Mary watched Annie toddle around the garden, following around her grandfather, Mary's father. Annie was just recently two years old, Mary was twenty four, and was twenty two when Mary was born. Fresh out of college with a degree she had no idea what to do with. She became pregnant with Annie during a drunken one night stand where a condom wasn't even a passing thought.
Mary never saw Annie's father again, and wasn't particularly upset. Only wistful of the fact that Annie would never know her father. But Mary's parents were supportive and helped out when they could, whether it be financially or just watching the tyke while Mary got a much needed break.
But Annie was no ordinary toddler. Mary couldn't scold Annie like other mothers could. Annie was deaf. And until she was old enough to grasp language Mary couldn't even hear an "I love you" or even give one for her daughter to understand. In their little family actions spoke louder than words. Most of the time.
Every night, ever since Mary took Annie home from the hospital Mary talked to Annie. After witnessing Annie's intense facination with birds she had called her Tweets.
"Good night, Tweets," Mary would whisper. Later, she would stare at Annie's crib and wish that maybe, one day, Annie would be able to hear. She would hear music, and the "I love yous" and those insignificant little chirps the birds made that everyone with working ears understood.
Annie grew up seemingly in a blur and grew into a fine young lady. Sure, she had troubles, in grade school she was practically alienated, but children grew more mature and befriended the deaf girl. Annie never knew about her mother's nickname for her.
The day she knew about Tweets was the most devastating day Mary would ever have to survive. Annie was crossing a busy street, but wacareless and forgot to check if cars were coming. Her mother was on the other side screaming, signing, anything to get her daughter's attention.
Annie was hit by a truck. Her ribs cracked and her lungs collapsed. Frantically, Marry and the driver called the emergancy number and waited for what seemed like hours for the ambulance to arrive.
Annie was on a ventilator but was slowly slipping away, as much as it pained Mary, she had to let her baby go.
Just before Annie's soul was taken to eternity and her heart beat its last Mary signed Tweets into Annie's palm. Annie's breast rose for the last time and she was still. Tears slipped past Mary's eyelids and fell on the cool, white hand resting in Mary's grip.
"Tweets," she sobbed. "You never got to hear the birds." Mary tilted her head upwards, tears soaking her eyelashes and making her cheeks sticky. "Maybe you'll hear them in heaven."
Mary dropped Annie's hand and sat there shaking with held back cries. Annie was gone and she'd never see her again on the earth. But maybe that was okay. She would be able to hear the tweets.