I hear them arguing outside my room.
“Noah, PLEASE, we can’t leave him like this, we CAN’T be like this.”
“Jade, look-Jade, just listen to me! Look at me! You are being emotional. You aren’t thinking rationally! We have a life here and-”
“We HAD a life here, Noah, we HAD!”
My mom lets out a wail. A loud and terrible sickly wail that grips at your heart and makes your hair stand on end.
I sink my head in between my knees to drown everything out.
Everything is dark and quiet, everywhere you look all you see is a black void.
Just where I want to be.
The door to my room opens and I lift my head. My dad is right by the door, his fists are balled up, and he doesn’t look at me. “We’re moving,” he says stiffly. The ugliness of it slaps me like cold rotten fish. All the thoughts start rushing to my head and mash together like a tornado brewing within. What about the house? School? My mind darts to Lucas who has been my friend since kindergarten and the arcade! The arcade at Mount Avenue where we would always spend our hours. What about me?! My tears well up and I try to meet my dad’s eyes but he continues to stare coldly at the floor. He leaves without saying anything more.
This is my fault.
I stare blankly at my bed. . .
Blow after blow, all the frustration, all the rage inside of me starts gushing out rapidly.
My innocent bed getting the brunt of each hit that’s growing more and more desperate.
I scream. I scream without words, a venomous scream that assists every blow I unleash.
Then, just as quickly as my hands and arms move do my grief and sadness replace my fury.
I freeze before I let out a loud and excruciating wail, a wail like my mother’s. A wail that’s been kept far too long inside. It’s not relieving, it’s painful, and I sob hard.
My mom bursts into the room, panic blaring in her eyes. She sees me and sorrow takes over her. She sits down on my bed and cradles me on her lap. She embraces me tightly and shushes me gently with every cry I make. I sob like an infant as if I’m not thirteen. Like an infant, my mom is holding me in her arms. I would be ashamed but that’s not on my mind right now. Words pour out of me without completely forming.
“It just came! It was- it was so fast, I didn’t- she- she just-it didn’t stop!” I bellowed.
My mom gasps and a little whimper escape from her lips. Her pats and shushes get more firm as I cry even more. Like a broken mixtape, the same words repeat from my mouth.
“I’m sorry, mom. . . I’m sorry, mom. . . I’m so sorry. . .”
Flashes of the neighborhood appear. The house just on the other street.
I just got off the bus and I’m sprinting, thoughts of the weekend, arcade, and Lucas in my head, no room for the shouts of my sister calling after me.
“Oh. . . dad. . . please don’t be mad at me. I’m sorry. . . I’m so sorry. . . I’m so sorry. . .”
My mom is crying with me now.
Flashes of the house closing in appear. I’m on the street. I quickly looked left and right before darting across. My sister screams out my name before a powerful force strikes me from behind.
I stand up dizzy, everything around me is fuzzy.
It takes me a while before everything starts to come into focus.
I look behind me.
Where my sister should’ve been was instead a gray Sedan.
Just as quickly as my rage and frustration were replaced by grief and sadness,
just as quickly as my once happy dad was replaced by hatred and anger,
just as quickly as my mom’s panic was replaced by sorrow,
just as quickly as my home will be replaced,
just as quickly as my excitement was replaced by horror,
just as quickly as my sister was taken from me,
my cries, my words change to what I, above all, really want to say.
“I’m sorry, Olivia. . .”
Soft mumbling, my parents are speaking among themselves in the front seat, careful so I won’t hear. I close my eyes again.
Crying. Someone is crying.
I realize it’s me. I’m crying.
Cautiously, I open my eyes. I’m in the black void again. I look around, as far as the eye can see all you could see is midnight without stars and a horizon. I shed a tear and let it trickle down my cheek, this is where I want to be, this is where I belong. I turn towards the original direction I was facing and come face-to-face with a full-length mirror. I see myself, my whole self. I look at my face, my eyes are puffy and rimmed with red. Dark circles crouch beneath my eyes. I don't recognize myself. I look at my hands which are shaking uncontrollably. I clench them into fists, shutting my eyes hard, feeling the emotions deep inside of me about to burst out like a geyser. Booming and petrifying shuffling resonates all around me, I look up and I realize it’s the mirror. It’s shaking so violently, the reflection of myself is so blurred, and it shatters. I turn away quickly and close my eyes, a high blast followed by sounds of clattering on the floor ring in my ears. When the clattering stops, I open my eyes, revealing a tree from afar that was hidden behind the mirror. I walk towards it and as I get closer, the form of the tree becomes clearer. It’s short and stout compared to other trees I’ve seen, the trunk looks gnarly and twisted, the branches numerous and reaching far and wide. I approach the tree and look at the leaves that emit a magnificent silvery-dark shade of green and tucked among these leaves are several of these tiny oval-shaped green fruits. Slowly, I place my palm against the trunk, and as my skin touches the surface of the wood the whole tree wilts and dissolves into ashes. Taken aback, I retreat my hand, my tears slipping one after another. Holding my arm I weep and I weep, my body shrinking and succumbing to the heavy weight on my shoulders and in my chest, my eyes clouded with a waterfall of tears but somewhere in my sight, I see a glint of green. I straighten up and stop my tears, wiping them away from my eyes. Sniffing and snuffling, I walk a few inches forward and look down to see one tiny green fruit on the floor.