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By , Madison, NJ
He was moving closer, our knees were touching then. His soft skin raised goosebumps on my arms and shivers down my spine. I took a short breath, glancing up at his piercing blue eyes and their unfailing glow, despite the darkness. I felt a soft vibration in my back pocket, but quickly switched off my cell phone, refusing to ruin the moment. Sam Robbins is going to be the love of my life, I repeated in my mind, trying to justify what I was about to do. After tonight, we'll be together forever. Our faces were inches apart, I could feel Sam's hot breath mixing with my own. I felt my phone ring again, and quickly cancelled the call for the second time, though I knew exactly who was calling and what they were calling for. It was cold for September in South Jersey, and I shook slightly as the wind blew past our pale bodies. I shifted slightly closer to Sam, and although he may have thought it was to huddle closer to him, I was only worried about the wooden slabs of the park bench creating unattractive indentations on the backs of my thighs. We were so close now that it was as if we were one person. My nose brushed against his lightly, our lips were nearly touching. My heart was pulsating so fast that I could have sworn Sam heard it. I hoped to God that he couldn't hear, but all I could focus on was the excruciatingly loud beating, echoing in my head, like the banging of drums. The phone vibrated again, but I could hardly hear it over the sound of my own conscience, screaming at me to lift myself up out of the arms of theoretically my "dream" guy, and march down the street to my house.

But before I had the chance to make a move, the phone call cut off, and Sam pressed his cold lips against mine. Then, all at once, we heard a crash, followed by a shrill, high-pitched scream. The scream came from a child's lungs, anyone would know that. I leaped up off the bench, and started to my house. I could see the crash from where I was all the way down the street. My mother and father were rushing out the front door, toward the middle of the street where my nine year old brother lay, his body limp. I acknowledged that Sam was calling my name, but I couldn't hear him. I tried to run toward the car, but my feet felt like cement blocks, I was moving in slow motion. By the time I reached the front lawn, an ambulance had already arrived, and the paramedics were checking little Joey's heartbeat and such. A tall, dark-haired man, presumably the man who'd hit him, was standing outside his car with his head in his hands. I caught my mother's eye as I walked past her, out of breath. She simply shook her head at me, tears in her eyes, and turned back down to look at Joey. After a few moments, the ambulance took him away, and I let myself melt down onto the steps of my porch. Although my father ran to get the car, my mother stopped first.

"I am so disappointed in you, Anna." Then her voice rose, "Is this what you wanted? Is it?" She was screaming.

I closed my eyes as tight as I possibly could, and pressed my hands over my ears. It was no use, I could hear my mother's yells over anything. I can't remember how long it was before I opened my eyes, but I know that she was gone, the space where her body stood was replaced with a taller, more muscular figure. I looked up into the eyes of Sam Robbins, the eyes that no longer meant anything to me. Nothing meant anything to me. We stayed in those positions for a long time, not even speaking. He leaned down to kiss me quickly, and ran away faster than he'd came. I never spoke to Sam Robbins again. So much for the love of my life. Yeah, right.

I looked out at the street. Everything seemed so calm, so normal, as if nothing had happened. The only evidence of the accident were pieces of shattered glass and a caution sign over a pool of Joey's blood on the black pavement. It wasn't fair. The one time I wasn't there, the one time, was when catastrophe hit. Everything was too serene, it irritated me. My baby brother was just hit by a car, and nothing was different than it had been yesterday, or this morning, even a half hour ago. I couldn't take it. I screamed as loud as I could for what felt like as long as was humanly possible. The neighbors gathered outside, which didn't seem to make sense, as they hadn't so much as left their beds when Joey was run over by a freaking car. I began walking down the middle of the street without a particular destination in mind, wiping tears from my eyes and refusing to revert my vision from straight ahead. I began walking faster until I was running, thinking of nothing but that dark-haired man who had hit Joey.

I felt a twinge of compassion for that man. After all, he didn't mean it. He'd simply looked away from the road for just a second, not knowing that that single second would change the rest of his life. It was a simple accident. Can you blame someone for making a mistake? Is it a crime to make a wrong decision once in a while? The answer is yes. Yes, unfortunately there are those of us who are not allowed to go on a date for once in their lives. There are those of us who, instead of their dates resulting in a loss of virginity, result in a loss of their little brother. Believe me when I say that yes, there are a few unlucky people who, when they ignore a thousand phone calls from their mother reminding them that they made a promise to take their younger brother to the movies, end up having to live with the fact they were the indirect cause of a freak accident. My little brother died that night, and I haven't spoken a word to anyone since.

That was nine months ago.

My mother doesn't let anyone into his room, she even keeps the exact shirt he was wearing that night, bloody and all, laying on his bed as if it's some sort of shrine. It made me sick every time I passed that door in the hallway of my house. People need to move on, that's a fact. But my mother was making that completely impossible for any of us. I think my parents are happy that I don't speak to them anymore, that way they can sulk into their personal misery in peace and quiet. Sometimes I hum to myself in my bed, but only after it's dark. I'm sure not to let my parents hear. That would ruin the entire point of my silence. I've always been a stubborn person, but this was past stubborn. I simply couldn't bear to speak, to hear what others thought about me. I wouldn't be able to take it. I know what they're thinking, but by keeping mute, I am able to eliminate the factor of others actually speaking to me.

One night, I got up out of bed after it was dark and made my way down the hall to Joey's room. I turned the knob on the handle, sticking a bit from lack of use. The door creaked as I opened it, but I could have cared less if my parents heard me. I quickly grabbed his shirt from the bed, still un-made from when Joey left it. I smiled to myself. Joey hated making his bed -- he never failed to make a huge fuss of it every single morning. I felt the soft cotton shirt between my fingers, bringing the material to my nose. It still smelled like him. I closed my eyes for a moment, a single tear running down my cheek. But I knew what needed to be done. I walked slowly down the stairs, avoiding the one step that made noise. It all of a sudden became crucial for my parents not to hear me. I made my way to the living room, and lit the fireplace. I'd never done it before, but what did it matter if I got a little burn on my hand? I was alive, wasn't I? All in one motion -- I knew I had to do it without thinking, or my better judgement would stop me -- I threw the shirt into the fire, and watched it explode into flames.

I sat down on the carpet, the burning yellow reflecting in my eyes. I was in a trance; I couldn't take my eyes off of it. I'd killed my brother, I might as well have finished the job by killing his memory as well, right? We needed to move on. I needed desperately to move on. This was the only way to do it, to force my parents into it. I could feel the heat on my face. I knew my parents would be downstairs any second, and sure they'd have a meltdown, but eventually they'd have to come around, right? Right. They would have to come around eventually. They'd just have to. When neither of them came downstairs, I put the fire out silently, but retreated to my position on the floor. I sat, alone, in the pitch dark, shivering from the suddenly extinguished heat.

"Goodbye, Joey." I whispered, "Goodbye."





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Emily M. said...
Dec. 15, 2009 at 3:09 pm
Aaaaw, thats so sad :( But in a good way, and I think your a great writer, keep it up !
 
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