Volume 40 ~ 2017
On the edge she stares
at the chilling sea below.
Will anyone care?
Her feet dangle off the cliff,
ready to dive into the churning darkness.
Will anyone try to stop me?
From above she notices dancing spots,
fish soar above the distant waves.
Will anyone remember who I am?
She stretches her legs and stands,
extending her foot onto an invisible plain.
Will anyone think of me when I’m gone?
At last she abandons the edge,
and leaps into the air.
Will anyone find where I land?
Gone, But Not...
I enter the graveyard and locate my father’s stone. Gone but not forgotten, is the quote inscribed on the eroded rock. I spend about ten minutes just sitting there, leaning my back against the sun-soaked stone. Every time I sit with my father, I can almost feel his presence next to me. My father didn’t deserve to die. I listen to the lulling tone of cars driving past on the highway. My mind swells with anger when I hear this dreadful noise. The deep thundering motor fills my ears. I think of the day I sat in the living room watching Saturday morning cartoons.
The phone’s blaring ring startles me and I walk to the kitchen and answer the call. A woman’s voice asks, “Is this Mrs. Richman?”
I answer, “No I’m Lucy Richman.”
The woman then kindly says, “Sweetie, could you please give your mom the phone.”
I tell her sure and yell for my mom.
My mother rushes in and takes the phone, holding it up to her ear. I go back to the living room and continue watching Tom & Jerry. Then I hear sobs coming from the kitchen and I run towards the sound. Tears are streaming from my mother’s glassy eyes and I ask what happened. She doesn’t answer. I ask again what happened. I shouldn’t have asked because those words killed me, “Your father’s been in an accident.”
An engine roars and breaks me away from my thoughts. It’s my mother’s truck, she always comes to get me if I stay past dinner. I open and slam the truck’s door in two swift motions. My eyes drift to the window and I gaze at the intricate designs of the constellations.
The next morning I feel something off. I don’t think much of it and head downstairs for breakfast. A presence seems to linger with me while I eat my soggy Cheerios. I leave for school and as I walk down the cracked sidewalk, the presence seems walk with me. I stick my hand out. I’m not for sure what I was expecting to touch, but I leave my hand outstretched anyways.
I arrive at school and go into my classroom. I pull out my phone and check my notifications. But as soon as I slide one open, my phone goes berserk. A grayish glitching screen takes over and a message from an unknown sender pops up. I hesitate and then softly tap the message. It reads, “Lucy, I need you to meet me at my tombstone.” There is no name or address, but I can only think of one person who would meet me at a tombstone.
I go straight to my father’s grave, without stopping. When I reach the stone, I see a single ghost-like figure standing over it. I creep up slowly to the strange being and when I get close enough I extend a single finger. The thin wisp of a person jerks away immediately after my finger brushes it. The figure turns toward me and I finally see it’s face. It is the caring strong face of my father. I stare at him with my mouth wide open, not knowing what to say or do. He finally breaks the silence and asks me “Well aren’t you happy to see your old man?”
I answer, “Yes, of course! I’ve missed you so much.”
Then I lean in for a long awaited hug, but my arms stop in midair. How can I hug a transparent figure?
“Sorry,” I say
“What for?” my father asks in his caring voice.
I explain, “I ju-... I can’t really hug you,”
He says, “Oh, no need to apologize for that.”
At this point my brain has yet to catch up to what my eyes are seeing, and I still am in utter disbelief. Am I really seeing my dead father in a graveyard right now? Yes, yes I was.
After what seems like hours of talking, I forget I am speaking to my father’s ghost.
I ask him, “How are you here right now?”
He answers, “Well, it’s a bit hard to explain, but basically I made a deal.”
“What kind of deal?”
“A deal that involves me, you and….”
“And what?” I ask.
“A spirit.” he replies.
Now my head is really spinning, what spirits could my father have talked to? He explains that he bargained with spirits to spend one hour more with me. When he leaves me again, my father will be trapped and have to work like a slave. He did this all for a measly hour with his only daughter. I don’t hesitate to ask, “How much time do we have left?”
“Five minutes,” his voice full of sorrow.
I don’t know if I can handle my father leaving me once more. My eyes begin to glisten with fresh tears. My father rests his hand on my shoulder and tries to comfort me the best he can. I gently put my hand on top of his and time seems to slow down, just for a second. Then he breaks the silence and says, “Honey, I hate to leave you, but you know I can’t stay.”
My head drops and stares at the ground, “Yeah I know.”
“Ok, don’t be scared but soon dark clouds are going to circle around me.”
“No, you can’t leave me!” I exclaim.
“I’m sorry, but I promise you will always have me looking out for you.”
He smiles his goofy smirk and I have to break my serious frown. Then a swirl of gloomy storm clouds fill the empty sky. My father and I exchange "I love yous" and I attempt to wrap my arms around him. I do not succeed, the clouds reel him in like a fish. His kind eyes meet mine and we wave goodbye.
I tap my fingers on the desk, and
count back from five.
Five, four, three, two, one.
A battle between panic and peace,
the stress weighs down on me.
I feel alone in my thoughts, as
chaos throbs through my limbs.
My mind drifts to the future,
it will not rest, with negativity
trapping my assured thoughts.
I gnaw on a pencil
until the eraser has vanished.
Just relax, stay calm.
I continue to tap my fingers,
Five, four, three, two, one.
A quiet, lonely house waits,
with arms outstretched.
It waits to welcome someone, anyone.
Each new day should bring an opportunity,
to give someone a warm inviting home.
Instead, each new day brings disappointment.
Why hasn’t anybody come to this loving home?
Will anyone ever walk into its open door?
Too many questions remain unanswered,
as the house only sits and waits.
With arms outstretched,
ready to give someone a home.
A Long Drive
Laurie Green anxiously sits in a hospital waiting area. As soon as she sees the handle on the exam room door slightly turn, she leaps out of her seat. The doctor strides to Laurie slowly. He sets a gentle hand on her shoulder and then explains what her husband’s current physical condition is. The word “Parkinson’s Disease” parts from the doctor’s lips, and Laurie’s world comes to a halt. She sinks to the ground and collapses on the glistening white tile.
After the diagnosis, Jeff Green’s once normal life is now on a downward spiral. Jeff loved to play golf, read, and spend time outside. Now this horrid disease has caused him to spend all of his days inside his home. He can only shuffle to get from place to place, he can no longer travel farther distances, or complete daily tasks. As for Laurie, she’s burdened with all the housework. She cares for her formerly able-bodied husband continuously. Everyday Laurie has to give Jeff what seems like hundreds of medical pills. Laurie also must feed him home cooked meals. She had fallen into a daily routine.
Laurie and Jeff were driving on interstate 80, coming back from a visit with their grandchildren. The smooth sound of pavement under the rolling car wheels is the only noise in the silent environment. Jeff peers out the tinted passenger window, then something in his mind clicks. He must get out of this horrendous moving piece of machinery. He’s been trapped inside for far too long. His hand lands on the door’s handle. Muscles clench in Jeff’s hand, but he is unable to grasp anything. He repeatedly tries to unlatch the door, but does not succeed. Laurie notices and stares at Jeff with extreme concern. Jeff demands, “I have to get out of this car.”
Laurie kindly says, “I’m sorry, Honey you can’t get out right now.” Jeff insists multiple times that he has to get out, and Laurie continues to tell him he cannot.
Six months later, Laurie moves Jeff to a one-on-one care facility. Jeff spends his time gazing out of his room’s large window. He watches bees pollinate freshly bloomed flowers and hummingbirds feed on bird seed--their light wings flutter in the breeze. They are suspended in air, while he is suspended in time.