That night, I gazed up at two luminous eyes, radiating luminescent blue, like the crystal blue of an ocean. The beast stepped back. I couldn’t stop looking at those eyes, those aquamarine pools, the eyes of my father. The beast roared as the sky groaned and grumbled signaling the beginning of a storm. Then lightning danced across the sky and raindrops fell in unison.
I turned around to see my dad, his shirt hanging from a lamppost and his body dangling underneath. His eyes were identical to the beast behind me, his mouth was gaping open and his eyes were wide. A scarlet ribbon of blood lapped across his neck and red carpeted the floor. Blood. Blood everywhere. I was intoxicated by all the blood. The last things I saw were my dad's ghostly blue eyes and the beast melting away into the shadows.
I awoke in a sweat and one tiny tear streamed down my face. It's been two years since my dad was gruesomely murdered. He was part of the CIA and... let's just say, he definitely made enemies. It’s been three years since I lost someone very important to me, I’m still having nightmares. It’s almost the same dream every night and I always see that beast.
“Jaaaaaade!” My mother melodiously called from downstairs. Jade Addison Calloway. I was an average tenth grader from Boston. I went into my washroom to fix my hair. One of the unkept strands was flying out to the left. Hmmmm. How did I look? Well, to me they weren't anything to brag about... but my self esteem definitely dipped even more after my dad died. I looked at my luminous brown eyes and voluminous brown hair with its intricate curly strands making it very hard to flat iron. So tightly curled that I have to meticulously iron each strand. My pale complexion could use some highlighter and maybe a bit of foundation but my mom would agree to disagree. I waved goodbye to my mom and took the bus to school. School passed like a series of photographs click: Kathryn, the MEAN GIRL, pouring cranberry cocktail on my blue Guns n’ Roses t-shirt on purpose, CLICK, Samantha and all the girls giggling, CLICK, racing through pages of math, CLICK, taking the bus home.
My days seem to be on repeat: the same non-events repeating over and over again. And my dreams keep coming to me in my sleep, again and again. That night, there was a slight change: the beast spoke to me.
I was bewildered by the sound of its voice. “Feel the pain, feel it” it kept repeating. “Feel what?” I kept asking it. Could I communicate through dreams? The beast kept rubbing it’s soft fur against me in snake like movements. Then my dad appeared. My heart began pounding faster than the spread of a wildfire.
My dad's eyes widened and he whispered, “Move on. I'll always be in your heart.” He put his hands on the left side of my chest and then pulled me into a hug.
The day my dad died I never got to say goodbye. He came into the kitchen with a big smile on his face and asked if I wanted to go play basketball in the park. I used to play with him all the time. He taught me everything I know. I was on a rep team until he died and then I gave up on just about everything.
That day when he asked me to play I just shut him out. I ignored him. He looked crushed. Then, only a few minutes later, I heard a ear splitting gunshot and a terrified scream. I raced to save him and, as in all my dreams, he was hanging from a lamppost with red exploding across the walls like fireworks. Just like that he was gone. You really don’t appreciate the people you love until you lose them.
My dad’s soothing voice danced across my ear drums. “You haven’t lost me Jadey! I’m here within you. Remember - be strong!” He kissed me on the cheek and disappeared.
“No!” I cried. “Don’t leave me.” Sadness consumed me leaving excruciating pain gnawing at me on the inside. After two years of mourning and sobbing, I now kept all my emotions on the inside. Then I awoke and burst into tears. Tears streamed down my face soaking my pillow.
“Dad! Dad!” I cried. “Dad, I miss you.” Rage began to consume me, boiling my blood. I began furiously hitting me pillow. And then, just like that my anger diminished and I was empty, like a deep dark abyss where there is no life for miles.
I forced myself to get up and get ready and walk to school. My friend Kate Justin walked with me. I wasn’t alone anymore. Suddenly my actual life came into focus and all my present day problems resurfaced.
Kathryn was number one! Kathryn, a classmate, but more importantly, a MEAN GIRL, was leaning against her silver Volvo. She was the first person to get a car in our whole grade. Her lips were puckered and painted a ruby red, her was bouncy and blonde hair and was cascading down her back. Uhh! So perfect! It made me envious and mad and hate her all at once.
As I passed by, she plastered a condoling look on her face. She reached out and put her hand on my shoulder, and squeezed it in a falsely comforting way. Then with her blue eyes, she glared at me voraciously, almost like a cheetah stalking her prey.
“Loooooser!” She hissed and then flipped her hair and strutted away like she was on the catwalk.
Then Stacey, a girl I’m not friends with, but friendly with, yelled, “Come play basketball with us, Jade!” I hadn’t played basketball for over a year and a half and everyone thought I was throwing away all my talent. I loved basketball and still wanted to play that so badly, but had felt shaken to the core with the death of my father. It had all seemed so pointless. Right now, nothing gave me pleasure anymore - even basketball.
But then, a tiny voice in my head impulsively blurted out, “Sure!”. I was eve surprised myself. I apprehensively walked over to the court.
Stacey organized everyone into two squads and we played a mini game. I was power forward. At first, I was a little rusty, having not played for so long, but then I got the hang of it.
The first time I received the ball right in front of the basket I grew so nervous it felt like my lungs were going to explode. I was hyperventilating. I took a deep breath, and tried to slow things down. I focused on making the basket - blocking everything else out - even my dad’s death - I launched the ball. It was danced, twisted and turned in the air. Then….it went in!
Euphoria burst through me like a growing flame. Stacey came over with all her friends and flung me in the air. I felt a rush and I grew hot with an old, familiar feeling of excitement - one that I had had in a long time. I felt connected to the basketball, and began playing basketball everyday like I used to with my dad. I was flying through people, and every shot on the basket was quick and meticulous.
Maybe life is still livable without him. What are you thinking! I felt an anchor of guilt drag me down. I miss him so much! How do you move and feel joy without feeling like you are betraying your love?
When I finally got home that night, my mom was at the door waiting for me. She had a frantic, worried look on her face. “Where have you been? You’re barely passing your classes, not spending time with your friends, you need to find a purpose to go on.“ She blurted out before she could stop herself.
My high from the escape in playing basketball evaporated. “I was playing basketball….” I started and then like with a pin in a balloon, I deflated, “Oh, I miss him mom!” I exclaimed. “I really miss him!”
I burst into tears. The tears danced across my face, reaching my mouth tasting like sea salt. My mom pulled me into a tight embrace. It felt wonderful but it was bittersweet as I felt the physical pain of the overwhelming desire I had to smell my dad's familiar fragrance; to see the look on his face when he was meticulously planning something for us to do ...that ‘Sunday afternoon’ ...usually at the basketball court.
I took in my mom’s light, floral fragrance - trying to make up for the ghost. My tears began to mix with her tears. They blended together like a salty smoothie. “Jadey, I’m proud of you for playing basketball.” She paused and looked at me in the eyes, holding my head with her hands. “See, Sweetie! You can move on. He would want you to make new friends, try new things….live your life. You can still miss him but, you have to Live your life .”
I went to my room and did my homework. I will try to move on, I repeated to myself over and over.
“Ring! Ring! Ring!” It sounded like my phone was having a panic attack from all the text messages flowing in. It was an unknown number:
Unknown : Toot toot one way ticket to loooooser ville!
Loved ur sweater, If it was for ur 2 year old baby sister ;)
Go to hell!
Then 1 final text
I could keep insulting you loser but I actually have a life so bye.
I knew it was Kathryn and her clones trying to screw up my day. I threw the phone away in disgust. I heard my phone Ring Ring again. I picked it up and was ready to toss it out the window. But I thought I saw the name Stacey...and I cautiously looked at the screen. My mood instantly lifted when I read the next few texts:
Stacey: You were really good playing Bball 2 day!
Me: OMg Thanks!
Stacey: You basically won for the whole team!
Me: AWW thanks :D!
STacey : We’ve become such good friends why haven’t we hung out, You must come over tomorrow!
Me: Thanks we can hang I want to so much!
Stacey: Gotta go.
Me: Me 2 can’t wait to see you.
I put the phone down. And breathed in. And then out. I felt out of this world. I felt like I was floating next to my dad, looking down on me. And suddenly, I felt calm. I felt the first hint of that ….it may be alright in the end?
I realized that it felt good to make a new friend! People care about me. My mom does care about me. I love my mom! And I appreciate my friends Jason, Katie and Stacey.
That night I dreamed the same dream: the beast with my dad's eyes spoke again. “I am your inner, most ugly emotions!” He seethed. The beasts blue eyes widened. “Your negative emotions are decreasing and that can’t be! I need you to feel pain! You need to cry! I want you to miss your dad with so much sorrow you can’t go on. Make it gnaw on your heart. Feel the excruciating pain.”
“No!” I cried. “I am strong! My dad would be happy for me to move on! I can make it. I love you daddy!”
Wind whipped through my hair as the beast roared. The leaves picked up in the wind and danced - clinging to my hair. Tears streaked my face. And I cried “No, no, no!”
The ground broke and rocks, like jagged teeth, jabbed at my feet. The wind shrieked, making me cringe and cover my ears. The sound of thunder pounded in my ear drums. It seemed as if the sky began to fall. The weight of air filled with rain raced to the ground and the clouds did pirouettes in the wind.
Then suddenly, it all stopped.
Silence. The deep, luminous gray of the sky vanished leaving a translucent blue sky. Then, just as suddenly, there was an explosion of light of all the colors of the rainbow filling the air.
The beast began shrinking. “No no no!” He shrieked - then he exploded with colors flying everywhere.
A meadow materialized in his place. I heard the melodious hum of crickets, and a saw a crystal waterfall cascading down to a field of flowers, where seas and seas of beautiful wildflowers sprouted. Little rabbits played tag over emerald grass. Vibrant colours danced across my eyes, reflecting brilliantly against the sun.
And then, ...my dad appeared. His blue eyes looked clear and beautiful against the sun. His brown hair flailed in the wind. I started to tear up as I reached to him. My heart was aching but I wasn’t suffering anymore. I realized that I could let him go and still have a piece of him in my heart forever.
I raced up to him and wrapped my arms around him. We stood there, in a tight embrace, taking in each other’s warmth. Aah! My dad's fragrance - at least I’d smell it one last time.
“I love you, Jadey!” He whispered. Then he slowly melted into the sky. “I love you daddy!” I whispered back. I was left in my own tranquil delusion, in my dreams. My mind was finally at peace.