Something About Beginnings
I'm dead by now, long gone, and I am sorry to say there is nothing you can do about it. Please don't blame yourself, it is no one's but my own fault. You are so amazing in every way, and I am sorry that wasn't enough for me. I know you are going to do such great things, and don't let me hold you back from other women. Please, live your life, if not for you, then for me. The world was too much for me to handle, but i know you are strong enough. Go and see the world, experience the things I'll never get to. And name your child for me. Name it something interesting, something beautiful. Something about beginnings.
Love for always, even after death,
Anila Noel Finn
I was hurrying down the steps when my name was yelled. "Asili!" I turned and faced my English teacher, Mrs. Cadwell. "I wanted to talk to you about the upcoming deadline for the exchange program. As you know it's coming up, and I still haven't gotten your form. If you are going to go, then I need it from you by the 17th of next month. I will advise you to not wait until the last minute. You are a bright girl, and I want you to get as much experience as you can this young." She smiled.
My heart sank. "I still have a few things to fill out, but I will try to have it in as quick as possible." I gave her a smile, then ran to catch the bus. I knew there was no way I was going; my parents would never allow it. Or should I say, my dad would never allow it. He is so overprotective for no reason, and I feel a little crowded sometimes. I wanted to go on a student exchange program, for a whole school year over in Greece, so I got the information, and now i just need the permission. I slid into an empty seat and shivered at the cold leather. There were dirty words, and declarations of love written all over the back of it, no doubt middle schoolers who don't even know the meaning of the words. There was a slight pressure next to me as someone sat down. "Hey Asili." It was Ben Hisler, the new kid with an apparent crush on me. I was positive he would learn soon enough that I wasn't the type of girl guys were into. "Hi Ben. Did you want something?"
"I just thought you looked lonely sitting by yourself, so I thought I would give you some company until your stop." He was so sweet, I couldn't say no, even though I didn't really like him, or want him sitting beside me. "Well, thanks for the consideration. I guess you can stay here." He blushed, and I have to admit it was cute. He had bright blue eyes, ear length black hair, and pale skin, so even just a little bit of color lit up his whole face, making him look sort of like an excited little kid. I sat there for what seemed like forever bearing his questions and small talk, until he dropped the bomb. "Hey, Asili? I... I really like you and I was wondering if we could maybe... hang out sometime? And if you don't like me like that, then maybe we could still hang out. As friends." I sighed inside my head, but told him that yeah, we can hang out as friends and see where it goes from there. When my stop finally came I plastered a smile onto my face, and rushed off, half afraid he would follow me.
To get to my house from the bus stop, there was a shortcut through a small wooded area, and I pushed my way into it. Most people are scared of it, but I'm not. The story behind it is that four years ago a girl was drug out here and murdered; her throat cut. There are stories that when you are walking in the woods alone, you can here the sounds of someone dragging something, and then a piercing scream. I shook my head at that; the murder part was true, but i don't believe in ghosts. I tromped out into the sunlight, nearly making me blind, and opened the door. It seemed no one was home, but it was weird that the door was unlocked. I shook my head at dad's forgetfulness and padded to my room. The hall was a neat collection of rugs and pictures, set up brightly against the white washed walls. I opened my door and relished the feeling of my carpet, a plush gray, that went well with the lavender walls. My books went in the same place, and I stood straightening until they were perfect. I always try to be a little messy, or crooked, but my OCD always wins out in the end.
As soon as I sat down and got comfy, I realized that I didn't have a pencil to actually do my homework with. I made my way to my father's study, where I knew he had a whole slew of writing utensils. I swear that he is the only one who still has those pencils from the eighties; you know the ones with the individual lead cartridges inside, and if you lost one you were screwed. I started pulling out drawers, and shuffling through papers, trying to find the box, when my hand hit a bundle of something. I pulled it out, and was staring at a bunch of letters, maybe 30, all held together with a giant rubber band. I stuck them in my pocket, and ran out.
Safely back on the bed I carefully pulled off the band. I grabbed the bottom one, figuring it would be the oldest. It was addressed fully, but never sent. The name on it said it was for an Anila Finn. There were two pages full of my dads writing, and I started reading them.
My dearest Anila,
I honestly don't know how I've gotten along without you telling me what to do all the time. It's like I'm missing my right hand. But I know I've already said that before. Asili's turning eleven next month. She is getting so big it's hard to believe. Even though shes not your child, I can see you in her. Even if it's just the way she swings her hair, and puts her hands on her hips when she's getting an attitude. I wish so much I could just spend one last day with you, and that you would tell me what made you do it... But I won't dwell o-
I hear the door slam, and dad calls me, breaking me from the page.
"I'm up here!" I yell, and shove the letters into an open drawer. "What do you need?"
"What are you up to?" He said, a little anxious as always.
"Just homework and stuff, do you have a pencil?" He nodded and handed me one, luckily not suspecting a lie. I know he wouldn't be very happy if I told him I was snooping through his private things. I grabbed my I-pod off of the desk and tuned out the world, while trudging through Algebra 2. My mind started to wander back to who in the world this Anila could be. From the context I could tell she was dead, and it was pretty clear it was by suicide. My dad has never made much references to his past life, and we rarely ever saw my Grandparents on that side. She seemed really important to him though, so I don't know why he has never made any mention of her. I do figure that is why he is so overprotective of me; losing someone like that can make you scared someone else will do the same. I flattened out the solid gray bedspread, still lost in thought, when my dad burst in.
"Asili! Have you talked to your mother? She isn't answering her phone and she is usually home by now..." I could see the fear and worry written all over his face.
"No, but don't worry, she probably stopped at the store or got stuck in traffic, and she could just not hear her phone. I'm sure she's fine dad." He didn't let go of his worries, but my reassurances did seem to relive him, as if he hadn't thought of those possibilities. "Oh, um, dad... I also have something to talk to you about. It's school related." He nodded and sat on my bed, looking at me expectantly. "Well... My grades are pretty good, and I've been one of the best in all my classes. Soooo... my guidance counselor called me down, and she suggested I do a... program." I was nervous, and intentionally beating around the bush, whereas I usually just beat the bush.
"Well what kind of program is it honey? I'm sure if it'll benefit you it'll be fine with your mother and me."
"Its... Well, she suggested that I go on a student exchange program to Greece for a school year. Or if that's too much just two semesters." I bit my lip and crossed my fingers.
"You mean to tell me some hoity-toity guidance counselor is trying to send my child to some foreign county on her own and thy actually expect me to agree to that? There is absolutely no way!" He was yelling, and his face was edging on purple.
"But- I- Dad, it would be really good for me, and I would stay with a family the whole time, and-"
"No! Absolutely not." He said, and stormed out. I deflated, wondering how I could have ever hoped he would agree.
The sun was just going down as I crawled out the window. The roof outside was relatively flat, and a great place to just sit back and read a book or think. It didn't have a great view; a few crumbly old houses, but there was a relatively good expanse of space where you could watch the sun come up and down. So that's where I was at eight thirty, reading more of dad's letters. Most are just updates on his life, but a few are him reminiscing their childhood together. A few times, I started to cry because I could feel the emotion in his letters. All the deep, raw, emotions that he refuses to show normally. I was scared that he would open my door and find me with his stuff though, so I put them back in my desk and hoped he didn't feel the need to read them tonight.
That night It stormed, with thunder so loud it felt like my ears were going to explode. Needless to say, I got no sleep, tossing and turning instead. I almost peed myself a few times when I was slipping unconsciousness and the thunder graced me with its noise. Finally I just got tired of it and crawled out of bed.
Downstairs the only sound was rain and cars splashing through it. I shuddered and pulled my robe closer around me and curled up on the couch. The whole day was running through my head.
It began of course with my alarm screaming me awake. I knew I had had another nightmare, but couldn't remember all the details. Breakfast was nothing, and the bus ride was cold and boring. At school suffered from an extreme case of invisibility, and had knowledge forcefully shoved into my brain. At home I found dad's letters, was completely ignored by mom, who only had eyes for the paint samples and her own pregnant belly. The fact that my mother was cranky and jumpy at two weeks till her due date, made her notice me even less than usual. The fact that I have a baby sister on the way added to that a little too. Mom and I used to be really close, but one day her and my dad got into, really bad, and after that, she just gradually got less and less interested in me.
So with little Jessamine on the way, I have to admit, I was jealous. I mean, the woman isn't even out of the womb yet and she gets more attention than me.
I coughed, when the smell of paint fumes caught up with me. Dad had just painted the baby's room a pretty pale yellow and purple. Everything clean and light and completely without character. Just like the rest of my house.
My kitchen was white with tan cabinets and a shiny, scuff-free brown tile floor. The living room walls were a homey brown, which would have been nice and inviting if not for the bright white carpet, with not even a fluff ball out of place. The dining room had pale green walls and light brown wooden floor. All the furniture was an olive green which somehow matched everything. Even my room had no personality whatsoever.
The horribly destructive mind that unfortunately inhabited my head had an idea suddenly. I knew it was bad, but sometimes I just get reckless and do stuff I know shouldn't. I snuck into Jessamine's room, and grabbed the mini paint cans with the colors left over, and took them into my room. I took the brush, opened a can, and dipped it in. Then, hoping I had good aim, flicked the paint at my wall. A little got on my small, white bookshelf, but I decided I liked the look. I was feeling crazy, bound to this emotionless prison by my father, who was terrified of what might happen to me. He did not understand that I needed escape. I needed nerve and personality and freedom to be my own person, not just some dull doll. Or a puppet; yes, I was a puppet. I almost never dared ask something outrageous, I did everything they said, never strayed outside the lines, wore what they gave me, never tried to have my own style or friends or character. Of this, I was tired. I decided right then that no one could tell me what to do anymore. I felt crazed and free, in the one moment I chose to be myself, not my parents. If someone wanted to run me, they could try, but they won't get very far. The thing that had been pushing against my perfect walls finally broke out, ready to take on the world.
When I was finished, the walls were a beautiful mess. Colors running into each other, splashed in no order at all. I loved the way it didn't look planned out; the colors were not perfectly placed in their own matching place. The colors clashed, deep blues contrasted the bright yellows, light gray's against green and pink and purple. That is what made it beautiful. It was clumsy and reckless; just like me. No one told me how, not even myself. Hows that for character?