|Ghosts of My Past
Author: Miz Mizery PM
When everything is taken away- family, loved ones, even life- what is left? A story of shattered lives and shattered love. mxm, let me know how you feel?Rated: Fiction T - English - Tragedy/Angst - Words: 1,726 - Published: 03-07-11 - Status: Complete - id: 2897161
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
F/N: Whoot! Two in one nigh! Anyone else find this amazing?
At school, they all stare, unashamed at being caught by the center of their attention. You would think that they'd turn away; you would think they would blush and think, "Oh no, she's seen me."
But, rather than react like a normal person, they gape at me, eyes betraying their seemingly stupid fascination: They think that I'm a freak, a loser. I have a brother so sick he can't go to the bathroom by himself, and they think that I'm the freak, I'm the loser.
I want to scream at all of them, the pretty boys with perfect blonde hair and Ambercrombie tees, the just right girls with white teeth and French tips on their fingers and their toes. They have no idea what it's like; they have no idea what it's like to watch your brother, someone you sometimes hate but mostly love, die right before your eyes.
Last night, I was woken up by the heavy, wet sound of nothing being vomited into the toilet next room over, and I heard him crying, trying to be quiet, but how can you be quiet when the boils that cover your skin break open in the middle of the night and the medicine they give causes ulcers and makes you puke your guts up? Hugging him too tightly causes him to wince, because his skin is red and hot and hurts, like bad sunburn. Mom tries her best, but all he can manage is watery oatmeal. Are the doctors lying when they say this is only the first stage of this sickening disease, because this must surely be stage five, stage fifteen at least?
I thud into the bathroom, sick with the people all around me, sick with my life, sick with myself, sick with Blake and his ugly disease that I can't even pronounce. Overhead, the bell rings, but I barely notice. My reflection in the bathroom mirrors what I already know is there: black hair that is cut just right, smooth skin that is so in, high cheekbones that are to die for, red lips that are definitely perfect.
It disgusts me. All surface, all an act. Michelle just fawns over my every move.
Would they be so fascinated if they knew I was dying on the inside too?
Dark lines, bold slashes against paper so white it blinds the eye and sings to the heart. A soft curve here, etched tight against the edge there, where is the line to be drawn in life?
I search for the answer to this mystery, burrow deep to uncover its secrets. Where is the line drawn? Surely it must be somewhere close, because I don't know how much longer we can go on like this. This is madness in its purest form, and I can't stand it.
I retire to the attic where it's too hot and too dusty and my paints clog with this dust but I can think. Thinking is something that I can't do when I'm around this monster that has sunk its sharp claws into my brother and dragged him down deep, down to the bottom of the well where even the bucket won't go. Thinking, a luxury that is rare in its frequency because I'm always around it, can smell the sour stench of sweated out radiation, can feel the burn of heavy medicines that weigh him down and make his breath crawl in slow puffs and gasps.
Red blooms across the paper, once so white it shone, now so dark and misleading. I gasp for breath, let my fingers drip, drip, drip onto the dusty floors, splintered and warped with heat and then cold, heat and then cold, heat and then-
A cry of pain comes from below and I flinch, knowing it's Blake, awake from his light sleep on the couch. I like to think of him as completely helpless, but I can hear the shuffle of his slow feet on the carpet as he makes his way to the kitchen for a glass of water, and four of his afternoon pills. He doesn't really need me, and that thought at least comforts me. If he can walk all the way to the kitchen all on his own, fill a glass of water all on his own, count out four pills all on his own he must be recovering from his monster, must be forcing his way into that tiny, crammed bucket that we all dip into the well and pray to God that it won't touch bottom.
I wipe my hair back from my forehead, ignoring the still-wet paint coating my fingertips. It'll all wash off in the shower later, but there are more important matters at hand, like making sure he doesn't fall and die on my watch.
There are few things in life that a person really can't stand to witness, and few things that are just so wrong they shouldn't happen.
I can still feel the silky cool touch of his fingers against my wrist on our first date; see the blush that flushed his face even in the dark of the movie theater. That was before he was sick, before I even knew what Lymphoma was or what cancer did to your body and mind, but never soul. Blake was strong right up until his last day, when he finally cried into my arms, admitted to me that he was scared of dying, it was all just an act, all on for show, that he needed to be strong for his parents who couldn't be strong for themselves, for his sisters who wouldn't ever know what it's like to have a real older brother to grow old with. I attempted to quiet his fears, stroked his hair- or what was left of it- and told him to shush, be quiet now, my dear Blake, just hush now, I'm here, you'll be all right now, you just need to be quiet..
He hushed; he was quiet, quiet enough to think that he was all right, to trick myself into believing that a thing like 'all right' would ever happen to him again.
He died that night, silently, in his sleep. I think that that was best.
His funeral is a week later, outdoors despite the weatherman forecasting rain. The whole thing is beautiful B.S., like Blake would've said, had he been there in more than just body. Speaking of body, he looks terrible, dressed in a suit much too big for his thin, emaciated form. I would love to sit and stare and make him look like the Blake that I knew, but there's no time, people are pushing from behind, spilling over like a wave, so many people who loved this beautiful boy that was once mine but is no longer, and this sends the sobs back to the deepest recess of my mind, where they can be thought upon and spilled forth at some later hour, but not in front of all these people who already think that I'm messed up, wearing purple Keds to a funeral, but he was my best friend how could I wear anything different? I promised him a long time ago that I would be outrageous for his funeral, would dress explicitly and I would be the laughing stock of the whole party.
We used to laugh and joke about that, back when he felt up to laughing and joking. Times changed quickly in that regard. Wrestling and debating and arm wrestling and kissing took to the back burner when he told me, dead serious one day not too many days ago, "Alex, I'm sick, I'm really sick, and they think that I'm going to die."
They say dead man walking like it's funny. I know differently, that it's not funny to be on that end, because I know what it feels like to be a 'dead man walking'. It's scary, it's personal, it's right up in your face, screaming "Hey, you're dying! Never get to see seventeen, how's that for a joke? Graduating? Phfft, yeah right! That house on the hill, two car garage, three kids, two girls and one boy? Sayonara, so long, adieu, farewell, auf wiedersein." Yeah, that's what it's like, and anyone who wants to make a joke about it can talk to me.
Well, I guess they can't. Dead men don't talk, at least not to anyone they want to talk to. Sure, there are lost spirits wandering around every once in a while, but they mean nothing to me. The one's who mean something are just too far to contact, and I'm not sure how to bridge the gap.
Love is something that I was never told that I deserved. Love is an enigma to me, although I think that I feel it whenever I think of Alex or Kara or Cora, because I think that these people loved me but never told me. At least never before I died, which is why I'm stuck here, rooted to earth like a tree, always stretching up, stretching beyond wanting something more than this. Whatever this is, of course. Sometimes, I just don't know. Sometimes I think that it's the earth that I inhabited long before cancer spotted me and deemed me a likely victim, but most often I think it's a hell that everything I've ever done, ever said, and everything that I haven't said, been told, created for me.
A/N: I wrote this for one of my many English classes, but originally intended for it to be a novella, or perhaps become a novel once I reached that profound inspirational level. In general, a story about a young man who dies, and the tortured 'life' he lives after his death, and the reactions of family and loved ones around him to this untimely departure. Would that capture anyone's interest? Let me know. :)