I’ll look at you for a moment. You’ll be saying something funny, and I’ll be laughing for twenty minutes or so. I’ll be gazing out of your car window, the scenery flying past me; your driving is so crazy, but I’m smiling to myself because we’re listening to The Killers. Only the debut though, because we both know that their other CD’s weren’t as good as the first one. But maybe that was because we’d been listening to them for three years before they were even on MTV.
I take a deep breath. I unlock the front door, and there you are. I smile lightly to myself, it was the small smile that you have. When I walk by you, I can almost hear you’re oh so famous, “Hey sweetie” murmur. It’s weird, because you’d always say “Hey sweetie” but you wouldn’t murmur it like that. Ever since you and mom split, you’d look like a kid on vacation every time you’d see me. It was nice, because I’d give you the same look back. You were the only person that could make me smile. Then again, I always loved to see my other half. I remember the times where I’d arrive at the terminal, and there you were; like there was no pain and suffering for you, because you finally get to see the one important person in your life, and your best friend.
My now aching jaw now breaks the past. I guess it had hung open for a while, as saliva was threatening to leak from my mouth, and I’m thrown back into reality. At least you’re still there, but it’s not my best friend, it’s a box. I can still pick you up though; you’re just a lot lighter. I’ll sit you across from me as I sit cross legged in my room. I try to stand up, and I feel my knees buckle. I sit down, and the room starts to spin. I close my eyes so I can see you. I start to imagine the last time I go to Florida. Well, the last time I see you, which was the only reason I went to that dreaded place.
There you were, you’re eyes all lit up, and you’re happy again. I grin as wide as I can, and I run to you, “Daddy!” I say, and prepare myself for your infamous bear hug. We’ll be talking like nothing was wrong. You arrive at your brand new apartment, and I’ll smile so big that it feels like my cheeks are going to fall off. You’re life is finally pulling together. “It’s not much,” you say, “but it’s enough.” I nod, and comment how it’s nice. There are lakes here, and pools, and basketball courts and all. It’s such a lovely place to me, and what a getaway. I finally get my break, and spend ten nights with my best friend, and my “twin” as a lot of people have said. It’s only because I’m you in girl form, from your toes to the pitch in your voice. I can see your mouth moving, but your voice is getting softer, and that memory starts to fade away.
I probably just woke up from passing out, or maybe I just slipped back into my happy place. I can feel a tear roll down my face, but the rest of my body feels numb. I start to slip into a darker place now, a place that has given me a scar on my heart. It was when I went to Florida, to visit your family. I try my hardest to smile, but I’ve lost you. The plane ride was alright, until I hit Orlando. My eyes constantly water up, and before I know it I’m in Ft. Myers. I’m looking for you at the terminal. You’re there, I know you are. Once my mind sets itself that the reality was your absence, your brother picks my mother and I up, but I can’t concentrate on his face, because it’s just like mine, and yours. He wraps his strong arms around me, and I start going into hysterics. My heart tears in half, and Uncle Eddy escorts me outside so I can smoke. I’ll breathe in the harmful chemicals, but that doesn’t matter right now. Nothing matters really. Uncle Eddy is telling me something about your mom, but I just can’t focus. I look for you on the sidewalks, and I look across the street for your car, maybe you’ll just show up. Maybe it was all a big practical joke. But I know it’s not, and I cry anyway.
The night is a big blur, but the only part I focus on is going to sleep. I haven’t slept in days, only because I can’t seem to shut my eyes for long enough without seeing you. I pretend my head is lying on your chest, because your heartbeat is the only thing that puts me to sleep. Or that’s how it used to be. But for the longest moment, I heard it. I heard your heart beating, and I heard your breathing, and sleep finally came to me. Trenton, my cousin, is staring at me the next morning, his big blue eyes slightly smaller, because he’s grinning. “Hey” he says, and drags me out of bed. He told me what you looked like when they found you. Your body all black and blue, but Trent wasn’t supposed to tell me that. He’s only ten though, he doesn’t know any better.
The rest of your family is arriving, and I’m surrounded with hugs and frowns. Everyone’s happy to see me, and often they will point out how I’m so much like you. I meet your cousin Donna, she’s really cool. But as we talk and smoke for hours, you touch my leg. Yeah you know, right? The part near my kneecaps that is abnormally ticklish. Except it doesn’t tickle…it feels like…static. But I know what you’re trying to do. I smile, and tell Donna, while you touch my right wrist. I can feel you moving around on this porch, and I can almost hear you speaking with Donna and myself.
The day was extra bright today, and really hot. But it’s Florida, always an oven. The trees surrounded my uncle’s property; it almost looked like a jungle. A jungle of palm trees. Your mom is walking up the driveway now; her house isn’t too far away. It’s at the end of the driveway. You used to live with her, but she’s just so bitter from time to time. My hands shake as she sits beside me, and gives me a big hug. I only look at her eyes, all tired and red. So much like mine. I stay still for a moment, before I hug her back lightly. Normally she just calls me some rude name, but you changed her I suppose.
The rest of the day seems like being on a rollercoaster, where you can’t see the sky or the ground, just a bunch of things speeding by. I stay pretty quiet on the ride to your apartment, and my hands are shaking again. I try my hardest to steady my breathing, and once I get to your parking space, I stand outside for a moment. Everyone is passing around the Menthol, while my uncle Bernie opens your door. I take a step on the stairs, I see your blinds, and my breathing and sight is completely thrown off. My breathing shortens, and I start rocking back and forth. Mom is trying to get me to focus on something, but I’m not looking at her. I’m looking for you. I finally feel your warmth again, and I get the strength to walk up the stairs to the apartment that was finally yours.
Everything goes black for a moment, and I see your face. I open my tired eyes, and I start bawling, I’m screaming for you. Can’t you hear me? I’m asking you why you left me, and that you know it’s hard to even live. Even more so now. I can feel hands on me, but they’re not yours. My Aunt Erin is crying beside me, and I scream for Uncle Bernie. You were closest to him because of all the pain medication, so I let him hold me for a while. I get up slowly, to have a smoke with Erin and Donna, and I see the blue tape that you put across a slit on your screen window. You were worried about bugs or something like that. I lay my head against the thin strip, and I can almost feel your fingerprints against my forehead. More tears stream down my face, and I inhale the cigarette like it would bring you back to me. I go into your bedroom, and I lay on your inflatable queen sized mattress. I smell your pillows for a while, and they still smell like you. I lie on your clothes, and try to make you hug me. I try to feel you again. I smell the shirts, and they smell like you as well. I go into your bathroom after a while, and I grab everything I can. I feel like I need these things, just to remember you some. That memory refuses to fade away, so I blink a few times to bring reality back.
I’m back into my room now, and there you are. That small smile you gave me curls my lips, and I realize that you’re finally home. I start to cry again, so I lie on your inflatable mattress to rest some. It made me so glad that mom grabbed that for me. Maybe sleep will come to me for an hour or so. Your pillow is beside my head, and I smell it just to help me sleep. I pretend I’m on your chest again, with your beating heart lulling me to sleep. Maybe I’ll dream about you, not have a nightmare about you dying different deaths. Maybe I’ll just wake up from all of this, and I’ll see you at that terminal, and we’ll go visit your family, zooming by the jungle of palm trees.
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