Hello fellow writers and readers!! I have exciting news! This is my first ever collab!!! And it's with the oh-so-amazing.... *drum roll* DANNYYYY!!! She is truly one of the best. Go read her perspective here!:
That's all!! Enjoy! -Lots of love, Echo <3
August walked into the house, throwing his backpack on the floor and shrugging off his jacket. The door clicked shut behind him, and he sagged against it. He took a deep breath and then pushed himself away and made his way to the couch wearily.
Books were scattered everywhere, and plates and cups stacked up in corners. Dead flowers made the house smell sickly sweet, and August had to brush petals and crumbs off the cushion before he plopped down. Things had been a mess since... well... her.
His sister, Carmen, was in the kitchen making something. "Hard day?" She asked. August nodded and threw a hand over his eyes. Carmen smiled apologetically and then walked over, handing her younger brother a Granola Bar. "There you go, Auggie." Her lips grazed August's forehead, and then she went back to the kitchen.
Auggie grinned. "Thanks, Cammie." He said, ripping off the wrapper and taking a bite out of the snack. He pulled himself up to a sitting position and pulled a book off the cluttered coffee table.
The cover was old and worn, the corners frayed and dog-eared. Dust had accumulated on the front, where curly gold lettering read, "The Love Family". Auggie brushed it off and opened the book to the first page.
It was an old family photo album. The first picture showed his mother and father in the hospital, newborn Cammie in mom's arms. Dad was supporting his daughter's head with his hand and kissing his wife's cheek. The next showed Cammie, now a few years older sitting on a swing. Mom was behind her, hands out as she pushed her, and they were both laughing.
The one after that showed Cammie, a bit older, chewing on her thumb while dad taught her how to tie a knot. Next showed the whole family camping. Dad was holding the camera above their heads while mom and Cammie sat side-by-side roasting marshmallows. Mom's stomach was getting bigger, however, and Auggie knew what that meant.
The photo after that proved Auggie's theory - Cammie was sitting on the couch, hugging mom's stomach protectively. The caption under read 'Somebodys excited!'
A baby shower was on the next page, and Cammie sat by her mother's feet, staring worriedly at all the people standing around talking. The picture under that showed a newborn August, sleeping soundly in his crib, mom and Cammie looking down lovingly at him.
Auggie laughed at the next photo. Carmen was holding baby him and glaring at her father, who was trying to take August.
"Aw, I remember that." Cammie pipped up from the kitchen when Auggie turned the page. Toddler Cammie and Auggie were playing together on a playground.
There was a huge time skip, now showing teen Cammie going through puberty. Blue braces shinned as she smiled at the camera and her once straight hair had a wave to it.
Cammie walked over and pointed to a photo, giggling. "You rocked that purple dress." This one was of Cammie's princess birthday party. She was curtsying to the camera in a frilly, pink dress. Auggie was next to her in a matching purple one, clearly not sure how he felt about it. Their dad stood behind Cammie with a tray and suit, pretending to be a butler, and their mom was scooping Auggie up, trying to wipe the chocolate off his face and smile at the camera at the same time.
"Oh, do you remember that?" August tapped the next one. The family was now in Disneyland, Mickey Mouse's ears on their head and goofy smiles on their faces. They all stood in front of a huge rollercoaster. Whoever had taken the picture had accidentally got their thumb in the photo.
Cammie giggled. "Oh yeah, mom was so mad at whoever took that one." Auggie grinned.
"I also remember you throwing up after we rode that one." Cammie gave a small shriek and whacked her brother's head, going back to the kitchen in a huff.
"Rude." She muttered. Auggie laughed, stuck his tongue out at her, and then turned back to the book. His birthday party was next. Pirate themed. However, mom looked thinner as she smiled. Her cheekbones were more noticeable, and her shirt hung off her body. Auggie and Cammie were busy fighting over a foam sword, so they didn't catch fathers worried look as he stared at his wife.
The photo after that was an action shot of Cammie jumping rope. Auggie and their dad held the ends, all laughing and singing Cinderella Dress In Yellow.
The door opened again, and both Auggie and Cammie looked up to see their father walking in, hands full with a tray of lasagna. He had smudges under his eyes and peach fuzz all over his face.
"Hey, champ." August received a hair ruffle. Cammie folded her arms when her dad tried to put the lasagna down on the counter.
"Oh, for the love of all things green, no. We've had lasagna, salad, and mashed potatoes all week." Their dad sighed.
"I know, June Bug, but people are so nice, and I can't refuse." He instead put the tray on a side table and sat down heavily in a chair.
"You don't have to refuse," Cammie said, walking over and kissing her father's cheek. "I made cornbread tonight so we can give the lasagna to grandma."
Auggie stared at his sister. What had he been doing these past few weeks? Skipping school and hiding out in the bathroom crying, that was what. However, Cammie made sure her family didn't eat the same thing every day. August grinned at his sister, filled with love.
"What do you have there, Auggie?" His dad asked, changing the subject, and Auggie handed over the photo album. His dad smiled sadly, then stood and sat next to his son on the couch, pulling his daughter along. Auggie and Cammie snuggled into his side while their dad opened the photo book to where Auggie left off.
The first photo showed the whole family at the beach. Cammie was running in from the water, hair wet, and Auggie was on the sand building something, his nose peeling. In contrast, mom was sitting in a lawn chair nearby with blankets and jackets piled up on top of her. She had insisted she was cold, and while it seemed harmless then - it was concerning now.
Next to that showed the whole family at dinner, plates piled with food. Auggie was shoving food in his mouth, side-eying the camera, and Cammie was holding a fork of pancake to her mouth. Dad wasn't looking at the camera but at his wife, whose plate was bare.
Auggie's stomach dropped, and he felt sick. How had he not noticed something was wrong?
As if reading his thoughts, Auggie's dad wrapped his arm around his son and held him close, resting his cheek on August's messy brown hair. Cammie leaned closer to her dad and brother, too, and after a minute of silence, turned back to the book.
There were lots of missing slots, where birthday pictures or first day of school photos should have lived. Mom had been diagnosed then, so family vacations and outings had become sparse.
Next was fall, a huge pile of rainbow-colored leaves in the center of the yard. Cammie and Auggie had spent all morning raking the front and backyard for it. Cammie was already in the leaves, and Auggie was jumping in, both kids laughing. Mom sat in a lawn chair, covered in jackets, dark circles under her eyes.
Halloween came after, and dad laughed as Auggie covered his eyes in embarrassment. Cammie giggled. Young August stood next to his sister in a tiger onesie, face painted, and growling. A plastic pumpkin trick-or-treating bag hung from his wrist.
"You didn't look much better," Auggie pointed out to his sister, tapping the photo. Cammie was wearing all black, whiskers drawn on her cheeks with eyeliner and cat ears on her head. She was showing off her cat claws to the camera, an identical plastic pumpkin by her feet.
"You both look great." Their dad interrupted and flipped to the next page to avoid any more conflict. It was a snow day now, Cammie and Auggie by a pile of snowballs which they spent the day on. Mom could be seen from the window, smiling, a shawl draped over her shoulders and a cup of cocoa in her hands.
"Awww!" Cammie squealed at the photo after that one. It was a family picture, with everybody in the frame. They all wore red shirts, and mom and dad had their arms wrapped around each other - cuddling. It was cute and romantic, and they all wore cheesy smiles on their faces.
There was another big time skip, now showing the Fourth Of July. The family sat on a blanket and Auggie and Cammie were holding another one above their heads - making a sort of fort. Dad was taking a selfie and had mom cradled into his arm. It was obvious she was getting sicker and skinnier every day, and it looked like only dad could keep her up, but she continued to make silly faces along with the rest of her family, rainbows of fireworks exploding behind them.
The last photo was bittersweet. Mom, Auggie, and Cammie using crayons to breathe life into coloring pages in the recreational room of a hospital. Mom was pointing something out to Auggie while braiding Cammie's long hair as she hunched over her picture, pink tongue poked out of the corner of her mouth as she concentrated.
Dad didn't close the book - but the weight and silence of the very last photo seemed to be pressing down on each family member. Cammie was the one who split the silence by sniffing and the trance was broken. Tears streamed down Auggie's cheeks, and when he looked at his family - they were crying too. They all drew in closer to each other, hugging and consoling. After a few minutes when the crying ceased, Auggie closed his eyes.
"I miss her." He choked out.
"I know, champ, I know. I do too." His dad said, rubbing his back. "But she's watching over us and keeping us safe. That, I know for sure. And we're gonna be okay."
Auggie opened his eyes to see Cammie and dad smiling and smiled back.
"Yeah. Yeah, your right."