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When I was in grade school I went away to camp for the first time. I taped a piece of clear plastic over a picture of my mother, claiming it was because I didn’t want my tears to ruin the picture. I was scared of missing her too much.

The other day I had a nightmare, my mother and I were driving in the car. Sitting in the passenger seat looking out the window. The hay swayed in the summer wind on either side of the road. I don’t remember the day I’d become her official copilot; one day I was just there and that’s how we live together in my memory.

“I’m going to be leaving soon,” she said quietly. I whipped my head towards her. Trying to take in her face before my eyes clouded with tears. The constellations of freckles that kissed her skin. Her blue eyes behind her rose-tinted driving glasses. The blonde hair that floated around her face, the same color I had wished to have since I was a child just so that I could look like her.

“No, please. I still need you.” I cried.

“I have to go now, baby.”

“No, don’t go Mommy.”

My dream sobs are what woke me up. With dry eyes, I stared up at the white textured ceiling. I think even in my dream I had known she was already gone.

She left this world voluntarily. I am painfully aware that the dream was triggered by the anniversary of her death quickly approaching.

Thoughts race through my mind: I didn’t want her to go, I should have been there, how long would it be until I no longer needed my mother?

This will be the first year since her death that I don’t have a significant other in my life to hold me through it. It will be the fourth year since she passed. And honestly, I don’t know how I’m doing.

Arianna is Texas raised. A junior at Stephen F. Austin in the creative writing department. Having had publications in the charity chapbook Remedy of Water, the proceeds donated to the California wildfires.
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