Mother Knows Best
by Ayzha P. (Grade 12)

What senior Ayzha P. learned in the spring of 2020 was that she had the desire to write a book. What follows are the first two chapters of her fictional novel, Mother Knows Best.


I've never really trusted anyone since before I could remember. Sleep with one eye open type of deal. My mother always told me, "Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none." It's a quote by William Shakespeare. It doesn't really make sense to me but it makes my mom feel better when I pretend I understand it.

Right now, it's just my mother and I. My father is absent in both of our lives which sucks not only because I never had the pleasure of meeting the wonderful guy, but because I also fall into the category of absentee fathers along with many other kids at my school. One kid at my school even started a club called the 'Deadbeat Dads Club'. Invitation only..obviously. I've never really let it bother me though. School and sporting events have always been attended by my mom. She's my biggest supporter. We are all each other has here in the glorious town of Topeka, Kansas.

At school I don't really associate myself with anyone. I'm not an outcast but I'm also not a people-person so I'm awkwardly stuck somewhere in the middle. A few of the girls in my grade used to be my best friends until they got to the part in High School where everyone says that you have to hang out with people who are just like you. No exceptions.

My day at school today consisted of boring lectures, dissecting a frog, watching someone throw up from dissecting a frog, and sitting in the front row in Ms. Simmion's class in which she spit on me the entire lecture. When I get home, I smell the sweet aroma of my mom's wonderful cooking. My mother knows me better than I know myself, I guess that also goes for almost every mother on the planet. She knows what I need before I can even form the words to ask her. I can tell that she feels badly for me because we are very isolated from any family on her side.

Whenever the important holidays roll around like Christmas, Thanksgiving, or my birthday, I ask her if anyone is going to show up and the answer is always a firm 'no'. All I know is that my mom and her family had a falling out before I was born and that is the only explanation I get.

I take my shoes and jacket off in the hallway and make my way to the kitchen. My mother is standing at the counter leaning over her giant crockpot and stirring something inside. She places the lid on top of the pot and turns around, spotting me in the doorway.

I smiled at her, "What's for dinner?"

"Beef stew and white rice on the side." she smiled. "It's almost ready, take a seat."

I nod and sit at the table in my usual seat. I love having dinner with my mom when I get the off chance to. She works many shifts at the local grocery store and I'm at school all day so I think that having dinner together as often as we can keeps us close.

My mother sets a bowl of beef stew and rice in front of me and I start to dig in immediately. After eating the nasty cafeteria food at school everyday and not arriving home until almost 5pm, this meal tastes like it was cooked by Gordon Ramsay himself. After I finish, I push the bowl aside and sit back in my chair. My mother, who is still eating her food, looks at me.

"How is everything at school?" She asks.

I shrug. "It's alright. My classes are easy so I haven't been struggling."

"That's good hon."

I excuse myself from the table to go do my homework in my room. My bedroom is my safe space, just like any other 17-year-old introvert. My bed sits against the far wall in the corner because it's really the only way it will properly fit in my room. My TV is sitting on top of a tall white dresser at the foot of the bed. The dresser is covered in stickers that have been there since I was five. There is no getting them off now. I have another dresser on the other side of my room where the door is. It's long and white with a giant mirror behind it. Next to it is a small bookcase with novels that I haven't touched in months- maybe years.

I throw my bag onto my unmade bed and lay next to it, grabbing my remote. I turn on Netflix and search through the tv shows and movies. I finally settled on The Office which I have watched at least 15 times. I make myself busy with English homework, which is an essay. There's no doubt that English is my easiest class and the most enjoyable.

After about two and a half hours, I’ve finished my essay that isn't due for a week- I know, overachiever. It's now almost 8 o'clock so I decide to go through my social media while The Office plays in the background.

The next day at school there's a new girl. Her name is Faith Henning. She's a quiet girl from what I already know, which is next to nothing. She sits next to me in my biology class and she won't stop looking at me. Creepy. After the bell rings, Faith stays behind until I shove my books into my bag.

"Hey!" She chirps. I nod and smile back. The polite way of saying, 'You're creeping me out so I'm going to engage as little as I can.' I snicker under my breath. "I couldn't help but notice that you look familiar. Did you ever live in Detroit?"

I pick up my things and begin to walk away. Low and behold, Faith trails right next to me. "No, I've lived here my whole life."

"Funny, you look like a girl from my town. She went missing a while back. They're still looking for her. They used this thing called an age progression photo to picture what she would look like today." Faith pulls out her phone and taps a few words in Google search. I roll my eyes and walk into the cafeteria, Faith still hot on my heels. I grab a chicken patty and sit down at an empty table. I thought I had lost Faith but then a few minutes later she plops down in the seat next to me with a tray.

"Here, look." She shoves her phone in my face and the words on the screen blur together. I grab the phone out of her eager hand and move it away from my face. I read the article that Faith has searched.

Missing Three Month Old
March 17, 2000

On March 14th, 2000, the three month old infant of Charles and Kelsi Knott, Amanda, was abducted from her home in the middle of the night while the Knott's were asleep in the next room. Detectives have stated that there were no signs of forced entry meaning the suspect knew their way in and out. Search parties have been searching endlessly for the young infant..."

I hand the phone back to Faith. "I still don't see your point." She holds up a single finger and returns to tapping on her phone while I unwrap my chicken patty from its tinfoil. As soon as my mouth forms to take a bite, Faith shows me a picture on her phone. I sigh and put the chicken patty down. She hands me her phone and I take it from her. Underneath the picture is a caption, "Above is a photo of the, still missing, infant of Charles and Kelsi Knott. This photo has been age regressed to show what Amanda Knott would look like today. 2015."

I look at the photo closely. This girl, Amanda, does look sort of similar to me, but, I'm not seeing what Faith is seeing. I hand her the phone back. "That is strange, but it's not me. I'm not missing and I never have been missing." Faith's shoulders slump as if she wanted me to be the missing girl. She probably did, so that she could say she solved a case from 17 years ago just by looking at me. Weirdo.

For the rest of the day I can't help but think about that photo that Faith showed me. I didn't want to admit it at the time but it was almost scary how much that Amanda girl's picture looks like me. I convince myself it was just a coincidence because the photo was from 2015 so she probably looks a little different now compared to two years ago. Besides, she could just be my doppelganger. Those things happen all the time, right?


The next few weeks are like any other. School and then home. Wash, rinse, and repeat. I made Faith drop the whole 'Missing Girl Look-Alike' thing and she did, reluctantly of course. I forced myself to brush it off knowing that it was, as I thought, a coincidence.

I hate to say it but, Faith has grown on me. At first she was a little on the annoying side but one day I caved and decided to let her come over for dinner. To say my mom loved her is an understatement. They bonded over things that I never would have thought my mom liked. Faith and I are in my room sitting on my bed surrounded by our math homework. Even though we have different classes, we still help each other out. It's also an excuse to hang out almost every day. I'm in the middle of pretending to write down the answer to a question while just doodling when Faith looks up from her work and stares at me.

"You're creeping me out." I scowl. I write the answer to the equation I'm working on and move on to the next. I look up and Faith is still staring. I put my pencil down and huff, "What?" She shakes her head and looks back down at the blank paper in front of her. 3.. 2.. 1..

"Aren't you just curious?" She asks. I sigh, saw that one coming.

"No, I am not curious. I thought I told you to drop it weeks ago." I pick my pencil back up and start working on the question I was on before being rudely interrupted. Faith mumbles something under her breath and I just snicker at her.

Soon enough, my mom calls us downstairs for dinner. The conversation is kept light throughout the whole meal. No one has anything to talk about besides school or work. No new and exciting events. I guess that's just how it is when you live in a very low populated town. Nothing ever happens.

TWO Candace's Point of View
February 20, 1999

I look at myself in the mirror as I apply the cherry red lipstick to my smooth lips. Tonight is the night. I'm finally going to tell Charles that I love him. I know he loves me but the thought still gives me butterflies in my stomach.

Charles and I met on a dating site two months ago and ever since then I have fallen more and more in love with him with each passing day. The only thing that is in our way of being truly happy is his wife, Kelsi. That stupid girl has my Charlie wrapped around her bony finger.But that is all going to change tonight.

I glance at myself once more in the mirror. A thigh length black dress hugs my body and the look is topped off with my best pearls, the shiniest black heels I own, and a silver clutch which holds my cash and phone. Charlie loves to spoil me, he buys me whatever I want because he knows that it bothers me that he's still with that witch.

I arrive at Charlie's house in a taxi and the butterflies return. My heels click with each step as I walk up the stone driveway. I ring the doorbell and wait patiently for the door to open. I hum nervously until Charlie opens the door. I smile brightly at how handsome he looks.

"Come in, Candace." Charlie steps to the side and gestures his hand inside. I step inside his beautiful house and look around. I will never get used to this life. Once Charlie and I move away from this place and start our own family, I will be the happiest woman alive.

Charlie takes me into the kitchen where he has set up a nice candle light dinner. I love Charlie's cooking. Usually he has his cooks prepare meals but when he has me over, he gives his staff the night off. He pulls my chair out for me like a gentleman and then sits across from me.

After we are both finished with the delicious meal that Charlie cooked for us, he reaches across the table and holds his hand out. I instinctively put my tiny hand in his and smile at him.

"There's something I need to tell you."

"I need to tell you something." We say at the same time

He smiles softly. "You first."

I take a deep breath and speak from my heart. "I'm in love with you. And I know I shouldn't be, but I am and I can't help it. You make me happier than any man in the world could. I didn't think it would be possible to be this happy with someone. And I know you're still married but it's okay because you can file for a divorce and then we can leave and start all over. We won't have to hide from anyone and we can start a family--"

"I can't see you anymore."

I stop speaking and look at Charlie. The smile drops from my face slowly and I snatch my hand away from his. "You what?"

Charlie looks down at the table. "We can't do this anymore. Kelsi is pregnant and I want to help her raise this baby. Which means I have to change. Starting with you and I."

I'm disgusted. Torn. Furious. "I thought you loved me." I stand up from the table and storm toward the front door. Instead of waiting around for a taxi I take off my heels and hold them in my hand. I open the door and run in the direction of my house.

I am going to ruin Charles Knott's life.

(End of Chapter 2)

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