I really like turtles. I mean, even though I'm fifteen, I still really like them. My bedroom is full of drawings and pictures of turtles, and I have folders in which I keep printouts off the internet about them and newspaper and magazine articles, and loads and loads of books.
Instead of a whale person, I'm a turtle person. That's how I like to think of it. I have a collection of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figurines, and fourteen stuffed toy turtles.
I even have an enormous poster sticky-tacked to the ceiling of my bedroom right over my bed, so I can lie on my bed and look up at the ceiling and think of the ocean and the turtles in it. Which is pretty freaky, right? But I like turtles.
I have a turtle charm on my charm bracelet, right next to my Chinese Star Sign charm, which my mother, Lucy, gave to me. The turtle charm's my favourite, but so is the one mom gave me, so I think I like them both equally.
My mom died a while ago, when I was still fourteen… I mean, not 'died.' She was, like, murdered… you know, someone else killed her. But I try not to think about it, because I want to remember my mom the way… well, you know, in a nice way… instead of always just thinking of how horrible she must have looked when the police found her dead and all. I want to remember her in a favourable light. Even if she was weird and embarrassing sometimes, she was still my mom and she still loved me… and I still love her too, even though she's not around anymore.
I know who the police and everyone think killed my mom, but I know he didn't really do it. I mean, that's probably why he 'got away' with it in the first place, because of lack of evidence… and a kick-ass lawyer (I guess that couldn't hurt).
Really, I think it's too stupid to really believe, because, I mean, my mom and I both knew him… my mom was his- I guess she was like his secretary, for a while.
Not to mention that he knows that I would totally kill HIM if I believed it for one second, and he knows that I could because my aunt's father is Yukuza! Not like one of those little henchmen, I mean BIG TIME! I could just snap my fingers and it would be done!
My aunt's name is Midori, which means 'green' in Japanese, I think. Midori and my mom, Lucy, were cousins because their moms were sisters. Midori is Japanese, like her name, but she is born here, in America. So my mom's mom was Japanese, but her dad was Chinese, which made her half-Chinese, half-Japanese, which I don't think people liked.
I guess maybe that means that Midori's more like my second cousin than my aunt, but it's way cooler to call her my aunt, and that's how I always think of her anyway.
Midori works for the same place that my mom worked for, and that the man works for. He went away for a while, but then he came back again. I mean, his family all still live here, so it wasn't as though he was never going to come back and set foot in town again, or whatever.
I remember, from when I was younger, that he used to call my mother by her Chinese name, Yang Ling, sometimes, instead of her English name, Lucy, which she preferred. I don't know why he did that, if it was to piss my mom off, or not, but I know that they used to talk to each other in Chinese heaps, though I can't tell you what about, because I'm only just learning Chinese at high school (I'm not very good yet).
So yeah, I don't think he killed my mom, even if he was weird. I mean, I'm weird, but that doesn't mean I've killed anyone (I haven't!).
I know that my grandpa – well, Midori's father – thinks that he killed my mom, so I try not to bring it up or talk about it at all, except here, in my journal.
I don't know why he came to my birthday – not that I was really having fun anyway, I was just pretending to, you know, so I didn't upset everyone – but I just got really mad when he did that and went totally off my head. I screamed so much that my ears were ringing for hours afterward, but at least it worked and he left.
If he stayed, I think I would have gotten worse and probably started cussing and trying to hit him, then I probably got landed for 'assault' or something stupid like that. Plus, then I probably would have ended up assaulting his lame kick-ass lawyer, too.
I remember once when I was nine, I got really sick. I couldn't even go to school, and mom took me to hospital and I had to stay there on my own. I told mom I was really excited, even though I lied because I was really super scared; I didn't want to be on my own, and, I mean, I wasn't even sure if I was going to die, and I kept wanting to cry because I kept thinking that I was going to die, and I was really sure that I was, and then I thought about mom being so far away, and even if the hospital rang her she wouldn't make it in time, and then I'd be dead, and I'd never get to say 'goodbye' to her and she'd never get to say 'goodbye' to her, and she'd never know how much I was going to miss her.
When I think about that time, I always get really sad, too, because it kinda makes me think of mom, and how she died, and she didn't even get to say 'goodbye' or that she really, really loved me and was going to miss me heaps. I guess I kinda imagine that she was thinking it, instead of thinking of how bad she looked, or, you know, as a distraction instead.
Anyway, when I was in the hospital, mom came to see me heaps, whenever she could and when she didn't have work or other family stuff to do (family trouble), and sometimes the man – her boss, I guess – came with her, too. At first, I thought maybe he was her boyfriend (I don't remember my dad) and I supposed he'd come as support, you know, and I was excited, but also worried, and really sad, too, and I didn't want him to get to know me right before I was going to die, and then be upset when I died.
I guess I thought he was her boyfriend because she smiled a lot, or was bossy, or made jokes whenever he was around, but he wasn't really her boyfriend. I found this out when mom introduced him and explained they worked together. (His name is Lyle. It sounds French and reminds me of the cheerleader from Heroes, Claire Bennett's brother, Lyle, who has the same name).
I remember thinking that I'd remember him if I saw him again because he had really blue eyes, which were a bit weird because I'm not really used to seeing people with blue eyes all the time, so I kinda notice them more and think, Oh, kinda strange, 'ey? (My mom's are – were – brown).
So, my mom's telling me about how they work together, and she stays for a bit, then she has to go, which is a relief, because I'm thinking, at this point, that he's either a priest, lawyer, mass murderer, or vampire. Though, I guess, if he was a vampire he'd probably be dead already because of the sunlight, so I can cross that one off my list, but more start to pop up, like grief counsellor, estate agent, undertaker, social worker, werewolf!
I really like the idea of the werewolf one, because it's feasible, I guess, and it's not as scary as the social worker/lawyer one, and my mom could kick a mass murder's ass any day, she's really good with all that self-defence stuff!
Of course, it's more likely he's a manager of something, or a secretary, too, if he works with my mom, I mean, so then I kinda imagine him answering phones all day, which is funny, for some reason, and I wonder if that's what my mom does at work; it sounds really boring, plus, you'd probably get impatient people yelling at you, or angry people screaming obscenities that you wouldn't want to hear in real life, let alone on a movie or in your imagination.
Then I think he's probably my mom's boss, and that he came to check out if she was lying or if it was really the truth that I was sick, which was why she was sad and stressed – then I want to kick his ass for not believing my mom! I hope he comes to visit again so I can kick his ass.
He does again, but this time mom isn't with him, and I kinda think that maybe he's going to make me confess that I'm not really sick, but that my mom talked me into going along with her 'plan' and that I agreed because that way I could stay off school.
Except that isn't really why he came, and he brought me one of those toy flowers – so I can hit him with it, if he gets mouthy, I think – and he tells me how much my mom wants me to get better, and I'm thinking about hitting him with the fake flower – he couldn't even get real ones, that smell nice! – and then he's asking me if I want to get better, too, and I throw the stupid fake flower away from me onto the floor. I want to strangle him so much! He's such an idiot, and he's mean, and I hate him! I don't know why he's trying to make out that I want to be sick – as if he's saying that I want mom to be upset and stressed! I'm so mad!
He's just looking at me, and he's really calm, and I want to hit him so much, but I don't, because then he'll have won, but then he puts his hand over my hand – stupid, I don't want him touching me! – and I feel a bit strange, and I can't really pay attention to anything, and I start feeling even stranger, and then I wake up… even though I didn't know I'd fallen asleep.
Lyle isn't in my room anymore, but I can still see the flower on the floor. I leave it there, and when mom comes in, I see her frowning at it, trying to figure out if it is mine or not, and who got it for me.
A day later, I get to go home. In my bedroom at home, I hide the flower in the bottom of my wardrobe, not really wanting to look at it ever again.
But that's how I know he didn't kill my mom, because he made me better when he didn't have to. I don't say so, but I know he did it; I know it was him.
One time, later on, I see him in town, in the shopping mall, with another man; the other man is younger, though he has really blue eyes, too. I don't think they're related – the other man is soooo slim – but I get a strange feeling that they're more alike than they seem, like maybe the other man can do what he can do, maybe he can make people well again too, even though, immediately afterward, I decide that I'm mad!
When mom dies, I dig the stupid unreal flower out of my wardrobe and hold it in my hands. I wonder why the man didn't help mom, and really hate him. I hate the flower, too, because he gave it to me – and because it's not real!
It isn't until I see him at my birthday party that I think that maybe he couldn't help my mom, maybe he's sick, and there's no one who can make him better like he made me better.
Later on, I kinda feel bad for screaming so much when he was sick, and I wonder if he came to tell me something about my mom.
I'm lying on my bed, at this point, staring at my turtle poster, and I sit up and climb off my bed and kneel down on the floor, looking for the toy flower that I kicked out of sight under my bed after I'd dropped it on the floor the day that I learned that my mom was dead.
I find the flower and get back on my bed and lie down. After a while, I close my eyes. I try to remember what kind of flower mom liked best, only I don't know.
I sit up, then, and decide that I no longer want to be a turtle girl; I want to be a turtle and flower girl.
I draw pictures of attractive, bright flowers that I think my mom would like, and sticky-tack them to my bedroom walls, along with some cards that I'd gotten over the years, or that I'd bought from the store, with pretty illustrations or photographs of flowers on the front, and, when I lie on my bed, I imagine that I'm lying in a meadow of flowers, by a cliff's edge, by the sea, and I can hear the sound of the waves rushing back and forth, and when I turn my head, I imagine that mom is lying beside me in the meadow, and I take her hand.
The sun is warm overhead, and her hand is warm in mine.