Thorn of The Rose

Like it's always been, my life is a sad lonely world, even now. I'm eighty-four years old and I have had to live with this terrible pain in my heart since I was fifteen. I can still remember the event, so clearly vivid as if I am actually reliving it every time I think about it. I know of course that I'm not going back through time when this happens. The thing is, why I remember it so well, is that this event was one of the worst things that could happen to any person. This event that happened to me changed my life forever; it filled my life with a deep lingering sorrow. No day goes by that I don't remember that spring, the spring of '39. The spring my little brother disappeared, the spring my father left, the spring my mother died, and the spring when I realized I couldn't be a kid anymore.

Yes 1939, it started out great; I got my first kiss on New Years Eve that year. My mother was a little over half way through her third pregnancy carrying what I was hoping to be a little baby sister. My father got promoted in February and then we had plenty of extra money for fun and the new baby on the way. Around March in that year is when Elliot Warner and I truly fell in love. '39 definitely started out as an amazing year. Then came April though and disaster struck my perfectly awestruck life. So much like a beautiful blossoming flower that year was, opening more and more each day. Come April though, that flower died in one short month leaving me with the dried shriveled petals and the thorns.

So let me take you back to 1939, let me tell you my story, then maybe you'll understand, maybe this pain that I have been stuck with can be released. Maybe if I share with someone the horror of that spring the pain that I have will lesson some. I really need to get this weight that I carry off of me. People need to know what happened. People need to know that roses have thorns.

The year was 1939, well almost; it was New Years Eve and ten minutes to midnight so close enough. Elliot and I were sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial waiting for midnight while watching the clock tower ticking in front of us. It gets down to just a few seconds 'til the New Year and Elliot started counting down. I was smiling beside him the whole time knowing what might be going to happen when the clock chimed twelve. He gets down to "two" and looks at me.

"One" Elliot whispered as he leaned in toward me and very softly kissed me.

The tower chimed twelve and the fireworks started to go off as I received my first kiss. The first thing that I did in '39 was get kissed by Elliot Warner. My year started out perfect and kept going.

Later that January my mother entered her fifth month of pregnancy but I still thought that she looked like a movie star. I would tell her this often and her response was always the same, "Sure honey a movie star in the role of an old mother of three."

My mother did truly look lovely and in no way old, she was only 35. My mother's name was Ruby which fit her perfectly with the way her lips were always sparkling in a smile. Of course her beautiful deep red perfect ringlet curls fit with that as well. My mother was beautiful and genuinely kind, the kind of woman I had always hoped to grow up to be. Even though my mother was five months pregnant and had already had two children you could barely tell it. She still looked perfect. I remember when she first told me that she was pregnant I asked her, "Is it a baby sister for me mom please?" I already had a little brother, Michel, who was nine and a major pain. I'd always wanted a sister and I hoped so bad that I was finally going to get one. I wanted a precious little baby sister with strawberry blond curls just like mine.

When February came along that year my father came home from work and called everyone into the kitchen.

He told us all, "I finally got the promotion at the hospital now I'm head surgeon. We're gonna have all the money we could ever ask for."

He was so excited, as were we all. Mother would be able to stop having to tailor all her old dresses for me to wear. Michel would be able to get out of Cousin Avery's hand-me-downs. The new baby would be able to have nice new clothes and toys. We all would be able to have more and better food. Life just kept getting better and better.

A month later when March rolled around Elliot and I had started to spend more and more time with together. We were almost inseparable. On the seventeenth Elliot took me out to Jaydon Lake and there he gave me one of his Grandmothers old gold rings as a promise of his love for me. I was so happy, and yet so surprised at the same time. I had my first true love and life had hit the peak of perfection. The thing was though when the peak is hit everything has to fall back down eventually.

So then spring came and soon after April started. Spring of '39, the worst time of my life. The time when this painful piercing in my heart began. The worst things that could ever happen and there was no stopping them.

It all started on the tenth when my father decided that he deserved better than us and left off with one of the nurses, Rose Chambers. We don't know why he left us; we don't know what made him decide to. My father and mother loved each other dearly, and with a baby on the way even if there wasn't he would have never left her. Rose was an evil woman and she took my father right when we needed him the most. Rose wanted to be the one thing that ripped my entire family apart, and she succeeded. My father left and that started the huge ripple effect that destroyed my life, ruined my family, and took away the life that had filled 1939.

My father leaving, so suddenly so much without reason, destroyed my mother. She sat in her room and sobbed for days. I couldn't get her to eat I don't think that she was sleeping. She just sat there and cried 'til all her tears ran out. She didn't' want to talk to my brother and me either. Of course Michel and I were sad but we knew that we had to keep life going for our mother, for us. We cleaned the house and made food for ourselves for a little over a week until my mother felt like doing anything again. Then when she did start talking again we had to decide what to do for money. My father did all of the money making in the family. We had started to get use to his new income too. Now, thanks to that witch, we have no income. My grandparents lived close to us and were able to give us some money but they didn't have that much for themselves none the less any to give to us.

My brother become very depressed after another week. He started to not talk. He started to not do anything. He just sat outside most of the day and stared off absent-mindedly into the woods. My mother and I become very concerned with his behavior. He was never one to be able to handle things well. When Aunt Julie died you'd have thought that Michel dies along with her, He didn't do anything for the longest time. Now he seemed even worse.

My mother really didn't' need all this stress on herself either. She was almost at her due date. She was starting to get tired easier and easier and she began to not look so good. The light in her face was gone. Her smile was never seen. Her beautiful curls were even not looking as bright and well kept.

Then to add to all this depression the worst happened. One day when Michel and I got home from school. I went inside to see what mother was up to and Michel stayed outside and sat in the swing. I found mother inside mending some clothes, so I decided to go back outside with Michel. The thing is though when I walked outside Michel wasn't' there. On the swing where he was sitting there was nothing left but a tiny thorn. I didn't know what to think, it had only been a minute since I last saw him. He couldn't' have gone too far. So I went looking. There were no footprints in the mud that looked like they were leaving the swing. There was no trace of any tracks made by him leaving the swing or the yard. It was really muddy too; you would have been able to tell. What happened to Michel? It was as if he just disappeared. My brother, my only brother gone, not a trace of him left. I didn't know what to do. I couldn't' tell my mother this, she would be far to upset, but she'd find out eventually. I didn't even know how to tell her, what to tell her. I couldn't, I couldn't do this to her.

Then I heard a scream coming from inside the house, "Melody come quick!" it was my mother in a panic as it sounded. So I rushed inside o see what was going on.

"Mama where are you?" I yelled as I got into the house.

"In the kitchen, sweetie hurry I think the baby's coming" she replied.

"Really? What should I do?" I asked as I got into the kitchen.

"Call the neighbors see if any of them can drive us to the hospital" she said pointing to the phone. I ran over to the baby blue phone on the wall pick it up and quickly start dialing Miss Grendel our neighbor. I hurriedly told her that my mother was in labor and she said that she'd be right over.

"She's comin' Mama, she said she'd be right over with her car" I told her.

"Okay, do you think you can help me get to the front door so we can get right out of here?" she asked.

"I can try to" I said not knowing how much help I could be.

"Alright help me up here dear." She told me lifting her arm so I can help her off the wooden chair. I helped her up out of the chair and we began walking over to the door. I helped her sit back down in the small chair just inside the door so she could rest a second while we waited.

"Hey, Melody run upstairs to my room and grab my little floral suitcase with all my things in it." She told me.

"Alright, is the money and everything in there too?" I asked.

"Yes, I've had everything packed for a few weeks now." She said. So I ran up the stairs to her bedroom and grabbed the bag off the old rocking chair in the corner. I looked out the window and could see Miss Grendel's pink Cadillac pulling into the driveway. So I raced back down the stairs and sat the bag beside my mother.

"Do I need to get anything else?" I asked her.

"No that should be everything." She replied as a car horn honked and the car door slammed shut. We could hear Miss Grendel's heels clicking up the stone sidewalk path. I went and opened the door just as she got to the steps up to the door.

"Okay Melody lets get her into the car." Miss Grendel said stepping into the house.

"Thank you Lisa." My mother told her.

"No problem Ruby lets just get you over to the hospital." Miss Grendel insists. So we helped my mother out to the Cadillac and eased her into the back seat. Miss Grendel and I quickly hoped up front and she started the car and took off.

"Hey Melody" My mother said to me from the back.

"Yes Mama" I asked.

"Where is Michel at?" She asked wondering.

My stomach felt as though it twisted in ten knots. What was I going to tell her? I couldn't tell her the truth, not now she's in enough stress, "Um, I'm not sure, I think that he was stayin after school to study with some friends" the only thing that I could think to say even though it was a complete lie.

"Oh, okay, we should have left a note at the house for him so he doesn't worry." She said thoughtfully.

"Yes probably." I replied my thoughts drifting far away from notes and to where is my brother actually.

"Too late now I guess, he'll just have to assume that we're at the hospital.' She told me.

I was too lost in thought to even reply. I didn't even notice when Miss Grendel turned on the radio and my favorite song just so happened to be playing.

"How are you doing Ruby?" Miss Grendel asked.

"'Bout as good as I can be I guess." My mother replied.

"Just hold on a little bit longer dear we're almost here." Miss Grendel told her but I felt that the same advice could be directed to me as well. It felt awful to lie to my mother but I couldn't' tell the truth. Truthfully I dint' know where my brother was, I needed to find out but I wouldn't know where even to start to look. I needed to be with my mother not I couldn't loose her too.

We got to the hospital shortly after and got my mother checked in. Then they took her into the delivery room and I decided to wait outside. Miss Grendel graciously offered to go in with her. I say in the waiting room to wait 'til the delivery was over. There was no one else in there so I was lost to my thought I couldn't' help but thing how my life had changed so much in the past month. How my father had left us, how my brother is now missing. This has to be just as hard on my mother accept for the fact that she doesn't' know about Michel. I found that's probably best for now that she doesn't know, she doesn't need anymore stress while she's in labor. I just kept what I knew, or really didn't know, about Michel quiet for a little but. Wait 'til my mother is at least out of the hospital, maybe Michel would have shown up by then.

After a while the doors to the delivery room opened. Miss Grendel walked out slowly tears gliding down her face. She couldn't' look at me at first, or at least not make eye contact. It seemed as though she preferred to stare at my shoes. My heart stopped when I saw her like this, it skipped about four beats. I couldn't believe it; I didn't know what to think. Was it my mother; was it the baby, why was she crying?

"M-miss Gr-Gre-grendel." I stuttered out.

"Melody sweetie, everything's going to be alright, trust me." she said through her tears.

"W-what h-h-happened?' I could barely control myself now as I was trying to fight back the tears.

"Oh darling I promise I'll take care of you."

"WHAT HAPPENED!!" I shouted as the tears burst out.

"Melody your mother and baby sister are gone."

"Gone? Both of them?"

"Yes, I'm so, so sorry sweetie, I promised your mother that I'd take care of you."

"I'm alone" I whispered under my breath. I couldn't move, I couldn't breathe. I could only think about the loneliness. Even the room around me seemed as if it were fading away. All of my family was gone, I had nothing left, and I was all alone in this big world. There was nothing anyone could do to help this, to stop this. My sinking and conforming into the nothingness my life had become.

Thinking back on that time, I do it often, too often. I still can't believe this happened to me. My whole life changed in one month. I went in such a state of depression; I was almost immediately put in a room in that hospital. Rose Medical Hospital, the place where my mother took her last breath. The place where my baby sister lived for only two minutes. They said that they tried everything they could to help them. It didn't' work though, my whole family was lost in that one month. Yes, Miss Grendel took me in and treated me like her own child, but it want' the same. I spent six months recovering from the shock in that hospital. Six long months where my life slowly transformed into something else. '39 started out, such a rose of a year filed with warmth and life and it kept blooming bigger and bigger. Everyone knows though every rose has thorns, and for me that year the thorn was April. April of '39 has been the thorn I my life ever since and there's nothing I can do to get rid of it. All I can do is wish that this horrid event never happens to anyone else.