As I sat at my desk Saturday
morning, I gazed at the old bulletin board hung in front of my face. It
was filled with pictures and awards - memories of how things used to be.
I can still remember how excited I’d been to get the new bulletin board.
My aunt had visited from Indiana, and she helped me move my room around.
She bought a bulletin board, and we’d moved my new desk so that it could
be in front of it. My father helped me spray-paint its border white. I
had hoped to fill the bulletin board up, so that none of the cork showed.
Now, it was filled. Medals and ribbons were hung on the edges, reminding me of my forgotten love for gymnastics. I gazed at the old pictures. I saw my mother in many of them, wearing a smile and, usually, a cute little dress. I could still hear her laughter; laughter that once filled the house. Now, the house was silent, and the silence hurt. I wanted everything to be back to normal. I didn’t want to be alone anymore. Why was I alone?
Seven years ago, my mother had disappeared. I wished I knew why. Was it because I had been making her mad lately? Was it because she hated having to spend so much money on my gymnastics training? Was it because she’d just been in a fight with my dad? Or, was it because a heartless person had kidnapped her? What had happened?
I could’t stand not knowing. The old bulletin board, draped with her pictures, reminded me that I had to know. Why was she gone? She was about to have a baby - but did the baby ever live? I had always wanted a baby sister or brother - now I’d never know whether they were ever born.
I spent the first few years of my mom’s disappearance blaming it on myself. Later on, I learned that I couldn’t have helped it. Then, I began hearing stories of kids whose mothers just walked out on them. She wouldn’t do that, though. And I wasn’t even going to think about the possibility that she’d died. She didn’t die. She was gone, but she wasn’t dead.
I stood up and walked into the kitchen. Picking up the phone, I felt my hands tremble. I had to know where she was! I dialed 911. The police had given up on her search after about a month - maybe they could try again.
The operator answered. She asked who I was and what was wrong. I told her.
“Hello,” I said. “My mom’s gone- I mean, really gone. She’s been gone for seven years. Please find her.”
The lady at the other end sighed. “Okay,” she said. “We’ll find her. I’m sending a police officer to your house.” With that, the phone line went blank. I burst into tears. Why didn’t anyone care?
The cop never showed up. Months went by. The old bulletin board was all I had left of my mom - my dad was always at work, and I knew he still thought about Mom, but I didn’t feel comfortable talking to him about her.
One morning, as I was eating breakfast, I saw an advertisement on television. It was for a company that claimed they could find any lost relative. I wanted to find my mother! I called the number - it couldn’t hurt to try!
I told them my story. As I told them of her mysterious and sudden disappearance when I was only seven, I burst into tears. I told them about the little baby, too, that had been in my mom’s stomach. Its name would’ve been Kayla or Ryan Bradley. I told them that the child would be seven years old, and that I’m fourteen. I told them that my mom would be forty-three. I told them what she looked like - she had short, auburn hair and tan skin. Her eyes were a warm, sparkling shade of chestnut brown, and she was very thin with long, graceful legs. It was the first time I’d thought about what she’d looked like for seven years.
I waited for months. I kept busy until summer began, and school was out. Now what would I do? I didn’t have many friends left, and I’d stopped gymnastics long ago. Every summer, I went to Indiana to visit my aunt, but this year, my aunt was taking a vacation in the Bahamas. She needed a break - so did I.
A few days into the summer vacation, I got an unexpected phone call. A soft little voice was at the other end - it seemed that I’d heard the voice before.
“Hi,” they said. There was a nervous tremble in their voice. As they continued,I could tell it was a little girl.
“Um, hello?” I asked.
“I’m....I’m.....I’m.....Kayla. Is this Hannah?”she asked me.
My name was Hannah before my mom was gone - then, I went by Lynne - my middle name. Maybe this was a prank call; no one called me Hannah anymore. Hannah was the seven-year-old Level 9 gymnast who made straight A’s and had a warm, loving family with a little sister on the way named Kayla....Kayla! Could it be my sister......?
“Kayla! Kayla...Kayla who?” I asked.
After we finally hung up, I was in tears. My family was back again! I ran into my bedroom and tore down pictures that were blocking our old family photos. I found the ultrasound from over seven years ago, and I got a glimpse of my new sister.
Five days and a bulletin board later, there was a ring on our doorbell. Dad was dressed in his favorite blue suit, and I wore a light pink sundress. I curled my long brown hair, and wore make-up for the first time in my life.
Dad slowly opened the door. Two strange people were standing before us; a little girl and a woman. The little girl, Kayla, looked like me. She had short brown hair and Mom’s warm eyes and long legs. The woman, my mother, looked just as she had when she left - beautiful. Mom and I hugged eachother forever, and teears streamed down my cheeks. Kayla seemed to know me, and I kissed her on her forehead. She smiles. We’d get along alright.
It’s been a year since Mom and Kayla’s return. I don’t care why she left - just as long as she’s back. I’m back in gymnastics again, catching up to Level 9. My new coach says he sees lots of talent. Kayla’s taken up gymnastics, too...oh! And I’m back to being called Hannah. It may have taken seven years, but we’re back together. And I’m proud of that.
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