TreAna is an aspiring writer. She has moved from Maryland to Florida to study creative writing. In her free time she enjoys singing, dancing, reading and playing with her little brothers.
It’s time to go in and I am nowhere near ready. The wind wails through the house making it seem too big and the once vibrant colored walls have turned the dull monochromatic grey. My mother no longer hums around the house and I have lost the skip in my step. It has been almost two months and it is clear that we are still afraid of that space. It’s clear that we are holding on to some naive hope that the door will open and then all will be right, that this was all horrendous nightmare.
For what feels like an eternity there have been countless parades of people coming and going like waves on the shore. They ask the usual questions and we are given the “look” where no one really knows how to construct their face into one that doesn’t look like they will toss cookies any second. I have heard enough of pity choir’s greatest hits “This Pain Doesn’t Last”, “Things Happen for a Reason” and my personal favorite “I Know What You Are Going Through…” to last me a lifetime. I swear if it wasn't for the swell of patience I inherited from my mother I would have been incarcerated for murder. What they say has the same weight of intelligence of “How did you get shot? You should have just caught the bullet.” and yes I know that the pain doesn’t last forever but that doesn’t make me feel any less hurt right now. I sometimes just want to hit them with a ten ton truck and then tell them they will heal just to see how they like it.
“Come on Ana, we can’t hold this off any longer. We agreed that we would do this together,” she says. She cups my face in her hands and caresses my cheek. She gives me a hug and holds me tight. Her heart betraying an arrangement of emotions with its thundering bass. If only the storm could wash away my guilt about what we are about to do. My only response is a small smile and nod. The hallway begins to stretch and the door pushes itself far back like in the old Alice in Wonderland movie, making it almost impossible to reach. The shadows made from the light of the setting sun seem to tower over us like a titanic wave about to drown us. My uncertainty blossoms and I dig my heels into the lush carpet.
“You know what mother, there is no shame in just letting the room be. I mean there is more house of us then just this space,” I say. I look at her with my best puppy dog pleading eyes, trying to get her to back away from this cliff because I know that once we jump there’s no turning back. I pull her hand and attempt to seem nonchalant but the meaning of this situation has choked my courage. I can feel my nerves burning and every hair on my body stand on end, everything screams “Get Out”.
She takes my hand and looks me in the eyes. “Whatever happens you will still have me and we will make new memories, better ones that we can look back on. I know that is this hard right now but one day we will look back and feel no pain. It’s me and you against the world now and that’s okay,” she says. She takes a breath and opens the dreaded door.
We are greeted with stale air, as if the room itself was holding its breath waiting for us. I take a deep breath and feel tears threaten. I can still smell him. I can still see him behind his desk with a great wall of books surrounding his chair. Images of myself running in after school and sitting on his lap while he holds mother spring to mind. The faint whisper of our laughter still echoes off the baby blue walls. I look to my mother and also see her tears flowing.
This was not just his space. This was where I grew up surrounded by the love of two parents. This is where he taught me to read and where he would hold me when I was scared. This is where I watched him and mother dance through the cracked door in the candlelight. This is where my happiest memories are placed. The light is gone and will never shine the same again. My father’s vacancy is deafening and the knowledge that he will never again walk through the door is enough to drown us.
He has been gone for a while now and we are only now getting to his area of the house to gather his things. Although things will never be the same again my mother and I will make sure the other doesn’t falter. We will rebuild and come back stronger, it’s what he would have wanted. It’s time to go into the room and start fresh. I’m ready.