Penny Mosby was only 5 years old when it happened.
“Dad, why should I go to the hospital again today? I have visited this place three times in 24 hours!” said Penny innocently when her dad, Ted, lead her through the hospital corridors that night.
“You haven’t said ‘goodnight’ to Mom, honey,” he answered.
With a big white teddy bear –a birthday gift from her mom- in her left arm, little Penny asked, “I’ve said millions of ‘goodnight’ to Mom this past weeks. I’ve kissed Mom’s forehead for several times this past weeks. Why doesn’t Mom come to my room and do all that stuff just like every day she used to?”
Ted stopped and kneeled next to her. “Penny, Mom has done that to you since you were born. Now it is your turn to love Mom just like how she loves you,” he answered.
Her dad’s answer convinced her to walk through the corridor. The fact is, Penny hates hospital corridors since they remind her of that scary day when her mom screamed furiously when giving birth to Luke, her brother.
Ted gave a knock to room 203. They heard a weak voice welcoming them as they got in the room.
“Hi, angels,” Tracy said.
“Hi, love,” said Ted. He gave Tracy a quick kiss on her forehead. “Penny is here.”
“Hi, Mom!” Penny shouted with excitement.
Penny climbed to the side of her mom’s bed and she sat there. With the last bits of energy she had, Tracy moved her left hand and caressed her little girl’s brunette hair.
“Do you have any story to tell me, Penny?” she asked.
“Of course, Mom!” Penny adjusted her sitting position so that she could face her mom. “Today I baked cookies with Aunt Lily. She came to our house, Mom! I’ve waited that moment for weeks since I want to know how to bake cookies. Would you teach me how to bake other things when you aren’t sick anymore, Mom?”
“Yes, of course, honey! We will bake rainbow cakes together, okay? We can make 4 pieces: one for you, one for me, one for daddy, and one for Luke. Deal?”
Penny high fived her Mom’s weak hands just like how they used to.
Suddenly, the machine which was connected to Tracy beeped.
“What is that, Mom?” asked Penny cautiously.
“Oh, it’s nothing to worry, honey,” answered her. Trying to distract her daughter’s attention, she said, “Other than that, what happened today, Penny? How was your school?”
“School is amazing, Mom! I had literature class today and Miss Robin read us the story of Little Red Riding Hood. I like that story. I don’t know why but I felt I had known the story before Miss Robin read that to us.”
“I have read that story to you once, honey. Don’t you remember?”
Little Penny frowned for a while. She tried to remember that memory seriously till wrinkles showed up on her forehead. Seeing the weird-cute face of their daughter, Ted and Tracy laughed.
Suddenly, Penny shouted, “Oh, yeah, I remember now!”
“Good. Can you name the stories both Mom and Dad have read to you?” asked Ted.
Penny named the stories both Ted and Tracy have read to her. She also mentioned the authors of the stories.
“Mom, would you like to play your ukulele for me? I’ve never heard you play ‘La Vie En Rose’ for weeks,” asked Penny suddenly. Tracy had always played that song when she tucked Penny and Luke to bed. That time, due to her sickness, she had never done that anymore.
“Honey, I’d love to. But I’ve lost all of my energy. Wish me the best, okay, honey? Once I recovered, I’ll play my ukulele for you as long as you want.”
Penny gladly nodded.
The machine beeped once more. That time it beeped longer than before.
“Penny, do you allow Mom to sleep like Sleeping Beauty? Mom is so tired, honey,” asked Tracy.
“Of course, Mom! You can sleep with thousands of flowers around you. When you’re not tired anymore, I’ll wake you up and we can play together again!” said Penny innocently. She didn’t know what her mom really mean.
“Thank you, honey.”
The machine beeped again.
“Penny, it is time to go home now. Uncle Marshall is waiting for you outside. Say goodbye to mom!” said Ted when the clock showed 10 pm.
Penny heavily sighed. She didn’t want to come home without Mom but she had to.
“Goodnight, Mom! See you tomorrow,” said Penny. She leaned to kiss her mom’s forehead and cheeks.
“Goodnight, honey. I’ll wait for you tomorrow.”
Penny climbed down the bed and walked to the door. She looked back to her Mom and waved her hand. Tracy blew a kiss to her and then Penny went outside the door. She raced to the parking lot where Uncle Marshall had been waiting for her to take her back home.
Ted stayed at the hospital. He was always accompanying Tracy however the condition was. They both watched Penny as she ran outside with her little legs.
“She’s so beautiful, isn’t she?” said Tracy, asking Ted’s agreement.
“She is. She is just like you,” Ted said.
Tracy gave him a weak smile and Ted kissed her hand.
“Go to sleep, honey. I’ll be here when you wake up tomorrow. I love you,” said Ted.
Tracy whispered, “I love you, the love of my life. I love our little angels too.”
She shut her eyelids. Her hands were clutched with Ted’s who slept in a plastic chair next to her.
“See you tomorrow,” said Ted.
Tracy fell into a deep sleep, a peaceful one. Right at 12 pm, the machine beeped so long so it woke Ted and a few nurses up.
The next morning, Penny went to the hospital with Uncle Marshall, Aunt Lily, and Luke to meet her mom.
“Why should I go to the hospital before school, Uncle Marshall? I supposed to meet Mom this afternoon. I could be late to school!” said Penny.
“You have to say goodbye to your Mom before you go to school, Penny,” said Uncle Marshall.
“Okay, Uncle Marshall.”
When she arrived at the hospital, she could only found her dad, sitting outside the room 203. His hands were covering his eyes, hiding the stream of tears from his eyes. Both Uncle Marshall and Aunt Lily gave Ted a look that expressed their condolence from their deepest heart. All of the adults in that room tried to hide their tears to prevent Penny and Luke acknowledging their Mom’s passing.
“Dad, where’s Mom?” asked Penny.
Ted looked up to see his little daughter waiting for his answer. His face was still moist and traces of tears still exist. Penny’s face was so innocent and somehow it reminded Ted of Tracy. Penny hadn’t known what happened to her Mom and Ted hadn’t had the guts to tell her what did really happen.
Instead of saying the truth, Ted said, “She’s still sleeping, honey. It’s not the time to wake her up. I think you can wake her up tomorrow when she’s not tired anymore.”
Penny nodded in agreement. She still wore a smile on her face. Today is not the day I should wake Mom up, she thought. Tomorrow, the word his dad had said was still echoing on her head.
Penny had always had that vision of waking her mom up one day and she had waited that day to come. Ironically, it took a few years for Penny to notice and accept that her Mom’s eyelids would never open again and the tomorrow her dad had promised would never come.
A fan fiction of How I Met Your Mother.