October 18, 2008
By Brenna Deerberg, Iowa City, IA

Your arms shake from the continuous strain brought on by the anger. Anger so intense that it seems to eat at your insides, burning with excruciating power, gaping holes in your former jubilance. Studying your red, raw knuckles you notice, apathetic, that crimson liquid is seeping from freshly made cracks in the abused hands that hover before your eyes. They’re seemingly detached from the rest of your body, as you pound mercilessly at your playful, pink and purple walls. The pain from your knuckles is all but lost in the ripping sensation that’s tearing at your chest. Gripping your sides tightly, you fall to the ground as you’re enveloped in miserable sobs.

“Why?” The loud, agonized voice is unfamiliar, but the grating sensation in your throat tells you otherwise.

“Why?” This time the unanswered question is quiet. Barely there, it whispers the very thing that has been plaguing you ever since six-thirty-four and fifty-seven seconds. Instead of eating dinner like every other night, you realize, not quite coherent, shock still numbing your thoughts, I watched him… he…

The glinting barrel flashes in your mind, sending a shiver down your spine.

“I loved you,” you whisper, not quite comprehending that he can’t, and never will be able to hear you.
Wispy blonde hair fills your minds eye and the rest of the world seemingly disappears. Eyes squeezed shut you struggle to keep the horrible, gory pictures from your mind, but are unable. The event runs on behind your eyelids without pause, each detail preserved perfectly in your memory.
You stood before the door, contemplating the voice of your brother, six-teen years of age, with a slightly confused expression clouding your face.
“No one loves me,” he says, a stony sense of finality coloring the usually mirthful voice. “No one cares. No one will care.” Comprehension dawns suddenly, and your mouth falls into a silent ‘O’ of horror. Your feet refuse to move from their place on the worn, off-white carpeting, as you scream at yourself to “MOVE!” inside the recesses of your mind. A click sounds from behind the closed bedroom door, and suddenly you can move again.
“No!” you scream as you barge into the sky blue bedroom. The odor of moist football jersey bites at your nasal passages, but you roughly shove the discomfort to the side. Tears fall in a torrential downpour down from your wet, ice blue eyes, and you suck in a sharp breath as you fully take in the sight before you.
“Carter!” As shrill as it is, your brother doesn’t seem to hear your voice at all. The black, oily barrel is dug into his scalp, but his face isn’t scared, or even really emotional. Rather, he looks at peace, and maybe even slightly contemplative.
Throwing all of your weight forward, you reach for the gun, seemingly in slow motion. Then, for one terrifying moment he turns and stares deep into your eyes. His aren’t void of emotion anymore, and you think you might even be seeing a sliver of regret in his stormy eyes, so different from your own. A fissure starts forming rapidly in your heart, and your life seems to end, or at least lose all meaning as it all ends suddenly.
There’s a click, and then you close your eyes, not wanting to see anymore. What you expect doesn’t appear to be happening though, and you peek from between your lashes to assess the scene before you. The gun is forlorn in the corner of the room, safety latch, mercifully, back in place. Your brother is seated on his blue denim comforter, staring at his hands as if they would supply the answers he so desperately longed for. Seeming like years later, his gaze slowly creeps it’s way up to yours, and you catch a glimpse of love radiating deep within his eyes.
He stands stiffly, and grabs the offending chunk of black metal. Fear claws it’s way up into your throat once again, and you feel as though you’ll be violently sick. But then, he walks to the window, opens it soundlessly, and throws the gun as far as he can into the woods lining the house. You suck in a breath of air, unaware that you had stopped breathing momentarily. He locks eyes with you again, walks over slowly, whispers something in your ear, and walks out.
“What did you mean Carter?” You’re voice sounds tiny and vulnerable, betraying how scared you were. How scared you are.
“Thank you.” The words taste of questions, confusion, and most of all relief. The corners of your lips lift slightly as you remind yourself that Carter is still alive, and still breathing. You’re not quite sure what those two words meant, just like you’re not really able to figure out why exactly he thought that the only way out of his troubles was to bloody his own hands. Maybe you’re not really even meant to know. Maybe his words are just a way to remember that everyone is loved, and that Carter is still alive. Maybe, just maybe you’ll know one day. Sooner or later, you’ll most likely know, but until then all you can do is guess.
Instead of eating dinner like every other night, I watched him figure something out about himself, and about me, and about love.

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This article has 2 comments.

reading617 said...
on Mar. 21 2009 at 4:49 pm
Great story. It really brings a reader's emotions to the surface.

rufdraft said...
on Mar. 17 2009 at 8:50 pm
Nice emotion!

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