I didn't dare go downstairs again, so I trudged back into my room and laid down on my futon. I stared out the window – the sky was dark purple. I always loved this time of day - the time right between evening and night. The sun was almost gone, and the world was covered in light and shadow at the same time. I sat up and opened the window, and the warm spring air rushed into my room. I glanced at the clock, and it's red digital numbers read 7:24. I shut my eyes, and allowed my body to relax. The chime that hung outside my window swayed in the wind, and the crickets began to play their song. I felt myself fading away, and willed myself to stay awake. But before I could open my eyes again, sleep took me.
"Mrs. Calver? Is Helina Ivanna in class?"
"Yes, she is."
"Can you please send her to the front office? Right away?"
My teacher nodded at me, and I gathered up all my stuff, slipped my jacket on, and headed towards the office.
It was a cool autumn day.
A light breeze; red and yellow leaves everywhere; bare tree branches; an early October sun.
I trudge down the sidewalk.
I can smell smoke coming from the bathroom as I pass by.
Kids cutting class lurking around every corner.
I walk up to the office, turn the doorknob, and step in.
I'm seeing my sister on the floor bawling.
Why is my sister at my school?
I see the principal.
I see the office staff staring – horror in their eyes.
I look at the principal. She suddenly looks older than I remember her being.
"Helina, have a seat."
My sister is screaming now.
I can't move.
"Sweetheart, we just received a call from the police."
All I can hear is Miché screaming.
"Your parents and aunt and uncle…the plane they were on…"
Mom, Dad, Uncle Yakov, Aunt Larissa left for Russia last night.
"They're plane went down over Belarus." "The plane was shot down… they say they were in a no-fly zone." "Thought the plane might be a terrorist attack."
I open my mouth. No words come out.
I feel myself drop to the floor. My book and folders scattered.
I reach for something, anything. But my hand only feels the cold air.
My eyes blur, my throat closes up, I hear a ringing in my ears.
I'm screaming now.
Screaming just like Miché.
I feel the principal's arms around me. I want her to get away, but I can't move.
I look around the room. Everything is in motion. Everything is spinning.
I bolted upright, sweating, panting. I frantically looked around the room. Everything was dark, and the music was still playing downstairs. I climbed off of the futon and turned on my lamp. I can feel that my clothes are soaked with sweat, and that my hair is sticking to my face.
I walk out of my room and across the hall to the bathroom. I try the door handle, but it's locked. I bang on the door. "What?!" I hear somebody snap. "Nothing," I murmur, and retreat to my room.
I dropped down onto my bed and stared at the wall, and sighed. That hasn't been the first time I had, had that dream. It was one of those damn reoccurring dreams…those dreams that make you relive the one thing you never want to relive again. The death of my parents was a tragedy, and just plain unfair. The pilot of the aircraft had flown into government airways by accident. He had strayed just a bit from their flight path. The government officials were afraid that it was a terrorists, and ordered the military to take it down.
And that's exactly what they did.
I don't know the details of the accident, nor do I want to know them. I can picture my mother screaming as the fiery plane plummeted towards the ground, my father's horrified face. My aunt and uncle…sobbing.
My aunt and uncle, my mom's sister and brother-in-law, were Fiona's parents. The accident happened a year ago, making me fifteen, Miché twenty-one, and Fiona twenty-three. Fiona had recently graduated from college and had bought a house in New York City. She had a well paying job, and insisted that we move in with her. Our only close relative that was still living was our grandmother. Her, Fiona, and Miché made all the funeral arrangements, sold the house, and divided our parents things among all our relatives and ourselves, sold the rest, helped us pack, and flew us out to the city.
That brings me to my current life, here in New York. I lost my parents, my home, and all my friends. But I'm still alive, and I guess…that's all that matters. My life isn't too bad here. I made a couple new friends, Fiona and Miché are both working to support us. Miché is finishing up her basic college degree, and I'm a sophomore in high school. Things aren't too bad. The thing is though, my sister and cousin are young, so they're always partying here or gone off somewhere, and I'm home alone a lot. I don't mind it too much though. Fiona bought me a laptop computer, and Miché got me a digital camera for Christmas, so I spend most of my time taking pictures and editing them. It keeps me occupied. It keeps me from thinking too much.