Monday, 20 August 2007
04:57:56 AM (GMT)
They were running late on this particular morning. They followed the same routine
every morning, the mother went off to catch the bus to work and the daughter caught
the bus to school. Frequently, the mother would sometimes leave the house an hour
before her daughter, but on this specific morning, they made the journey to the bus
stop together. The mother would later share with a close friend that she was relieved
they were late that morning and also relieved they had been together to share what
they were about to encounter.
They strolled, side by side down the alley towards the road, chatting about the day
ahead. The familiar conversation flowed about what to have for dinner and their plans
to do things over the coming weekend. It was a Thursday and they had previously
arranged to meet up later and go shopping together. For a while now, it had been just
the two them, mother and daughter, alone, but together. They shared an intimate
relationship and more importantly that special kind of friendship that some mothers
and daughters are lucky enough to achieve, but today, something would come to pass
that was to devastate them, but empower their exceptional bond even more.
When they reached the street where they regularly waited for the bus, the mother
turned to her daughter and kissed her cheek, ruffling her soft, light brown hair.
“Have a good day." she said, and turned to cross the road.
“Bye Mum." she replied and began to walk up the street, towards her bus stop.
Suddenly the young girl yelled out quite innocently.
“Mum look, Sophie’s here!" Her mum whirled around and to her absolute horror and
sadness was forced to take in the sight of what was laying on the ground near the
“Oh My God!" She said, checking for traffic and running back across the road. She
prayed silently to herself, that it wasn’t their dear friend laying near the road.
She looked at her daughter, and then back at the roadside. It was definitely her
there was no doubt in her mind. She studied the her daughter’s face attempting to
read her thoughts. The girl bent down and stretched out her hand as if she were going
to touch the body laying on the roadside.
“No sweetie!" her mother cautioned gently. “Don’t touch her."
She gaped at her mother, obviously shocked and confused.
“Why?" she asked, innocently, totally unaware of what had occurred.
“Because she’s dead sweetheart" came her mother’s sad reply, she took a deep
breath, trying desperately to control the tears that had started to flow. The youg
girl broke down and began to cry uncontrollably, sobbing incoherently.
“She can’t be dead," She cried out, shuddering violently, “Mum, Sophie can’t
She stood there shaking her head, her eyes full of tears, saying over and over again,
“No, no, no!" She looked up into her mother’s eyes hopefully but the serious
expression on her mother’s face told a different story.
“I’m so sorry sweetheart, but she’s gone." The mother replied with a tone of
finality in her voice.
“No mum, she’s just asleep," argued the child, “she’s asleep, that’s all."
“I know it looks that way, but she isn’t." said her mother, taking her
daughter’s hand and squeezing it gently.
“You’re wrong mum," said the girl, pulling her hand away, “Sophie’s just
“I really wish that was the case." said her mother calmly as she turned to look
down at the roadside.
“What happened mum, why is she here, so close to the road?" she asked.
“It looks like a car hit her sweetie." answered her mother.
“No Mum." said the child, shaking her head unbelieveably, “Sophie would never
walk in front of a car."
“Maybe she didn’t see the car, maybe it was dark." replied her mother.
“So did it happen last night?" asked the daughter.
“Probably." She acknowledged sadly, she had already noticed how wet the body was,
like she had been laying out in the rain for hours.
“I want to go home mum," said the daughter, starting to shake, “I can’t go to
school today, I just can’t Mum, I want to go home."
“I know." said the mother, suddenly aware that they should go home and make some
unpleasant, but necessary phone calls. She stood there frozen to the spot, unable to
move, trying to get a hold on her emotions.
“So what are we doing Mum?" asked the daughter, rubbing her hands together
impatiently, still in a state of total disbelief.
“Going home sweetie," she said, “I’m just thinking, that’s all."
“We can’t leave her here mum." she protested, suddenly.
“Well of course we won’t , we’ll go home and ring some people first okay,
don’t worry I will take care everything." said her mother reassuringly.
“O.K." said the daughter, with a confused expression etched on her young face.
“Let’s go, Mum." She walked off up the path ahead of her mother, her mother
following behind her trying to peice together what had taken place. She could see
from her daughter’s frame of mind that she would not be going to school today,
which meant she would have call her employers and make her excuses.
They walked together up the narrow laneway, towards their street and turned into the
driveway of their house. It was a beautiful, sunny, February day and the sky was a
clear, perfect blue. A typical Australian summer morning, which seemed to forecast a
beautiful day ahead.
“I can’t believe it mum." said the daughter
“Neither can I." She replied. She took out the keys and unlocked the back door.
They went into the house and sat down in the loungeroom, both trying to collect their
thoughts and take in what they had just discovered. They sat there for several
minutes, the mother was trying to ascertain the best way to handle this predicament.
“We can’t leave her there mum!" said the child again, obviously fretting about
“I promise you we will take care of it, its O.K." she reassured her again, picking
up the telephone, she began to dial.
“Who are you calling?" her daughter asked.
“Just some people that I need to speak to." she replied, continuing to dial the
telephone, she went into the other room to have her conversation, in order to have
some privacy and not alarm her daughter any further. She remained seated on the
lounge chair, waiting for her mother to finish. She began to cry again, wishing out
loud that she had never made the discovery on the ground beside the road.
“Why did I have to find her Mum?" she yelled out. “It’s not fair." Her mother
did not answer, she was obviously still on the telephone. The daughter continued to
mumble forlornly to herself about how unfair it all was.
“When I find out who did this, they will be sorry," said the daughter, still
sobbing. “How could someone just run her over and leave her there like that?"
When the mother was done with the telephone, she returned to the lounge room and
began to caress her child’s soft hair.
“Come on, we have things to do." she said, taking her hand. “Let’s get
Her daughter didn’t reply straight away, she remained silent as if still attempting
to accept all that had occurred. She sighed loundly and stood up.
“Mum, are you sure she’s really dead, she could be asleep?" she looked at her
mother hopefully, praying that her mother would confirm her fantasy, but it was not
to be. The mother shook her head sadly and picked up her keys from the coffee table.
“Are you sure it’s really Sophie?" she asked with the same hope shining in her
“Yes sweetie it’s her." Answered her mother soothingly and calmly, not as calm as
she felt. She wanted to scream and then dissolve into tears, but knew full well how
unappropriate that would be.
“Come on, time to go." said her mother, heading for the door and standing at the
stairs waiting. The girl relunctantly followed her outside and they stood together in
“Would you like to pick some flowers for her?" Asked her mother, looking around the
backyard, trying to decide which flowers to pick.
“Yes," she answered immediately, heading towards the front garden where her
mother’s favourite roses were. “That would be really nice Mum."
Her mother went back into the house to get the garden shears, they walked around the
front and cut some beautiful, bright pink roses that had just come into bloom a few
day before. They very carefully clipped off the thorns and bundled the flowers
together. The mother laid the shears down on the back stairs, making a metal note to
put them back in the house when they returned home. They gathered some things
together and set off up the driveway, heading for the laneway the led to the
When they reached the spot where she lay, they both stood there, transfixed for a
moment, wondering how it could’ve happened. How could she get run over by a car?
She was in a slightly, curled up position on her side as if she were fast asleep. The
daughter bent down and reached out a gloved hand to touch her skin, she was wet and
freezing cold. She snatched back her hand in horror.
“She really is dead, Mum." she acknowledged, her heart sinking with despair.
“Yes she is." Her mother confirmed, remembering the severe thunderstorms the
‘She has no doubt been here all night.’ she thought to herself silently. They
knelt down on the ground and both began to stroke her soft hair, the daughter placed
the flowers on the grass, next to where she lay.
“My sweetie, my Sophie, I love you." sobbed the daughter.
“Oh Sophie," her mother broke in, swallowing hard, her heart in her mouth. “You
silly, silly girl, why did you have to take on a car?"
They both reached out and caressed her once more and then very gently, they picked
her up and placed her in the bag that they had brought with them and moved the
flowers to the spot where she had lain. The daughter picked up the bag.
“I’ll carry her Mum," she announced and then softly spoke to what was inside the
bag “we’re taking you home," her mother nodded silently and picked up Sophie’s
cat collar, which they had removed earlier. They stood for a few moments and stared
at the area near the roadside where they had discovered her. Still not accepting what
had taken place, they reluctantly and morosely trudged homewards to bury their