It was four in the morning. The rain wouldn’t stop and I swear the trees were clawing at the outside walls. It was probably the fifth time I woke up, so I slipped on some longer shorts and went into the kitchen. I poured myself a glass of water and sat down on the couch. I wanted to turn on the T.V., but it wasn’t going to help.
I think I was there for about two hours before I heard my mom moving in her room. First it was crying, and then it was the flushing of a toilet. When she came out, she was surprised to see me on the couch, clutching a cup that was still full of water from three hours ago.
“You don’t have to be there,” she said. “I know you two were really close, so I can understand if this is going to be hard.” After a short pause, she added, “For the both of us.”
I stayed in my room until the guests arrived. The preacher could be heard talking about grief and how everyone will die sometime. Many people were crying. The only other noise was Peter barking in the backyard. Otherwise, the house was as silent as a grave.
After my dad left us, my mom and I stayed in the care of my grandmother. She was always cheerful, and I could pretty much count on her on anything. She helped my mom stop drinking, and she pulled me out of my depression. I don’t know how I will survive now that she’s gone.
After the more mourning, the preacher said it was time for the funeral. The next hour felt like forever. We drove down to Smith’s Cemetery and gathered around a freshly dug hole. I didn’t have many friends because we bounced around a lot when my dad was still here, but my best friend at the moment, Jeff, joined me.
Jeff and I stood around when the preacher talked about how my grandmother should find peace, when they lowered her down into the hole, and when people started leaving the cemetery.
It was when my mom motioned for Jeff and me to come to our minivan that I ran away. I ran past the cemetery’s gate, past all the cars still waiting to leave the parking lot, and past all the roads to the house that my grandmother died of a heart attack.
I just kept staring at it, the gray house that had provided shelter for me in the last year or so. After a moment, I turned to see Jeff running after me.
“Thea, are you alright?” he asked, panting all the way.
“I just don’t know why she would abandon me like this!” I yelled. “How could she leave me?”
I would have cried, but I was beyond the point of shedding tears. Jeff walked over to me and hugged me. We paced toward the door and I accidentally tripped on the porch stairs. All of a sudden, a high pitched scream came out of nowhere. I jumped up and bumped into Jeff and we fell backwards.
As soon as I got of the steps, the screaming stopped. Shocked, I walked over to the stairs and kicked it. The same high pitched scream just burst out and scared the ---- out of me. I looked at Jeff and he clearly showed that he was just as confused as I was.
Then my mom pulled into the driveway and slammed her door shut as she marcher towards me.
“Thea, what was the purpose of that?” she half yelled half pleaded.
“I’m sorry mom, I didn’t know what came over me,” I replied, still dazed by the scream.
Mom passed us with a sigh and stomped up the stairs. The scream that Jeff and I heard previously had vanished. Jeff went to the stairs and plopped his foot on one of the steps and no scream came. So I decided to try it, but came up with the same result.
We slowly walked up the stairs and ran o=into the house. Mom was in the kitchen pouring her another cup of coffee.
“Mom, can I ask you something?” I asked.
“Look,” she replied, “I’m not mad at you. I was just scared that you were about to do something stupid.”
“It’s not that,” I said.
“Do you believe in strange things?” Jeff asked mom.
“What?” she asked. “I don’t get what you mean.”
I sat down at the table and Jeff and mom followed.
“Well,” I said, “I was going up the stairs on the porch, and all of a sudden, there was a scream. The weird thing is that it sounded like Nana’s.”
“I heard it too Mrs. William’s,” Jeff added.
Mom smiled an odd smile and took a sip of her coffee. “Your grandmother’s favorite story to tell me was about how she gave birth to me. It was about this time actually in the afternoon when your Nana’s water broke. She frantically called the doctor and he ran down to this house as fast as he could.”
She paused to take another sip and I made a confused look to Jeff. Why was mom telling me how she was born?
“He said,” mom continued, “that they couldn’t make it to the hospital, and they had to perform the operation there. After an hour and so of pain, I popped out on top of those porch stairs.”
“Wait a minute,” I interrupted. “So I just sat on my Nana giving birth?” I asked.
“Wow,” Jeff exclaimed. “That’s actually kind of cool!”
“Try being the woman giving birth and someone just stepped on you,” Mom smiled. “Anyway, your grandmother always ended with ‘Giving birth to you was a pain in the butt, but I knew that I could get through it’.”
“I guess that she was trying to tell me something,” I said.
“Like what?” Jeff asked.
“That no matter what happens, even an unexpected death, that I can get through it. Especially with my friends and family.”
Mom and Jeff both smiled and smiled with them. Then we were in each other’s arms hugging as tightly as we can.