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Different Ending to Lovely Bones
After I left my parents in the hospital, I went to watch Ray Singh. We had been fourteen together, he and I. Now I saw his head on his pillow, dark hair on yellow sheets. I had always been in love with him. I counted the lashes of each closed eye. He had been my almost, my might-have-been, and I did not want to leave him any more than I did my family. Since my death, he had thought of me, it was this connection--- this love, which bound us. Like the others, he felt my presence, and as I watched his motionless figure, I knew that I could break away.
Ever since the police had stopped searching for my body, the details of the murder consistently haunted Ray. Being a suspect, the feeling of powerlessness had confined him, causing him to cry out in the night. This evening , his face was calm, perfect, but I had seen him twist and thrust in fear, it was then that I had realized the vulnerability of sleep.
I had crossed over only as a shadow, this time I’d be a dream. Ray turned in his sleep, letting out a breath of warm air. As I tried to remember how that breath had once felt on my cheek, I could begin to feel myself drifting. Capturing the images he dreamt I grew farther and farther from Heaven, voices trailing after me. Finally, the atmosphere shifted and I was at the back entrance of school, identical to 1973.
Ray had dreamt of me before, but the aura which surrounded me was blatantly otherworldly. He slowly approached me, each step a little younger. His dark eyes met mine and we embraced in complete comprehension. I could feel his breath. For what felt like hours, as it sometimes does in dreams, we stood together. I watched as different sceneries flashed across us, us remaining the only constant. In some ways, dreams were a lot like heaven, but I knew I would need to go back soon and as if reading my thoughts, Ray broke the silence.
“Susie…” he said “Have I died?”
I looked at him in shock, unable to answer.
“No…Of course not.” I stammered, feeling a tug. “This is a dream, or like one, only I’m here, and I’m real.” I put out a hand toward his face.
He looked down, as if he had already known, “I’m not going to ask how.” he said, “I’ve known that there are more things to this world than I’ll ever be able to understand, but I also know you never really left us.” He paused, and pulled away. “Tell me what it looks like.”
I immediately understood he was talking about Heaven, and only answered in hopes of staying longer. “Sometimes it looks like the high school. I replied breathless. “but it doesn’t always look like that, it looks like anything you’ve ever dreamed.”
“Can you see yourself there?”
“I’m here right now.” I said.
“But you’ll be gone soon.”
I would not lie. I bowed my head. “I think so Ray, yes.” We kissed then, and at that moment, I felt complete, apart from all the problems that encompassed me since my death. My body began to lift away from his, the scent of skunk in my nose again.
“Don’t go.” he said, and his eyes, those shining gems, shut and I could feel the shallow breath of sleep from him.
Though a million things came to my mind, I knew what was most important. “You have to read Ruth’s journals.” I said “Lead her to the earth’s mouth.” As I disappeared I smiled as reassuringly as I could and once again I was in heaven, Franny rushing toward me, For those few moments, I experienced what heaven should have felt like.
The following morning Mr. Connors cut out an article from the paper and saved it for Ruth. It was a detailed drawing of the Flannigan sink hole and how it was going to be filled. As she got into Ray’s car she waved the clipping at him. Ray hadn’t forgotten about the dream he’d had, but the realness our kiss had scared him, and he’d chose to not think about it. As he caught a glimpse of the clipped paper she held in her hands, a chill ran down his body. Ruth immediately caught the difference in atmosphere, “Are you okay?” she asked, but Ray was already reversing out of the driveway.
“What’s happening with the sinkhole?” he asked as he looked back.
“They’re patching it up but…” Before Ruth could even ask the question she realized what was going on. Ruth had always had an acuteness, and since I changed her life that day she had known about me. When the car finally stopped they simultaneously stepped out.
The only signs of change since Mr. Harvey had delivered me up the Flannagan’s were the orange pylons set up around the lot. That and the evidence the sinkhole had expanded.
“What happened to the Flannagans?” Ray asked as they walked toward the edge, though she knew he was only filling nervous silence. “My father said the cooperation that bought the property gave them a settlement and they took off.”
They crossed the empty road “It’s spooky around here Ruth.” Ray said. The ground grew soft and convex, drawing in items placed on top of it,
Ruth tiptoed up to what she took to be the edge. “Ruthie” Ray said “That’s close enough.” Ray came beside her. And all three of us watched the corner of something metal as it rose.
“The great Maytag of sixty-nine” Ray said.
They both stood at the edge for a very long time, watching each item slowly lift from the ground. Finally, the small metal safe lifted up and Ray stared. “That’s it, isn’t it Ruth?”
Her head lifted up and thoughts of me flashed through her mind, “Even if it was, does it make a difference Ray?” Without responding he walked back, the look in her eyes was enough.
Ruth stayed over with him that night, but Ray couldn’t fall sleep soundly. He thought about the dream, the safe, what Ruth had said. Overnight their world had changed, it was that simple. Around three A.M. he stirred, and reached out for Ruth’s bags which lay under the moonlight. Inside was her journal. He lifted it out and began to read.
“At the tips of feathers there is air and at the base: blood. I hold up bones; I wish like broken glass they could court light…still I try to place these pieces back together, to set them firm, to make murdered girls live again.”
He glanced over at Ruth, to make sure she was still asleep. “Goodbye Susie.” he said, and closed the book. I watched carefully as he kissed the journal and placed it back in her bag. The living cannot raise the dead, he thought to himself, and the dead shouldn’t try to raise the living.
I thought about my parents in the hospital, they were still conflicted and hurt, but somehow whole again. Even before my death, life had been a struggle, but I realized Ray was right. I closed my eyes and my view of earth disappeared. Stepping back , feelings of Happiness and warmth encompassed me, emotions I had never felt so strongly in heaven before and my world changed completely, as I watched Franny wave goodbye and my Grandfather approached me, I smiled. “You haven’t abandoned them.” my grandfather said, “They will always know you’re there.”
My name was Salmon, like the fish, first name Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered, and for some time I tried to attach myself to those still alive.
My name is Susie Salmon and I live in heaven. You don’t have to forget about who you love, you just have to let them keep living.