Wednesday, 11 October 2017
No Better Replacement 1 by AnnaMay__
I grip her trembling hands as hot tears pour down my cheeks. She was dying and I knew it and the painful part was that, she knew it too.
“Mom, just stop talking, will you?” I lie on her side and weep into her hospital gown. I feel her hand move slowly and grip my hair.
“I love you,” it was clear and I was surprised, shehasn’t talked as clear as this since last month when she was brought here. “Take,” she’s saying, “care of Nate, please”.
“You’re not allowed to say that, okay?”
Her grip on my hair tightens again and I feel it release.
“Mom?” her eyes are closed and I can hear the ECG beeping continuously. “NO! NO! This can’t be happening, mom wake up!
Wake up!”panicked, I bang my fist on her chest but she doesn’t move. Suddenly, the door burst open and a doctor and some nurses run in.
One of the nurse takes me away from mom and I watch as the doctor place something on mom’s chest.
Whatever it is, they place it the first time, then they do it again and then, again! But
she didn’t move.
The doctor looks at his watch and says to the nurse standing beside him with a clipboard, “Time of death, 4:02pm,”.
“Time of…she’s? No,” she can’t be dead. My heart starts pounding and I struggle with the nurse but she holds me tight. “It’ll be okay.”
She said but I knew it wouldn’t. How was I even going to tell dad? Or Nate? How…?
“Natalie?” I hear Nate yell behind me and Dad follows him into the room. Tears starts
springing off dad’s eye instantly and Nate stood there, bewildered.
I struggled away from the nurse and run to Nate.
“She’s gone.” He whispers and I throw my arms around his shoulder and cry.
“Natalie, you’re late. Where’s Nate?”
“Coming” I could hear Nate’s voice from down the hall so I hurry and put on my jeans, and a sweatshirt dad had got me from his journey with Nate to Florida.
When I get down, Dad and
Nate are on the dining and Dad had made PB and J sandwich which mom always made for us every morning.
“Morning princess, you sleep well?” I appreciate his gesture but please, talk about faking.
I didn’t want to hurt his feelings so I play along
“Uh-huh,” I draw out a chair and sit, next to Nate. Mom’s chair was empty.
“I wonder how school’s going to be like, everyone knows about mom’s death,” Nate
wonders out loud. I worried about it too but I was sure I could get through it.
“You don’t have to worry, I’ve given Principal Higgins a call, you’re not going to be bothered.”
“You called Higgins? Dad?” I hate when he does this over caring thing, it was very annoying.
“Nate and I can take care of ourselves,” We really could take care of ourselves; I mean we’re twins, that’s kind of what we do.
“Well, I’m sorry. I just didn’t want y’all to be bothered,”
“We understand Dad and thanks” Nate is looking at me so I shrug and keep eating, no way was I going to ruin breakfast for the second time this week.
When we get to school, I didn’t
know what to expect.
If I had a friend, it would’ve been a little less painful, but I didn’t; I was a loner and Nate was the only friend I had in school—and my cousins, Sophie and Jake
before they moved to Oxford last year.
I part with Nate in the hall and move quietly to my locker, hoping no one would notice me as usual, but to my disadvantage, people do.
Almost everyone is staring at me; some are whispering while some have this look of pity.
I really wish they don’t pity me, seriously I don’t need their pity. I’m so happy when the bell goes and everyone disperses to their classes.
I didn’t rush though, I just stood by my locker and stared blankly. I had different thoughts running through my mind. Ditch school? Don’t!
And then I remember Mom and after a while of pondering, I slam the locker and head to my next class.
I’d told dad and Nate I was fine about losing Mom but I really wasn’t, I still have
dreams about her every night, some good, some bad, and I always wake up crying.
I still think about her, everyday and every time. When I get to my next class, everyone is seated and staring at me, great just what I was trying to avoid.
I ignore them and take my usual seat at the back of the class, trying my best to listen to Mr. Grayson, but I couldn’t, my mind
was wandering everywhere.
First, since Mom’s gone, who’s going to take care of dad? Who’s going to cook? I wasn’t good at cooking and the one month mom spent in the hospital, Nate, dad and I ate out.
How was life going to be? I thought. I miss mom, she always knew what to do, she always had an idea, something to say.
I miss her, and her voice and her laugh, and… “Miss Rivers?” Mr. Grayson is standing in front of me and I realize tears are flowing down my cheeks.
“Shit,” I wipe my face with my palm, “I’m sorry Mr. Grayson.”
“Do you need a pass to leave class?” Mr. grayson had a little bit of concern on his face, “It’s okay Miss Rivers,”
“No, I’m fine here Mr. Grayson, that won’t happen again.”
“Alright then. Now class…”
During lunch, I pick up my tray and proceed to my table in the most insignificant place of the cafeteria, far back, away from everyone.
I take a seat on the empty table and as I’m
opening my orange drink, a tray appears on the table and a guy sits across me.
“Um, excuse me.” I say to the guy, “This is my table.” The guy laughs. Wow, he’s really
pretty. Are guys pretty? Well, he’s cute and I don’t recognize him at all.
“There are no assigned tables in Roosevelt High, I think that’s in the school manual” he picks up his hamburger and takes a huge bite.
“Wow,” I watch him chew it all, and down it with a soda.
“Don’t judge me based on this, pretty; I’m just too hungry.”
“I bet you are,” I pick up my burger and take a decent bite.
Take that, I can be a lady.
“Are you new here?” the guy’s asking. I’ve got to say, that had really hurt.
“No, I’m not new,”
“Then why are you sitting alone? I thought it’s the new ones that have trouble making
“I’m not new,” I repeat, already hating his presence.
Sitting alone really is bliss. Or so I
thought. “Wow, I actually thought I’d found someone in my category. Well, too bad”.
“Yeah,” he nods, finishing his hamburger, “I’m new,”
“Oh, um that’s cool, I guess? That’s probably why you’re sitting with me,”
“Do you have a contactable disease or something?” his brows are raised and I can’t help laughing at the look he has on his face.
“No, I don’t have a disease. I just don’t sit or talk with anyone in this school,”
“Oh, so you’re a loner. Cool”
“Of course. Now I’m done eating like a cow and please I apologize for that, let me introduce myself, I’m Tucker. And you are?”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Natalie. Can I ask for a favor?”
Thinking of what favor he could possibly be asking for, I say, “what favor?”
“Can we be loners together?”
“That makes no sense,” a part of my lip was raised but I tried to hide my smile.
“Oh, it does. You’re a loner, I’m a loner and we’re alone. Together.” He frowns, “Okay, now that makes no sense. The smile finally escape my lips. First smile I’ve smiled in weeks.
“Look Natalie, the school I moved from, I was kind of, you know, popular, and it kind of didn’t end up good so I want to be invisible at this school. Can you help me? You’d be my partner in loneliness,” he’s smiling and looking serious at the same time.
I take his outstretched hand, “partner in loneliness, that doesn’t sound contradictory at all. I’d like to be your partner in loneliness.” I whispered.
When we get home that day after school, there’s a red sedan in our driveway and the only person we know that drives a red sedan is Aunt Dory, Mom’s elder sister that moved to Oxford with my cousins.
“Is that Aunt Dory’s?” Nate is asking as he pulls up beside the sedan
“Only one way to find out,” I hurry down and into the house.
“Natalie!” someone yells my name and I see her in her full grace,
“Aunt Dory!” I literally jump on her.
“Natalie?” Someone appears behind Aunt Dory. “Sophie!” I jump from Aunt Dory to Sophie in a second.
Sophie’s my favorite cousin and I
haven’t seen her in a year. They moved away last year and we haven’t seen since then.
Though, we talk a lot on phone but still, I miss her.
“Nate? Look Sophie, he’s so big now. Jacob should see you,” Aunt Dory hugs Nate and so does Sophie. He’s as happy as I am to see them but not completely happy, “where’s Jake?”
“Yeah, where’s Jake?” I ask
“Well, he’ll be here in a week, he needs a recommendation letter from his coach over there before he can start school here.”
“Start school here?” Nate eyes widen.
“Yeah, we moved back here and we’re spending the night today.”
Sophie hugs me again.
“Really?!” Nate and I say simultaneously
“Yes, really. We’re back!”
“That’s like so cool. Come on; come up to my room Sophie!” I take Sophie’s hands and we run upstairs like we used to do when we were kids.
I’m so surprised to see my room well
arranged, and sorted out. Compliment of Sophie, she was always the neat one.
“You weren’t home so I customized your room a little, hope you don’t mind”
“No silly. We have so much to talk about”
“Yeah I know but first,” she hugs me, “I’m sorry about your mom and I’m sorry we could not make it to the funeral.”
Jake and Sophie could not attend the Funeral, only Aunt Dory and
Uncle Ken could make it.
Aunt dory said Sophie and Jake were too sad, they’d loved my mom like theirs, mom was very lovable.
“It’s okay, I understand,”
“How are you doing, really?”
“I’m fine, I’m just adjusting and it’s not been easy.”
“that’s why I’m here, I’m going to help you,”
“please don’t hug me again, I’d freak out” I tell her and she laughs.
“Alright, no more hugging, let’s go disturb that twin brother of yours,” she takes my hand and we run to Nate’s room.
Aunt Dory made dinner, and it tasted really good. Grandma was a cook and so her kids—mom and aunt Dory— learnt to cook from her.
After dinner, Aunt Dory meets me in the
living room when they’ve all gone up.
“Sweetie, why are you still here?”
“I just want to finish this,”
She sits by me on the couch and lay my head on her shoulder, “how are you feeling?”
“To be honest? Not so good. I miss my mom and you guys coming made me happy but it still made it worse, mom would’ve been happy to see you guys”.
“I know honey, she’s happy we’re here, I can feel it” something dents my cheek and I look up to see Aunt Dory crying.
“I’ve been strong for too long Lee, I can’t take it anymore. I lost my sister and it hurts really bad”.
I hug her, “I know how you feel.” We cry silently in each other’s arms till she tells me it’s late and I should go to bed.
Sophie’s still up when I get to my room, “have you been crying?”
“No,” I lie on the bed beside her
“You know I know when you’re lying, but I’d let it go, good night.”