Two people were driving through a golden landscape beneath a golden sky. One was a young man who was driving an older car that looked in perfect condition. His blue eyes were twinkling and shining in the golden sunlight. The second person was beautiful. Her golden hair was curled, drifting over her twinkling gray eyes.
The two of them were just enjoying the day when the man said, "Been a busy day, William Brown."
That cold, snowy February day seemed to be no different than usual. The day had turned out beautifully. My two best friends had both been able to come over to watch the 2nd part of a movie. We were going to have Chex-Mix and have fun.
But when my mother told us what was going on three states away, the evening suddenly had holes riddled in it, and the flat landscape of my soul began to receive holes.
"Your Aunt Marge just called," my mother's voice seemed to be falling apart. She took a deep breath. "She called to say that your grandfather went to the hospital."
I nodded. This wasn't the first time. Probably wouldn't be the last. My grandfather was too tough to die.
Today wasn't the day.
Later that evening, I went upstairs to ask if my mother would make some Chex-Mix for us.
It hadn't registered in my mind at the time, but she looked awful. The lamp was glowing softly in the green room, shedding light onto my parent's grave faces.
"I'll make some later, make popcorn," she said quietly. I turned, shrugging it off. She was probably just worried about her father.
But a few minutes later the door opened and Agatha Melby was coming in. She was an old family friend, quite a good one actually.
"Where's your mother?" she asked, softly closing the door behind her.
"Upstairs," I answered. She nodded and began to climb the stairs.
That was when it hit me.
Mom was crying. Grandfather had been in the hospital. Agatha had come over.
This was bad. This was the epiphany of bad.
Agatha's father had died a few months before. If my father was dead and I was my mother, I would call Agatha.
No. He was still alive. It's probably just a prank. A good prank.
I managed to cover the new found hole with a tarp until my father had taken my friends home.
As we were driving back home down the darkened street my father, who was driving the car said, "I don't know if you know this, but your grandfather passed away tonight."
I stared out the window. I had been right. Stupid smart brains.
"I know," I said quietly. "Agatha came over."
The car was silent. Obviously he hadn't expected this reaction. He had probably expected me to ask how, or why, bursting into tears.
Do not cry.
A tear slipped down my cheek, cooling it.
We drove home in silence. When the car stopped, crunching the gravel of the driveway, I flew into the house and up the stairs to my room. I didn't want human interactions.
Do not cry.
He was still alive. He had to be. He would be sitting on the same place on the same couch in the same house in the same town in the same state. He had to be alive.
This wasn't real.
The next day was a crying day. A day of...emptiness.
A day of stupid crying.
Crying doesn't make you feel better, all it does is clean out your eyes. I see no point in it. Crying won't bring them back. Every tear that is shed is only going to dry up and leave like that person. It does nothing.
Except ruin everything.
I had already hated the day. Now it just seemed like the day wanted to kill me in everyway possible.
Everyone seemed normal, like nothing had happened. Everyone was normal. They weren't dying, trying to fill in a hole that will never be filled.
Do not cry.
Keep it together.
You can do this.
What are a few days anyway?
Car rides were never fun. But eight hours stuck in an old car with no heating should never be in the same sentence as "fun".
Do not cry.
When we were exiting town my dad began to speak, staring out the front window. "I don't know if you know this, but during a funeral there is a time where people can say things they remember about the person. Do either of you want to do anything? Like play violin or write something?"
"No," I said hollowly. He was gone. That would be accepting he was gone.
Do not cry.
My brother shook his head.
I hate car rides.
That ride was the longest I could remember. Every second it seemed as if the universe was slowly digging a deep trench in my soul, building a river.
A dry river. There would be no tears to fill the river from me.
I watched the real world fly by for eight torturing hours, the length of a school day. This was way worse though. Whoever thought of death should have been put to death the moment they started thinking about it.
Hands and bodies were the things that occupied the next forty-eight hours of my life.
Hand after hand, person after person, unknown relative after unknown relative, forced hug after forced hug, they became repetitive, almost like a trance.
I became quite an expert on hands...and sadness.
That hole that I was working so hard to keep covered, was opening.
There was no hole. What are you talking about?
For three painful hours I got passed from one person to the next, always introduced as, "I'm Annette, the one from Iowa. This is my husband, Fred, and my-our children William and Elizabeth."
Always last. Always the hand shaker.
When I wasn't being shaken to death by "friendly" townsfolk, I was gathering in the stupid funeral room.
It was a long, tan room with white trimmings and ceiling. There were 25 plant arrangements covering the front of the room on ornate gold stands. There was a barber sign on a black slate piece that was positioned by the leg of the table containing a candle with his face on it, a flag, a wooden desk sign reading George William Miller, and a book. There were three sets of wind chimes and several stones.
Three red couches lined the right wall and towards the back was a slim black TV, showing pictures of him.
Him looking younger, almost what my cousin looked like...and my brother. Him with the family and the famous knife picture. It was a picture of my grandparent, just last Christmas. My grandmother was holding a knife and they were both smiling. It wasn't possible that the happiness was gone so quickly.
He couldn't be dead.
Do not cry.
Funerals are the opposite of what the word depicts them as. They are not fun.
I was sitting in the second row of chairs, watching the pastor talk about my grandfather in that horrible funeral home. It was then I realized that he wasn't who I thought he was. He hadn't just been the couch person, the man who snuck donuts out in the garage, the man was always in the car ten minutes early, or the man who used to smile.
He had been a joker, a good man, a neighbor, and a wonderful friend.
And he was gone.
Do not cry.
Day by Day, and with each passing moment, Strength I find to meet my trial's end...
I walk. I speak. I run. Everything is the same.
And yet everything is different.
I watch the world carefully. People are too delicate to lose. There are always people who count on others to help them get through the day.
Even now, as I sit among the other people, I find the strength to not give in to what is easy, but to hold my head high and not forget the ones who are gone.
Not gone forever. For now.
Do not cry. Laugh.
A/N: I wrote this for a class about a month ago, and decided that I should finally post it on his death-day. So yea.
Note: All names have been changed.
Do Not Cry is basically the philosophy of my life. I learned a lot that week, some of it good, some of it, not so much. I learned how to be strong. But I also learned how to be dependent and that sometimes isn't such a good thing. I also learned to reject human interactions. Maybe it will last, but most likely it won't. I just want to put this out here, just to help anyone if they're going through the same sort of thing or whatever. Anyway...this totally isn't awkward. If you want to review, please do. If you don't and just want to sit there and cry, please do. I don't care. (Just don't kill yourself or anything. Life is important, even if you think there is nothing left there is something left. The girl sitting behind you in your last class of the day might always look forward to seeing you. You never know. But there is always something.)