Family is very important and in the eyes of your parents you might still be their baby.
Chapter Description: Family is important. Written in 2013
A time for family
Stereotypes are a fantasy, ideals created by those desperate to enforce an ideal of normality in a naturally chaotic and random existence. They are unrealistic, hollow lies of things that dismiss the reality that they try to twist.
Stereotypes are a fantasy and should be treated as such.
Despite knowing that, however, she wonders if it were possible to have the kind of family Christmas that she and her partner used to have when their children were young.
The progression of years have taken away the bubbly, happy children and turned them into adults, the youth and hope of a brighter future has long since been made to become nothing but ash in a cruel wind as the youth is replaced by age and the hopes are replaced by the inevitable and inescapable reality of fate that death would come like it must for all.
But could there be a chance of restoring what was for even a short time? Could the joys of those days return for one final time?
If so then where could she find a means of ensuring that?
Maybe she can.
2013 ~ Home For Christmas:
Familiar streets welcome her as she enters the town that she used to call home and which in a sense was still home, if a somewhat distant one these days.
Were she to lower the window she could probably still make out the scents of the town from memory, each one likely still as strong as they were in the past. In those years the town seemed like the entire world to her and now that she was back it seemed so much smaller than she had believed it to be when she had been younger.
Many memories lingered here, both good and bad, laughter and tears locked away within the past that was beyond her now adult reach.
“Getting sentimental here, I’m not even that old!” Scolding herself for almost losing herself to old memories, Sophia Wills – a last name she got no end of grief for in her school years, turns off from the town centre and heads to the houses two streets away. Although it had only been a year since she was last here since the last Christmas, it felt like she had been away a lot longer.
As she nears her childhood home, she spots a face she hasn’t seen in a year – her sister, or rather step-sister, getting out of her own car outside the house. Her sister looks up at the house before turning and seeing her sister’s car approaching, she stops and waits until Sophia has stopped and gotten out.
“Hey there, stranger, I haven’t heard from you for, oh, about two hours when you called to let me know that you would be here soon. That’s like an eternity!” Her sister, Stephanie Banks – yet another last name that got a lot of grief in the school days, wraps her arms around her sister warmly, delighted to be able to hug her sister after so long, the last time they had hugged had been after Christmas last year.
Both sister’s lived a fair distance from each other due to their work needs and mostly only got to communicate over the internet and phone calls, as well as text messages, but they were usually too busy to be able to see one another.
Their work also made it hard for them to return home to see their mother’s all that often, Christmas was pretty much the only time when they could get away and spend time with family without work getting in the way.
“I wanted to get away when you had that break up, but the boss made it pretty clear that the company’s profits were more important than family and wouldn’t let me take the time to be there for my sister in full, sorry” Stephanie just hugs her again, she understood, her boss was the same way. Neither of them could quit their jobs, not with the cost of living being too high. And jobs were limited these days, they couldn’t risk losing their income no matter how much they wanted to quit.
“It’s fine, really, we’ll make the most of the time we have over Christmas” They didn’t voice their concerns about how this might be a rough Christmas, not after the news they had received.
After another hug, they headed up to the house just as the front door opens and Stephanie’s mum comes running out to hug her daughter and her step-daughter.
“I didn’t want to wait until you knocked on the door, a year’s long enough to wait. Come on in already” Taking their hands gently and firmly, Tanya Banks leads them into the house where a cosy warmth greets them after the bitter cold of outside.
“Where’s mum?” Sophia asks as she slides her coat off.
“Carol’s out doing some shopping, she wanted to manage on her own while she still can. She should be back shortly. I insisted on going with her but she wanted me to stay here and wait for the two of you to arrive” Sophia nods, her thoughts on the news she had received a few days ago. She thought of getting back in her car and picking her mum up, but she knew that her mum would be too stubborn to accept the help, she was always too stubborn.
After putting their coats away and going through to the living room, Tanya enquires on their trips, not once does she voice what she must be feeling for the woman she loves. Both of the sisters could tell that she was more than concerned, but like always she kept any concerns to herself.
“Mum” Stephanie says quietly after several minutes, Tanya keeps talking. “Mum” She says firmly. Still no response. “MUM!” Tanya stops then and looks at her daughter, for a brief second Stephanie could see the pain in her mum’s eyes.
“We’re not children any more, mum, you don’t need to be worried about sparring our feelings” Tanya doesn’t say anything, she just sits silently while her hands twitch, clasp together, unclasp, twitch, a constant series of movements. The ever clear indication that she was upset and was too polite to voice it.
“I’m going to quit my job” Sophia remarks after a few minutes of silence. “I want to be here for mum in the time she has left, I don’t want to receive a call at work telling me that my mum’s...that she’s...I can find other work that doesn’t keep me away from my family like this” Shaking her head in disagreement, Tanya reaches for her step-daughter.
“No, don’t you dare throw away all of that hard work. You’ve earned that job even if the hours are crap and it takes so much of your life from you, you’ve worked hard for it. You know that your mum will feel guilty if you leave your job” The words from the news she had received repeat themselves in her mind, words she had never wanted to hear.
“And I’ll be filled with regrets and anger at myself for placing my work above my family! We both work hard and we both don’t get to spend enough time with our families, the thought that my mum isn’t going to be here next year is too bloody painful for me to ignore after everything she’s done for me!” Tears threaten to show themselves and she reins them in, she didn’t want the tears to come out yet, she wanted to see her mum again before her tears came out.
The sound of the front door being opened and closed can be heard and Carol enters the living room, smiling happily when she sees her daughter and step-daughter.
“Welcome home! Help me with the bags?”
1979 ~ To Love:
So that was that, an empty relationship was dissolved before it had become anything more, not that there had been any real love on her side for him. She had tried to love him because that was what was expected of her, to love a man, to marry him, to have lots of children with him.
But she didn’t love him, she never had. She knew that her parents would be outraged at this but she frankly didn’t care, how could she pretend to be happy with someone she didn’t love just because society demanded people to lie about themselves all the time?
What kind of example was that to set for her daughter who at this time was suckling at her breast? What kind of environment would a loveless relationship have on her child if she kept lying and pretended to love her daughter’s father? She couldn’t do that to her child, she couldn’t live a lie, not any more.
And now here she stood, rain was threatening to fall, her few belongings in a suitcase beside her legs, her left arm holding the hungry baby girl to her breast, what little clothes she had either packed away or being worn.
She didn’t want to return to her parent’s house, they would be furious and would accuse her of being a terrible mother for refusing to lie. There was only one other person she could turn to and she hoped that she would be able to help.
The door in front of her opens and a toddler of around three years old peeks her head out from around the edge of the door, smiling when she sees Carol.
“Cawol! Mummy, it’s Cawol!” Tanya chuckles at her daughter’s bubbly remark as she lets Carol inside.
“I can see that, sweetie. Try not to get under her feet or she’ll drop Sophia” Running ahead of the two women, Stephanie plops down in front of her toys before her mum and Sophia’s mum can sit down.
Soon she’s playing happily, her little voice indicating at the fun she’s having.
“He didn’t take it very well then?” Tanya asks after Carol has sat down and gotten comfortable enough despite the hungry baby on her breast.
“I had to cover Sophia’s ears, then he threw me out with what little you can see I have with me. Just like what your ex did with you” Shifting the weight in her left arm slightly, patting the padded bottom that’s peeping out, Carol wonders what she’ll tell her parents since she can’t avoid them forever.
“You are quite welcome to stay here, there’s more than enough room. I looked into the idea and it’s possible that you can pose as a tenant who pays rent, that would be the illusion anyway, and we could live together and raise our kids together. If you want to that is, I’m sure I can help you find a place of your own if you want” It sounded promising, much more promising than living with her parents if they didn’t throw her out on the streets and she liked the idea of being with Tanya on a more long term basis. Sex with her ex had been horrible, but sex with Tanya was wonderful. And she felt much happier when she was with Tanya, Tanya felt the same way.
Were it not for society’s attitudes towards homosexuality then they would have already gotten married already, if the law even allowed them to get married. She hoped that one day it would.
“Ooooh, hmm, give me some time to think about it...I’ve thought about it, yes, I would love to do that if you’re sure” As a response Tanya leans forward and kisses Carol softly on the lips.
2013 ~ Home For Christmas:
After helping Carol with her shopping, Stephanie and Tanya give Carol and Sophia some privacy to talk. Neither of the sister’s see Carol whispering to Tanya beforehand and handing her something.
“I’m thinking of quitting my job, mum, I want to be here for you in the time you’ve got left” Sophia says after she sits down on the bed that her mum shares with Tanya.
“I’m sick of the long hours anyway and I’m sick of being away from my family for so long due to it” Carol doesn’t say anything for a moment, making it hard to tell if she’s going to argue with her daughter about this decision or not.
“Maybe there’s a job I can find here in town, somewhere a lot closer. Maybe with a boss who doesn’t keep trying to look down my shirt or up my skirt, the git thinks I’m not noticing but I notice. I was tempted to use a stapler on his nuts last week” When she had gotten the job six years ago she had hoped that she would be able to ignore the boss’s attitudes towards the younger women working in the company, she had been warned that he tended to treat the younger female employees like meat and she had hoped to be able to ignore it. Six years though of not being looked in the eyes when she was spoken to was fairly wearing her patience with her boss pretty thin.
Charges brought up against him were always dismissed and even his near rape of one female employee did nothing to stop him, he was seen as more important than any ’mere women’ as far as the board of directors was concerned.
She needed the job though, the money was good although not as much as her male counterparts were earning even though she was doing more work than they were. She couldn’t afford to be fussy, not while things were rough for so many when it came to finding jobs.
“And throw away all of the efforts you made for the job in the first place? No, dear, keep with the job. Don’t throw away your future, you’ll just end up living with one too many regrets” A small click could be heard from something her mum was working on, she couldn’t see what it was.
“Mum, my boss is a prick. He never looks me in the eyes, he seems to think my chest is where my eyes are. I try to be civil because I know how important the job is for my future, but I really don’t like having a boss who thinks he’s God’s gift to women. I’m tired of being treated like a piece of meat” A few more clicks.
“What are you doing?” Carol turns and Sophia can make out what looks like a small box in her right hand, she can see what she thinks are gears from holes in the sides.
“I’m giving us one last family Christmas” As she says that the box begins to glow, as it glows Sophia realises that her clothes seem to be getting bigger.
1985 ~ To Love:
Head held up high, hands clenched, tears threatening to fall. No one said that about her mum, no one.
“Take it back” Sophia, six years old, demands loudly before the group of children in front of her. She could see her sister looking over at her from where she’s sitting alone, she didn’t have that many friends either.
“Your mum’s are freaks! Gran says that they’re sinners and they’ll go for hell for what they’re doing!” Little finger nails dig into her palms, her mum always told her to never lose her temper but she didn’t like her mum being insulted like this. Tanya was like a second mum to her and she didn’t care if her mum and Tanya loved one another, they were her mum’s and she loved them very much.
“They are not freaks! You’re the freak!” It goes downhill from there as one of the children sends a punch her way before she sees red. She only stops when her sister is pulling her away from the children, all of them curled up on the ground groaning in pain from the injuries inflicted by Sophia’s temper.
“Calm yourself, sis, calm yourself!” Another day, another fight.
She really hated the hallway, it was so cold and dark. She tended to be sitting in this hallway a lot these days, she didn’t like hearing her mum’s being talked about in such a way. Why were so many so horrible about them? They loved one another, like she saw with many mum and dad’s everywhere else, why did people hate her mum’s loving one another but were just fine with a mum and dad being in love? It was so stupid to be so horrible!
The door to the headmaster’s door opens and that cold voice speaks:
“Sophia, you can come in now” Hopping off the chair, that to her seemed like it was miles from the ground, Sophia enters the office and tries not to look her mum in the eye.
The headmaster goes over to behind his desk and sits down, his eyes on Sophia while he speaks.
“Miss Wills, your daughter needs a father figure, she needs discipline” This again, always this. Her mum was happy with Tanya.
“You keep saying that, Mr. Moss, you always blame me for my daughter’s temper while you ignore the fact that she is fighting back against bullies. My living with Tanya does not make me a bad parent nor does it give you or anyone the right to judge us nor look down on how we raise our daughters, and we raise our daughters very well. They receive the love, care and support that they require and I am not going to pretend to be heterosexual just to suit the narrow minded desires of others! Instead of blaming Sophia for her self defence, you should be blaming the parents of those who keep teaching their children to hate anyone who doesn’t conform to a very restrictive ideal of life” Why did people keep saying that her mum’s were evil and sinful? They weren’t evil or sinful at all, they were so kind and caring. Her mum’s didn’t call anyone else the kind of names that people were calling them.
“Miss Wills, your choice to love another woman is harming your children, it is making them into monsters” That was the wrong thing to say.
“How dare you. The only monsters I see are people like you who judge anyone who doesn’t conform to you, my daughter and my step-daughter are not harmed by me and Tanya being in love with one another, they are being harmed by the kind of bigoted ignorance that people like you keep spouting. The only threat I see here is you” Reaching over for Sophia, who takes her hand and holds tightly, Carol pushes the chair away and stands up while trying to keep herself calm.
“A school is supposed to educate and open young minds, but all you want to do is close minds and prevent any education. You disgust me” Picking Sophia up and holding her gently, Carol leaves the office before her anger gets the better of her.
“I’ll see about applying for permission to home school them until we can find a more open minded school” Sophia can hear her mum talking to Tanya while she plays with Stephanie. Her mum had been so angry with the headmaster and she didn’t understand why, she was trying to.
“Why do people hate our mum’s?” Sophia asks while Carol and Tanya talk. Stephanie shrugs.
“I don’t know, I think it’s because they don’t like our mum’s being in love” Sophia tries to understand this, but it didn’t make any sense to her. What was so wrong about them being in love?
“Why though?” Another shrug.
“Don’t know, all I know is that it’s really stupid how much they hate our mum’s. Our mum’s love one another, why can’t people be happy for them? They don’t harm anyone” Sophia nods, it didn’t make any sense at all.
2013 ~ Home For Christmas:
Her bra becomes loose and she looks down to see that her breasts have melted away into her chest, the room seems so much bigger now and the years continue to fall away. As they do she looks up at her mum and is surprised to say the least to see how much younger her mum is looking.
“Mum? What’s going on?” She asks and is surprised at how young she sounds, within seconds she has gone from a grown woman in her early thirties to a child of barely six or seven years old, maybe younger.
“One last family Christmas, sweetie. It’s only for two days but it should be enough” Baby fat appears in abundance on her arms while her top pools around her, she couldn’t be no more than three years old now and she was certain that she was still getting younger.
“Mummy!” She calls out before her speech becomes clumsy and her mum scoops her off the bed.
“Mummy’s here, my beautiful angel, mummy’s here” Feeling herself being laid down on the bed, Sophia reaches for her mum and feels something silky, soft and thick being placed between her legs after a puff of baby powder and what feels like nappy lotion being applied – a nappy, an actual nappy, her first nappy in years.
Carol gently tucks the sides of the nappy in and pats it before picking Sophia up again and holding her gently, a hand patting her daughter’s thickly padded bottom.
“I love you so very much and I didn’t want this Christmas to be a painful one, I wanted to give us one final family Christmas. I didn’t think this was going to work but here you are, my precious baby girl all over again” Shock begins to kick in, she was a baby again, a tiny, helpless nappy dependent baby. She was so tiny and so fragile.
A sniffle is followed by a sob and she cries heavily first in fear of being a baby again, then for something else, something much deeper – the sorrow to come from her mum’s impending death.
“Mama no die! Mama no die!” She cries loudly, tiny hands clenching her mum’s blouse tightly. Words were so hard for her now, but she didn’t care, she wanted her mum to keep holding her like this, to keep her close and safe, she didn’t want to lose her.
“I’m here right now, my precious one, I’m here right now and I’m going to be here for as long as I can be”
Her mum looked so small to her, so much smaller than any other time. Was her grief at the impending loss of the woman she loved weighing her down?
She regarded Carol as a second mum, a second mum who would sing to her even though she wasn’t a very good singer, someone who would change her nappies when she had been very young, someone who had always been there for her just as her own mum had been there for her. She dreaded to think of the cruel reality that her own mum would be gone one day.
“Mum” She says quietly and Tanya stops, turning to face her daughter.
“I already know what you’re going to say, you’ve always known what I’m going to say before I say it, you know me too well” That was true, Stephanie knew her mum pretty well. It was hard for neither of them to get anything past one another due to how well attuned they were to one another as mother and child.
“Maybe they’ll find a way to help her before it’s too late, medical science is progressing a lot better these days” Her mum heads down stairs without saying anything and Stephanie goes after her.
“They said there wasn’t anything they could do, that she’s lasted this long is a miracle. I don’t know what to do, dear, I feel like dead wood. The woman I love is dying and all I can do is watch her wither away, all these years of being by her side and now I’ll be alone by this time next year, alone in this house without the woman I’ve loved since before either of you were born” Taking something from a pocket, a small box with what looks like gears showing in the sides, Tanya begins to fiddle with it.
“What’s that?” Stephanie asks, it looked ancient yet also brand new at the same time.
“A final family Christmas” Her mum replies as the box begins to glow and Stephanie begins to shrink into her clothing.
1991 ~ To Love:
What was so great about this happening? All the talk about how it was a big deal and all she could think was:
Ignoring the stomach cramps as best as able, Sophia takes the item from her mum and quickly applies it before pulling her fresh pair of underwear up along with a fresh pair of trousers.
“You’ll get used to it, more or less, over time. Just try not to rip anyone’s head off when the pain gets a little too much or your mood turns violent” Stephanie had said that the cramps were a bitch and now she knew why, no wonder Stephanie would curl up into a ball when this was happening to her.
“We’ll have to see about getting you some training bras, your breasts will be developing soon” Her chest already tended to tingle and itch at times, could she just fast forward it so that the pains would be over with a lot quicker?
“I’m not going to go all hairy like the boys are?” Sophia asks, she had seen some of the older boys and they were getting really hairy. She didn’t want to be like that.
“No, dear, although you’ll get hair in other areas. I’ll help you learn how to shave those areas when the time comes. Maybe one day you’ll have kids and you’ll be teaching them about their entrance into adulthood” Sophia mock gags, she didn’t like the idea of having a baby, she had watched an education tape about that recently and she had gone screaming out of the room screaming:
“OH HELL NO!”
The thought of giving birth to a child one day didn’t sit well with her at all.
“The boys can have the babies instead, no way I’m going to” Carol smiles, she had said the same thing when she had been her daughter’s age.
“It isn’t something to rush into. Now for the stomach cramps and any mood swings you may be feeling right now, I prescribe chocolate in healthy doses followed by some TLC from yours truly” Now that sounded good.
After some chocolate and cuddle time with her mum, Sophia heads outside and joins Stephanie in the back garden, Tanya is currently at work and won’t be back for a few more hours.
“Welcome to the club” Stephanie remarks as Sophia sits down next to her.
“Can I get a refund on the membership? The cost is a bit gross” Stephanie chuckles, that it was.
“I think the only refund would be to stay as a kid or younger, that isn’t possible. Did you know that religions thought women were cursed and unclean for this kind of thing happening? Bunch of dick heads in the world for thinking that” Handing her sister a chocolate bar, who accepts it happily, Stephanie leans back and looks up at the fairly cloudy sky, there was no threat of rain for the time being thankfully.
“Think we’ll be parents when we’re older?” Sophia asks as she nibbles on the chocolate.
“Not sure, maybe. Not really thinking about it to be honest” That answer was an good as any she supposed.
The sister’s don’t say anything else, they just look up at the sky together.
Eventually the rain comes.
2013 ~ Home For Christmas:
Her mum didn’t seem so small to her now, if anything she looked a lot bigger and a lot younger than just a minute ago.
“Mummy?” Stephanie asks, her voice so young and a little awkward to her now young tongue. Her clothes had pooled around her and she wasn’t sure how old she was, it had happened so quickly.
“A certain little cutie is going to need a nappy” Tanya replies kindly as she plucks her daughter out of the mass of clothes, lays her down on them and applies a thick nappy after a puff of powder and some baby lotion is applied.
“There we go, all padded in case of an accident. You’re three years old again, sweetie, it’s just for two days. Sophia is likely shocked at being a baby again” The loud cry of a baby can be heard from upstairs at that second.
“How mummy?” Stephanie asks, she felt so tiny and also quite comfortable thanks to her nappy.
“I’m not sure exactly, Carol said she was given two of these in town. I’m sure she knows more about them, all I know is that I have my baby girl back for a couple of days” Despite the shock of being a toddler again, she found that the shock was fading away and being replaced with an acceptance. This wasn’t so bad.
She wondered if Carol had planned this, she had come home with a lot of bags and most of those had been put away before she and Sophia had seen what was inside.
“I’m ikkwe, mummy” Stephanie says as she cuddles against her mum. “Don’t dwop me” Tanya kisses her softly on her forehead.
“I won’t drop you, I promise”
The sound was so soothing to her, she felt so safe with it. A hand pats her nappy and she coos happily while the other hand gently traces her face.
The shock had faded and although it was still hard to accept that she was a baby again, she found that she liked being so young and being held so lovingly by her mum. Not in years had she felt so loved and protected than she did now, she was so tiny as she lay on her mum’s chest while listening to her mum’s heart beat.
Loving whispers from her mum enhance her feeling of being loved and protected, small movements from her arms and fingers as well as her legs act as reminders of how young she has become.
She doesn’t mind when she feels herself wet her nappy, she simply coos in contentment.
“Let’s get you changed” Her mum says softly and Sophia feels herself being lifted up before being laid down on the bed and her nappy change commencing. Her legs squirm and kick from the feelings before a fresh, new nappy is applied.
She stays on the bed sucking on her thumb contently while her mum cleans up quickly before returning to cuddle with her daughter again.
She doesn’t know how much time has passed before her mum gently lifts her to a bare breast. She can smell something sweet, something she finds that she wants so very much.
“Num nums, my little nappy bum, num nums” As if by instinct, even though it has been years since she was last breast fed, Sophia latches onto the bare nipple in front of her and suckles happily, the warm, rich, creamy milk giving her a massive sense of major security and satisfaction.
2004 ~ To Love:
So much hard work, so many sleepless nights and so much studying, but now it was over, now she was a graduate in business. She can see Stephanie, Tanya and her mum in the front row and she can see how proud they are of her.
Despite teachers putting her down for years because of her parents being lesbians and being hated by so many because of the same reason, Sophia had proved that her upbringing hadn’t damaged her, it had given her the strength and determination to work harder so that she could not only prove to herself that she was capable, but to also make her parents and sister proud of her.
Of course there always has to be someone to spoil the mood.
“She’s the daughter of a freak!” Someone yells out, she knew the voice, it belonged to the the daughter of a local religious family who were little more than zealots. They had tried to have her removed from the university because of her parents, but they lost their appeal.
“Shut your hole!” Someone else yells out. “At least that one you can probably shut at the rate you go through men!” Some laughter can be heard, the bigot was well known for her bed hopping.
“Someone get her a vibrator, if she’s that desperate then she’s going to need satisfaction right now!” Her mum. Sophia blushes while more laughter can be heard.
Change was happening slowly, although there were still bigots around they were gradually being outnumbered by more open minded and more accepting people who were just fine with difference and weren’t bothered that Sophia and Stephanie had been raised by two mother’s who deeply loved one another.
Maybe, just maybe, there was hope after all.
“Well done, Miss Wills” One of her teacher’s mummers. “You’ve earned it”
After a little celebrating, mostly with her parents and her sister since many of her friends had left early since they were all much too drunk too soon, Sophia sits on her bed and looks over at her graduate diploma, Tanya had framed it quickly with a special frame she had made for her step-daughter’s diploma, she had made a lot of them over the years and each one of them was filled with diploma’s belonging to both of the sisters.
To say that their mother’s are proud of their intelligent and hard working daughters would be an understatement of the century.
“It doesn’t seem all that long ago when you had just learned how to walk” Carol says from the doorway. “Seems like just this morning to me, but then I guess a lot of mothers say that” In the dim light of the room Sophia notices that her mum looks a lot older than usual, maybe she was just tired.
“You are always going to see me as that little baby, aren’t you?” Carol nods.
“Mother’s prerogative, no matter how old our children will get, they are still the tiny babies who nestled in our arms. I’m very proud of you” Stepping into the room and sitting down on her daughter’s bed, Carol looks over to the framed diploma, in the reflection of the glass she looks even older than she should.
“I’ll likely be moving out soon, jobs are pretty scarce in town” Carol nods, she doesn’t say anything. Things were getting rough for many.
“Are you okay?” Sophia asks quietly. “You look so tired” Carol gets up and heads for the door.
“Nothing for you to worry about, dear. Get some sleep. Well done, you’ve earned your diplomas, never give up on your dreams” Sophia watches her mum leave the room and realises that her mum has lied to her, for the first time ever.
2013 ~ Home For Christmas:
After a couple of nappy changes, feeding’s and naps, the two sisters are reunited in an old and cleaned up playpen that has been taken out of storage – all of their old baby things had been kept in storage in case either of them had children of their own.
Sophia sits awkwardly, her balance off due to her decreased age, and she watches as Stephanie waddles over to her and plops down, her nappy cushioning much of the impact on the already soft surface.
“You baby too?” Sophia asks clumsily, she could speak but it was tricky. Stephanie nods with a happy giggle.
“Yeth, I wike it. You wewwy ikkwe” Sophia reaches out, her tiny arms not quite reaching her sister who reaches out and scoots over to her, hugging her gently.
The sisters hold one another as best as possible like this, being so young again wasn’t so bad.
The sound of a picture being taken is heard and the sisters look up, Sophia drooling somewhat into her baby sized t-shirt and onto her nappy.
“It’s been a long time since baby photos were added to the album, definitely going to remedy that during the next couple of days” Carol remarks as she takes another picture, Stephanie posing in as cute a manner as possible with her sister.
For the next few hours the sister’s are babied by their mother’s, fed, bathed and tucked in at bed time. Sophia is uneasy with her crib at first but accepts that it’s for her safety while Stephanie is tucked into her old toddler bed.
Tanya and Carol read to their daughters and kiss them both softly on their foreheads when they fall asleep, tomorrow would be Christmas.
Less than an hour later Carol and Tanya are getting ready for bed, their love for one another was already strong but with their bodies now so much younger than usual, even if only for two days, then the passions in both of them were high. They wanted to make the most of this brief return to young adulthood in the time they had.
“Pity this can’t last” Tanya whispers after kissing Carol with a great deal of passion.
“This will sound corny, but maybe we can make it feel like it’s an eternity” Feelings of intense pleasure build in both of them and a seeming eternity greets them in their passions.
2013 ~ To Love:
So this was it, the end that she had been dreading, the end she had been trying to run away from ever since the first diagnosis almost a decade ago.
These would be her final months.
“The only viable donor we could find was from a religious woman, when she learned that her heart could be given to someone who wasn’t heterosexual she refused to allow you the heart. I’m sorry, we tried to convince her that she was saving a life but she wouldn’t hear of it” Typical, they speak of caring for life but they would sooner see it die than give kindness in any way, it is always that way with the narrow minded in the world.
“How long?” She asks, her voice a whisper.
“At best six months, maybe seven. We will keep trying to find a heart for you, Miss Wills, there has to be someone who isn’t holding onto bigotry” This was her third let down in the past two years, they would come so close only to be denied their chance to save her life because of homophobia.
“Don’t bother then, no one will help me for being born the way I am, they can’t see beyond the lies created by fools. How soon until my heart is too weak to keep going?” She didn’t want to die, not yet, she wanted to live to see her daughter maybe become a mother, maybe even get married. She wanted to see her daughter find happiness in something that wasn’t a well paying but horrible job.
“Another two months, you have already said that you have been feeling increasingly tired for the past few weeks. That’s our best estimate anyway” Two months of independence, barely enough. She would have to make it count.
“Thank you” She says as she gets up and makes for the door. “I better let my spouse know” Closing the door behind her after the leaves the room, Carol fights back her tears of anger and sorrow, she didn’t want to break down in tears here amid so many people.
She would wait until she got home.
She stops outside the front door and listens to the sounds of children playing nearby, so much joy to be heard. The innocence of the young, their joy at being alive, their joy at exploring the world around them. She missed those sounds.
If only she could turn back time, return to a time before her heart had begun to fail, back to a time when the future was an open horizon of endless possibilities.
The front door key feels cool in her hand, the air is crisp with the chill of winter. Her final Christmas.
It wasn’t fair.
Two weeks later Carol is in the town centre, it’s Christmas Eve and her daughter and step-daughter are returning home for Christmas. She wanted to make this Christmas special, but how? What could she do that could make it a Christmas to be remembered?
As she walks along the pavements going from shop to shop, she wishes deeply for her heart to be healthy again. She could manage being outside but she did tire quickly.
She doesn’t see the shop she enters due to how pre-occupied she is with her thoughts, it’s only when a voice asks her if they can help does she pay attention.
“Sorry? I didn’t hear you” In front of her is a woman who seems to be around the same age as her, yet younger and older at the same time. As if she was in the past, present and future all in one.
“I asked if I could help you, you seem a little lost in thought” The voice is unusual, it seems to shift from young to old with complete ease.
“Just thinking about things. I’m looking for something that could help make a really special Christmas, something that will be remembered. But I can’t find anything” The woman hmms and aaas, then goes behind the counter and takes up two small cubes from behind the counter.
“These might help” Bending down to examine the cubes, she sees what looks like gears that are visible from the sides. She can’t tell if the cubes are hand crafted or not, the details are highly unusual to say the least.
“What are they?” She asks, they seemed to draw her gaze.
“That depends on the user, they cannot be used for malicious purposes though. Their main use is to allow for two days of the past to return, but only two days and only in a very localised area. In those two days the person can be young again, healthy and they will retain memories and knowledge, after the two days however they will return to how they were before and the past will return to the past. They cannot be used again after that use, they will return here by themselves. Were I to allow you to use these, what would you use them for?” Two days? That wasn’t very long, it would be better than nothing though.
“I would give a final family Christmas” Carol replies, her voice almost a whisper. “One to remember” The woman smiles, as if she knows what Carol is intending.
“Then allow me to show you how to use them”
2013 ~ Home For Christmas:
Stephanie is the first to wake up, despite her nappy needing changed, she runs through to her parent’s bedroom and begins jumping on the bed.
“CHWISTMAS! IT’S CHWISTMAS!” Then she hops off the bed and back through to the nursery where Sophia wakes up and starts crying, she badly needed changing.
After the sisters are changed and fed, Stephanie eager to open her presents, they are taken into the living room where Stephanie runs over to the presents.
“Can we?” She asks while Sophia is set down, Sophia crawling over as quickly as she’s able to, her thickly padded bottom wiggling away to itself.
“Patience, sweetie, there’s no rush” Tanya replies while Carol goes over to the presents and sorts them out, Stephanie excitedly hopping with youthful energy.
After the presents are opened, with Sophia being covered in wrapping paper at one point and laughing happily, the sisters play while Tanya watches over them, Carol heads into the kitchen to make Christmas dinner.
After some nappy changes, feeding’s and naps – required for young children – Christmas dinner is soon ready and Carol sits Sophia in her old high chair while Tanya sits Stephanie in her old booster seat.
“To family!” Tanya calls out for a toast.
“To family!” Carol replies and the glasses clink with Stephanie’s sippy cup and Sophia’s baby bottle.
That night there is family love, the innocence of two adorable young children and the love of two adults for one another.
It was a time for family.
Exactly forty eight hours after the cubes are used, they fade away and return to the shop where they came from. At the same time Sophia is learning how to walk, somewhat awkwardly, and Stephanie is cuddling with her mum as she watches her sister take clumsy first steps.
“Almost there, sweetie, just a little farther” Carol coaxes to her daughter, Sophia tries to take another step then stops and falls to the rug bottom first.
“You’ll get there, just like the first time”
“Mama, me gwow up now” Sophia manages to say as her body begins to grow older. Ignoring her own youth slipping away and her concerns about her heart, Carol reaches for the piles of clothing that Sophia and Stephanie would need upon their return to adulthood, she passes one pile to Tanya just as Stephanie hits her pre-teen stage.
“Wish that could have lasted longer” Carol remarks as Sophia hits her late teens again, her baby clothes surprisingly adjusting to fit as she enters her adulthood.
“We’ll have the memories, that’s better than nothing” Tanya remarks just as Stephanie stops at her former age.
Where there had been a toddler and a baby just a minute ago are now two fully grown women wearing adult sized versions of the clothes they had been wearing, their nappies very visible.
Sophia looks down and feels awkward at first, then pats her nappy, it wasn’t so bad. Stephanie does the same and sighs contently.
“Can we keep wearing these, if that’s okay?” Stephanie asks, she wasn’t quite ready to fully return to all things adult just yet.
“If you want to, if you want babying though that could be a little tricky but I’m sure we could try” Sophia looks up at her mum and crawls over to her, she didn’t want to give up the simple comfort just yet.
“Hold me, mum?” She asks quietly and with a motherly smile, Carol hugs her daughter and holds her close. Tanya doing the same with Stephanie.
“You’ll always be our baby girls” Carol mummers happily. “Always”
2014 ~ Forever:
The last months have been hard going, Carol’s heart had gotten worse in early February.
Unwilling to be so far away from her mum Sophia had gone to resign and had found out that her boss was being fired, he had gone too far with the daughter of one of the director’s in charge of the company.
To her farther surprise she was promoted, something she had been working towards for the past few years. When she explained that her mother needed her and that she would need to tend to family matters, she was granted paid leave, her new boss felt that she had earned it.
Stephanie had received the same surprise in her job, strange how things can happen sometime.
Now Sophia sits by her mum’s bedside in hospital, she has barely moved from there over the past few months.
“Don’t let my death hold you back, okay?” Carol whispers. “Promise me that you will not let grief stop you, you’ve worked so hard to get where you are today and I am beyond proud of you. Find time to live as well, don’t just be about your work” The hiss and wheeze of the ventilator almost drowns out her voice.
“Don’t die, mum, please. Keep fighting, they have to find a replacement heart for you soon, I don’t want to lose you so soon” A soft squeeze of her hand, the most strength her mum has had for a while now.
“Always my baby girl, always. I love you, sweet heart, I will always love you” On the other side of the bed Tanya and Stephanie are sitting together, Tanya holding Carol’s other hand with love and tenderness.
“The house is going to be too quiet without your insistence on playing ABBA at exactly seven every morning” Tanya remarks quietly, tears streaming down her face.
“Then play it for me in memory, don’t let the music die with me. Never let it die as long as you live” As if on cue an ABBA song can be heard playing down the corridor, one of her favourites.
“I love all of you, I don’t want to leave, but I’m not being given a choice” Tanya squeezes her hand gently, she had wanted to die with her beloved in bed after growing old together, this was too cruel and too unfair.
No one says anything more, they just sit quietly as Carol tries to hang onto life for a little longer.
“Something I heard once online, some song from a video game. Flying free I think it was called. Guess I’m flying free, I’ll wait for all of you at the terminal” A tear falls from her right eye and Carol closes them, seconds later the life support gives a single long tone.
No one turns it off.
Her boss had been happy to hear that she was returning to work, it has been two months since her mum’s death and she has spent the time helping Tanya cope with the loss while trying, with Stephanie’s help, to cope with the loss herself.
The house was so quiet without her mum around, they played ABBA each morning but it wasn’t the same without her mum singing and dancing.
She was unsure about returning to work so soon, but she had promised that she would keep working and keep living her life. It was the least she could do for her mum who had done so much for her.
Brushing down her skirt and adjusting her work coat, Sophia heads into her work place, head held high.
“I love you, mum” She thinks to herself and for the briefest second she is certain that her mum replied beside her with “I love you too, my precious baby girl”
A time for family