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Turn Around

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I was reaching for my jacket when a box toppled on top of me from the top of my closet. Carefully manoeuvring around the mess, I was about to leave the room when I turned back. I shouldn’t leave Todd waiting, but I couldn’t leave my room in such ruin either. My room hasn’t changed at bit in four years. The desk is in the same place with a book shelf right beside it. I keep my school supplies in the same corner of my desk, right underneath a long window that points to the backyard. My bed lies on the opposite end of the room, which is a little too close to the closet. It was okay when I was four years smaller, but I’ve grown since I was twelve years old and now there’s an inadequate amount of space to get around, hence why this box of my old stuff toppled over.


I hadn’t seen that stuff in years. I had kept an old and ratty soccer ball Todd and I used to jostle around outside inside the box, along with a notebook full of stories my younger sister and I would write together. I had even kept the pen I used to write with; although I’m pretty sure it’s dead now. I also had the football my dad and I used to play catch with in that box. Why did I keep so many useless things?


My baseball cards had scattered under the bed and it took me a little while to dig them out. Todd was going to be mad at me for being late, so I decided I could leave it be until I got back. It’s not like anyone would see it.


That’s when something shiny caught my attention. It wasn’t shiny exactly, but it did reflect the light from the window into my eye. Curious, I picked it up. It was an old photograph of a beautiful woman wearing a nicely fitted light dress. Her back was to the camera, and she held a little boy’s little hand, and cradled a small baby girl in her arms as she walked up the steps. It was like she was frozen in time. It was as though even though she’s long gone, she’s still there, trapped in a photograph.


I stood up and faced the window, a memory striking me as I did so. The last time I had seen my mother was through that window which shows our backyard so clearly. She used to sit on the back porch all the time, as if waiting for time to pass so it would change something and make her happier. Every once in a while I would go out to the back porch and talk to her, but one day I stopped; the day before the last time I saw her.


[i] “Mom.” Sometimes that was the only thing I would say, and we would just sit for the next little while in silence.

“Andrew, I know you mean well but I want to be alone right now.” [/i]

I can never remember what her face looked like. Whenever I picture her, I only see the woman in the photo with her two children in tow, or just her back from what I could see from my window. Dad always described her eyes as a hazy grey, like a cloud drifting in the sky; a cloud that’s drifting away.


Feeling a little lonely, I put the picture face down in the box only to reveal a second picture underneath. It was a picture Todd had brought to my house to laugh at. It never ended up leaving the house and had me thinking. It was a picture of two men kissing with “Day of Pink” scrawled in sparkly letters on the bottom right corner. The picture fascinated me from the moment I saw it. What if two men really could fall in love? How romantic would that be? Is it okay if I fell in love with a man one day? I knew it was odd for a twelve year old boy to be thinking about that sort of thing, but there it was nonetheless.


[i] “Mommy! Mommy!” My little sister Sandra ran onto the porch. “I found this on Andy’s bed! Ewww two men kissing!” Sensing my anger, she ran back into the house, but not before dropping the photograph on my mother’s lap.

My mother looked down at the picture and didn’t say a word.

“Mom, I-”

She let out a long sigh that silenced me. That’s when I knew. Having children in the house stressed her out. She was exhausted, yet she still had me and Sandra bothering her all the time. It was my fault she was like this. Mom and Dad would have been better off if I was never born!

“Mom, I’m sorry.” With that, I walked back into the house and shut the door. [/i]

That was the last thing I ever said to my mother, and it was the end of those thoughts racing through my mind. The last thing I ever did to her was close the door; shut her off from her home. It’s my fault entirely. I should’ve taken all the blame. If I had never been born, would they have been happier? Would Mom still be alive?


“You failed to meet me on time, Andy. I thought there’d be a better reason for you to be late than you just sitting there looking at a picture.” The sound of Todd’s voice took me completely by surprise and snapped me away from my thoughts. Before I knew it, Todd was behind me, looking at the picture too. “Reminiscing, are we? Wasn’t that around the same time I tried to kiss you and you pushed me away?”


“Oh, shut up.” I placed the photo back in the box and turned to face Todd, which was a mistake.


“Hey, Andy, what’s wrong? The whole kissing thing was a joke, you know.” Todd’s expression turned from pleasure to concern as he read my expression. Why can I never hide anything from this guy?


“Nothing’s wrong.” My lie was feeble, and I knew it. But what more was I supposed to do? I never talk about my mother… at least not with honesty.


“It’s your mother, isn’t it?”


I looked away to hide my thoughts. He’s so invasive! But I trust him.


“Andy, look at me.” Todd has really beautiful eyes. “I think you’ll feel a lot better when you say goodbye.”


“What do you mean?”


Todd picked up the photo of my mother and pulled his car keys out of his pocket. “I’ll show you.”


We drove for a good half hour, Todd listening as I told him about my mother. I told him what I told everybody; she was a kind and gentle woman that mostly kept to herself.


“You and I both know that’s not true. I’ve met your mother; I mean, I’ve been practically living at your house since we were little. You always seemed awkward around her, like you were fighting. Not to mention all of those hours she spent on your porch. I think that’s a little more than ‘keeping to yourself.’”


“I’m not sure she cared enough to fight or argue.” In all of my memories of my mother, she never once raised her voice or got angry. Irritated, maybe, but not angry.


Todd made a sharp turn and I fumbled blindly for something to hold onto, settling for something soft to my left.


“Is the blindfold really necessary?”


“Scared?”


“Of course not!”


“Then why are you gripping my arm so hard?”


I could imagine him smirking. Embarrassed, I let go but felt my cheeks reddening anyway.


Eventually Todd stopped the car, and I could hear his door open and close, so I fumbled with my seatbelt. Like the gentleman he wasn’t, Todd opened my door for me and took my hand. I was feeling bizarrely feminine at that moment.


“Can I take off the blindfold, now?”


“No.”


Todd, leading me by the hand, had taken me somewhere where the air was crisp and cool and the only thing I could hear was the north wind that blew through my shirt and the crunch of the autumn leaves beneath our feet.


I shivered. Todd made me leave before I had a chance to put on my jacket. He just put on the blindfold and was off. It was almost like a kidnapping...


Todd must have seen me shivering because he put his arm around me. "Is that better?"


"I can handle the cold better on my own, thanks." Todd removed his arm and I almost regretted telling him off.


“It’s okay to take off the blindfold now.”


The light blinded me at first, but after I blinked a couple times I could see an elegant marble stone with the words “Beautiful Maria Thompson Whose Suicide Leaves Us Pained” engraved on the surface. I really hated those words. Whoever chose them was out of their mind!


“I know you haven’t visited her grave since the funeral. Are you alright?”


“Everything’s just fine.” My lie, as usual, was feeble. There’s not much point in lying to Todd anyway. “It’s not really okay. I can’t say I miss her, because I really don’t. Watching her be like that every day was painful. It’s just that… the last thing I ever said was ‘I’m sorry’, but she never forgave me. And now I can’t help but keep being sorry.”


A spark went into Todd’s eyes as he got an idea. He pulled a marker and my mother’s photo out of his pocket.


“Let’s send her a message.” He handed me the marker and the picture with excitement. “If you could tell her anything, what would it be?”


“There’s plenty I want to say to her.” I had no idea what to say.


“Good; then write it down.”


I was at a loss until I remembered the one thing I regretted never telling her, and wrote it on the upper left corner. The final ‘m’ curled on top of her hair. Todd pulled out his lighter and we held it together, letting the picture burn as I let it go. The flame floated downwards gently as it consumed the picture. For a moment I could see my mother turn around and as she looked at me she smiled. I felt compelled to speak aloud the words I had written.


“I love you, Mom.”


The flame died out and the ashes floated onto the marble grave stone, covering the word ‘pained’. I could feel tears running down my cheeks for the first time since the funeral. I hadn’t realised how hard I had become.


Todd tenderly wiped my face, resting his fingers on my cheek. I turned to him and looked into his eyes; his beautiful, beautiful eyes. I felt like now it was okay to do what I’ve wanted to do for so long.


After a moment’s hesitation, I kissed him.



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This article has 5 comments. Post your own!

boundlesswildflower said...
Nov. 17, 2013 at 7:59 pm:
Oh WOW! ITS PURELY AMAZING AND SO..... (*sorry I'm speechless). I love the many life morals i (and I'm sure many others) could and will take from that. You have shown us that no matter what someone has gone through, they can still do whatever they wish for, that there is always free will even when your restricted by others. You have literally made my day by this moral. I enjoyed every second I spent reading this piece and will for sure read others of yours. Keep being you, and thanks aga... (more »)
 
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FMercuryBMay said...
Oct. 23, 2013 at 4:36 pm:
Wow! That was deep! Who knew there could be love in a death?
 
Kindle replied...
Oct. 23, 2013 at 5:02 pm :
It's not so much that there was love in her death, but I get what you mean :) Thanks for the feedback!
 
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WhenYouCantSleepAtNightThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Oct. 23, 2013 at 4:31 pm:
Yo i like it c:
 
Kindle replied...
Oct. 23, 2013 at 5:01 pm :
I'm glad :)
 
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