Alyssa reflected a ying and yang through her identity. She encompassed two dual identities; they were like night and day. They meshed together to create one shifting person with a solid footing because she shifted with the environment about her.
Alyssa had eyelashes that could make men line up, but eyebrows that furrowed in a certain frightening way. When her eyelashes fluttered the men stopped in their tracks. When her eyebrows furrowed, her daughters did just the same. Her long, willowy arms held hidden talents. Sometimes, they were tied up to a bedpost. Other times, they were enveloping Josephine and Nadia with a loving energy. Her voice sounded sweet like honey, unless Jo and Nadia failed to meet her expectations in school or clients refused to pay for her service.
Alyssa waited for Jo and Nadia everyday at 3:05 sharp at the Roosevelt Elementary School. She was the mother that was expected to be the cover photo of Parenting magazine, if her profession was unknown. She wanted the absolute best and happiness for her daughters. Her desire shone through her eyes. She had dark brown exotic eyes that could whip men into submission as she swayed her luscious hips back ad forth hypnotically. Those eyes baited men in, but what they didn’t see was the desire wasn’t for lust. Alyssa didn’t work the streets for lust or drugs; she thirsted for something much deeper. She thirsted for her Josephine and Nadia from deep within her soul and within the blood coursing in her veins. A mother doesn’t only care for a human being in the world, but also an extra valve to pulsate a heart strong enough for their children.
Tucked in her closet, Alyssa hid the tools for her trade: a pair of stilettos, makeup, lingerie, and an array of toys not available in Spencers. Most little girls swoon over their mother’s goodies and giggle as their tiny innocent feet waddle around in their shoes. Jo and Nadia were not meant to follow in their mother’s shoes. Alyssa wanted to offer an abundance of education she was never granted and would never see in her lifetime.
The three were a dynamic trio that lived in Apartment 804 atop the Brooklyn Grandview Estate. Don’t let that name mislead you. The elevators didn’t function and the steps were home to enough Stuart Littles and Ratatouilles to make their own restaurant. As the trio fluttered up the stairs like butterflies, their minds explored new heights and surpassed the Brooklyn skyscrapers. Nadia and Jo had enough experience in museums and parks; they could give a Harvard professor a lesson or two.
One day, the three floated up the staircase like usual. Alyssa was preparing for business. She possessed a few new VHS tapes in a plastic bag from the thrift store and Jo smiled at the thought of the surprise. She hoped it wasn’t a boring history documentary: Oh, I hope it’s a documentary about polar bears or cute puppies. I don’t want another black and white movie. Those are so boring. I hope it’s about an adventure. Alyssa drew the curtain up separating her room and the living room. Hopefully, tonight’s a short night Alyssa thought. She knew business rush was primetime to make money. When the entrepreneurs got off from work, she began hers.
Reaching into the refrigerator, Alyssa pulled out some puddings and applesauce. The cabinet was a bit bare, but she found some stale chips in the back. I better not hear one complaint about these chips either…I still don’t know how I forgot they were there. There’s nothing in here! She said to herself. “Okay, you know the drill Josephine.”
“I know, I know mom. Don’t come out for any noise. Don’t let Nadia do so either.” She repeated the phrase, she so commonly heard.
“Okay, good.” Alyssa said ready to wait on the corner of afternoon traffic. Jo eagerly looked through the near videotapes. None of the tapes had a cover and they scurried to place each of the ten tapes in and play five minutes of each to reach a consensus. Milo and Otis sparked an interest in both the girls and they sat down.
“Did mom make you do homework?” Jo inquired.
“No, did she make you do homework?” Nadia responded with her innocent six-year-old plump face. Jo envied her hair curling around her face. She, too, had Goldie Locks hair, until she recently turned twelve and their mother made her donate them.
“No, she didn’t. Did she seem sad?” Jo pushed for someone to agree with her.
“Jo! I’m trying to watch the movie!” Nadia squealed. Jo succumbed to her wish, because at least she wasn’t griping for food. By the end of the film, Nadia ate two puddings and an applesauce. Jo ate two apple sauces and a pudding. The school’s lunch was sort of burnt and had that weird meat loaf no one truly wanted to eat. The chips sat untouched. They concluded they didn’t crunch quite right and felt rather rubbery. Jo placed a Barney tape in. She knew if she didn’t keep Nadia’s attention, she would pay more attention to the grumbling of her stomach.
These chips are chewy. C for chips and C for chewy. Nadia thought to herself hungrily, but she ate them. In Alyssa’s room, C stood for Cooperate. “You’re going to cooperate or your girls face your fate.” I swear I searched this man. I swear he did not have that knife before. Alyssa inwardly regretted. Her eyes filled with tears and passion. The tears tricked down.
“Did you think mom will take us to where the water trickles into the stream for a picnic?” Nadia asked Jo.
“I sure hope so.” Jo responded.
Hope is an interesting concept. It can be a short, temporary hope or it can burn eternally. Focus on Josephine. Focus on Nadia. I hope they survive this. I hope they see their future. I hope they live a life where they are never objectified. Alyssa visualized and her thoughts traveled to a place far away. She imagined holding them. She hungered for their survival.
“I’m hungry, Jo! You are too I hear your stumble growl like a brown bear. Please let’s go eat some cereal. I don’t care if I miss dinner until my next birthday.” Nadia moaned. Moans can be innocent pleas for consideration. Alyssa moaned into the pillow as she called 911 and the client stabbed her. In a way, Alyssa’s moan was a plea for life. The man yelled: “You stupid, bitch!” covering her mouth to prevent her from alerting the operator back at the station. He was unaware of the speakerphone catching his voice into the phone. Alyssa grinned at the thought of having the speakerphone button broke, so that it was constantly pushed in. She was clever.
Jo was clever as well. She popped in the favorite movie of her little companion begging for cereal: Home Alone. Jo hated Christmas movies in March, but she knew it would hold her off. “Just one more! Listen, if mom doesn’t come out after this movie. We risk her screaming and we eat Fruit Loops.”
The client looped Alyssa’s hair around his hands three times, until her scalp was against his knuckles. He began scalping her. I have the note. It’s tucked in my hand. They will always know I loved them. My spirit will live on in their souls. Forever and warm their existence in the coldest of nights. What is that star Josephine? My love will fill the big dipper and the little dipper for you both. Alyssa dreamed and delved into unconsciousness from the pain. In her hand, the note lies safely with the dots of the big and little dipper.
Like the emptiness of the dippers, Jo’s stomach rumbled before the movie even began. She turned the television up louder just in case her mother questioned their obedience. She led Nadia into the kitchen. She pulled the chair to the cabinet and reached up for the Fruit Loops reserved only for Mondays to start of the week “Fruity” as her mother would say. She handed the box to Nadia. They delved their hands into the box and devoured handfuls of cereal. In the middle of the feast, the client walked out zipping up his pants. He glanced frantically at the pure innocence before him. He left.
Jo sensed something was wrong. She reached for the doorknob and turned it. As the door opened up, Jo and Nadia glanced to the red room. Nadia screamed a scream so loud that it penetrated the walls and echoed back twice as loud. Her soft-soled feet scurried across the room collecting a mixture of scalp and hair clumps. It created a squishing sound across the wood floor. Nadia fell briefly and her knees collected the mess. She held her mother’s heart with the valve of strength only a mother could grow. She mimicked the CPR actions and placed the heart back in, pressing strongly. “I love you, mommy! Say it back to me. Don’t you love me too?!” She screamed as if she honestly expected her trick to revive her mother.
Jo observed the blood pooling around her mother. She didn’t picture so much blood in a human body. She placed her fingers in her mother’s hand. She took the fingers with her left hand to strategically put them where her mother would have placed them one by one. Then, she put her other hand in a similar position discovering the note. She saw the dots and didn’t quite understand.
Two exhausted police officers barged through the door. “Holy Mother of God!” Officer Watson yelled in disbelief. The two officers observed the scene and ushered the Jo and Nadia away. Officer Watson was an experienced police officer. He had seen many bloody scenes, but known with a heart removed from a chest cavity and a scalped mother. If that were Jacob, how would this scene affect him? He’d never be the same. Watson thought imagining Jacob’s big innocent eyes reflected in Nadia’s eyes.
Nadia cried softly in the officer’s shoulder.
“Let me have, five more minutes. I need to hold her hand five more minutes. I will never see her face. I didn’t get to kiss her. I want my mom. Don’t take me away!” Jo punched, kicked, and bit the officer. The situation overwhelmed her and the permanence of death entered her soul. The blood on the walls was her blood and her genetics. The blood on the walls flowed within her and her feistiness fought back. Eventually, the officer escorted her out.
The officers looked at each other solemnly when exciting the scene. “Only a daughter could love that mother.” Officer Watson said.
Josephine handed Nadia the crumbled up piece of stationary pointing to the smoggy sky. “You’re my little dipper and you’re my big dipper. I’ll always fill you both up with love, so the darkness of the night never fills you up.” They both sang in unison imagining their mother’s voice filled with genuine love.