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Every Forty-Seven Minutes
The halls echo with the squealing and fast chattering of teenage girls, manly “grunts” from the footballers, and couples lovey-doving by the lockers every forty-seven minutes. And every forty-seven minutes, I feel so forlorn and invisible. People stare right through me like glass, not understanding the knife that jams into me. School is just a constant reminder of the persistent guilt and pain I suffer, for this is the last place I saw him alive, before the morphine absorbed his life. The guilt controls me. Every forty-seven minutes, my heart tears viciously apart because in the crowd of the halls, Dylan’s face emerges as if nothing happened. His meatless creamed face covered with the explosion of freckles…his head swarming with dark chocolate curls, his eyes shining and glistening even from afar. His eyes are the color of the ocean, so dark, at twilight and his smile is beautiful. For a second, I would smile back and run towards him, forgetting that he no longer exists in the physical world, and when I get there…he disappears. School equals pain. Every forty-seven minutes, I would walk swiftly through the horde of teenagers and find that new kid opening locker 435, Dylan’s locker; he would open it carelessly not knowing anything about him, who he is, what he’s like, or even how special he is…I mean, was.
I feel as if school is my punishment for not telling anyone his plan to get high off of morphine; at least I do every forty-seven minutes. The cleaving of my heart and his haunting face never ceased; yet, I could forget the other forty-four minutes I was in class, because in my mind, I just didn’t have any classes with him. I could function.
I wish I could say that school would gradually deteriorate back to the way it used to be, that I wouldn’t see him as another face, missing him. Even on a good day, every forty-seven minutes like clockwork my insides immediately cringes and twists as I go through the halls to my next safe-haven, seeing Dylan’s heartfelt smile and sparkling eyes around every corner I turn. At least it did until a certain day that caused everything to change…
It was a day in September, cool and breezy in the morning, sizzling in the afternoon. The smell of salt burned my nostrils, predicting a rain storm coming from the Gulf of Mexico. Today is September the Twelfth. I feel nothing, numb. One year ago, to be exact, Dylan told me he was in love with me, that’s when I knew that he will always have my heart completely no matter what.
I climbed out of my beat up Chevrolet and sat under the willow tree hovering over his grave. The tombstone stood tall, up to my waist, light gray like the color of the sky when it weeps softly. His name is engraved beautifully into the granite marble stone:
“Brian Dylan Napps.”
I smiled at his name. I read the rest of his tombstone.
“Born-October 21, 1990. Died- November 15, 2007.
Beloved son, brother, and love.”
I froze on the word love. I will always love him. I want the whole world to know that, but would they know if they knew I didn’t tell the principal he took morphine because he got addicted? Would they know that I tried to help him? Would anyone truly understand and not doubt my love? I put the question out of my head. Instead, I kissed the tombstone, and tried to think of what I wanted to tell him.
“Hello.” I turned around and found myself looking up at a man, in his twenties, whom some would say was handsome, but I paid no mind. He is muscular, his eyes blue and sparkling…Dylan. He has Dylan’s eyes, I thought.
“Who are you?” I whispered, trying not to show my lip’s quivering. He shook his head sideways to move his long chocolate hair out of his face.
“I’m Liam.” He replied softly. “You?”
I paused. “I am Chloe.” Liam, I thought. I know this boy but it couldn’t be… Silence. I didn’t want to ask.
“Dylan was my brother.” He gazed into the floor. I poked my head up, staring at him. It is him.
“Liam?” He’s so skinny, and rugged looking. He doesn’t look the same at all, I noted.
“Coyote?” He popped a brow, and for the first time since Dylan’s death, I smiled. Liam and Dylan called me that because my snore sounded more like a coyote howl.
“How long has it been?” Liam took a seat next to me, leaning against the tree.
“3 days short of ten months to be exact.”
Liam kept tacit, not saying what I was thinking. The last time we both saw each other was at Dylan’s funeral. We haven’t actually talked to each other since several months before that, when he moved to Tennessee so he could be with Miranda, his fiancée.
“How’s Miranda?” I asked.
“We broke up.” For the longest time, Liam didn’t say anything. He kept staring at the tombstone, a tear forming in his eye. “She told me…she told me that it wasn’t going to work out because I wouldn’t be able to move on and she wanted to have kids really soon. She broke up with me because I was devastated about my baby brother. How f-” He didn’t finish the sentence. I put my hand on his, and murmured that it would be okay.
“Do you want to grab lunch and talk? We’ll come back right after.” Liam asked. He waited patiently for an answer.
“You know what? I would love to.”
Six Years Later
A sharp pain shot through my stomach, causing me to whimper. I groaned loudly.
“Ma’am, take a breath. Breathe in and out.” He did the stupid labor breaths from my Lamaze class.
“Somebody better get my damn husband now.” I yelled, trying to vanquish this agonizing pain. “He did this to me. I want to see him.”
“Chloe, calm down.” My doctor soothed. His hair is flaming red, his skin pale. Who let this twelve year old be my baby’s doctor?! The sharp blast of pain emerged once more.
“Nurse, how dilated is she?” The doctor, Dr. Sanders, asked.
“Sir, she’s ready.” She glanced up at him, waiting for an order.
“I need to see my wife.” I heard my husband faintly on the other side of the wall. Within seconds, he burst through wearing green sweats and a white mask covering his mouth.
“Hi baby. I’m so sorry I’m late.” He said, putting his hands on mine. I lost myself in his beautiful eyes, but only for a second.
I glared at him, directing all my anger towards him. “Baby,” he said. “Trust me; this child will be most precious. You’ll forgive me.” He smiled. I hate it when he smiles.
“AAHHH!” I yelped. This contraction was it. My baby’s coming. I’m going to die.
“Okay Chloe, I need a big push.” Dr. Sanders cheered. I’m going to kill this doctor. With all the energy in my body, I pushed. My stomach felt on fire, sweat running profusely down my face. I squeezed my husband’s hand, him whimpering but not daring to say a word.
Then, a soft cry filled my ears. I smiled, tears falling down. My baby, I thought.
Dr. Sanders smiled, handing my baby to my husband; his eyes welled up with tears as well.
“Well?” I asked, anxious.
My love looked me in the eyes with great intensity of happiness. “He has all ten fingers and toes. Great job, honey.”
He, I thought. “We should name him Dylan William, after you and your brother.” I whispered, remembering it was Dylan that brought Liam and I together. Our countless visits to his grave together.
Liam gave a weak smile then handed our son to me. How someone can love someone with great capacity after a few minutes, I didn’t have an answer, but I love this boy with all my fiber of being. His eyes…he has his Uncle Dylan’s eyes. A tear rolled down my cheek, and splattered on his forehead. I stared up at Liam, knowing that he was my love, knowing that Dylan was in my life to bring me to Liam. I miss him so much.
Dr. Sanders hesitantly asked, “Have you thought of a name?”
“Dylan William Napps.” I replied, not taking my sight off of this beautiful boy Liam and I created. His face is so smooth. He’s perfect.
“After every great sadness, follows a great happiness.” I said to my son. Liam gently put his hand on my shoulder, kissing my forehead. Time slowly past, spent on the sight of our sweet son. Son, I have a son. I engraved the word into my head. I have a beautiful son and his name is Dylan.