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All Fall Down

Ariel was waiting patiently at home, pondering about the score board that has taunted her for too long. It’s a displayer of messages, of hope, of failure of chances. It never chose to display her own destiny so why does it have to happen today. She pled to God silently to guide her daughter home in a safe flight for Ariel desperately longed to hold her dear daughter again in her arms, and perhaps strangle her in the process. How could Kris have done this to her? Boarding a plane to America was beyond anything Ariel could have imagined her daughter to do. Why now? Why at such a time as this, when Kris could be taken away from her at any given moment?

“Don’t worry so much, Ariel,” Yi Zhen comforted. “Once you tell her exactly what’s happening I ‘m sure that she won’t do anything crazy anymore. Now hurry up we have to go soon.”

“I think you’re underestimating my kid,” Ariel replied dully. “She’s never done something as big as this. Why would she do this? I just wish I could pick that part of her brain that triggers these dumb actions and pull them out!”

“Then you won’t have Kris anymore,” Yi Zhen smirked. “You’ll just have another normal kid, and where would the fun be if you just had another normal, dull kid?”

“I’ll tell you what, this kid is depleting the minutes I have left in this world,” Ariel quipped.

“But she’s making mine a hell-of- a lot more interesting!” Yi Zhen laughed.

As Ariel and Yi Zhen wait anxiously back at home, Kris and Joe were arriving at the terminal gates. Afraid of getting lost in between the massive amounts of adults, Kris took hold of Joe’s hand as she followed behind.

“Joey, I’ve been thinking,” she suddenly said. “Do you think it would be a good idea if I became a pilot like you?”
Joe smiled at her. “Don’t you think you do enough damage here on land?”

“Hey, I have to learn how to fly sometime if I want to be your sidekick, right?” she tugged at his hand.

“Right,” Joe reiterated as he looked behind, unable to catch a good view of anyone in particular. “C’mon, there are too many people here. Let’s sit down and wait for you’re mother.”

Quickly, Kris rushes over to an empty seat and plopped her behind on top, happily waving her feet and smiling like a fool.

“Now, you wait right here, Ok?” Joe sternly asked as he pointed a stiff finger in her face. “I don’t want you to go anywhere by yourself. It’s dangerous. I have to go get my bags and I don’t want you tagging along because there’s too many people here, you might get lost. But when I come back, I promise, we’ll go looking for your mom.”

“Ok,” she nodded back to him.

As she watched him disappear into the mesh, Kris sat back dangling her legs happily. So maybe she did cause a bit of trouble getting on that plane but she’s back safe and sound. Nothing bad can come out of this, right? She was only gone for a day. Not even 24 hours. Her mother shouldn’t be THAT worried about her, right? If only that were true; maybe finding Superman to solve her problems wasn’t such a good idea. Besides, she had no idea who Social Services were and she had no idea how he could save her from them. There was no game plan, no plan at all.

Feeling a bit low Kris got out of her seat, gave a deep sigh, and decided that it was time to look for her mother herself. She hated the fact that she could be separated at all with her mother so maybe playing hide and seek wasn’t such a good idea. Perhaps she should stay as close to her mother for as long as she possibly could. Maybe it was also time to give up on her silly antics and start being a bit more responsible now. If not, there was a chance that at any given moment she couldn’t have her mother. That was not an option for Kris. Not an option at all.

“Oh, mommy,” she called out in a sing-song manner. “Where are joo! Come out, come out wherever joo arrrgg.”

Passengers from all over the world covered her vision from left and right. It was like battling a sea of moving obstacles. Lucky for her, she was short and thin which gave her a better chance to move in and out of crowds. Squeezing her way through the crowd, she was able to make it to the airport transportation directory in front of the terminal gates. She looks at the flight information board and see’s that her flight has been “on time”.

“On time,” she softly muttered to herself. “I’m here, but where’s mom?”

Giving another deep sigh, Kris turns around to see the busy terminal bombarded with eager passengers and employees rushing to and fro to their destinations. Everyone seemed to know exactly what to do and where to go. But she figured that most adults probably do know what they’re doing; unlike kids. Unlike herself. What would become of her future? She didn’t know. How can she control it? She couldn’t. Too bad she was just a kid with no power and no say with what fate has in store for her.

“This blows,” she pouted. “Mommy?? Where are joo!?!”

A small quake shivered down her chest, and her pout began to deepen. She felt an ugly feeling pushing her down on her and her face started to form a deep frown line on her forehead while her lips began to twitch in an abnormal manner. She wasn’t breathing normally and her vision started to blur. She was crying.

“No!” she said to herself. “Have to find mommy.” Rubbing her eyes hard, Kris took in a deep breath and shook her head clear of any bad thoughts.

She looked in front of her and stared hard at her obstacle course. She put her hands in front of her eyes to make small hand binoculars with them and scanned at the crowd. From time to time, she had to wipe those pesky tears that blurred her eyes which made her vision even worse than it had already been. Suddenly, in between a rub and a flick, Kris peers into the crowd and see’s a woman fairly similar to Ariel. She wasn’t wearing the normal employee attire, but then again her mother didn’t work on Sunday.

“Hey!” Kris called out to the woman. “HEY!” But she received no answer. She decided to go after her but she was already walking away from her. “Momma! Momma, I’m here, wait for me!”

She continued to push and shove her way through the crowd as her mother continued to make her way further and further away from the reckless, noisy and cramped mesh of oncoming passengers. Lodged deep in between the uncountable amounts of legs, suitcases and banging hips, Kris could barely breathe in the crowd but she had to make her way back to her mother.

“Hey, move it,” she shoved and groaned. “Momma, wait for me!”

But she didn’t. She just kept moving forward and towards the exit of the terminal. When she finally stood still, Kris tried grabbing for her by the coat but when she was close enough to touch her mother, she began walking away again.

“Ugh, mom! Why aren’t you waiting for me? Are you THAT mad at me,” Kris continued to shout in the middle of the crowd. “Come on, help me!”

No answer.

“Mommy!” she yelled in between the crowd. “Don’t leave me!”

That ugly feeling began to return and her vision started blurring even more now. Another minute past and her body grew a bit weak from struggling endlessly. She took a few more breathes and pushed her way out of the crowd.

“Mom!!” she cried as she started running after her mother. “Where are you going!? I promise I won’t pull anymore fire alarms. I won’t super glue anything. I’ll be good. Don’t go, mommy! Wait for me! Why aren’t you waiting for me?! I’ll be good!”

Her mother makes a turn and walks out of the terminal without looking back. Kris was stunned. Her mother actually left her inside. Was she this mad? Did she already make a mess out of things and her mother didn’t want her anymore?

“I’ll be good!” Kris suddenly screamed as she ran after her mother outside.

To much of her surprise, there were even more people to go through here than it was inside. Included, there were cars rushing back and forth, people yelling all sorts of things and noises that shook Kris to the bone. She had never been alone outside the terminal before and the world she had just entered became more than just foreign, but strange and terrifying. What more, was that now she had completely lost her mother to the universe she no longer lived in.

“Mommy?” Kris called out to no one in particular. “Where are you? MOM! Ok, I give up, you can come out now. I don’t want to play anymore. Mom? Mommy! I want to go home! Mom!”

That ugly feeling rushed into her without hesitation; it was cold, bitter and terribly lonely. She couldn’t help but panic as people began to shove her little body back and forth without an apology. Those damn tears rushed again, and she couldn’t keep still. When she rubbed her eyes just a little bit, another push could come from behind. She felt helpless, alone and out of control. Her heart began to cry with her as she stood there in the middle of nowhere, alone in a crowd.

“…ah…” she groaned, letting out a tearful cry. “…ah…”

Just as she was beginning to feel as if it couldn’t get any worse, something or someone managed to push her to the ground, leaving her on her hands and knees, unable to get back up without someone stepping on her hand.

“OW!” she yelped in pain. “Owwww!!”

“HEY!” she suddenly heard in the midst of the chaos. “Get out of the way, kid!”

“Ow…” she huddled a small yelp to herself as she pacified herself.

“I said…”

Kris winced at what the man yelling at her was going to say, but something else was going on. The man didn’t even finish the sentence until Kris heard two loud sounds; a loud smack and a thud.

“Whoa! You knocked him out cold, man!” yelled an onlooker.

“You better think twice before you yell at her again, dammit,” threatened a familiar voice. Footstep crept closer to Kris as she kept her head low and facing the ground. “You ok, Kris?”

She looked up and there he was, kneeling on his expensive suit, lending a hand and a small smile that she didn’t know she had always longed for.

“Superman,” Kris managed to say before thrusting her whole entire body up against his.

“Oh geez,” Joe stumbled as she lunged at him. With her arms still locked around his neck, Joe lifted Kris off the ground and caressed her back. “Where have you been, I’ve been looking all over for you. I tell you to do one little thing and the next thing I know, you are outside doing lord knows what.”

Kris gave no response. She only pressed against him harder, tugged at his shirt with a tighter grip and let the tears fall free.

“Let me see it,” Joe sighed, pointing at her hand. “What’s the damage?”

Kris wiped away the snot falling from her nose and showed him her small hand that was now swelling up pretty badly. He took a quick glance and already knew that he had to take her to the hospital for a check-up. He took out his cell phone from his pocket and gave a text-message to Kris’ mother.

“Your mother texted me a while ago saying she wouldn’t be here for another hour or two. Now I have to tell your mother to meet us at the hospital,” he groaned as he wiped away a few stray tears left on her face. “Don’t cry anymore, ok? You’ll see her soon.”

“So she wasn’t here already?” Kris muttered under her breath.

“Nope,” he said, mocking her choice of words from before, with the same pop at the end of the word. “Come on, kid, we have to take care of that hand.”

As Joe sat inside the strangely quiet hospital lobby twiddling his fingers, he couldn’t help but to drift faster and faster asleep. He shook his head to stay awake but nothing worked. How couldn’t believe one little check up could take this long? He was already there for more and half and hour before the doctors even took Kris into the back rooms. Joe decided to stay in the front because Kris didn’t need him at that point. But waiting was boring. He got up from his seat and began pacing back and forth looking at his watch.

“Where is her mother?” he sighed to himself. “She should have been here a long time ago.”

He looked at his watch and couldn’t believe his eyes. She was late. He gave a deep sigh and rubbed his face with his hands to wipe away the boredom, but within a few wipes, something the corner of his eye and he froze his attention to the front desk. A woman dressed in a large winter coat was nervously talking to the head nurse.

“Hi, I’m looking for my daughter,” he heard her say. “She should have been here a while ago with a pilot.”

“What’s her name?” the nurse asked nonchalantly looking at the clipboard full of names.

“Kris Lin.”

Joe shot up from his seat. There she was, the woman herself. After all this time, he had heard of this unbelievable woman who bore this even more unbelievable child and now he could meet her face to face. It was exciting, he was eager and more importantly, she was Kris’ mom! She could possibly be an absolute maniac! If she was able to bare such a child, who knows how the mother is? Cautiously he approached her.

“Ms. Lin?” he called out to her.

And just like that, from the moment he said her name to the time she turned around, everything went cold. His body froze up stiff, his chest pounded endlessly and his mind was now numb. As waves of shivers rushed up and down his body, the images before him blurred to a single entity. The sounds of the hospital became even more silent than before, if it was even possible and the only thing that he was able to comprehend was her image. For one brief second, time stood still.

“Do I know you?”

Those words quickly burned into his flesh as another wave of tremors flowed ever so harshly onto him. One by one, those words seemed to have melted into his brain the pure sweetness of her voice but also the stinging pain of the meaning. Her cold frown dug into his heart for a moment until her eyes bulged out and she put a shaken hand over her mouth.

“Joe?” he heard her whisper slightly.

His eyes blinked uncontrollably as he was left speechless. And there she stood. Still unbelievable as ever, with her hand over her mouth, a tear running down her face and shivers of her own. His heart instantly dropped to his stomach letting it churn into mulch. He could hardly breathe as time stopped right in front of his eyes. He gave a small shaken breath out before opening his mouth to say something but nothing came out.

Without hesitation, she lunged her body into his, holding onto him as if his touch was the mere source of her survival. He stood stiffly as he felt her cries onto his beating chest that seemed to long for more. His lips shook suddenly and he grimaced at the pain in his stomach. The feeling was indescribable. The pain was unbelievable. But everything seemed numb. It was just numb.

“I’ve been looking everywhere for you,” he heard her say.

Closing his eyes slowly, he began to soften in her embrace and touch her. With every word she said, the more he drifted into his perfect world. Finally, he was able to pick up where she left off. As they both stood still together in the middle of the hospital lobby, the two former lovers were left in the place they should have been 7 years ago.

“Ariel…”

 

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