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There's Papa's Gone, over there in the corner, and on Mama's face, and even in Jeremy's painting. I didn't know Papa none too well, but I don't think that's a bad thing. Mama had a kitchen where she used to cook him meals, she doesn't anymore.

"What will we eat tonight?" I asked Susan after a day of walking around Central Park.

Susan had come to help my mother out when Papa's Gone happened. I don't know if they're sisters or what, but she's really nice. One day, Susan came home with little wooden carvings she'd bought in some exotic shop on 8th Street I think. She didn't tell us, but they were one of a kind, and very expensive. Mama warned me not to do anything foolish or lose it, so I put mine under my pillow. He was a bear. I looked at it for a long time after Susan gave it to me.

"He's incredibly strong, so don't you go off being afraid." And I wasn't.

"I don't know what we'll eat tonight, dear, what would you like?" She gently inquired.

That was the nicest thing about Susan. She covered Papa's Gone like a small insect under the rug. How badly I wished she would silently step on that tiny ruffle. How badly I wished that bug would suffocate under there, but Mama told me that hatred wasn't healthy, so I let it go.
Mama even seemed different after Susan. She began knitting again. She was bitter after she first saw Papa's Gone, scratching at the window. I think she opened the door to greet it, and it bit her, leaving gaping scars across her right leg. She also blamed Papa's Gone for the scars on her cheeks. They used to be so rosy, but now I associated that color with it. How I hated Papa's Gone. How I wanted to chase it until it ran out of breath and collapsed, and I would still chase it out of town. But Mama told me that if I ran myself ragged, I couldn't stand for what I believed.

"I think I'd like something sweet and soothing." I politely looked up at Susan.

"How about ice cream?" She replied.

"I would love some ice cream!"

"Grab your coat and ask Jeremy if he wants to come." She said, putting on her worn tennis shoes.

I went into Jeremy's room. His paintings were really powerful to me. He was sitting on his bed, with an easel leaned against it. His back was turned to me, but I saw a silhouette drawn in pencil on the canvas. I never understood why he waited to put paint in.

"I need to give it a body before I put in the soul."

"It must be awful sad without a soul," I dejectedly admitted.

Jeremy agreed to walk with us, he put on a black leather jacket. I think Papa's Gone had something to do with it. When I asked where Jeremy had gotten it, he said "The origin doesn't matter as much as the destination." I hadn't understood this too much, but I kept quiet because Jeremy knows a lot of things.

We all walked out into the crisp fall evening. It was that kind of weather you knew preceded snow, or a terrible rainfall, but I enjoyed it anyway.

"What are we going to do about rent?" Jeremy asked Susan. She handled our money, because Mama was always busy.

"Well I've made a fair amount with the pots this month..." Susan made and sold her own pottery, really pretty, shiny pots. Once, she let me have one she had made specially. It was all wrinkled and tall, like a worm reaching towards the sky. She told me I could put Papa's Gone in it if I ever found the blasted thing. I never did, and then I dropped the pot one day. It didn't hurt me at all, but it shattered into a million pieces. I thought if I left it there, Papa's Gone might run over it and die. But then I remembered stepping on glass a few years back. It hurt for a really long time until Susan came running and took me to the hospital. It was all white there, and the doctors were very nice. But although they were nice, I was surprised by their order. They didn't smile when they comforted me. They didn't hug me when they told me good news. They didn't say 'Goodbye' when they left the room.
"Nothing at all like Susan, but everything like Papa's Gone," Jeremy told me.
"...so we should be able to make it," Susan had continued through my thought.
"Those clouds don't look good, do they?" he asked me.
"I suppose not, but I know there's a blue sky up there somewhere," I jovially replied, in an attempt to lighten the mood.

We were on some nameless street now, and Jeremy and Susan were talking about some international event. Something about a tornado, sweeping people up and killing them like flies. Like Papa's Gone, but it's still living somewhere.

Finally, we got to the ice cream shop. We entered into the cool room on the corner of the street. A dog slunk out quietly before we closed the door. We ordered fairly quickly, and my brother and nanny ate theirs slowly and without smiling. I consumed mine with vigor and delight, I didn't care how quickly it left. While the others finished their dessert, I looked at a painting of a woman looking nervously at the door. She reminded me of Mama, but I wasn't quite sure why. We left as the street lights were turning on. Jeremy held the door for me and Susan, and others passing in. There was a smiling man, but something was off about him. I noticed the woman he was with wore the look a dog does when it walks through the rain. Only the child whose hands they held seemed happy, with an innocent grin. He reminded me of Jeremy a little bit, they shared the same hair color.

As soon as we began walking home, I noticed a tenseness in Jeremy. His fists were clenching repeatedly, and his strides were long. Susan either ignored it or didn't notice, so I walked closer to her. I ran ahead of them and pretended to look at a flower patch. I turned and saw a look in his eyes, the same look he wore when painting. When he and Susan reached me, he turned to her and said:
"I think I forgot my wallet at the ice cream shop, can I go back?"
"Sure," came the reply.

I remembered that Jeremy hadn't paid for the ice cream, and I think Susan did as well, but she didn't stop him. Jeremy certainly was a terrible liar, but I loved him for it.

About ten minutes later, when Jeremy caught up to us, his face was bloodied and his jacket was torn quite a bit. He had a look on his face that I cannot attempt to describe. Something between happiness and confusion.

"I found Papa's Gone."

And I smiled.





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somebody said...
Nov. 6, 2010 at 7:13 pm
thanks you... coming from a broken family this gives me hope.... thank you for thinking of us
 
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