Sunny

I died today.

Well, we died.

I was walking, floating really, down Union Turnpike blind with happiness and oblivious to everything. I had just left the doctor's office and he told me that I was finally pregnant. I was FINALLY pregnant. It was a late pregnancy, I was 38, but I was healthy so all was believed to be well. I was eight weeks pregnant and ignorance made me think it was just gas. This was truly wonderful gas. So I floated, block after block, relishing the fresh air and smiling about my news that I was going to be a Mommy. Me, a Mommy. Some man, I think it was on 251st Street, yelled out to me, "Hey sweetheart, you're gorgeous!" I smiled back towards him still floating. I don't think either of us saw your car. And I certainly didn't see it or you when your front right tire crushed my neck. In fact, I never saw anyone or anything else again.

You would say when you were arrested six blocks away that you hadn't seen me. You would say that I must've come out of no where because you really never saw me. My admirer would tell the police what you initially never mentioned, you had to be crying hysterically before our sad encounter. He and his friend drove after you and when they caught up to you were already crying. No one knew it then but you had just seen your mother. My family would hate you at first. From the courtroom my siblings would be barred after two successful attempts, one each, of assaulting you. My mother would begin to have pity on you when she saw that each time you never fought back. At night before she would go to sleep my mother would tell me that it seemed that you died long before I did. My mother would learn that in fact you had. A part of you anyway.

You were younger than me and after years of therapy finally on your feet. You had a hard life. Your mother, deeply entrenched in a life of drugs and degradation had for years pimped you out for money. You were a baby prostitute who could barely speak. Your body was used up early and had been for years. You never knew who your father was and most likely your mother didn’t know either and the abuse would’ve continued had an anonymous phone call not been made about the little naked girl in the abandoned building. When the police found you were alone and undressed. A man was seen walking out of the building and no one had to guess what he had been doing. Your body was teeming with lice and bug bites. It appeared you hadn’t bathed ever. Your jaundiced skin and eyes were the sick sad color of a dying sunflower. You didn’t know or wouldn’t say your name so the nurses who loved you and cared for you named you Sunny.

Your case was well known. You were found shortly before Thanksgiving and countless charities raised money for you. I even had a fundraiser, a toy drive, for you at my first job. Though I wished I did, I never got to meet you. Ever. Everyone wanted to adopt you. But you were so fragile and traumatized so those situations never worked. You were years behind but after all the therapy you were fine, outwardly. It took years for you to learn to trust, to learn not to use your body that way, how to love and be loved. But eventually you learned. You learned how to love, receive love and recognize that you deserved it. You did. You really did. And then your mother came back.

My mother told me that your charity monies had just come in when the accident happened. The monies were given to you when you turned 21 or rather when you were thought to be 21. Eventually that day you found out you were really 23. There was a big publicized ceremony celebrating you and your life the afternoon you killed us and when you left the event you had never been happier. Your monies had been placed into a trust fund that you received that day. As you drove away smiling you noticed there was a car following you. It was broad day light and you weren't afraid. You pulled into a gas station and waited. The car pulled up beside yours and a small haggard looking woman stepped out and approached your car. You rolled your window down slightly. "It doesn't matter that everyone calls you Sunny and that they say you've just turned 21." she said. "Your name is Leticia and you've been 23 for over two months now." It was then you started crying, speeding off, driving aimlessly and recklessly through blurring tears.

When my mother visits you in jail you two talk like old friends. She says she has to so this in order not to let hate for you eat away at her and make her sick. You apologize every time she visits and every time she tells you not to apologize. There is no need. Before she started visiting you she spoke to me and asked for my permission. That night as she slept I ran to her in her dreams and held her. We didn't move. I just held her. It was the only way I could think of to let her know visiting you was fine and that there had to be comfort with these visits. She tells me the visits comfort the both of you. They affirm that she is a forgiving and loving woman and they remind you that you are not alone and to forgive, mostly yourself. You still tell people your name is Sunny.

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