After a long day, and an eventful afternoon of crying and chocolates, we emerge from the den looking completely exhausted like old women, so much, that even Ann was surprised to see us like that. We had, of course, sobered ourselves up so that she won't know what exactly we had been doing inside.
"You both were crying?" she exclaims loudly.
Oh well, I guess we were not good at it. I didn't respond but I saw Shar nodding her head with a nostalgic smile.
"Yeah, well, we were talking about old stuff. You do know how I tend to get with memories, don't you?" she smiles
"Yeah, don't get me started on that one!" Ann winks at her.
So, this was good. I glanced at the watch and it was eight, already. I sighed, another one of Time's tricks. It was a pleasant sigh, though. I looked around the room taking in the colours, the things, the photographs. A frame hung on a wall made me smile. I walked towards it and outlined it lightly with my finger. It was a photograph of me and Shar on the Prom. She wore a hot pink dress that showed off her body so perfectly, it was like the dress was made for her. It was the first dress she tried on when we went for shopping and she just couldn't look at the other ones. This one was so her! As for me, I was looking my same old awkward self. This was the one thing that hadn't changed about me. It was a piece of the past that had lingered and journeyed with me to the present. I was wearing a black skirt and a black top. So much innovation. After much argument, Sharon had forced me to wear accessories (thankfully not pink). So I had on red earrings and red shoes. This was the same night. The awful night. I wonder how Shar had let herself be reminded of that for the last fourteen years. I couldn't even think about it.

"It was like a punishment.." she says, sneaking up behind me. I jump a little, I can never take surprises too well. She smiles, she had already anticipated it.

"For what?" I ask her.

"You know, for what. I was the reason Jack left you. I deserved this.." she says, wincing.

"He wasn't even important. The matter was blown out of proportion. The point is, you didn't deserve to punish you. Neither of us did. If anyone should be punished, it should be him. I knew he made advances on you. What I couldn't accept was that you liked him too, knowing that I did too. Anyway, I was too selfish. I shouldn't have let this come between us.." I say.

"So, we're both hurting for something that wasn't even our fault. And we have been this way for the last few years. This makes me feel great about myself.." she smiles sadly.

"The point is, we're back now. And I am never leaving you, ever again. Even if you beg me too!" I reply, grinning.

"Not if I leave you first.." she says, not looking at me.

"Dinner's ready!" shouts Ann from the pink kitchen.

"I told you not to cook. You should learn to act like teenagers, Ann. Stop being so.. tidy and responsible!" she says with a frown on her face.
I can't believe Sharon's scolding her daughter for being too good. She was like every mother's dream. I let out a hearty laugh and remind Sharon that since her daughter takes after me, she should be allowed to be the way she was. Sharon didn't argue with that, and we sat down to eat.
It was a wonderful meal. It looked like Ann had done her job well. We ate corn and roasted potatoes in their jackets. It was crazy. Laughing for so long, I thought my muscles would be sore in the morning. I could get used to living like this. I wondered how in the world could I have not opted for this life, instead. But then, everything happens for a reason, I thought and got over it. After dinner, we went for a long walk. Me, Sharon and Ann, and suddenly everything was perfect in the world. Suddenly, I didn't want this to end. I could walk for the rest of life without complaining. Obviously, that was asking for too much. I still hadn't gotten around to asking Sharon about her sickness. I'd do it tomorrow, I told myself. Ann and Sharon were pleasantly arguing about their favourite male character on some soap opera, and I realized how I just had like zero life. I didn't even know about that show. So, I asked them to give me details, and they did, like every single detail, leaving me grossed out by the end of it. They were laughing at the expression on my face, telling me to loosen up. And I did. We went to the park and Ann sat on a swing while Sharon pushed her, farther and farther up.

"You know, Aunt Sam, we used to come here when I was little and Mum said that I'd touch the sky someday. That life's like a swing. Only, you have to push yourself. A little harder each time, a little further, a little closer to the blue you see above you.." Ann says, dreamily.

"What can I say, your mum's such a poet!" I smile, remembering her philosophies.

Sharon smiles. She still loves being appreciated, obviously. We all do..

"Do you know what Samantha used to do on Fridays?" Sharon asks Ann, winking at me.

NO! I mouth.

"Oh. I know this one!" Ann says, "you used to clean your room when your parents went out for dinner, and if they came late, you'd clean the whole house too! And then you'd stack your books alphabetically or according to the date and time that you bought them. You alternated every week. It drove your mum crazy!" she giggles.

"So, you have pretty much done your research on me!" I say, feigning offence.

"Haha. It was interesting! You're so like me. That's what I keep telling mum!" she smiles.

"That what I keep telling myself. So I know, that eventually, she'll be fine. Independent, level headed and strong like you." Sharon says, a hidden meaning to her statement.

"Even if she wasn't like me, she would be fine. She has two very, very strong people as her pillars, right, Ann?" I ask her.

"Of course, I do. Two of the most beautiful women in the world, who fought, and emerged as winners." she says, her voice echoing.

Then, it is my turn to push her, higher and higher. It's almost like I am in the future already. Sharon's watching over us, as I help her daughter to reach out, to grab the sky in her fists, just like she has always dreamt of. Smiling all the way, her hair flying in the wind..

The End

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