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Forever Has Fallen
This was never supposed to happen. I was vaguely aware of the man trying to ask me if I was okay, but I just couldn’t take it, I just didn’t care.
It was all a dream. Some horrible, sick dream that was never supposed to happen. Things like this never happened to me, to my family. We were the lucky ones. I had perfect parents that had been married for over twenty years, the sibling I actually got along with, a nice house, three cats, everything. But now it was gone.
The man called me again, but I still wouldn’t listen. All I could see is her bruised face underneath the blanket. Why did I do this? I heard a doctor come in ask if the woman under the sheet is, in fact, my mother, and the man gave a very rude reply. Oh f***, I knew Dad couldn’t take this. I had seen it on his face the minute I got to the emergency room. It would destroy him. And I would never, ever, have made my darling little brother do this either.
It had all felt like a bad dream until the moment I saw my mother’s caved-in cheek, the dried blood still by her lip. When my biology teacher had gotten the call in class, when I saw the look, I had no idea it would be this bad. When I picked up the phone and the secretary told me to get my things and come to the office, I still had no idea. When they said there was a taxi waiting, again I still had no idea.
How the hospital had looked the minute I saw it, I knew the vision would never leave my mind. Your mother was in an accident, your family is waiting at the hospital. Those words from the principal rang in my ears as I numbly had stepped through the doors, through the hallway, and into the emergency room. Even as I saw my father slumped in the worn chair, crying, f***ing crying, that sentence stayed on repeat. My brother wasn’t there yet. My father never cried, but I still had no idea everything would turn out so badly.
When I had silently sat next to my father and listened to the doctor, it all felt like a bad dream. His words came from a faraway tunnel as he told us mother had been in a car crash, and that she was dead. He refused to tell me anything other than she died on the way to the hospital. Even then, I still had no idea. I didn’t cry, I didn’t laugh, I just sat there. Your mother is dead. Those words weren’t real, they never were for a perfect family like us.
Time had no meaning for me as I silently sat there, not even thinking. I only formed a coherent thought when the police officer came, saying that he was investigating the crash. He told my father and I that they needed someone to identify the body, even though Mother’s wallet had been in her jeans. I could remember looking over and watching my shuddering father and grimly realizing what I had to do. Besides, it must have been a dream. This never happened to a family like ours.
The walk through the corridor had been dreamlike, almost as if I was floating without legs. We walked and walked, until I had to stand in front of a window. The room it looked into was blue and sterile, and in the center there was a single cot. There was a body under the sheet, I dimly realized. As I squinted I knew it didn’t look right. Part of where the legs should have been was gone, and also where the arm should be. But it still wasn’t f***ing real.
Then the man had put an arm on my shoulder as I watched the doctor step into the room and position himself over the body. He looked over at the man and he gave a nod, and then that’s when my world came crashing down around me.
Slowly the doctor lifted the sheet up, just enough so that I could see the face. The minute I saw what was under there my hand flew to my mouth. Underneath the blanket of death was my mother’s face, looking like it always should have. Except her pretty pale skin was tinted with blue, her flowing brown hair was matted, her nose caved in. But if you looked past all that, it was almost like she was sleeping.
Giving a gasp, I had stepped up to the glass, pressing my hand against the smoothness. She wasn’t supposed to be lying still like that. Mother was supposed to open her eyes now, sit up and smile at me, her green eyes crinkling around the edges like they always did. The damage was supposed to be gone and she was supposed to walk right out of that room and give me a hug. But she wasn’t going to.
My hands flung to my face as I slid against the wall and fell to the ground, my closed eyes still seeing the nightmare clear as day. This shouldn’t have happened. Never to her. I was alive and breathing while Mom was lying there, cold, disfigured, and dead. Oh f***, how she must have suffered. What had the b****** who crashed into her done? I wanted to kill him, kill the man beside me, murder everyone. Anything to bring her back.
Memories suddenly overtook me, bittersweet reminders of everything I had lost this morning. My mother and I had been as close as we could be. As I started to shudder I remembered the talks we used to have late at night. About what would happen to me when I graduated, boys, dreams, and everything she ever wanted me to be. How she couldn’t wait to see me walk down the aisle with my high school diploma, how talented I was, how nice I was.
As the tears started to cascade down my cheeks I remembered everything she gave to the world, to our family. Everything she suffered and worked for to give my brother and I the best childhood we could ever have. To keep us from being one of those failure families.
Suddenly, I saw her clear as day behind my eyes, smiling at me like she always did. I remembered last week when we were in the mall, and she’d just bought me this very expensive pair of jeans. She’d just laughed when I told her I had enough money to pay for them, and then rubbed my shoulder and told me I was a good kid and I deserved the gift. Suddenly I started sobbing in the hallway, thinking about everything I’d received because I was a “good kid.”
All the hopes and dreams she used to have for her family crushed me to death, making me crumple further onto the floor. My graduation was a day she looked forward to seeing the most, never suspecting that she’d end up under a blanket of death. I remembered how when we were out and we’d see an adorable baby, she’d dote. Then I’d joke with her about how she’d have plenty of time to play with my kids. Something that would never happen now, never even had a chance.
The doctor came into the hallway, and my sobs became near screams. When I was little, I could remember often coming up to mother when she was doing something around the house, and I’d bear a smile only the young can master.
“Mommy?” I’d ask her joyfully, and I remembered how she used to smile.
“Yes, Honey?” She’d answer, even though she probably already knew what I was going to say.
“I love you mommy, and I’ll love you forever,” I’d tell her, and then smile shyly. My smile would grow wider as I watched her fact light up, the “Mommy smile” I used to call it.
“Me too darling, me too. Forever,” she’d say back, before drawing me into a big hug.
And as I smelled her perfume the world was perfect, just my mommy and me.