She said her last goodbyes, and stumbled down the stairs as her two little ones stood by the door.
"I'm not coming back. I'm sorry."
They were merely children and did not understand what mommy meant by that.
The needle pricks in her arm were a reassurance that mom would come back home, that she would be happy, and no one was going to be hurt.
This time it was different though. She said I'm sorry, two words she's never spoken before.
"I'm not coming back." Four words they were familiar with, and words that were a constant reminder of mom's unstableness. Of mom's inability to be a mom because she needed another prick. But because she was getting that prick things would soon be okay again.
"I'm not coming back," words that had hurt so much in the beginning, but soon became painless.
They knew what to do when these words were spoken. Take care of one another. Make breakfast so that they wouldn't starve for days when mom wouldn't come home. Say prayers at night when left alone to keep their minds at peace. She was only 6 years old, but she knew that her 4 year old sister understood what it meant when mommy would say I'm not coming back. It was routine. Nothing out of the ordinary. Something she'd say that had no meaning because each time she just came back with another prick.
However, this time she spoke "I'm sorry." This time they knew. And this time mommy was never coming back.