WIP–June 2009

The following is my Work in Progress for this summer.  Its been awhile since I’d posted any of my writing, so I figured I’d remedy that today!  This shows what I do with a lot of my summer days!  The story’s title (for now) is “Undefiled Religion.”  This is my intended prologue.

I don’t remember much about that day.  You’d think I would.  Aren’t the tragedies that occur throughout the course of life supposed to be embedded into a person’s subconscious?  I always thought that was why dreams and nightmares about those moments happened, why you remained haunted and saddened for years after the fact.  That didn’t happen for me, though. At least, not the remember part. I wish it did.  The more I remembered about that day, the more information I could have given to the detectives assigned to my case. Instead they made do—and did very well—with the little I could offer.

I remember punch.  Raspberry punch served out of a gold bowl.  In fact, I remember the color gold in general.  You see, it was my grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary, so everything was gold.  But I also remember standing by that bowl and laughing with Jamie.  Jamie was my neighbor’s niece.  My neighbor, Mildred, was nearing 70 at that time, and Jamie had spent every summer with her for…oh, I believe it was six years.  Jamie was 16 at the time.  Just 16.  Can you imagine dying at 16?  You’re just starting to live then!  Dating, driving, all-nighters with your girlfriends . . . it’s the heart of the teenage years.  Is it too old-fashioned and traditional for me to mourn the fact that she never got married and had kids?  I know that in today’s politically correct society I am supposed to find fulfillment in more than just that. . . but I knew Jamie.  We weren’t best friends…but we were still friends.  She was a beautiful girl who longed for a simple, traditional life like that.  In fact, that’s the other thing I remember. 

We were discussing boys.  I was 18 and had just graduated from high school.  My boyfriend’s name was Mitch.  Jamie wasn’t dating, but she had her eye on a guy: Alex Freeman.  I didn’t know much about Alex because he lived in a city two hours from my small hometown.  Jamie had met him the summer before through some acquaintances of her aunt’s. 

Alex wasn’t at the celebration that night, as he did not know my grandparents.  I don’t even think he was interested in Jamie, since the two barely knew each other.  He stayed in that same city all his life, eventually managing a locally-owned restaurant.  I’ve seen him occasionally throughout our lives.  I’ve also seen his wife and kids.  Never met any of them, though.  I avoided him whenever I saw his family around.  I just couldn’t bear to see who was taking Jamie’s place.  And you know what?  After 12 years of marriage and three healthy children, they split.  I heard it was an ugly divorce and she got almost everything.  I may be foolish, but I’m convinced it was because the union was never meant to be.  After all, Alex Freeman’s true soul mate had already died.

But that’s Alex.  My “bf”,as we referred to them in those days, did not have the opportunities of Alex Freeman.  Mitch was at my grandparent’s party.  He loved my grandparents and wanted to wish them well.  He was there for them, yes.  But never in all my life have I been able to get over the fact that he was also there for me.  No amount of love, support—even the professional counseling I received—has been able to help me heal from that.  They were my grandparents.  He met them because of me and he stayed all day long to help me greet guests.  He truly played the part of one of the many in-laws.  He acted like family.  He made rounds throughout the room, visiting with people who had come alone, he refilled the salad bowls when they started getting low, he helped serve coffee…that was Mitch.

It didn’t surprise me that he acted so mature.  I knew my “bf” well.  That’s how he was: punctual, reliable, a hard worker and an honest man.  He acted well beyond his 18 years.  In high school, most of my peers went to the movie theatre on dates and made out—not only there—but whenever and wherever they could find privacy.  But us?  Mitch was never really “into” movies, so I had to rent something I wanted to watch in order to get him to enjoy it with me.  Then, instead of snuggling on the couch, I’d end up sitting on the floor, my back against the couch, and Mitch would stretch out perpendicular to me, his head in my lap.  Of course, you can’t really see the TV like that.  Normally Mitch would fall asleep while I enjoyed the movie.  Many of my friends teased us for acting like an old married couple.     

If it sucks to die at 16, imagine 18!  Like myself, Mitch was just two weeks out of high school.  He’d literally just gotten his diploma and was about to take on the world.  Mitch was planning on attending the local tech college to get a degree in agriculture.  He planned on farming with his father.  I feel responsible for denying both he and his father that. 

But back to that night…I remember having the “boy talk” and laughing till tears filled our eyes!  (Yes, the boy talk can be funny.  It’s not always has serious as is stereotyped!)  The next thing I knew I was in a hospital bed surrounded by white.  I remember no explosion, no crying, no shouting, no sirens…nothing.  Because I had blacked out, my mind never computed those sounds.  My psychologist told me I was lucky to have missed that, but to this day I haven’t decided whether or not I agree with her.  Because one minute I was having the boy-talk like your average American teenage girl and two minutes later, with no warning, no transition and no way to prepare, I had lost nearly everyone I loved.  My life was forever changed and altered; it became full of pain, confusion and heartache because of a violent decision made by a stranger.  A decision that would take years to understand and figure out, denying me also the chance of closure and the healing it could have brought.  Knowing nothing is really what I remember most about June 2, 2005.

(C) 2009 Emily Grace
If used, please give credit to “Footsteps of Life”
Thank you!

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