Everything is Going to be Okay

Written in response to: Write about someone who needs to face their past in order to move forward.... view prompt

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Sad

This story contains sensitive content

(slightly sad content warning, death, car crash, trauma please be advised.)

I held the bouquet of flowers as the rain ran down my face. I couldn't care less. It could have been all tears, it could have been snowing. I wouldn't have cared. Nothing mattered more to me than my little ray of sunshine. 

Oliva 

It wasn't fair. 

It should have been me. 

It was may 21st, I was driving Oliva home from her first day of elementary school. 

“So how was it? How does it feel being all grown up?” I asked oliva, who was sitting in the back seat. 

She was wearing her seatbelt. I had belted her in myself. I had made sure her booster seat was nice and snug. 

“It was sooo good! I did like- sooo much, and even met a new friend!” Olivia exclaimed in her sweet little girl voice. 

“That's so great! I'm sure you will love being at this new school.” I replied 

“Yes- I definitely really will.” she agreed loudly, kicking my seat. 

There was a red truck veering onto my side of the road. It hurts my head trying to recall what happened next. The doctor explained it to me a hundred times, but I still don't get it. Apparently your brain automatically deletes very traumatic or stressful memories? After that, all I remember is going in and out of consciousness. the bright hospital lights, the sterile smells. Eventually, I could think straight and speak clearly. The first thing I asked? What happened, and where's my baby girl? 

She hadn't made it. 

Why had I made it then? Was this some cruel joke from the universe, or some old karma coming back to haunt me? Either way she was dead, gone, deceased.  

The last light of my life was extinguished. For 4 years, since my wife died, it had just been oliva and i. Now? I had no one. For the past month, I've been doing nothing. I quit my job, cut off my last few friends and stayed in bed all day. No one calls to check on me, no one asks, no one cares. My wife had passed away, but Olivia and I had both managed to move past it. Moving past this, without olivia? Impossible. Every morning at 8:30 I would get out of bed and walk to Olivia's bedroom. One gentle knock was all. When there was no reply I would walk to the couch and cry and cry and cry.  Then another month passed. Then another. Then another. I didn't check olivas room any more, I would just stare at a photo of us, smiling together. Her in her beautiful pink dress and me in my old jeans. Today, I got out of bed to use the bathroom. I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror. My ugly shaggy beard, unwashed face and horrible eye bags were now normal to me. The once white bathroom cabinets were stained yellow, and some had thick layers of dust on them. The shower had a musty odor and cobwebs, as well as no more soap. Even though I had slept over 12 hours, just walking to the bathroom had me exhausted. I slowly shuffled across the nasty, now almost black carpet to the living area and sat down on the small stained couch. The air smelled of sweat and an awful stench of my overflowing trash can in my kitchen. I sat there, in my warm stuffy house for some time, before reaching forward and clicking on the tv. I need to turn the AC down.  I thought, but did not move. Eventually after a few hours of  tv, I did get up and turn the AC down. Then I opened my extremely old and cracked laptop and waited for it to load. Eventually, it started up and I checked my bank information. With a few calculations I figured I had enough for another 3 months like this. I glanced at an old photo of my wife and I playing tennis together. I used to love tennis. When she died, I stopped playing. I used to love my life, but when oliva died i-. I rested my head in my hands, sniffling, but no tears came. I had no more tears left to cry. I walked to the door and slipped on a black, torn sweater. I slipped on my old gray crocs and reached for the door. I paused, grabbed my keys, and headed out the door. 

       Once I was done shopping, I dropped the light paper bags into my trunk. I stopped, glancing at the playground. I knew that it was frowned upon to go to a playground without kids. Since no one else was there on this dreary, humid Wednesday, I decided to sit on a sad wooden bench. The bench was damp and had green moss covering the sides. The humid air smelled like rain and wet grass. I sighed and looked around. This playground may have been rusted and old, but that made it all the more memorable. Olivia has loved to play on those same monkey bars since she was five years old. I remember swinging with her in my lap, my wife by my side. Those days were sunny and bright, but today was quite the opposite. Suddenly, a quiet, sad squeak came from behind me. I got up and turned around, not sure what to expect. 

There in the green dew covered grass was the smallest, frailest creature I had ever seen. It seemed to be a kitten, with gray fur and white patches along its belly and back. Its fur was matted and its ribs protruded out of its sides. It was shivering and drooling. My first thought was pity for this poor creature. But as I knelt down and saw the fear and despertnes in its eyes, I felt more than just pity. Suddenly I felt the need to give him a second chance at life and to nurse this kitten back to health. 

   in the car, the cat didn't move at all. It sat in the passenger seat next to me, not making a sound. At first I was worried it wasn't going to make it. its matted fur fit perfectly with my stained, ripped fake leather seats. I drove to the nearest vet and took it in. 

“Hello, I found this alone at the park. I think he needs help.” I said sadly, the shaking creature in my hands. 

With one look at the terrible state of the kitten she immediately took the cat into the back, I sat in the waiting room, waiting. And waiting. Then something caught my eye, a big white machine for making name tags. I stood up and looked at it, then hesitated. As sad as it was, there was no guarantee this kitten would survive the night. There was also no guarantee I would be able to keep it. However, something urged me and I inserted my credit card in the machine. I chose a little pink heart, but paused when it asked me to input the name. I thought about it. I didn't want to choose something basic and common. I also didn't know the cat's gender yet. Then I knew the perfect name for this cute kitten. 

Muffin

Sure, it didn't mean anything inspirational or uplifting in Latin or something, but it was Olivia's favorite food. She had always loved her mothers muffins. I didn't want to forget about my daughter, I just wanted to move on. I still didnt know how though. 

Once I typed each letter and spelled out muffin on the greasy touchscreen, a loading bar appeared. Behind some clear plastic was a laser that engraved letters into the little metal heart. 

    Once the engravement was done, a nurse came out from the back. She told me that the kitten would need to stay the night, and it had a 60% survival rate. If it could survive tonight then they would call me and it could be picked up in 2 days.

   The next two days felt like an eternity, doing absolutely nothing. After the upturn of events on wednesday, I didn't have energy for anything. It never mattered how much I slept or what I ate, it seemed as if I always wanted to lay in bed all day. I did receive the call that the cat, who I now knew was a girl, had made it through the night. I hadn't expected to get so attached to this kitten so quickly, but when I heard the nurse say she was going to be okay, it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Finally, Saturday rolled around and I went to pick up Muffin. I had gone out and purchased a litter box and cat carrier, as well as a few other things I was told to get for my new pet cat. 

   I walked into the vets office with, for the first time in months, a little excitement. When I saw Muffin, my heart melted. Her fur was brushed and, although shaved in many places presumably for iv’s, Muffin was beautiful. She smelled clean and fresh. She wasn't shivering or cowering at all. Her bones were still visible, but not quite as much. I suddenly felt this spark of joy flow through my veins, and suddenly life had meaning again. I rubbed my rough, tired hands over her smooth, soft fur. At first, she was startled, but she still did not move. 

“It's okay Muffin, it's all going to be okay.” I reassuring her, and suddenly I knew that both of us were going to be okay.

Two months later: 

Muffin and I still live alone in the same house I've always lived in, but it does look much different. Everything is clean and organized. Thanks to Muffin as well as my new therapist, my life is really turning around. I am applying for new jobs, taking a walk everyday and spending lots of time with Muffin. Finally I got the courage to clean up olivas room. I didnt get rid of anything, or take anything out of the room. I'm not quite there yet. I am saving up for a new couch though, that is bigger for muffin and I. It will also hopefully have fewer stains and smell less sweaty, though I don't think Muffin really minds. I am finally making new friends, getting the help I need and moving on with my life. I think muffin and I are the best example of facing and moving on from your past, and that even at your worst, you can and will still recover.

The End! 

Thanks for reading!

September 03, 2022 03:41

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1 comment

18:43 Sep 06, 2022

Hi Arilynn Congrats on posting your first Reedsy story! Your story conveys loss really well and brings the reader in full circle (almost) when the main character finds a reason to go on. One suggestion I would make is to check your paragraphs aren’t too long. The one beginning ‘the light of my life was extinguished’ covers a lot of memories and emotion, and I wonder if you could pace it a bit by breaking it up. You have some lovely details: the description of his shaggy beard and eye bags, the humid air smelling of rain and damp grass,...

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