through this hell. She has a child of her own now, a beautiful girl who has just started to walk, Godmother they all call me, I know it’s a good gesture although it seems all too much, showing her baby off to the whole world and laughing in my face for my misfortune. Looking into her face as she lays eyes on the horse I see that one thing in Catherine that I have not seen in myself for a while, joy. So excited to rip it out of my possession and treasure it for her own daughter. Examining the object to ensure if there were any dangers for her child, just like I did before I wrapped it up for Melissa. When satisfied she then looks at me, I cannot do anything but nod. It was my time to move on. Moving towards me with the horse in her arms, there is a stronger scent of cherry twirling around me that makes me feel numb. Flashes and images of Melissa’s reaction when she first rode on her rocking horse sends chills through my spine, crumbling every bone in my body. Before I knew it, before I could change my mind, Catherine was gone. It belongs to her now. I did not bother to try and climb down the stairs, I could not hide anymore tears, I just closed the door and cradled myself into the corner of Melissa’s room once more.