Her face, if you could call it that, was mere inches from mine. One eyeball hung from its socket, dangling loosely by a wire thin chord. The left side of her mouth was still intact, lips twisted upward while the other half had been ripped clean off, bare teeth and jaw forming a grotesque smile. Two holes stood where nasal cavities once connected to the flesh and bone of a cute button nose. This shell of my daughter cocked its head sideways and let out a long moan...
I opened my eyes and let out a yelp as the face of my eleven year old danced in front of me, fully intact and smiling.
“Good morning, Mummy,” Lilly sang, “Time to get up!” She had crawled onto the bed and laid next to me, already dressed and ready for school.
I crinkled my nose and blinked several times, trying to gain focus. “Why are you in such a good mood?” I mumbled, wondering if I was still dreaming. Getting her up in the morning was usually a three-round boxing match.
“Today is the field trip, duh! Don’t forget to pack me a lunch.” She scootched off the bed and pulled back my covers, urging me to get moving. I swung my legs over the side, slid my feet into some slippers and dragged myself into the kitchen, ready to take on the day.
Lilly must’ve let the dogs out because there they stood, greeting me from the other side of the sliding glass door tails wagging, tongues lolling, waiting for their morning feeding. I slid the glass open and was almost knocked over when Snooki came bounding in, all fifty pounds of her, shoving herself through the opening before I could get it all the way. The smaller one, Roxy, followed skittishly in her stead, looking up at me for permission to enter. “Come on, silly,” I said, calling her in. I filled their bowls and pulled my long blond hair into a ponytail to keep it out of the way while I made breakfast.
“Eggs and toast okay?” I asked, switching on the stove and grabbing the eggs out of the fridge.
“Sure,” Lilly smiled, and shot off down the hall and back into her room. When she came out, she had her backpack slung over one shoulder and my cell phone in hand, intently playing the Angry Birds app that she was so addicted to.
“Eat,” I said, placing her plate of food and glass of chocolate milk at the table. “I’ll be out as soon as I’m ready.” I glanced at the microwave and saw that I had just under twenty minutes to get ready for work. I padded down the hallway and quickly threw on my black polo shirt, the emblem for Ocala National Bank richly embroidered on its left side, and tucked it into a pair of boot cut jeans.
I had my toothbrush hanging out of my mouth and deodorant in my hand when Lilly bellowed “MOM! We’re going to be late!” from the front of the house. I finished in the bathroom, threw on my black flats and hauled ass out to the living room where Lilly stood, one eyebrow up, and a brown paper bag held high.
“I made my own lunch, thank you very much,” she stated, smugly. “I also put my dishes in the dishwasher and put Snooki and Roxy in their crate. I’ve got your keys, your phone and your purse. Let’s get this show on the road.” With that, she twisted on her heel and walked out the front door, leaving it open in her wake. I could do nothing but giggle and follow her, wondering sometimes exactly who took care of who.