Sometimes the days just get longer and harder. Tears turn into screams that blur my vision. I find myself drinking my salty tears in hopes they never return. Breathing at times can be a strenuous activity, thinking about how to engage my abdomen, expand my lungs, and follow through. The feelings of sorrow from missing him run through my veins, like carbon dioxide. It makes my arms pulse with intensity. It has become harder to live, harder to sustain a normal life when your true sustainer has left for good. Ever since my oldest brother Leo died, it has become a difficult battle pretending to still be merry as his younger sister. Pretending to show a smile in public is a problem I have not yet mastered. Neighbors worried about my well-being bring fruit baskets, bags of tea, and offer stupid corny advice that I really don’t listen to. Thinking of Leo and how much I miss him makes me want to crawl into my own skin and shun out the world forever. He was only 19 when that blue Honda truck ran him over, no stop or stutter involved. He worked at Connely’s Cars shop and fixed up trucks for Harold Connely’s customers. It wasn’t something Leo was proud of, yet it gave him good money to support us comfortably. My mother was never a huge positive influence on us and every bit of money she earned from being a waitress went straight towards buying more alcohol for her growing collection. Everything seemed normal. Until one moment when Mr. Connely forgot that one of his trucks was running and happened to be the car my brother was working on. In one continuous motion, he was out of my life, never to return again. Screams and cries were not legible over the sound of the roaring engine, hushing the entire shop until there was silence. I remember walking home in the dusk of night, after seeing his limp body lay weak and flimsy across the floor. He guided me through everything I needed, especially with our drunken delusional mother. At times, he would hold and console me, kiss my forehead and remind me that things would be over soon. He would wrap me in his arms and cradle me to his chest until the drunken hisses and smacks vanished. The warmth of his strong body comforted me, at times falling asleep. He made the make sense. He made my world make sense. Losing him was one of the hardest things I had ever had to do.
Today was the day I dreaded for years, his first year anniversary. Visiting the graveyard again is like opening a scarred wound, despair setting in my heart. I don’t know if I could see his grave site again; I could hardly make it through the first time I saw him in that casket, cold and clammy. I realized the harsh reality of my brother before me as I spotted the location. Walking on the stone path leading to hundreds of graves makes my skin crawl, feeling like tiny bugs escaping through all of my pores, chewing through my flesh. Why is this harder than I thought? Who would have guessed I would be the one to bury my older sibling. I can’t do this. I can’t even muster a strong face when I read the engravings listed below his name. As I begin to trace my brother’s name pressed into the hard cement, I wipe a tear that had dropped onto the stone below me. One tear leads to many as I start to break down for the millionth time. Yet, this time felt different. All the strength in my body is flattened by one name on a tombstone. It feels as if the car had run over me instead, and I lie there sobbing, and unwilling to let go of my grasp of the past. Seeing his name there hit me that I would never be a younger sister again. It hit me that I would never feel his warmth against my cool back again. It hit me that he was gone.
I suddenly felt a large hand lightly touch my pale shoulder, making my skin come to life. Not knowing who this person is, I turn with an instant jolt of energy, startled by the presence around me. “Leo, Leo?” I yelled, not yet aware that his tombstone was in front me.
“No, no I am not Leo, though I wish I was” he whispered, his hand still raised over my shoulder blade. After I wipe the leftover tears on my sleeve, I realized I was crying in front of…Liam Connely, the son of Mr. Connely, standing before me.
“Get your hands off of me! What are you doing here? I thought I would never have to see your face again!” I grimaced, throwing his palm off of my shoulder.
“You don’t think I wouldn’t have remembered my best friend’s two year anniversary?” he shot back.
“Can you just give me a moment with my dead brother that YOUR father killed? That would be great.” I snarled at him, pushing strands of my red hair out of my watery eyes, becoming slimy with tears.
“He was my best friend too Sabrina! And my father didn’t do this on purpose, it just happened to be in his shop. You have no right to say that to me” he hissed, making the other people around us become uncomfortable.
“Don’t try me right now Liam! I don’t have time for your little games. Just let me mourn, alright?” I barked. I didn’t notice his hand reappeared upon my left shoulder, keeping me from hitting him.
“I am here for the same reason you are Sab. Let the past be. I didn’t come here to fight with you, I came here to see Leo,” he muttered softly, letting go of my shoulder. We stood there awkwardly for who knows how long, looking over Leo’s entire grave. I kept rereading over the part about how he was thankful for his sister and how much she meant to him. Hearing his voice echo through my head makes my fingers tingle slightly. The silence amidst the air was sickening, making me sick with nausea and unwariness. “Are you ok?” he glanced. The air was not making me sick, it was the last line of his engravings that spoke to me. I never realized how much hatred I could have for one person until I read the last line on his tombstone. It read,”I am only sorry that you dinged up my car, good riddens. HC.” Yet, the person wasn’t anyone who I thought it was. Hailey Calvin…that was my mother in that car.
How was she in that car? Why did she do this? These thoughts roam in my mind. Suddenly, the atmosphere turns black. I can’t see, not even process any thoughts. I don’t remember the next moments as they seemed blurry and non-existent. I was laying in the arms of Liam Connely as he cradled my upper back with a tight grip. His fingers, felt glued to my ribcage. It was my mother this whole time? How could this be? “Hey, look who is up,” Liam gasped as he solemnly said “I am sorry you had to find out this way.
” I just couldn’t believe that the miraculous discovery of the car igniting was my mother pushing down on the gas pedal. “I can’t go home, I can’t go home…” I mumbled, still twitchy and shaken up. This can’t be possible. “Stop, and just listen,” he asked. He took his arms off me as he helped me to the ground where we both sat cross legged next to Leo’s tombstone “Although I did come for Leo, I also came for you. Shocking I know, but I thought you would be here for your brother, and I wanted to tell you before you read the updated tombstone” he cooed as he still rest his hand over my left knee. Although I was confused and dazed about my mom, I wasn’t confused about the feelings that had come over me. At that moment, my hands began to tingle, my head felt woozy. My heart started racing, my hand turning clammy. At that moment I realized, that this was Leo coming through to me. His cooing voice, his gentle touch made me remember my brother’s touch. It almost was identical to my brother Leo’s gentle ways. Leo sent Liam to me, to give me the sweet reassurance I needed to become wholesome again. My heart lifted with a sigh as I knew what was happening. On an impulse, we grabbed each other’s shoulders and began to kiss. His sweet linger of zest roamed throughout my body as there was nothing but passion between us. His hands were lightly around my back. Feeling his arms suddenly curl around my hips made me grin as he slid up and down my back with a tickling motion. My hands felt comfortable embracing his shoulders, almost as if we had done this before. The sensation of sweet senses sent me overboard into a moment that can only be described through action. “Now, I know why Leo sent me” I breathed, gasping for air.
“Leo is smarter than we are, I guess.” He grinned. He came for me, and didn’t know it.
I stand here reporting, now with one baby girl and one on the way that Liam was really meant to be there for me. I know lots of people don’t believe in fairytales and happy endings, but I do. When my brother died, I was in a state of misery and heart ache. I never thought I could be honestly happy again. Although it was one sweet moment of passion, we both knew that Leo was watching over us. Thank you Leo, for helping me see my one true soulmate, always right in front of me. Without Liam, I wouldn’t have been able to see the beautiful thriving life that is around me. I have also learned to never become the evil divisive woman my mother was. My children mean the universe to me, and I will do whatever it takes to see them smile. With Liam in one hand and my future ahead, I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us. Thank you Leo.