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“Grandma,” I ask staring at the sky, “will you take me one day?”
“Take you were?” She says confused.
“To visit mommy and daddy. In heaven.” I clarify. “So that we can play and bounce on the clouds together.”
Grandma looks at me sadly. I’ve seen that face before, when she’s disappointed at me, like when I don’t share. But this time its slightly different. I can’t tell what it means. She shakes her head. “You can’t bounce on clouds, Brianna. You would fall.”
“What’s wrong with falling?”
“Falling is never a good idea. Not when you can help it.”
“Would mommy and daddy fall?” I wonder.
Grandma shakes her head again. A tear slips down her face. Why is Grandma crying? Did I do something wrong? “They already fell,” she whispers.
“Grandma? Are we going now?” I ask clutching my Hello Kitty suitcase.
“Going where?” She appears from the kitchen.
“To visit Mommy and Daddy.”
She kneels down in front of me and grabs my shoulders gently. Tears leaked out of Her eyes again. “We can’t visit them.”
I blink. “Why not?”
There is silence for a moment and I begin to think of all my bargaining tools. Cleaning my room. Not complaining for an hour. Doing exactly what she tells me to for a day. “Because we can’t go to Heaven, Honey. We’d fall.”
I begin to cry. “I don’t care. I want to see mommy and daddy and they’re in heaven. Falling isn’t bad, Grandma.”
“Falling is very, very bad, Brianna. You have to believe me.”
“Where is heaven?” I ask my teacher, Ms. Rosemary.
“Why would you like to know, Brianna?”
“Because that’s were Mommy and Daddy are and Grandma won’t take me.” I say, pouting. “So I want to go alone.”
Ms. Rosemary gives me the same sad look as Grandma did. “But Heaven is a very long way, Brianna. Are you sure you would like to go alone? You would be very lonely.”
“I won’t be lonely when I find my mommy and daddy,” I assure her. “And then they might come home with me.”
Ms. Rosemary doesn’t answer. She covers her mouth with her hand and runs out of the room crying.
~10 years later~
It is a very long way down. I pity the person that finds me, splattered on the pavement. I hope I don’t land on someone. I don’t want to be a murderer and suicidal. But I’m leaving anyway. It’s not like they can throw me in jail.
Though that would defiantly land me a place in hell. And then it won’t be worth it.
The aroma of giving up must be leaking off of me. The last few days it seems that all I’ve heard is “are you okay?” No. I’m not. They left me. They all left me. My dad the war hero: shot in the chest. My mother by her own will. Was it because of me? Is that why she did it? It doesn’t matter because now she gets to spend all eternity with her “mistake.”
Then my Grandma. The only one who had stayed with me, now gone too. Taken in the middle of the night by the cancer she had secretly fought off for years. I had found her, then. Cold, unmoving, unseeing. She never told me.
I still remember those words; “Falling is never a good idea. Not if you can help it.” I’ve run out of options. Falling is the only thing I know.
I brace myself.
“Brianna.” I hear a voice behind me.
No, not him. Anyone but him. He is the only one that could possibly change my mind. But I don’t want it to change. I want to leave.
I don’t answer. Instead, I ready myself for the fall. A hand grabs my arm and I stop. It’s not like I can take him down with me. He doesn’t deserve that.
“Brianna, don’t,” he begs. I don’t look at him. “There are other ways. You can deal with this. ” He knows that he isn’t getting through. He tries a different approach. “What about Shelby and me? Your friends. What are we supposed to do with out you?”
I recoil. “I know what Shelby did,” I hiss. “I have no doubt that she will be perfectly fine without me.”
His frown deepens. “Then what about me?”
“You- you will be fine too.” I stutter. I don’t want that to be true.
He shakes his head. “No. I won’t. If you do this I will never be okay. Because I love you.”
I know he means it. “I- I love you too, James.” He smiles in relief. He leans in and kisses me. He holds me tight and kisses me for the first time. It’s just like everything I’ve ever imagined.
He pulls back. “C’mon. Let’s go.” He starts walking toward the elevator.
“I’m sorry.” I whisper. And then I jump.
“No!” he screams. But I am falling.
“Falling isn’t bad, Grandma.”