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Chapter 9
“Do you remember what you asked me that day on the hill when I told you about everything?” I asked.
“Well, I have my answer. Ready?"
He rolled his eyes.
"Okay. It was because of our relationship that I didn’t end it. You meant a lot to me which is why I cheated on Brian with you. I know that doesn’t mean a lot considering the circumstances, but I don’t fall for just anyone like that. I dated all of you because you were all different and because you were all important enough to me that I couldn’t just let you go. Now, I’m not trying to say that what I did was right in anyway, but I thought that you deserved a proper explanation.”
“Thank you for that.”
“So we’re cool?”
“Well, I’ve got to say, with the way that you look in that dress, I’m amazingly jealous of whatever guy you do pick.”
I smiled and hugged him. Why did all of these guys have to look so good in tuxedos? It was driving me crazy! He kissed my forehead before I continued my search for Nana. Good lord, how was it possible that this woman was so hard to find? The area was starting to fill up as more of my family appeared. I was blinded by a pair of hands. I pulled them down and turned around to see Brian. Oh no.
“Hey.” I said a tad bit too casually. He wrapped me up in a hug. Okay this was too much hugging for one day. These people just didn’t understand the concept of personal space.
“How have you been? I haven’t heard from you in a while.”
“I’m doing okay. Mike and my nana have been staying with me.”
“Mike is back?” he asked sounding rather shocked. I’m pretty sure that he was officially the last one to know.
“Yeah, he was here the day that my mom was killed. He came to see me and my mom had invited him to stay.”
I said this like a bedtime story that had been told too many times and that's exactly what it felt like.
“You still love him.”
“Excuse me, what?”
“You were brokenhearted when he left and your eyes light up when you say his name. You love him.”
Seriously, was there anything that this guy didn’t know? I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned around to see none other than Nana. Oh so of course she can find me when I’m not looking for her.
“They’re about to start.”
She glanced at Brian. I didn’t have time for introductions.
“Okay, I’ll be there in a sec.”
I turned back to Brian as she left.
“We’ll talk later,” he whispered. He pressed his lips to mine and let them linger long enough to take my breath away. GOSH DARN HIM! I started walking in the direction that Nana had left in and there stood Christian looking around for a seat.
“Are you sure it’s not you who’s stalking me?” he asked as I hooked my arm with his and led him to the aisle that I saw Nana in. Sitting beside her was Mike. Well, I’d have to do this eventually, why not now? I lowered myself down in the chair beside him and Christian sat beside me. I elbowed Mike. He’s a big boy. It’s not like it hurt him or anything. He probably barely felt it, but it was enough to get his attention.
“Mike, this is Christian. Christian, this is Mike.”
They surveyed each other and then nodded. This was going to be interesting. The small conversations stopped as the funeral started. I zoned out as my family members went up to talk about my mom. I tapped my fingers. We all knew that I was going to have to speak. I knew this from the start and I hadn’t planned anything on purpose. These speeches are supposed to come from the heart, right? So why would I plan ahead? I kept right on tapping and I was actually starting to get a pretty good beat working when Christian slipped his hand under mine and interlocked our fingers. Darn it. I had it too.
We kept looking straight ahead. Mike seemed oblivious to the entire thing and I prefer that it stays that way.
“She was an amazing woman….”
“She was a fantastic mother…”
“…we’re going to miss her.”
*Sigh* I wonder how many of these people really knew my mother. My family members seemed to pick their words more carefully than the people who were here as her friends. They knew her history and it was hard to remember her better times. Nana sniffled beside me. I glanced over past Mike’s ginormous chest and sure enough, she was wiping at her eyes trying to hide her tears. She had already spoken and it was time for yours truly to go up.
I was introduced by Janine, a friend of the family, and Christian gripped my hand before letting it go. I stood up and walked to the end of our row and up the aisle. Okay, this was very awkward. For the first time in quite a while, I actually felt goose bumps pop up on my arms. I stood behind the podium and looked out at the crowd in front of me.
There were familiar faces and complete strangers of course. I picked out my guys in seconds, my mind going at a hundred miles per hour.
“You know,” I started calmly, “when I was younger, my mom always made sure that I knew that lying wasn’t tolerated in the house. The word was a ‘bad word’ in itself. As you can see, I’m not so young anymore, but I still try to be as honest as possible, and I don’t plan on changing that today.”
Nana shifted in her seat along with Mike, Brian and a few relatives. They were just going to have to be uncomfortable because this needed to be said. I kept right on going.
“When my dad was alive…my mom was the perfect mother in every way. She was sweet, she looked out for me and my brother and I looked up to her. Nothing mattered more to her than Chris and I, but after my dad passed…she changed. My dad was an amazing man and she had an impossible time trying to find a guy like him, but she couldn’t raise two kids on her own and she was lonely. If you need to know the story of my brother, then you know and if you don’t then it’s none of your concern….But…simple to say, my mom didn’t make the best decisions once she lost my dad and I couldn’t find it in me to let it go. I still don’t. I’ll admit, to this day, I’m still mad at her. At the same time though…I know that I have to forgive her because she wasn’t the one who physically committed the crime that ended my brother’s life.”
There were a few confused glances around the area by the strangers.
“I know it’s a bit late to do this, but I think that she is up there somewhere”- or down there, -“and she should know that I’m trying to put it all behind me. She’s with Chris and my dad now, so maybe I can at least make them remotely proud before I join them someday. Thank you.”
I choked a bit on my last few words as reality started to kick in. They’re all gone. And who would think that I would be the last one out of my immediate family on this earth? I stepped down and walked over to my mom’s closed casket. I placed my pointer and middle finger against my lips in a kiss and whispered goodbye to her for the last time before raising them to the sky.
“You forgot this.”
I turned to see Nana handing me a single red rose. I smiled and kissed her cheek.
“Thank you.”
I placed the rose on the casket and walked back down the aisles so that others could do the same after me. There still weren’t any tears, but I was definitely feeling the sting in the back of my throat. Considering that there were a reasonable number of students and PTA members from the school, I was pretty sure that I had been excused from school this week. With the way that everything was going, I had almost forgotten that I would have to go back at some point. I just had to make it through these last few months and then I would be free until August.
I sat in the chair in the farthest corner of the farthest row and crossed my arms and legs. I was getting more and more glances. I think all of these people expected me to break down or something. Wow, you know, it just hit me that I am a technical orphan now. That’s a pretty strange thing to realize no matter when or where you realize it. How long would it be until people would come and try to soothe the poor orphan child? It may have been my outrageously dark eyes or some face that I was making, but regardless people were catching the ‘stay away from me’ vibe that I was sending. They would place their flower, glance at me, and then walk away. Hopefully this pattern would last. Call me crazy, but I wasn’t exactly feeling social.
Once the flow of flowers had ended, it was time to lower my mom into the ground. I stood between Nana and Mike as we watched my mom sink farther and farther away from us. Seriously though, would it be too much to ask for a bit of rain? The sun was really starting to depress me. The area was starting to clear. I promised Christian, Brian, and Mike that I would talk to all of them later. I did all of this separately by the way. I sat with Nana in the last two chairs as the grave diggers filled in the hole. It started to get slightly darker as the clouds skipped in front of the big yellow circle that is the sun. Maybe there was still hope.
An hour passed and Nana was starting to get restless. I put her out of her misery.
“I’ll meet you at the house. I know you don’t want to see this.”
She kissed my cheek.
“Thank you, baby. I don’t want you staying here too late.”
“I won’t.”
I was the only one there. Okay, I was the only living one there. I walked to my car and came back with three bouquets of flowers. I put the bunch of roses on Chris’s grave, the tiger lilies on my dad’s, and the yellow daffodils on my mom’s. I stepped back and stared at my family. For the first time, I looked at my mother’s headstone and was thankful for something that I hadn’t even realized that I should be stressing about: her last name. Her maiden name was the one on the stone, not that bastard’s, not the asshole before him,and not my dad’s but her own. My cold heart started to burn and a stinging tear slipped out. I smiled and read the message under name: ‘She was many things, but mainly unforgettable’.
That was definitely Nana’s doing. Who better to do the message on my mother's headstone than her mother?It had been quite a while since I had visited them, but I memorized their headstones and everything about the surrounding area. Chris’s read: ‘He will always be our world’. That had been courtesy of a younger me. He was my world. It was as simple as that. I looked at my dad’s and stared without really staring. ‘Our Superman’. This one was courtesy of Chris and I. Our dad never seemed too tired or busy for us even when he got sick. I looked at my family. They were all in the ground below me and in the clouds above me. For the first time, I felt alone. And on came the waterworks as I wrapped my arms around me to hold myself together.
Okay, so let’s see. Freakishly fast and painful heart beat, check. Chills up and down my spine, check. Short breaths and heartbreakingly sore throat, check. Realizing that I was right when I thought that I was gonna go through hell when it all sank in, priceless. I dropped to my knees and gasped at the pain that shot through them. I was full out hyperventilating as I thrust my hands into my hair. I looked down as nothing but black dripped from my face. The word ‘alone’ just kept screaming itself in my head and made me even more hysterical. I stared at the tombstones. Wait, when did everything start spinning? I couldn’t find it in me to hold myself up anymore, so I fell onto my side with what sounded like a huge crash in my head.
I was in the fetal position, my knees clasped to my chest with my shivering arms. My grip loosened more and more as my knees, along with everything else around me, started to slip away. Something cold and wet plopped on my cheek. I struggled to turn my head towards the clouds. They were darker now. Another drop fell, following the first and another after that one and another one after that. I smiled. The sun was almost completely hidden now.
That rain came after all. Thanks.
This was the last thing that I saw before everything went black and surprisingly warm.
So…is there supposed to be some kind of light now? Am I supposed to see pearly gates? Oh gosh! What if I’m going the other way? There’s definitely a lot of bouncing. It’s kind of wet too. I cracked my eye open and moaned from the pain of it to see a tuxedo and huge arms around me. Mike. He looked down at me with glassy eyes and held me closer to him. God he was so warm! I watched his lips move. I tried to focus so that I could actually listen and comprehend.
“Everything’s okay. We’re g”- Oh, headache! Blackout…again, oh joy. This blackout had to have been longer than the last one. Where the hell was I anyway? Ew, beeping. I hate beeping. Okay, I usually hate beeping. Hmm, now where would I be where there would be beeping?
“I think she’s waking up.”
Who was that? Something stuck me in my arm. I sat up and my eyes flew open.
“OW, Son of a b-”
Woo, I avoided a serious bullet there. Nana was standing in front of me and looking at me as if she was waiting for me to finish the phrase. I looked around the room. Oh great, I was in a hospital and now there was blood pouring from my arm. Well, that’s certainly not a good thing it kinda stings a bit too. The doctor was staring at me in shock. I guess she didn’t expect for me to jump up like that. I sighed.
“She’s losing a lot of blood.”
“Why am I losing a lot of blood?” I asked. Ha, pretty lights. They wiped my arm and put a squishy thing on it. Ok, ouch! My arm was really starting to burn. I looked at and the red line that was on it.
“Relax Lala. Everything’s fine. You just scared the doc while she was trying to put an IV in you.”
Mike was standing beside me away from my blood waterfall. He really looked worried. This could be a problem. Mike never looked worried. That’s kinda funny.
“Oh, is that all?” I asked slightly sarcastically. That would explain the bloody line. She must’ve sent the needle up my arm. I might just have to sue after this one. Another doctor came in and flashed a light in my eyes. It was like they were trying to send me on a rampage. I certainly would’ve if the ground would stop swirling around so gosh darn much.
“We hit a vein! It won’t stop!”
I swear, if I die from this, I’m gonna be so pissed. That would be quite funny irony though if you think about it. Ha, I died on the day of my mom's funeral. That's hilarious. Of course, I couldn’t exactly laugh about it at the moment. Crap! Why was I even here? I would’ve been fine if they wouldn’t have sliced my damn vein. I didn’t need an IV anyway. All I did was pass out. It’s not like I haven’t done it before. Heck, I’ve been doing it all week.
“Her pupils are dilated.” The other doctor said nervously. I turned back over to Mike. Was he crying?
“Whatsamatter?” I mumbled. Oooo, Mumble! Happy feet! I love Mumble. He was so cute.
“H-happy feet.” I whispered. I confused him. Ha!
“What?” he asked.
“She’s delirious. She’s losing way too much blood!”
To hell I am! I’m far from delirious. You just don’t know how my mind works, doc.
Nana sat down on the end of my bed. The blanket was really red. Did I do that? Ha, Family Matters. Steve Urkel. She was crying too. She was crying a lot harder than Mike was though. What was with all the tears? My eyes started to flicker.
“We’re losing her!”
Those doctors were really depressing me. Mike put his forehead to mine. Had I really been laying down this whole time? This pillow was pretty soft. Hm, interesting.
“I love you, alright? I don’t want you to ever forget that. You’re going to be fine.”
It was starting to dawn on me. They thought that I was dying. I am dying. Surely they have some kind of procedure for slitting patient’s veins. Was I crying? I couldn’t tell anymore. Mike still had his forehead to mine. Everything was all fadey again. And yes, I know that that’s not a word, but I’m dying and I’m making it one. Someday you’ll see it in the dictionary.
Stay awake! Stay awake! I was really starting to think that if I passed out this time that I wouldn’t wake up like I did all the other times. My name was being screamed through the room. It was so loud! It was so loud in fact that it could only have been Nana. My eyes were still flickering like I had some kind of nervous twitch or something. She kept screaming my name.

“Will one of you please take her outside?”

Mike didn’t look away from me, but the door opened and closed and the screaming got a lot quieter and all muffled-like.
“Come on Lala. I still have to show you your surprise, remember?”
“She’s still fighting.” One of the doctors noted. Hell yeah I’m still fighting. I’m not ready to join my family just yet. I have a few more things that I still want to do before then and I don’t plan on ending those options due to a freak out in a hospital.
“Her heart rate is picking up. She’s stabili-”
And then there was darkness yet again. I took in a sharp breath. Why is it so dark again?! How many times can one person die in a lifetime? Last time I checked it was only once. Oh wait, ha, my eyes were still closed. I forced them open a tad bit too quickly and groaned at the bright lights and white walls of my hospital room. And what a site that room was. I couldn’t have been out for too long because they still hadn’t cleaned up. I hadn’t seen the color red this much since last Valentine’s Day. Oddly enough, this was more pleasant. I looked at my arm. It was clean and wrapped from my wrist to just below the top of my shoulder. I looked over and Mike was asleep and leaning on the rail of my bed. Nana was sleeping in a chair in the corner of the room to the left of me. I looked at the closed blinds on the window. It was hard to tell, but I was guessing that it was dark.
It was still raining. I love that sound of the little drops on the roof and various parts of the building. If they haven’t put the sound of rain on one of those relaxation CD’s that share aisles with potpourris and other relaxing things, then they should. I would seriously buy it. It could put me to sleep every night when it wasn’t actually raining. I was definitely in a pretty good mood. But would you expect anything less from a person who nearly died about three times in one day and still managed to live? I kinda wish that I would’ve had one of those hallucinations when you see the people that you’ve lost. That would’ve been nice. But I guess since I was technically with them when all of this happened, that feature was taken out of the package.
Glancing at my right arm, I giggled. The giggling was probably due to an unknown amount of meds pumping in my blood stream. Anyway, it had caught my attention that I now had an IV in my right arm since the one that was meant for my left arm had nearly ended my life. Strange how these things happen, don’t you think? I know I do!
I twirled the microscopic tips of Mike’s hair between my fingers slowly. He had been the last one that I had seen before my most previous blackout and that really calmed me. I struggled to sit up without making any noise. Surprisingly enough, I was feeling pretty good. I mean, I had only lost a bit of blood. It could have been worse.

Submitted: December 10, 2008

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awwww Mike's cute. It'd be pretty sweet to almost die three times and yet live. Delusional.. now that would be better!

Tue, December 23rd, 2008 3:39am

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