I rub sleep from my eyes as I stumble my way toward the kitchen. I can’t remember the last time my alarm woke me before dawn and it’s clear I’ve lost my morning brain. I used to be able to get dressed, pack lunches, check homework and plan a family dinner while overseeing the morning zombie-shuffle of three children and a husband. Now it’s all I can manage to remember where the kitchen is and that’s only possible because that’s were the coffee lives.Read More »
July 20th, 1969 lives in many people’s memories. They can tell you where they were and who they were with as Neil Armstrong first stepping on the soil of a celestial body other then Earth. They have vivid, technicolor dreams of that fuzzy, black and white footage.
July 20th, 1969 lives in infamy in my memory, too, but it has nothing to do with the moon landing, nothing to do with the making of American history. Although we didn’t know it that morning, my family was too busy dealing with it’s own historical event to pay any attention to events happening 239,000 miles from home.Read More »
“Water.” Erin spoke without opening her eyes. Her voice rasped and hissed through her dry throat, but Dean could still hear a touch of the old imperiousness underneath.
“Always bossing me around, aren’t you big sister?” he said as he held the straw against her cracked lips. She gave a faint smile before taking a sip. She swallowed rough and slow before opening her eyes to look at him.Read More »
It all started with that trip to Home Depot. Jared and I stood in the paint department, fighting over what color to paint the dining room, for hours.
I wanted a nice neutral color—an eggshell or beige. Something that would open the space up, let us get creative with the smaller details. I wanted the room to feel light and welcoming and elegant.Read More »
Amelia climbs out of the cow pond and rests on the mucky bank. She sprawls on her back and watches the stars as she tries to catch her breath. The wet clothing plastered to her skin and the chill in the evening air conspire to raise goosebumps all down her body.Read More »
The whir of the furnace drowned out Marc’s words. Lindsay shook her head, frowning. I can’t hear you.
Marc gave her an annoyed look and continued talking. Now she can hear the occasional word. “… this time … away with it … too many chances … not again …”Read More »
“I won’t say it.” Megan crosses her arms and sets her face into a stern pout.
“You don’t even know what I’m going to ask you to say,” I say. Megan is two years older than me and seems to think it’s her sacred duty to challenge me at every turn.
“I don’t care,” she says, pulling her arms in tighter. “I’m not going to say anything that will help you summon a demon!”
I scoff. “What demon? Who said anything about a demon?” She glares at me from the center of her bed on her incredibly neat half of our shared bedroom. I flop back on my own bed and grab Freddy, the Teddy. “There are no demons. It’s just a little connection spell.” I wave Freddy in a little dance above my head. “I just want to see if we can get a ghost to talk to us. Demons aren’t even real, stupid.”
“Demon. Ghost. Whatever.” Megan ignores the name-calling. She must really be worried. When she’s just being stubborn for the sake of being a butt-head, she can’t resist responding to little jabs like that. This time she stays focused. “I won’t do it.”
She picks up her book and flips through the pages. Not good. If I lose her into a book, this conversation is over. I hop off my bed and past the carefully taped line dividing my chaos from her sterile tidiness. I grab her book and hide it behind my back.
“Please?” I give her my best begging-little-sister look and clasp my hands together. Throwing myself across her folded legs, I beg again, “Ple-e-e-ase? It won’t work. It’s stupid and there are no such thing as ghosts either, but …” I sit up and get serious. All kidding aside, this really is important to me. As it should be to her. “C’mon, Megs. What if it’s possible? What if we really can talk to Jackson again?”
Megan refuses to look at me, but I can see the tears welling up in her eyes.
“How can we not try?” I set her book in her lap. “Just think about it, okay? Even if it’s just to say goodbye?”
Megan blinks and one of the tears rolls spills down her face. It breaks my heart to see her so sad. She hasn’t been herself since we opened the door to find two uniformed men standing on the front step with news of our brother’s death.
As the oldest, Jackson always knew what to do. He knew how to talk Mom into letting us stay up later, he knew the best places to find tadpoles, and he always knew how to nudge Megan out of her bad spells. She always took things too seriously and he knew how to make her laugh.
I guess that’s my job now, but I don’t know how. That’s why I really want to contact Jackson. Yeah, I want to say goodbye and tell him that I love him one more time, but I mostly want to ask him what I need to do to get Megan to move on. I’m honestly afraid what will happen if she doesn’t deal with her grief.
*10/19/17 title prompt: “The Unwilling Word”