this is a short story I wrote. Enjoy!
“Today is as if it is a new beginning,”
Stacy had said.
“When we can rise from the ashes of the old like a phoenix, and blossom as the new, the improved, the beginning of change.”
I loved poetry, both writing and reading it, but I found no poet could say something greater or more powerful then my sister Stacy’s words.
“If our brethren at birth were to witness the sins of mankind since the creation, the change would be a crown upon our heads.”
Her words were completely un-religious, because, as Stacy had said, “Religion is the belief of belief. It is what brings us together and pulls us apart. If we have no religion and face the real world, we are together in our strengths and our battles.”...
“The skies have eyes blurred from the vision of everything we do...”
So true, Stacy, so true...
“So evil, so good, so inappropriate yet blissfully satisfying is the emptiness of hope, that we surrender our souls to the forces of trust in the horrid, shameful being of truth. It is in this being that our minds, however wishful or forceful, can not make the body do anything. In the sight of the audacity of normality, we shrivel up into the cold, and are left to die in the knowledge of our past actions being so wrong.
“And that’s what lets us live in the future a better way.”
It had happened on a hot Sunday morning. I had been at home, just doing my thing at home on the computer. I got a phone call from Stacy. As I answered she only said:
“Kitty, Come here now. You’re gonna want to see this.
I found it kind of odd. My sister was a very peaceful person, recently turned 21. She had graduated from Harvard, right near our home town Boston. At the time she had rented an apartment in our neighborhood for the summer. It was a pretty small place, but all she could afford. She had been working on a book, but she kept all her writing to herself until she was done with it, so none of us knew what it was about. She was funny and fashionable, musical and smart. Although we had a 9 year age difference, we were always so close.
I told my mom I got a call from Stacy and I was going over to her place, nothing more. My mom agreed easily to let me go. What could go wrong?
I left the house at about 10:30, and arrived at Stacy’s boring gray apartment building at roughly 10:45. I tried to use the intercom, but I got no answer. So I used the spare key that Stacy had given me to let myself in.
I walked up 2 flights of stairs (I had a grudge against the elevator,) and knocked on the door of apartment 3C. Nobody. I tried the door bell. Nothing. I used her key to let myself in, praying she wasn’t dead or something.
And alas, the place was empty.
I looked in all four rooms, the bedroom, the bathroom, the sitting room and the kitchen. She was not there.
I looked back in her bedroom. On top of her desk was a piece of yellow lined paper with a message in her handwriting reading:
I’m sorry I may have deceived you with my call. I hope that you aren’t mad at me, because that would end our relationship on a bad note.
I’m going on a trip. I don’t really no where, or what I will do there. But I do know that you will see me again one day. Probably not for years in the future. But one day.
I don’t know life is about, nor do I know about people. But I think that soon I will figure it out.
Before I leave, I want you to know this much:
Embrace life. Nothing is going to be what you expect, and it’s better that way. At least you know it will all be a surprise.
I don’t want others to read this letter, only you. However, it would be unfair to leave the others with no form of farewell, so I want you to give them this poem;
Today is as if it is a new beginning.
We can rise from the ashes of the old like a phoenix, and blossom as the new, the improved, the beginning of change.
If our brethren at birth were to witness the sins of mankind since the creation, the change would be a crown upon our heads.
The skies have eyes blurred from the vision of everything we do...
So evil, so good, so inappropriate yet blissfully satisfying is the emptiness of hope, that we surrender our souls to the forces of trust in the horrid, shameful being of truth. It is in this being that our minds, however wishful or forceful, can not make the body do anything. In the sight of the audacity of normality, we shrivel up into the cold, and are left to die in the knowledge of our past actions being so wrong.
And that’s what lets us live in the future a better way.
I know that if no one else, you, Kitty, will understand this poem. After all, you always do.
I didn’t cry. I didn’t scream. I just sat down in the desk chair, my jaw dropped, and was frozen. Absolutely paralyzed. And I knew, right then, that Stacy was dead. Gone. I would never see her face again. I would never hear her words again. She was just... Perished. Away, and never to return again.
I think I sat there for about 5 minutes, and then I got up, stuffed the letter into my pocket, and walked back home, locking her door on my way.
It didn’t make sense. Her letter was very clear, she was gone. But the poem was even more obvious; she wanted to know about the afterlife, and she made it her passion to figure it out. But why would someone do something like that, even if they have thoroughly convinced themselves they will not actually die? How could my sister actually believe that she wasn’t really dead? Why did she do it?
There was a reason, and I was about to find out.
When I arrived home my mother was in the kitchen, making something in her brand new remodeled kitchen, which was as fancy as all get-out. Since Mom was a professional chef for a living, she had to make the sacrifice of no kitchen for 6 months for the prize of a beautiful one for the rest of her time in this house.
I walked into the house and took off my shoes, moving into the kitchen.
“You’re back early,” Mom said. “What was going on?” Without even thinking, I immediately responded, “Oh the usual we said hi watched tv. gotta go bye” at a speed of about 100 mph, and then I ran out of the room just as fast.
I had been planning on telling Mom about Stacy, but for some reason I just couldn’t do it. I mean all I had to say was that Stacy wasn’t at home and give her the poem, but for some reason it seemed impossible. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t face telling Mom what had happened. I knew it wasn’t my fault, but I felt afraid of what my own mother would think.
A couple of minutes later Mom found me in the living room with the tv playing a rerun of Project Runway. I was lying down on the couch just staring at it, completely without thought. Mom set a platter of cookies down on the coffee table and sat on the other couch, looking at me oddly. I didn’t move my eyes from the tv.
“Excuse me, Kitty,”She said. Mom knew something was wrong. “Look, what’s going on? Something is wrong, and I have a right to know.”
I sighed. I pulled out of my pocket the letter and detached the poem. “Why not?” I thought to myself. “This is what Stacy told you to do.” And with that, I handed her the poem. Being the speed-reader she is, she read it in a matter of seconds. “What does it mean?” She whispered. “I said,” She said again, a bit louder this time, “what does it mean?” She stared at me. There was no avoiding it. I always understood her poems, even when my own mother couldn’t at all. But who was I to tell my mother that her own daughter died?
With a gulp, I told her everything, ending with “I’m sorry, but Stacy is dead.”
Mom did not reply. She just looked at the floor and then back at the poem, back at the floor, and finally out the window.
A block of time that I have purposely faded out of my memory passed, and before I knew it, I was at her funeral.
She had always wanted to be wrapped up in cloth and buried in a grass field of any kind, so she could return to nature, “myself, one and whole, where I used to be, and where I shall be for the rest of my own eternity.” She had said that in one of her later poems. I felt so horrible reading her work that I hadn’t seen the suicidal clues. It made me feel stupid. She had been that way all along. I could see that now.
Of course, complications for her funeral had arisen since we didn’t find her body. It, again made me feel stupid because obviously we were supposed to be able to find her, or else she wouldn’t have made the requests she made. In the end Mom and Dad made the executive decision to stop trying to search for her and just have her ceremony in the Rose Ponds, her favorite place, but if we ever did find her body, we wouldn’t deny her of her wish. At first I was very angry at them for not working until they found her, but eventually I rounded up to my senses and let it be, for it was already several months after I had found her letter, and the time had come.
It was at the ceremony that it happened. I was just sitting in a chair, watching random people who barely knew my sister compared to me, babbling on about how she “lived a nice life,” and I couldn’t stand it. Right before what was supposed to be the ceremony’s finale, which I had spent weeks writing, practicing and preparing, I ran. I ran into the small sheaf of of forest surrounding the pond. I sat down next to the tree in front of the fountain where we had spent tiresome hot summer days swimming. I sat there crying for a little while, then I stood up contemplating what came next. As I stood up I saw a piece of paper pinned to our tree. As I looked at that paper, I suddenly understood everything. She had done it for me. It was my challenge, and having stumbled upon this note, I had completed it.
Alas, the note had but two words;