Delightfully Tacky

Prologue: Witness

"Ring around the rosy. . .

Pocket full of posies. . .

Ashes. . . Ashes. . .

We all fall down!"

Suddenly, their legs were roughly torn from beneath and the children fell to the ground, their hands releasing as they were thrown into a fit of laughter. They were laughing - how could they be laughing? Their faces were a cherry red, their mouths open wide, their eyes tearing up as that sickening laughter overpowered them. They struggled to breathe. I looked away. I couldn't bear the sight of those disgustingly happy children; I myself unable to make so much as a grin my face was so contorted with grief.

I was jealous.

Jealous of their adolescence, jealous of their insecurities, their ignorance, their innocence. Jealous of their little minds unable to grasp the concept of death, and the most they've experienced was the demise of the family hamster now buried in the backyard under the oak tree in a cigar box.

She was gone.

It hit me hard the day I was told of the news. It was such a slap in the face, twisting my neck and cutting my lip. The comfort my friends tried to off to me only made the pain more evident and the reality crystal clear. I didn't want their sorry attempts they felt they were obligated to give out of pity. Their false claims that they understood enraged me. They didn't know - they couldn't begin to understand the knife that was twisting around my insides, and my bubbly little relatives were just adding more fuel to the flame. Their parents allowed them to gallop around the cemetery like it was their own personal playground. The gleeful screams and excited shrills seemed to drown out the priest's sorry attempt to talk pretty about a woman he'd never met. He didn't know a damn thing about who she was, what kind of person she was, or how much of an impact she had on my life. A little index card tucked carefully inside the Bible he clutched so tightly allowed him to stumble through. He had no idea what she meant to me, no one did. . . I don't even think she did. That hurt me most. I took her for granted and now, she was gone.

I fought back tears as they blurred my vision, though once I blinked, the ocean of salty water cascaded down my rosy cheeks, but I didn't break down. I couldn't break down - she told me to be strong, don't cry, and I wasn't about to let her down a second time. I envisioned her being so ashamed of me, frowning upon me from her perch in Eternity, but I had to stop myself. . . She wasn't like that.

The priest ended his fucked eulogy and the people, clad in black, began to file away. Why were they leaving already? I could still hear the children laughing, that eerie sound seemed to circle around me, mocking me because I knew I couldn't escape, no matter how fast I ran. I stayed there; holding a single rose in my hand as my relatives gave me mediocre hugs, telling me that everything would be all right. Yeah, everything would be all right for them. They would return home to their posh mansions, go on living their extravagant lives, while I lived on with the guilt of betraying her.

I felt a single tap on my shoulder, but I didn't turn around. I clutched the long-stemmed rose tightly in my hands as the thorns bit at my tender flesh. Startled at the sudden pinch of pain, I coiled my hands away as I watched the rose, as red as my blood, float down atop her silky white casket. I sniffed up a sob and turned around.

"I have to go," he said in his deep voice.

I nodded my head - of course he had to go. No, I couldn't think that way, some of the people I considered my friends didn't even bother to wake their lazy asses up to come. "You aren't coming to the party?" I asked him, even though I thought the idea of a funeral party to be ludicrous.

"Can't," he claimed and I looked down at the ground. It had been raining and there was mud everywhere. The sky was still dreary, but I couldn't lift my head to look. I felt so horrible for what I had done, so I stared at a muddy puddle, almost able to make out my ugly face in the water's reflection. I felt his hand go under my chin, forcing me to look at him. "Keep your head up, kid," and he walked away.

"Thank you," I whispered softly, though I knew he was too far away to hear me. I hadn't expected him to come, and I was so glad he did that I almost smiled.

Almost.

"How are you doing?" my friend came up and embraced me. I didn't have the strength to return her sloppy hug, but she didn't seem to notice. She looked as though she had been crying, and I wished I could have said the same about myself. Suddenly, I scowled. Off in the distance, I caught sight of my father, whimpering in the arms of his brother and mother and it made me sick. He was acting so weak as though he was crushed, but inside I knew. I saw right through his littler charade. He better as hell be sorry.

"Let's go," Haidie said, leading me to her car. I knew it was only half over and the worst was yet to come. The "party" was going to be hell because everyone would be offering me their fictitious condolences, condolences they felt they had to give. I didn't need that and I knew I couldn't handle it alone.

"You're staying for the party, right?" I asked her cautiously, knowing that I needed her there for support.

"Of course I am," she said with a curt nod and a smile. I could feel another smile of my own trying to press its way through, but I held it back, in fear my face of porcelain would crack. "I think you should come to my house afterwards, too."

I nodded my head, dreading inside because I knew we were getting closer to my house. Everyone would be there, eating our food, shitting in our toilets and talking about how wonderful she was. She was more than wonderful, but them, with sticks high up their asses and all, were too blind to see how truly extraordinary she was. I didn't want to go, but I knew I had to. We parked in he road a block away and I started to feel sick.

We entered my house from the back and discretely zigzagged through aunts and uncles, neighbors and cousins of which I had never seen until that day. We made it up to my room. I let out a sigh once the door to my bedroom was locked shut. Haidie went over to my lovely, cheap-ass stereo and allowed the music to drown out everything else.

"Do you want to?" she asked as she watched me lay flat on the moldy carpet. I didn't respond. I heard Haidie collapse on my bed, and then nothing but the heavy sound of broken cords, blaring from the speakers. I tried not to think about her, knowing that if I did I would fall apart again. I heard a faint tap at my door, but I didn't get up. Fuck off, I thought to myself, but the tapping just came back with a vengeance, louder that time. I groaned and rolled over on my side, feeling light-headed when I stood up even though I hadn't smoked anything. I turned the music off and trudged to the door.

"What?" I snapped at the sight of my sister, standing dumbly in the doorway. She knew better than to bother me when my music was one.

"Dad wants you to come downstairs," she informed me in a meek voice. She always seemed to be intimidated by me, even though I was only two years older than she was. "He says you're being rude."

I slammed the door shut. I was being rude? I was infuriated, to say the least, that he'd dare accuse me of rudeness. "I'll be back," I told Haidie.

"Do you want me to come down too?"

"No."

The rest of that night was pure hell. I wondered why I even bothered to leave my room. Some stupid little cousins of mine had knocked over a potted plant and I was called down to clean it up. After that, I was sucked into the sea of people, telling me to be strong. I was strong! I started to clean up after the others left, only my grandmother kind enough to stay and help with the dishes.

"How're you doing?" I asked as I squatted down to eye-level with my youngest sibling, my sister Quinn. She was sitting on the bricks lining the fire place, her legs brought up to her chest, trying to be hugged by her pudgy arms that didn't quite make it all the way around. She was the only little girl that hadn't played that day, I knew she was as sad as I was.

"I miss her," she said, threatening to cry at the drop of a hat. I held my arms outstretched and picked her up. Haidie didn't come down, even though I had been gone for almost three hours, so I imagined she had passed out. She seemed to do that quite often at my house.

"Let's get ready for bed, okay?" I said in a singsong sort of voice to my baby sister, clinging onto me with her life. She just nodded willingly, the bright red ribbon in her hair swaying back and forth with every bob to her head. I set her down and she obediently went upstairs.

I had done so well avoiding him all day because I knew I would snap if he even looked at me wrong. I went into the kitchen and I saw him sitting at the table, his head in his hands, my grandmother at the sink just washing away like there was no tomorrow.

"There she is," my grandmother beamed, "Don't mind me, I'm just washing the dishes." She enjoyed stating the obvious, mind you, Alzheimer's. My father looked up as my grandmother began to hum and I glared at him. "Are you hungry?"

"I've suddenly lost my appetite." I said spitefully, still sending one hell of a glare to my father, sitting helplessly at the kitchen table. He gave me a confused look, but he knew. . . he knew that I knew. I left the kitchen in a huff, but once I was in the darkness of the hallway, I looked back. I had been standing right there when I saw, the memory so fresh and vivid in my mind. I replayed every detail in my mind, unable to forget no matter how hard I tried.

My mother was dead, and I had watched my father kill her.



A/N: So, does it sound good? I decided to start another one because I'm finishing another, but please, please review and tell me what you think. Constructive criticism welcome. If I get a nice chunk of reviews, I'll update sooner than planned. Thanks for reading!