Shut Up in my Bones

When I first told my family about my death, they didn’t believe me. It was the doctor that relayed the news; I was otherwise occupied lying with my jaw tilted to the left and my right index finger missing. No one took notice of my finger until the funeral, where they placed the finger delicately hidden beneath a blue carnation, a plastic one that would never expire in the long eternity my body would lie in a grace.

My family did not believe the doctor, though he wore that white coat that makes people always believe the doctor. My parents were obviously too distant from their school years to remember that most people are unable to live when they have lost the left side of their skull. It was odd to watch them respond, not like the movies. They just stood there, taking in a moment to allow the words to pass through their skulls. The doctor spoke of my condition, but my parents were still stuck on their sudden deceased daughter, my mother suddenly wondered if Kinko’s could fit our last name on a single line of the funeral card, silently cursing herself that she had not kept her short maiden name for the children. My father ran through a list of fictional numbers, formulating a postulate for the number of lasagnas he might get out of this deal.

If I walked to them and asked them what they were thinking at that moment they would state otherwise obviously as people never admit to thinking such selfish thoughts. Well some people do, but those are usually the well paid comedians.
My mother spent the four days after the funeral locked up in her bedroom sobbing. She stayed there until Tuesday, exactly a week after I had died, watching old soap operas and eating popcorn, occasionally she would let out a loud round of faux sobs, convincing anyone down the hall that she was indeed mourning, but in reality I found the sadness she possessed after my death only to be customary. She felt sad because she knew that was the way the world expected her to feel. She had loved me as well as my father, but no one would ever be able to decipher if these thoughts were only to meet a standard that the world forced upon parents.

My sister believed me when she was told I was dead. She had always told me she could feel it in her bones when something dreadful happened. She had only mentioned this to me once when I had to get my flu shot before she got home from school. I stood in the garage, putting on my purple rain boots that were four years too small, heading too get the paper. She looked at me and through she claimed it was in her bones I wondered if the small puckering bandage on my right arm gave anything away.

Out in the waiting room of the hospital I saw her lips moving slightly. I thought she was murmuring “Shut up in my bones.” She knew that she would never see her sister again yet she refused to believe the terror that was forming in the corners of her soul, the part of her that knew you don’t walk away from an accident like that.

A single tear, streaked across the side of her face, the only tear she shed until fifteen years later when she would become divorced and remember how alone the world makes you sometimes. I did not see any thoughts of flower arrangements, or how she might get my room now, which was the bigger of the two bedrooms. Beneath her purple eye shadow and mascara, I saw true sadness, not just for me but for the world, how empty it was slowly beginning to feel as her bones told her the misery my family was about to suffer.

In her expression I imagined that she was wishing all the things she might have told me while I was still alive. She might have told me more about verbs and the proper use of a thesaurus after she won five hundred dollars in the essay contest at school. Perhaps if she had taught me more about the usage of words this all would be a crazy dream and my death would be but an essay.





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deka9 said...
Jul. 9, 2010 at 2:06 pm

So the first time I read this I was like "Wow, this is amazing!" The second time, "Interesting, but very familiar..." The third time, "The Lovely Bones!"

Hahahaha, I know I am slow to get things right at first. So I love the point of view of looking-from-the-outside thing here, but it reminds me too much of The Lovely Bones. Sure, in the book, her family was searching for her murderer and all the while loved her. In your story, the sister seemed to be the only one who car... (more »)

 
banangela29 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 1, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Hm. I really liekd this piece, it was interesting and impressive. But there was something so...casual about the tone that made it both unnerving and mature at the same itme. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad hting.

great job, keep writing :)

 
Megaphone1927 said...
Jun. 28, 2010 at 12:43 am

Wow, this is really really impressive. I'm surprised that no one else has commented yet, cause this is one of the best (If not the best) thing I've read on this whole website.

I really like the bit where the parents were sad, but their thought were all completely selfish. It was all so real.

I know (I really know!) it's super-hard getting your work spread around this sight, so you gotta jump in to all those Forums and stuff and just force people to read a... (more »)

 
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