Staring through my window, I look on as the summer rain drenches every individual blade of grass, in some way or another connecting sky and earth. Rain, being one of the many natural cycles that is essential to this planet, how could anyone not marvel at such simplistic process? The irony of it all I thought, how can one day seem amazingly perfect and complex yet the next be filled with so much pain it's hard to breathe?
I stood up abruptly not wanting to fall into the morbidity of such thoughts. I looked around my room and realized how crowded the walls seemed as opposed to years ago when I first painted it red and black in parallel to one another. Spending days here, reading and immersing myself in so many different worlds except my own, my blindness afforded my denial. There was no escaping it was there? Peace of mind would be unfathomable at this point. Not now, not when everything I touch is obscured by the vision of 'It' disintegrating before me, ashes. Just like ashes to the wind. There was a knock on the door and in that moment, a distinguished timeline seemed not to exist. I knew that the eventuality of my mistakes was upon me now.
I searched the classroom for her face and found it easily, her beauty always caught me off guard, no matter how many hours I had spent marveling at every detail of it. She wore a smile of understanding, I smiled back feeling secretive again wondering why I ever insisted that we keep what we have a secret. Then I realized that what we have, as I've always deduced, is inevitably either a sweet, sweet dream or maybe just a beautiful nightmare. How many days have I been in turmoil over what I had done to deserve such an angel? Countless. Her beauty has no equal and the beauty within her was even more of a rarity. In my reality, she would always by my dream and in her dream I would always be her reality. What a pair, the sky, and the earth, so very far apart yet connected in mysterious ways.
Before the pain…
Sometimes in life, you find a special person: Someone who changes your life, in impossible ways, just by being a part of it. Someone who makes you laugh until you can't stop. Someone who makes you believe that there really is good in the world. Someone who convinces you, that there is always an unlocked door just waiting for you to open. True Love is what holds you, the stuff of legend that binds you, in an unbreakable way, without any effort.
True Love and family… Ha! So naive was I, to have believed I could have both. What was I? If not, a soulless and selfish monster. No one alive could hate me more than I hate myself.
I am an empty wondering idiot without a conscience, without purpose, and without hope.
A past erased and a future obscured. I am only left with the present, to live without anything besides one, just one, agonizing memory.
What was it? Anger, pain, rage or disgust? I could not decide which to feel at once or even together. I knew but only one thing, that these emotions were nothing if not my immortal curse and mine alone to bear.
They had taken me over so irrevocably it was as though they were given a conscience of their own. I was weak; I wanted, it to end, to die.
If only someone would be kind enough to give me my one true wish.
Death, it seems will always be both my enemy and my savior.
You have to wonder, though. In the event that death is upon us, what would be the most intense aspect of it experienced? Would it be rage, despair, greed, sacrifice, destruction or even intoxication, madness, and nihilism?
Maybe the answer is, above all else, simplistic and a little ideal…. loneliness or old age? And yet still, the aspects of life seem to elude and discombobulate us.
Every family has their own domestic problems and after years of fighting against the tide, I just gave up, flowing with the current, not knowing where or when it would end. I would later find out just how wrong my decision was. The following disasters occurred; in my silence, my father felt he had failed me and chosen to revert back to the old ways of drowning his problems away at the bar with a favorite friend of his, named ''Brandy''. I could never understand how a man whose had a much longer time to be an adult than I, could not end such a cowardly habit or have any respect for himself at all but who was I to judge. I was still a beginner to life, a tenderfoot so to speak. The consequences of these actions then lead to my mother's depression, blaming herself for failing at her marriage and her misunderstood son.
''Dad hurry up we are going to be late!!'' I urged my father as we were driving to the airport; after all the drama endured I would finally enjoy an independent, family-free holiday. In the distance, the airport came into view and with it a sense of unlimited excitement washed over me like that perfect wave all surfers dream of having. I was not going to waste it, as fast as humanly possible, we were at the gateway to the plane. My mother was in tears, my father looking like he was searching for the right thing to say and my sister feigned disinterest.
I knew there was no possible way to dissolve every issue before I left so I searched for the right words to say what I knew I would mean. ''I'm going to miss you.'' Was all that escaped my lips. My mother burst into tears and so did my sister, the both of them held closely by my father, clearly in no state to talk.
''Have a good trip and be safe son.'' My father replied, with a look of discomfort on his face. A little disappointed I walked away, a single tear of pain flowing down my cheek. ''WE LOVE YOU!!'' Shocked I turned around and saw my father too in tears, waving. I smiled and waved back until my view of them disappeared as I entered the gateway.
The plane trip was finally over, leaving me agitated and annoyed. The married couple next to me were constantly finding ways to grope each other secretively, with no success I might add. Whispers of ''I love you'' and ''I love you more'' were continually exchanged between the newlyweds, which drove me to the point of insanity and made my non-belief in love grow immensely. Sherlock Holmes once said that ''When you've eliminated all of the impossible, however improbable, only the truth will remain....'' Which begs the question what is love? How can one ascertain the truth of love if we live in a world where love is commercialized and it's true meaning abandoned when teenagers and majority of the public decide that after months of dating the next logical step would be the ''I love you'' part right? When clearly they've only offered the written meaning of what love is in the dictionary and not a personalized unaltered meaning of their own. How can one believe that love exists on the pretext of knowing that the French invented the word to bed women and play Casanova? It all becomes very complicated compared to the simplicity of it explained in books and movies. And still, those cheap meanings are still incredibly enticing and seductive, even I have longed to experience something so illogical, the novelty of it and all that.
Upon arriving at the hotel, I immediately admired my surroundings: A huge entertainment area complete with a flat-screen TV, a mini bar, a recliner and even a light dimmer. And the luxuries continued with a magnificent en-suite complete with a multi-faceted shower for a massaging wake-up call, a refined almost heavenly Jacuzzi and yet another flat screen TV for the guest's viewing pleasure. A Massive king size bed with accessories like the most comfortable pillow I've had the honor of resting my head on, sheets that felt like Egyptian silk and of course a phone to indulge in late night food cravings. And finally the most important part, the view. Standing on the balcony marveling at the impossibly beautiful landscape of Rome, all my problems seemed to disappear with a long awaited and relaxed sigh.
It was about two in the morning when I received the call that would change my life forever. Apparently after they had dropped me off and were heading back home, a drunk inexperienced driver lost control of the car causing a massive collision ending the lives of 12 people including my family’s. For several moments that felt like an eternity to me, I stood frozen next to the bed not thinking of anything in specific or able to move any muscle. ''They are alive, it was just a nightmare.'' Was the only thought recurring in my head as I raced to the terminal. I wasn't in denial, I wasn't in pain, I just needed to prove my nightmare wrong to know that the family I had neglected were at home… for me to redeem myself and ask for their forgiveness. They just had to be there, someone's family just couldn't be taken away in so instantaneously. Could they?
By the time I reached home I was already aggravated to the point of screaming at the taxi driver for his slow services, I through a bunch of notes at the undeserving driver and hurried into the driveway, bags in hand. What I saw brought me to my knees; both families were there, my father's side and my mothers, all in tears consoling one another in a feeble attempt to promise hope, hope they did not have to promise. The pain of realizing my worst possible fear was confirmed; it was unbearable, paralyzing every cell in my body. The pressure of it brought me to my knees and I stared in horror as the wind blew away everything, the house, the walls even the grass! Then there was only darkness, it devoured me and I welcomed it with open arms.
''Ever since my mind has permitted me to remember, I grew up with the most compassionate woman I've ever had the honor of meeting. She taught me of what it means to give selfless unconditional love without any thought or expectancy of the outcome. Her life was filled with emotion and caring for this family. Every day she struggled to make each of us hap—''
I paused only to lose more of a breathing rhythm, I thought I could be strong, I thought I could ignore my emotions for just this day, to be strong enough for everyone else but I couldn't, in this moment I felt wave after crashing wave of torture. I looked at their faces all hanging on my every word, searching for hope and strength that I could not provide. And then, there she was at the end of the hall looking straight into me with a kind of compassionate intensity, in that instant, she became my bond to sanity… for the time being. Behind her were my parents and my sister, they were smiling… apparently unaware of their deaths. I knew then that I could be strong enough, strong for this day and not tarnish my family's memory.
This wasn't the time to cause more pain when the one everyone was experiencing that day was crippling enough. So instead I talked about how much my parents taught my sister and me, how entranced they would get over a game of scrabble. I spoke about all the things that made us a family; that made us unique.
''Our minds are the birthplace of ingenuity, of all decision and we have to work through our hearts and not from it, to achieve life's true meaning. My family has passed, and they'll never take another breath again. I don't know what will happen now but I do know they'll never truly be gone, as long as we keep those memories we have of them close and carrying them with us throughout our lives.''
Yet again another single tear shot down my cheek, I hastily wiped it away hoping no one saw. Looking up to the back of the room I saw her again, with my family on the cornerstones of her shoulders. ''Thank you all for coming, it means a lot to me.'' With that, I walked over to the coffins and placed a rose over each of their bodies, not realizing that at each coffin I had squeezed the stem of each rose so hard that it had caused my hand to bleed. The physical pain was somehow irrelevant at this point. In my sister's coffin, I placed a picture of her dancing, in my mother’s, a picture of our family in one of those unanimously and rare happy moments. In my fathers, a picture of him and I after a long day of bonding through the art of fishing. As I got off the platform, through my tear-filled vision, I saw that a figure was moving rapidly towards me, the way a rocket would through space and time. I could only regard this as a threat, instinctively shielding myself with my hands, but then the figure surprised me by launching its weight against me… embracing me and in finality, I knew it was her. She'd been waiting to take me away, away from the crowd so they wouldn't see me let go.
As the coffins were lowered into their resting place one by one I let out one final whisper to them, ''Love you.''
There is Beauty within a moment of quiet reflection. In hope, I wish we all find it.