Silently This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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I stood silently staring out the row of windows lining the bedroom wall. My knees were pressed against the bed, keeping me steady. I gazed out at the overgrown field of grass and the tops of cars as they sped by. One after the other. A red one, then a black. People with different lives and different problems. Everything in the room sat undisturbed. The puzzle was still there, half-finished, pieces strewn across the small card table. The old, dark oak desk was silently collecting dust. The glass paperweight and small porcelain figures stood untouched. The baby-blue alarm clock rested quietly on the nightstand. The hands were motionless at three o'clock. I took a breath allowing the stale air to fill my nostrils. How odd it seemed that the room was still perfumed with his scent. Bed perfectly made. The cat was sleeping lazily at the foot, as always. I could smell him as if he had been there that morning. I starred out the window I had many times as a child. But instead of idle thoughts of butterflies and candy, I had the unmistakable dark words racing in my mind. He's gone. He's gone.

I ran my fingertips over the flowered bedspread. It was collecting dust. I closed my eyes and tried to conjure an image of him in my mind's eye. Through all the chaos and pain, I tried to remember him. Before the cancer. Before the morphine and swollen feet. Before the balding head and shrunken stomach. Back before the days when I.V. bags sat in the refrigerator next to the milk and orange juice. He was a large man with jet black hair. He loved to eat. How ironic the cancer hit his esophagus first. An honest man with a heart of gold who cared for me more than the world itself. He was a second father.

My body began to sway as my knees started to buckle. I lay down on the bed, sending a cloud of dust and cat hair into the air. I waited patiently for a sneeze. Why did I feel so much pain? Why did the pain run so deep I could almost feel it in the depths of my soul? My only consolation was he was no longer in pain. His three years of treatments and operations had ended in death. An untimely death that I despised.

Rolling over to look out the window again, the events following his death flashed through my mind. Every moment would stay with me forever. Hay and Peabody Funeral Parlor. Family. Death. The sight of his lifeless body lying awkwardly in the casket did not cause me to break down. It was my grandparents saying good-bye to the son they had outlived. It was the sight of my father with his face contorted in pain, his eyes showing an emotion of sorrow I had never seen before. My aunt sitting silently, strongly, eyes fixed on the casket, bidding farewell to a husband she stood by until the end.

I sat alone on a stiff pink loveseat in the room next to the casket. The sliding doors connecting the rooms were open, so that I could see the top of his head and his pale hands folded lightly on his chest. I felt him sitting next to me. Every emotion in my body seemed to blend as one, creating a feeling I had never felt before and have never since. I saw nothing. Did I think I would see him as a younger man, smiling back at me with the same silly grin? Everything will be okay. I saw nothing, but felt everything. And in that moment I knew there was only one thing left to say, “I love you Uncle Kurt.” The emotions and my uncle slipped away.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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