The weather always matched my mood. Always. So I suppose it was only natural I was gloomy in the rain. As that day became unimaginably worse, the rain's intensity increased. By the time I got the news, it was a full blown thunderstorm. As I lie in bed that night, I feared a flood would engulf everything.
The constant drizzle had soaked through my clothes and by the time I reached the door I was so cold. But then again, there are so many ways to be 'cold'. There is the coldness of the heart, of the eyes, of the soul, of the air, of the room, of the voice, and of the temperature. In one day I managed to learn all the ways you could be cold.
It was so fitting, the weather that day. Ironic, really. Rain, the giver of all life, the cleanser of all souls, the beginning of every new life, was at my side all day. By the afternoon I could hear heaven partying as the storm hit full force and thethunder clapped (well, applauded, really) my good fortune.
It rained all day and drowned the light,
While we suffered under contrite.
We fought to breathe with all our might,
But the breath left me like the shine left the light.
The only thing I can say for certain about today is this: It rained.
Chapter One: I'm
When everyone hates you, it's hard to be pleasant. I'm told that if I was more pleasant then perhaps I'd have a friend or two. But what people don't see is that a pleasant me is a giant oxymoron. When Iwas very little I remember sitting in Sunday school with my cousins Martha and Mary and writing down a list of things to be thankful for. Martha, the elder of the two, rhymed off seven double-sided pages of thingsshe wasthankful for. Mary pulled a close second with five double-sided pages.All I had was thenumber"1" with an empty space beside it. I wasonlyeight years old and I couldn't thinkof one singlething.When Miss Brighton collected the pages she stopped at me and in a shocked voice exclaimed,
"Why, Bliss!You haven't written anything!" Holding my almost-blank page for all the class to see.
Martha was equally shocked."You could have at leastbeen thankful for us!"Luckily, Martha's seven page masterpiece renewedMiss Brighton's faith in the world.The rest of the class wasspent talking about how we could all learn from Martha. EvenMary,Martha's idolizing little sister,was miffed.Looking back now, Martha's writing wasa larger than Mary's.
that was the last time I attended Sunday school. Grandmere died
the following Tuesday. Standing at her funeral I felt bad I
hadn't put her on my list. I wonder when she died if Martha
crossed Grandmere off hers.
But all of that was so long ago. I'm seventeen now, and I haven't seen Martha and Mary since the funeral, so none of the past can really relate to the present. I'm surprised I even thought of it. Not that surprised though. Whenever something bad happens to me I feel all the bad from the past come rushing back, I feel it pile it upon my chest until I lose my breath and tears squeeze from my eyes. People always like to play the "Lots Have It Worse Game". Maybe because no one ever taught them the "More Have It Better Game". It's a lot easier to play. Today was the easiest game of "More Have It Better" Iever played, because surely none have it worse.
I usually have this rule that if I wake up late I don't go to school. Why? Because bad days always start out bad. I feel that over-sleeping is some higher power trying to show me some kindness, trying to push fate so that I don't leave my house and trip into more suffering. I didn't listen though. I just didn't listen. I didn't listen to anything, I didn't heed any sign. I woke up late. I pressed on. My hair was greasy and I needed a shower, which is usually enough to keep me home on the best of days, but not today. I had no clean clothes to wear, my homework wasn't done, I had an oralpresentation in English, I had no moneyfor the bus, I had five overdue detentions. All ofthese things could keep mehome on their own,to have them combined was enough to make me want to kill myself. But not today. A bunch of bad signs could not deter me.So I walked downstairs greasy, dirty, late, and in for it when I got to school. My mother wasn't home, I don't know why I even expected her. It'd been over two weeks. Father wasn't home either. I could stay home unchallenged. But no. I opened the door andI realized theworst thingof all. It was raining. A cold, relentless pelt that switched ways to match your direction so that it could slice at your eyes. I just shrugged. 'Good,' I thought, 'it only makes sense I should suffer.'
A million bad things eroded my composure until third period, when the mother of all evil shattered my soul. I was scribbling furiously, turning my pain to poetry, when the Principal entered my English class. She whispered anxiously with the teacher before calling out my name.
"Bliss Ferris, could you please come with me?" I didn't even look, I just obeyed. Don't make eye contact, don't provide the opening. We plodded to the office. A few reasons slipped into my mind, but I wasn't worried about any.
me in a chair between the guidance counselor, the Principal, and
my History teacher. Then two police walked in. That got a bit of
my attention, enough to see awkward glances exchanged. I wondered
if they were going for the good-cop, bad-cop thing, but one was
female so I doubted it. I shifted in the uncomfortable woolen
chair. I always wondered if they were designed to be such an ugly
green colour, almost puke coloured. I like to think that in some
magnificant,prosperoustime they were a deep forest green. The
female cop cleared her throat and all heads turned at
"Are you Bliss Ferris?" Sacarcastic tempts me, but I only nod. I glance into her eyes before she continues speaking, but one look at her eyes and I don't need her words. Windows to the soul.
"Bliss, we've found your mother."Why, even when I heard the tone of voice, saw the hopeless eyes, and felt the emptiness, did my heart still leap for joy?Why did only the words 'found' and 'mother' connect to meaning?And why, why oh why, did the policewoman ever feel this was the way to phrase such news? I knew they hadn't found my mother but lost her. Lost her for eternity.
"She was found by two joggers this morning, out in Elmwood Park. We now fear your sister is missing." I want tears. I want emotion. I want meaning. Above all, I want understanding.
Alarm clock. Blankets hit floor. Zip pants. Inside-out yesterday's shirt. Stumbling. Stumbling feet, directionless. Stumbling words, meaningless. But then I'm out the door and I'm running. And then my mind is clear. The rain is nice at first, refreshing, cleansing. I just want to get away from it all, run from it all. Ithought I was running to safety, but in theend my safe haven wasjust another place to turn around. There's my safe haven ahead but it's littered with police cars. And there's my world, my life, my love. There's my everything. It's Melody, but it's not Melody. She's incuffs and her eyes are wild. She's an animal backed so far into the corner she climbed the walls. My feet slow and halt. They don't listen to me, they know what's best, they want to turn around. But then the cops are around me, the questions are flying. And for once I find I have all the answers.
I read once we only use something like ten percent of our brains. Iguess the rest is our subconcious.A lot hides there, but you don't usually realize how much. I now know mine had a lot, we don't give ourselves enough credit. The shock of everything cracks my subconcious wide-open, but I'm so cold my fingers are too numb to explore it. Ionly salvage what leaks out. And it all makes sense. Perfect horrible sense. They sit me in the questioning room, it even has one of those two way mirrors just like in Law & Order. At least I think it's two way, I don't check my reflection just incase. Or maybe seeing my reflection would tie me to tightly to reality. The room is so cold, the air nips like icicles. Even the colour is cold, damp. It's all wrong, I'm not the criminal. I'm the victim. We are all just the victims.
"Phineas Barrister. Phineas, is that what they call you? You go by Fin, Phineas?" And the voice matches the room. He's so angry, his eyes flare with hatred. And he doesn't even know me. I just stare. He just stares. And the the questions fly.
"How long have you known Miss Yeun? How would you describe your relationship? How much did you know?" Forever. I've known her forever. Our relationship is forever. I know everything, I know it's forever. But he doesn't want that, he wants facts. I knew didn't I? Yes, maybe I knew too much. And then he's staring again. But then it's September and everything is okay.
I remember when I was little my Dad would always call me "Vince" because I thought I was invinceable. He'd tell me how much trouble I'd get into later in life. How badly I would be hurt if I didn't change my ways. I didn't care though, or rather, I just didn't understand. People died around me. My uncle died in a boating accident, a little girl I used to play with called Rosa drowned in a pool, Skippy was hit by a car, and my grandmother eventually succumbed to old age. It didn't matter though because I couldn't picture people dead. I couldn't picture them dead because no one could answer what happened after. I can see myself at Grandma's funeral, questionning my grief stricken mother.
"Where did Grandma go?"
"She's gone to heaven, Fin honey. We'll see her again soon, but she's gone for now."
"It's all around us."
"How do you know?"
"The Bible tells us. I just know."
And then Dad is pulling me away. Mom needs rest, he says. No one ever answered my question, so no one ever died. Not to me anyway.
Now it's September though and I'm laying in a field with Melody. She's talking about the future, which always scares me. Like death, no one can tell you what comes next. She does this often. She wants us to get married, have babies. She likes to name our babies, which would freak any guy out. Hell, it would freak any girl out, but I love her so much I don't mind. It's kind of a game now. Sometimes we have kids with names that a Zappa would envy. Not today though, today it's serious.
"Iwant a little girl. I'm going to call her Cadence. Isn't that pretty?" She picks at blades of grass, tossing them into the air and blowing them into the wind.
"If we had a baby, would you marry me Phineas?"She never calls me Fin.
"Let's not talk about tomorrow, let's talk about today." I roll on top of her. Of course I don't, really want to talk at all. But she won't kiss me. She's not even playing, she's serious. I just pretend I can't tell the difference and try to coach her into playing along, but she gets angry. She yells, she rants, but I don't remember what she said because she finished off with 'I'm pregnant.' Then it's my turn to be angry.
"You're trying to trap me!"I accuse. And then we are standingdefiantly.
"You said you loved me! You promised!" She screams. And then I'm the animal in the corner, and I'm eyeing the walls.
"You have to get rid of it.You can't keep it!"I command. But she screams I said I loved her, was I lying?Was I lying when I said I love her?
"Yes!" No. I love you Melody. I love your everything. But I don't say that, because the damage is done and I'm ashamed. I'm so ashamed I reflect my hurt on to her. I want to hurt her for making me hurt myself. For trying to trap me, for making me foolish. For making me hate myself. I say the wrong things, all the wrong things.
"You do what you want then, Mel," My eyes become overcast and my voice eerily calm. "But don't even try to talk to me until you've taken care of it." Then it's stomping. One soul in two directions. We're crushing leaves. We're crushing hearts. I'm crushing dreams.
And now I'm thinking, how could anything with a name as pretty as Cadence cause so much trouble?
"Aki!" It's my haha calling, I open my eyes in time to see her throw open the drapes to reveal a rainy day. I smile because rainy days are my favourite. They mean no pressure, you can stay inside all day and do nothing. You don't need any excuse except the simple fact it is raining. Rain also means my haha makes breakfast. I think I can hearmy chichi setting the table. I'm so excited I gallopdownstairs, right past the bathroom, and into the kitchen. I abruptly halt.
There is no breakfast on the table. When I whip around, there is no Haha. When I call out 'Chichi,' no one answers. My haha never opened the drapes because thereare no drapes. There is no Haha. Not anymore. Ididn't hear my chichi setting the table because you set the table for the people you love. There is no Chichi, there is only a man a thousand miles away. I was always such a good girl, but isn't it no good deed goes unpunished?The only thing that's real is therain. I love it even more forbeing there. I slip on my jogging shoes andtrot out the door. That's how I started that morning, with a brain runningf aster than my legs. With utter despair I never thought would turn into ultimate joy. But there is no joy yet, only jogging.
It's not like I'm jogging to a
destination, it's like I'm jogging back in time. I'm jogging back
to being sixteen. I'm jogging back to the country house of
Japanese immigrants freshly landed. But I don't go as far back as
I like to because I hit a road block. And then I'm stuck in the
cycle of a nightmare. There's the disgrace in my soul and the
shame in my chichi's eyes. Shame is such an odd thing because it
is imaginary. You make it what it is. Sometimes there is shame in
one house where in another there would becelebration. I was in
thewrong house. I don't liketo think of those times, it puts a
damperon my mood, and I'm avery cheerful person.Without my cheer
I am nothing. Memories play tricks on me though. I focus on the
good an end up beingchased by the bad. I think of our garden, our
cows,and the new kittensin the corned basket. I think of my
mother. I thinkof her making breakfast, I think of her laughing,
smiling, kissing mychichi, fondling kittens, wrapping gifts,
cooking...chopping up vegetables with a knife. Lightning quick.
Ialways wanted to learn how to chop vegetables that fast. It was
a blur. Isometimesstill think she slipped. I imagine her cutting
up carrots for soup when the knife just got away on her. She
never would have done it on purpose. We kept the floor so
Then there's a real road block. I trip, fall, and scrape my knee. I want to cry like I'm four but someone is already doing all the crying. It's my roadblock. I crawl over and lift a blanket.Everything is glorious. Life is new, life is clean, life is wonderful.I cradle theroadblock in my arms. It's a sopping baby girl. Good deeds do go unpunished. In the end they are always rewarded. It just takes time and we see the time as punishment. Patience is the answer. Looking back, I must have appeared crazy. A young woman in a blue jogging suit carrying a sopping, wailing bundle. But no one stopped me,no one questioned me. No one did anythingbecause the rain hadkept everyone at home just for me. The rain soaked us both. It washed away our pasts and cleared way for our future. Two pasts behind, one future ahead. I smiled so much it became a permanent fixture.
The storm was hitting hard by the afternoon.I said prayer after prayer, thanking the Gods for answering my prayer. I named her Merci. Merci for thank you but also Merci for mercy. And it was perfect. Mercy for me, redemption and grace. And mercy for Merci. She looked too young, too new, it was lucky she was fated to my hands because I was nurse. I was the nurse my mother had wanted me to be, I wasthe nurse I never had any interest in being. Until now.
Rain changes the perspective of everything. It morphs beauty to beast and beast to beauty.It changes the sentence to theline. The second to the moment. It changes everything. It changes me forever.That morning. There's me with a pen and paper. Writing, writing, writing. Writing like I will never write again because everything will change.Thepoetry used to flow like rivers. Not particularly beautiful or unique. Not magnificent or rare. But there. It was there. After, what is it? It's twisted. It's a whirpool for the soul. Sucking down. Down, down,down. And then darkness. Not that morning though. There's a bird. She's crouching over eggs andthe rain doesn't bother her. It cheers her because she can see the worms in her head, the worms coming out in attempt to survive, only to die. I'm out of paper. Then there's camera in my hand and I'm off to the park.I want to find that robin. I think she'll be here soon. Snap shot. Trees, foliage, a lone jogger. Snap. Snap. Snap. Photos. Art.Feeling. My viewpointforever. But then it's not the camera making snapshots. It's my mind. The film doesn't need to be developed there. It's permanently imprinted. And then I don't have use for a camera because it's the only thing I will eversee again.
I see the red and I actually think it's that of a robin's breast. I think it's a giant robin because that would be so much easier to handle then the truth. My hands go limp and the camera drifts to the ground like a leaf. But that's impossible because gracity won't allow for this. Nothing is impossible, I think, because of what's in front of me. All my thoughts are wrong. I think of the game Operation. I think that this is what happens when you hit the metal edge in real life. It's not a buzzer. There's blood. No, that's just rain. It's really pretty rain. Coloured rain. Cabal, it's blood. It's blood and it's everywhere. I kneel down and I don't remember the parts of Operation. I think I can't help because I have no tweezers. You have a phone. Yes, I have a phone. Contacts. I stop at Dad. I wish I could call him but we don't talk. I have the bizarre thought that maybe my father did this to get back at me. I don't know who to call. Before I know it the phone is ringing...and ringing...and ringing. And then mom picks up. But it's answering maching mom. I talk to her anyway.
"Mom," and I'm crying, "Mom," it comes out a moan. "Mom, mom, mom!" And it's screams. I'm screaming or my head's screaming or the lady on the ground is screaming because someone has gutted her. Someone has taken all the pieces and now no one can play Operation.
And then she's gone because I'm gone. If you can't see it, it can't hurt you. Maybe if she had closed her eyes she would have been okay. She never did close her eyes. Isaw them. They were purple. That's impossible Cabal, no one has purple eyes. Only manga characters. Okay, they were violet. No they weren't. They were black and glassy like a dolls. They were like a doll because she was a doll. She was inanimate. I think of Mulan. I think of the little doll she finds in the burned down village. She puts it on a grave. Maybe I will put a doll on the woman's grave.
I'm home. The message machine blinks and I press play. And someone is screaming mom. It's not me. It can't be. It can't be you Cabal, you don't have a mom.
Every morning we read the paper. Every evening we watch the news. It seems bad things always happen during the day and collect on the evening news. Then in the morning, they start with good news that slowly rusts during the day. I don't understand the news. The television splits into two screens. On one side there is a flood. There are little black bodies floating along. On the other side the sports scores flash. At least the newspaper has sections. The television contrasts ghastly. There's big news tonight. Bigger than us. We don't make the news. It's no big deal. We only crashed because of the news. An ambulance just took out the back of our station wagon. It's no big deal. I'm the only one sitting on the loveseat. It's no big deal. Because nobody is dead, it's no big deal.
My little twin sisters are in the hospital. They don't even get the same room. But what do I know. My parents are both there so I watch the news alone. They found the missing Ferris woman. The police are proud. The officer comes on the screen. We've worked hard. The community really came together. Without their help this could have dragged on. God forbid it dragged on, I think. Good thing she didn't waste too much time. No one should be proud. The officer should be wearing black, he should had a lily for the woman's grave tomorrow. The flags should sink to half mast everywhere. But what do I know. Foul play is suspected. Of course it is, or else it wouldn't be on the news. Two joggers reported finding her body earlier this morning. They interview the shaken girls. They aren't sad though, they are disgustingly triumphant. They are always on the look out for others they say.She's already dead though.
The newswoman comes back. Breaking news. They have the culprit. Then it flashes to a girl in handcuffs. She killed Charity Ferris. She kidnapped her so she could steal her baby, that's why Charity Ferris was found with her abdomen ripped to shreds. The joggers thought it was wild animals. For once, I think the joggers are right. It was a wild animal. But what do I know. Then the police still suspect foul play, because Charity's wallet isn't on her corpse and it isn't in the culprits' house. Somebody stole it from her body. Then they can't find her baby. Someone buried it, they think. It's dead, they know. Then the news is about bullying because the story is about suicide. I don't know why I turned on the news.
The news is always bad. The first news I remember is the 9/11 attack. I was in grade three. The whole school was quiet but no one knew what was going on. We didn't go home for lunch. Someone ordered the classes pizza. The teachers sat in the library and wached the television. I thought the library was for books, but what do I know. The news rambles on butI shut it off. I turn on my computer to check my own news. I go on Facebook. Iwish Ididn't.
My parents don't want me to have Facebook.They like the computer to get updates from CNN, not from friends. Ilook in my news. And there's Bliss Ferris'spage.I click, and a thousand sorrys pop up. I guess she goes to my school but I don't know her. Then I have e-mail from people about Bliss. They want to talk about it. It's wrong, I think, but what do I know.The downstairs door opens and my father clicks on the news. I sit beside him. He watches the news because he has no news.I don't ask. The news has another suicide to report. Or maybe it's the same one. No, it's the third suicide this week. It's the second suicide today. Ithink to myself, today was a bad day. A good news day. A bad day. This is what I personally think.But what do I know?
The only thing I can say for certainabout today is this: It rained.