My Mother - Judith Villafane

My Heart Smiles

Short story by: Judith M. Oxholm Villafane.

Looking back, yet going forward throughout my simple life has always been a very difficult task. Perhaps it was meant to be a part of my destiny.

I am still a little girl with dreams of sixteen, with many good years left in me. Blonde, but a "smart cookie", as my father away said. These words have yet to help my constant struggle to become a formidable lady. Yet, for some inexplicable reason I live on with a smile in my heart.

Every day is about my mother Judith. She was a beautiful, brave, strong, and unpretentious lady, with a determination to continue her struggle of an illness I could not understand. Always a simple smile in her eyes that have haunted me to this day. A gift of love for her child, who was but seven years in age.

I still imagine that Judith had a silent cry in her own heart, longing for a cure to this devastating sickness which was determined to take her life to an early grave.

To this day I think back to a normal school morning in December. It was a foggy gray day, wet with icy puddles before me on the sidewalk. I hurried to my Elementary School which was but three city blocks away. I can still remember thinking I was running late, and the very thought of this occurring was unthinkable. Being late for school did not settle well with me. I would have to visit the Principal's Office if I was delayed.

As I preceded going around the many puddles that lay before me, it was not long until I stumbled on a section of ice that was very slippery and wet. "Oh Dear God", I can't believe this is happening to me. I looked around to see if anyone was near, but there was not a living sole in sight. I recalled being cold and wet, and I then noticed that my home was but a house away.

What should I do? Go back home or continue on to school? My coat and clothing were totally drenched, and at a moments notice my decision was made. "Run, yes run!" as fast as you can until you get to school and not be late.

It seemed forever, but then I felt the warm air as I entered the door of my school. Now what? This was the only question in my mind, as a teacher saw my condition and had determined that the principle's office was the place I should be. They wrapped me up in a blanket trying to keep me warm, as my outer clothes were removed, and suddenly, it dawned on me, what I had done. All I could do was sit there and cry. What seemed forever was the sounds of her voice, gently saying to me "Don't worry Judicita!", "It will be alright!

My mother was here. I knew this and I smiled as she held me in her arms. She dried, and changed my underclothes. It was only then when I saw my beautiful Navy dress, with a white shirt and my little red shoes. Warm at last, it felt so good to be held in her arms as she waited for the taxi to arrive.

I am 54 now, and she was only 39. She passed away that same December. Little did I realize back then that she was so ill, and her time was coming to an end.

Regardless of the struggles I face, the love I felt back then is still in my heart, and my heart smiles.

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