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The Embers Within
It was half past 1 and the river was flowing peacefully outside. It had just stopped raining, and a rainbow overlooked the desolate city. I was on my way to my mother’s house –my parents separated when I was little- and I couldn’t wait to see her again. My baby sister Charlotte was there too, she was only 5.
I was riding my bike on a forest trail, and thinking about everything I’d learned in school that day. We were learning about the horrors of the Holocaust, how all those innocent people were killed by a single mans beliefs. How so many life’s’ were changed, and ruined, by that single though that Hitler had. I start to cry every time that I think about all the innocent children…and their parents.
I keep riding my bike…and try to block, and cooperate, with all the conflicting emotions going on in my head. I haven’t seen my mom in 2 months, because we had a fight over why I was going to live with my dad. He had a better house, and I felt safer and more reassured when I was with him. I couldn’t believe she had called me today and asked me to come over, in some ways I was happy to see her again, but in others I felt uneasy about my decision.
As my bike emerged from the forest I see the familiar signs of the old tree, the sign pointing to the community garden, and the huge oak trees lining the road. I take a deep breath and walk into my mother’s driveway, noticing her minivan parked in the garage. I ring the doorbell shaped like a compass, and hear Jasper, our German Sheppard puppy, yipping his heart out to the sound of my arrival.
I can hear Charlotte crying in the background, and my mom trying to calm her down.
“Hi Jackie, come in, come in,” she ushered me in the tall doorway.
“Hi Wendy,” I said, making sure not to call her mom. Trying to inflict as much pain as possible before I’m supposed to forgive her. She looked at me with that look in her eyes that showed the fury burning inside her.
“How have you been lately?” she questioned, feeling all the awkwardness that I was still creating.
“I’ve been ok…yourself?”
“Not too good…I’m SO sorry I missed your birthday, Jackie. But I was just too heartbroken to call, or talk to you at all for that matter. But I’m talking to you now and that’s all that matters honey. I love you and I’m never going to shove you away again like I did! Please don’t be mad at me, I just wanted to give you what you wanted, a life of your own. And I though taking myself out of the equation would fix that, but obviously it’s just gotten in the way even more. Now I haven’t seen you in 2 months and you’re probably missing your mother. I’m so sorry…”
“Mom, I know it’s been tough. It’s been hard for me too, but I think I want to visit you more often. Dad’s house is so BORING sometimes! And I miss Charlotte like no other! I missed you too, and I’m sorry I chose dad over you, ill never do that again,” I pleaded.
After a few heartfelt speeches we were back on track, and ready to be a family again. But the coals of heartbreak still smoldered inside me. We hangout the rest of that day, and she even took me and Charlotte to our favorite ice cream parlor in downtown.
Finally it was time to go home, and I kissed them goodnight and rode my bike home through the woods. The next day I couldn’t wait to go back over, but I had to do my chores before I could. When I was finished cleaning out all the bathrooms, and my room, I was back on my bike riding through the woods. I started seeing smoke as I was riding along, and hearing the sounds of fire trucks. I started praying for the poor souls that were in the fire, hoping that there weren’t any in the first place.
As I got closer to my moms house, the smoke continued to grow, and I got an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I started pedaling faster, and my head started to cloud over with uneasy thoughts. I heard a high-pitched scream….
“CHARLOTTE!” I yelled, and then I hopped off my bike and sprinted to my mother’s house with adrenaline pumping through me. I finally arrived at my mom’s house, windows melting, and floors caving in. The bright orange fire licked and nipped at the premises of the house, and the scream continued. The firemen yelled at me to stay back, but I couldn’t hear them. I was 20 miles away in my mind. I screamed and screamed, and the crystal tears trickled down my cheek as fast as the world would let them.
I dodged inbetween the fire trucks, and wiled myself to enter the burning premises. I clashed into the house, the smoke suddenly burning my eyes and filling my lungs. “MOM! CHARLOTTE! WHERE ARE YOU?!” I screamed, ignoring the burning agony surrounding me. I heard them softly scream, and ran into the living room.
“We’re in here, Jackie!!!!!” my mother screamed. And I used my last breath to take the leap over the couch. I scooped up Charlotte, and realized my mom was trapped under the huge grandfather clock in our living room.
“MOM! WE HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE NOW!!!!!” I yelled at the top of my lungs.
“I’m sorry honey, but im going to have to sit this one out,” My mom croaked.
The firemen ran in to get me and Charlotte. We jumped through the burning door and face-planted straight in the front yard. I felt the blood trickle down my face…but I tried not to sink to the blackness. When I finally succumbed to the cold, dark, scary thing trying to take me over, I felt suddenly better. And then I felt nothing at all.
When I awoke, all I could see was white light. I heard the beep, beep, beep, of the heart machine to my left. And the liquid trickling down into my IV. I started to cry, but found I was barely able to move my face. I saw a mirror above me, and found that I couldn’t even recognize myself. I was wondering where my mother and Charlotte were, but I think I already knew. They were gone. They were in that fire longer than me, and I was already unrecognizable. I started to cry longer, and hit the nurse button repeatedly, because I wasn’t able to wipe away the tears.
A nurse walked in, her hair was onyx black. Her eyes kind, but slightly depressed.
“Was there something I can help you with?” she asked.
“Do have any…information…about my mother and sister?” I questioned my heart about to fly out of my chest.
“Would you like some water, juice? Anything?” Her voice shaking.
“No…thank…you…” I managed to choke out. “Where’s my mom?” I asked again.
“Your dads waiting to see you, I’ll send him in,” She said, trying not to look at me.
My dad walked in, followed by an elderly women with kind eyes.
“Hi honey, we’ve got some bad news for you…” He said, his tear stained eyes quivering. “This is Dr. Russo, she wants to talk to you about some stuff,”
“ Hi Jackie, I’m afraid that in the fire…your mom wasn’t able to make it out. The grandfather clock trapped her, and she couldn’t make it. Ill be here all day, just press the nurses button if you need me,”
“I…I…I….I want to be alone, thank you so much..” I said as I burst into tears.
“Oh honey, don’t cry, can I stay in here and talk with her Dr. Russo?”
“No, im afraid its best for her to be alone right now, let’s go,” she said as she walked out of the room, into that desolate hallway outside my door.
I had no idea what to do, nowhere to run to, and nothing to think of. I was in shock, utter shock. I thought of every moment I shared with my mother, all the moments that were supposed to happen and never will. I scanned the room, for something, anything. And then I saw it. A clean syringe. I immediately knew what to do, and I was determined to do it. I would end this life. Make all the pain end. I wouldn’t live in this world without her. With all the strength left in my body I got out of the hospital bed, and walked over to the table with the syringe.
I picked it up, thinking where I would do it. Neck, or heart. I chose neck, cause it would be much faster. Only 6 seconds till I would be gone. And then a noise, a noise I could recognize in a heartbeat. Charlottes crying. I couldn’t leave her in this world alone…I put down the syringe, ashamed in my decision. And crawled back into my hospital bed, wishing for my reality to be mistaken as a dream.