01-27-2011 03:06 AM - edited 01-27-2011 03:20 AM
The highway stretched out endlessly before us and Max kept poking me in the leg with his chubby index finger. I didn't complain though, I was too numb to feel him anyway. I turned up the volume on my I-pod and tuned everything else out. I was still exhausted from last night and the gentle vibrations lulled me to sleep almost instantly.
Bryan reached out his hand for mine. I reached for his, but his fingers were just beyond my grasp. I looked at his face. His sparkling green eyes seemed dull and his lips pulled down at the corners into a tight frown. I could tell he was sad, but I didn't know why. I tried asking him, but my mouth wouldn't move and no sound came from my throat. I reached again. He seemed so close, but try as I might, I couldn't touch him. I felt like there was something important I needed to remember, but it wouldn't come to me. I just kept reaching for him. I needed to feel his warmth. I needed to know what was wrong. Suddenly, a wailing scream came out of no where and I woke up to the sound of an ambulance racing by us in the emergency lane. I was still reaching, but I was back in reality now, where I would never touch him again.
01-28-2011 06:34 PM
Okay so I'm thinking, she remembers little by little what happened that day through flashbacks but some things are still missing and sketchy. We could hint at what happened here and there but uncover what actually happened towards the end?
"Your thinking about them aren't you" I feel a soft caress brush across my cheek, and see that it is my little brother Max who is looking up at me with a worried frown. I give him the brightest smile I can muster, and fail. Instead I nod my head in defeat. He might be my little brother but he knows me more than I would truthfully like him to.
"There is not a single day that goes by in which I don't Max" The guilt is what overwhelms me most of all, not remembering the important bits, but knowing somehow I am involved, that niggles at me at night until I want to scream at the top of my lungs.
"Things will get better, I promise" he says with a yawn, relaxing his head on my shoulder
"Your awfully sure" I mutter to myself
I look down at his peaceful face and within minutes he is fast asleep, I wish I could sleep away my worries, if only it was that easy.
"He worries about you, you know" says Mother, I contemplate replying, but then think better of it, silent treatment is exactly what she deserves. Taking the hint she turns away.
For a long time we travel in silence, it has never been a problem for me, but I know how much it affects mother, she hates silence, it is almost at times, as though she is afraid of it. She has to be in an environment with constant noise. It's because of this that I know there is not long until she cracks.
I am so right.
"Okay hunni I get it, your not happy, and I apologise if that is the case, but you have to understand that I am doing this for us all" she says while stopping the car, turning around to face me, I know she is trying, but it just isn't enough.
"Really?, because I fail to see which part of us moving has any relevance to our safety or comfort, you are taking away our friends, family, the people we have grown up with if anything you are doing the exact opposite of what you just said"! I can feel my voice grow louder, and louder and try to calm myself down. Her face has turned beet red and takes a deep breath.
"Your best friend and boyfriend are both dead, and with you refusing to tell us why and how it happened, we simply can not stay there anymore, you understand that right?" Now it is my turn to turn red with embarrassment, I can't believe what I'm hearing, it leaves me momentarily stunned.
"You... You think that It was my fault don't you, you think that I had something to do with it" I bite my lip to hold back my tears, I can't believe that my own mother is doubting me.
"You refused to tell the police anything, what do you expect me to think!" she snaps
"I told you I don't freaking remember, how many times must I tell you!!" I'm trembling and I hate being so weak, I can't stand to be near her another second, I feel suffocated and open the car door and make a run for it, only to realise that I have no idea where we are. I look back at my mother who is looking back at me with a smirk knowing exactly what I am thinking, and that moment. I hate her.
"Get back in the car and stop being such a child" she says in her I mean business voice. I always hated that tone of hers. I don't bother replying and get back in, but not for her for Max, I am not going to get myself killed by being reckless and leave Max, he deserves more than that. Before I can stop myself the words have already left my mouth..
"I can't stand you, It's killing me to sit here right now, you know that right?"
"I know" she says softly, and starts the car again. Things were better between us once, before Bryan and Lea died, we got along well, I even confided in her, Lea was the daughter she never had, my mother was the mother she never had, they were perfect for each other. With Lea gone, I can't help but feel that a part of my mother has gone also, and because of me not being able to remember, I also can't help but feel she hates me for it.
I try to sleep on it, but it just isn't happening, until I feel someone shuffle beside me, It's Max, he's wide awake, he fakes a yawn, but I see right through him.
"How long" I ask through gritted teeth, his eyes show nervousness and even fear and I know he's been awake the whole time. I feel myself soften as his face crumbles, and gently kiss his forehead to reassure him that he is forgiven, with a tender smile, he squeezes my hand only to mind myself finally drifting to the unknown.
01-29-2011 05:42 AM - edited 01-29-2011 06:02 AM
My dreams were as close to peaceful as they ever get anymore. I felt some unknown fear and sadness, but at least I didn't see their faces. At least I wasn't constantly reaching for something just out of my grasp.
I woke up with a stiff neck from the awkward position I had been in. I glanced over at Max and he was still asleep with a soft smile on his face. I wish he could feel like that forever. He was just a kid and didn't deserve all the pain that came along with being my brother. I wish I could just fade away from his life and let him return to the carefree days he should be living, but I know that I would just replace one kind of pain with another. He always told me I was his favorite sister, it was a running joke since I was his only sister, but I could imagine his grief if he didn't have a sister at all.
It was early morning and the sun was decorating the sky in pink, purple, blue, red and orange. It looked like watercolors swirling together and tufts of cloud fuzz drifted lazily across the horizon. Quiet music played on the radio and the heater hummed its gentle breath at us while mom drove. I wondered if I should be concerned about her falling asleep while driving, but she had taken a nap at one of the RV camps. I stayed awake the whole time imagining eyes peeking at me through the blinds in those campers. Ever since what happened, I felt like a criminal.
The police had DNA evidence and I didn't match anything, so I was removed from the list of suspects, but my missing memories of the night seemed to prove to everyone that I was guilty. I think even my mom worried about it. She was worried that her own daughter might be dangerous. I guess my missing memories made me worry too though. I know I would never hurt anyone, let alone the most important people in my life... would I? I felt the ball of anxiety return to the pit of my stomach and I wondered how I could forget everything. The psychologist from the police department said I was possibly suffering from trauma-induced amnesia and my memories might come back at anytime or never at all. I didn't believe that I could be guilty of anything and DNA evidence showed the same thing, but the reactions of everyone around me made me question myself. I could see how they acted around me, it was different. It wasn't like they were on the edge of their seats, waiting for me to attack them, but I could tell they were wondering in the back of their mind all the time, constantly debating my character, thinking that I might be a stranger to them. And just those changes proved I was a stranger to them now. No one trusted their memories of me. I wish my own memories would return and I could uncover the truth.
I craved the truth. I wanted to show everyone that I was innocent and the same sweet girl they had known all these years. Nothing had changed. I wasn't a monster, I wasn't a killer, I was still me! Angela Skye Wright. Fifteen years old. Favorite color: blue. Born and raised in Grand Forks, North Dakota. About to be a resident of San Diego, California. Not a Justin Bieber fan. Favorite subject: art. Least favorite subject: math. Big sister, daughter, friend... possible murderer... no! I'm not going to do this to myself. I can't let myself think like that. Bryan and Lea would never have a chance at life now and if I let these thoughts eat away at me, I won't have much of a life left either. I tried not to cry as I realized I had give California a chance, if not for me, then for them. There was nothing left for me from my past. I had to look to the future if I had any hope. I wiped the escaping tears off on the sleeve of my shirt and cleared my throat.
"Hey Mom? Can you tell me some things I'm going to like about California again?" I saw her eyes brighten as she looked back at me through the rear-view mirror. I pressed my forehead against the cool glass and looked out the window as she repeated everything about the parks, the ocean, the people, the food and the sun. I tried to imagine myself doing these things with a smile on my face.
I snapped back to reality as I heard the sound of the cooler opening. Mom reached next to her and down into a pool of ice water to grab herself a soda and she asked me what I wanted. I picked an all-natural fruit punch and figured I could offer Max a sip if he woke up anytime soon since that was his favorite.
We were just leaving Colorado and the mountains still had snow on them, but the skies had been clear and it looked like that was the only place the snow had touched. The ground everywhere else was grassy and green or golden brown with rocks as old as time. We were going south through New Mexico and then west through Arizona and on to California. Mom said that was the best place to cross the Rocky Mountains, so that was the way we went. I had been looking stuff up online and I think the route she picked sounded like the best choice too, because I was looking forward to stopping in New Mexico to eat. Mom had always told me of her favorite restaurants from all her travels before she had kids. Now, I was going to go to one of them and I could see for myself if it lived up to the stories.
The one she had in mind was a great New Mexican restaurant called, Sadie's in Albuquerque and my mouth started watering thinking of tamales, guacamole, sour cream, beans, cheese and maybe a cinnamon sopapilla for dessert. All this road trip food had made me very hungry. Sandwiches and snacks were not enough for a growing girl apparently and my stomach grumbled in defiance. Mom told me it would still be a few hours before we were in Albuquerque. I was surprised she could hear my stomach even over the music and the sounds of the highway, I didn't think it was that loud, but it was either that or she read my mind (and she didn't seem to be very in tune with my thoughts or feelings, so I doubted that). She got it right twice in row when she passed me a bag of bison jerky though. It sounded amazing compared to the packaged crackers and smooshed PB&J's we'd been having. I started chewing on a piece and slowly the juices came to life in my mouth. The salty meat was better than anything I'd had since we left Grand Forks and even before. I couldn't remember anything ever tasting so good actually. I smiled the first smile since Bryan and Lea had died almost a month ago. It was involuntary and I suddenly felt guilty. Then I felt even more guilty for feeling guilty. Life was going to be tricky now if just the act of smiling brought on such complicated feelings.
I reached over to Max and I wiped away some of the sweat on his brow with the same sleeve I had previously wiped my tears on. I was going to have to change my shirt at the next rest stop and maybe buy some tissues, since we might not arrive in California until tomorrow and I had only packed one extra shirt in my backpack. I couldn't keep using my sleeve to wipe away all the sweat and tears and my other clothes were in the moving truck that was arriving separately. Mom had been planning on driving the truck and towing the car, but she never liked driving big vehicles and they had a special going on for drivers, so she picked that instead. I was glad, at least I got to sit in the back instead of on a big bench seat with her. It was better when I only had to look into her eyes if I wanted to and if I didn't, I could just angle my body away so I wouldn't be aligned with the rear-view mirror anymore. I wish it were always that easy to escape my mother's uncomfortable eyes. Maybe the warmth in California could melt the ice around her heart too.
01-30-2011 12:32 AM
After we finally reached Albequerque and ate, we walked with Mom to an old antiques store she loves where she told us to wait outside in a small park nearby and stretch our legs after the long car ride. It was a gorgeous park, that ranged from one corner with stately looking statues and a couple comforting, old oaks and a traditional playground to the other which had public art pieces (to enjoy with the eyes AND by playing on it), cacti, venders selling delicios looking-and smelling!-food and street performers who were friendlier and more talented than the ones I had seen in New York City when we had gone on vacation there. It was a true feast of the senses. Which is why Max practically went into sensory overload and just stood there for a minute before finally deciding to go swing on the neatest looking set I have ever seen.
I looked around went and sat under one of the oaks with my sketchbook. I sat it next to me unopened, and untouched as it had been for almost a month. I used to draw all the time but as you probably guessed, that all changed after the accident. So I just looked around and people watched. There were mothers talking on the phone while their nannies played with the children, boys on skateboards, and even couples holding hands. The same way Bryan and I had. In that natural kind of way that only occurs after they have been together for a somewhat lengthy period of time. The abyss(for it is to large and un-ending to be a pit any longer) of guilt and grief swelled so I felt like it was swallowing my soul. I tried to choke back the tears but failed. Failed. Just as I had failed in saving them.
When my vision had began returning to normal, I saw him. Bryan. MY Bryan. I didn't ask questions like how, what, or why I just followed instinctually. It took awhile of following to recognize that I could speak, I could yell, I could do something and not just follow like some strange stalker. So I began screaming his name over and over and over. But he didn't respond. He just kept walking. I ran. I ran after him and when I finally caught up to him I took him by the shoulders and turned him around. He responded by shouting, "What's your problem?!?" and walking away. It wasn't Bryan. It wasn't my Bryan. My vision began to blur with tears. That wasn't Bryan, because Bryan was dead and it was all my fault, and I was stranded in the middle of a strange city without a cell phone, or anything but lint, a gumwrapper and the clothes on my back to my name.
02-03-2011 06:20 PM - edited 02-03-2011 06:21 PM
I turned around and tried to go back the way I came, but I couldn't remember which street I had turned on. I didn't want to stick out as a lost teenager and invite any unwanted attention, so I tried to walk with purpose. I looked out of the corner of my eye down one road and then another until I finally saw the bright colors of that strange playground. I breathed a sigh of relief and hurried to join my mom and Max again.
I never thought I'd be happy to see her face etched with worry, but it felt good to see my mom worried about me instead of because of me. I lied and told her I had been looking for a restroom so I wouldn't cause her anymore stress. My nightmares were hard enough for her, I didn't need her thinking about me chasing after a ghost and seeing him in stranger's faces.
Our green Subaru Outback never looked so welcoming, but being lost for even just a few moments when I'm thousands of miles away from the only home I know made me long for anything familiar.
02-07-2011 09:13 PM
Some days are worse than others, some days it is hard to even think it hurts so much. And to think it is my fall I can't even to stand. My friends that I left behind, I am torn between liking them and being glad that they don't think about me especially that is my falt.
(sorry that is all I can think of for now)
For it is in giving that we receive.
Francis of Assisi
02-08-2011 04:00 PM
Before I knew anything was happening we were in the car driving again. My mom kept giving me worried looks as if she knew what I hadn't told her but soon she drifted of into a light slumber. Max fell asleep too. It was just my father and I left awake. I would have tried to fall into that sweet, peaceful unconciousness but knew their faces would haunt me. So I sat there silently, trying to forget about it all.
02-08-2011 04:47 PM - edited 02-08-2011 04:50 PM
"Only a little longer," my father assured. He had dark circles under her eyes, the only physical sign that the move was taking any toll on him at all.
"Are we there yet?" I asked. My short attempt at humor. My father laughed softly, though the warmth never really met his eyes.
I turned to the window and watched the scenery fly by without second thought.
Our home town used to hold a big festival every summer. It was a "Country Fair" styled event with pie eating contests, horse shows, music, fireworks, dancing. The works. It was always the highlight of summer and everyone in town always went.
The "Kid Tent" was the designated spot for children ages 11 and under. Usually if you were still playing in the "Kid Tent" after elementary school, you either a.) Didn't have any friends b.) Didn't want to have any friends, or c.) Needed to watch your younger brother while your mom was at work.
Two years ago, I fell into the c.) category. My mom had a meeting with some client (that she eventually wouldn't end up keeping,) and asked for me to watch Max at the fair.
At the time I saw the "Kid Tent" as social suicide. There was no way, absolutely no way that I would show my face there. But Max begged to go, and I couldn't make myself say no to him. So I went. I told all my friends that I wouldn't be at the fair that day, rather than admit the truth.
The day of the fair I brought Max to the "Kid Tent" and he rushed over to the coloring table, dragging me along behind him. I remember my face being beat red, and it had nothing to do with the swealtering heat. There were a few other children Max's age at the table and multiple exhausted parents. As the day went on, more familys rushed in and out of the tent. Around noon, I grabbed some lemonade and a bite to eat with Max at the "Snax Counter" outside. We walked back into the tent to finish our paper masks we had been working on, when I noticed a boy my age at the craft table with two little girls about six years old. He turned around, searching for some glue sticks, when he spotted me in my stained blue jeans and old van Gogh tank top, desperately holding on to my wild brother. My face flushed red, again.
"Max, c'mon," I murmed dragging him back to our mask project. He thrashed about in my grasp, then ran over to the craft table.
The boy looked up at me. He had dark brown hair that framed his narrow face. But his eyes were the brigtest of blue. Brighter than the sky. Embarrased, I attempted to pull Max away before he caused any trouble.
"Hi I'm Max," he announced to the two younger girls. Both looked at him like he was a spider, or like he was a grubby three year old with peanut butter smeared across his chin. Which he probably was. "What's your name?" The girls said nothing.
The boy stood up and smiled at Max, then at me.
"I'm Bryan. These are my cousins Jessica and Marsha. They are a little shy, aren't you guys?" He nudged them. They looked over at Max and nodded, and I noticed Bryan rolled his eyes.
"Oh, hey." I gave him an embarassed smile in return. "I'm, uh, Angela."
Max tugged on Bryan's tshirt. "And I'm Max."
"Nice to meet you," he strected out his hand and I grasped it firmly. His fingers were long and delicate, yet his hand was strong and steady.
Bryan looked about the tent and my eyes followed his. He had a long and muscular build. I felt silly for staring at him this way.
A toddler at the macaroni table drolled over a bowl of ziti and a tired father tried to wipe up the mess. Bryan's eyes crinckled and he faced me again. "So, are you babysitting too?" He lauged.
I grinned awkwardly. "Yeah," I replied.
"My sister ran off a while ago with her friends. I just got stuck with the job" he admitted. "Although, it's not like I know anyone in this town anyways. So I don't mind it here I guess." His voice was nervous, like he suddenly was ashamed for being here without friends.
"Oh are you new in town?" I asked casually.
"Yes," Bryan nodded. "I got here last month from Chicago."
"Really? That's so cool, I've always wanted to visit there. It sounds like an interesting place." Words fell from my mouth and spilled onto the floor as I continued to ramble like an idiot to this stranger. This very attractive stranger.
Bryan's faced light up as he smiled. "Seriously? I loved that city. Although, um, I'm sure this town isn't too bad as well." He finished hasitly. We both laughed.
Out of the corner of my eye I noticed Marsha and Jessica disgustedly watching my crazed brother as he ransacked the craft center. My phone buzzed gently in my front pocket.
"Oops, hang on," I said to Bryan. As I walked away I felt his warm stare following me. My stomach flipped like eight million times. "Hello?" I asked.
"Angela?" My mom asked. "Hi dear, I'm at the front gate if Max is ready to go home yet. I know you must be dying to run off with your friends." I glanced back at Bryan, who was crouched over examining Max's Macaroni Masterpiece. My heart skipped about.
"Oh ok," I responded. "But I don't think he is quite ready yet. I'll call you later." I hung up and walked as casually as I could. Holding back any desire to dance or fly.
My God, I thought. Lea is going to freak when I tell her about this.
Hi guys! Um sorry this turned out longer than I expected. I got slightly carried away
"We could do pizza."
02-09-2011 03:55 PM
I woke up startled by the sudden stop of motion as our car parked. Memories and dreams was all I had left now. I felt my face and realized that I had been smiling, how could I smile when Lea and Bryan were twelve feet under in some coffin? I didn't deserve to anymore! Weather it had been my fault or not was what I hated the most. It bothered me day and night that I couldn't help the police in any way. I was there with my friend and my boyfriend the night they died but I had no memories at all about that night, making me feel useless. They had hopes and dreams, futures they would no longer experience. Lea had told me she wanted to be an actress everyday since we sat, best friends, sharing animal crackers during kindergarten recess. And Bryan, I remembered as hot tears started to swell in my eyes, I swore he was the one, that I was going to marry him one day, we were gonna have a family. I wiped the tears away. There was no use, It was all gone now! But I had to be strong, NOT for my mother! No, who knew when she was going to run out on us like she did with all her other problems! Never facing them always running, running and running forever! And NOT for me! Did I deserve my own sympathy?!? No, I had to do it for Max. I looked over at him and brushed the sandy hair off of his round pink face as he slept. I had to do it for him, I had to be strong and put together, even if I felt like I was falling apart by the seams. I had to be a big sister, and that would never change.