Inspired by a daily challenge (of the same word) and scribbled on the back of an envelope and a flyer…here’s a work of fiction for you.
Sometimes things happen in life.
Things you think you can’t survive.
Last January, it happened to me. One day I’m a high school Senior, living a life that’s chaotic in all the ways that seem so simple now. I’m worried about grades, college, boys, drama, and a part-time job.
The next day it’s my family car on the news. That silver SUV smashed into on the 10, crushed on the passenger side. You heard about it, I’m sure. The one that the 2nd car hit after being spun around by the driver who was day drunk. The one that closed the 10, probably ruined your commute.
One minute I’m pissed at my Mom for putting my sister’s ballet practice above me. Making me walk myself home from basketball because Emily needed to get to Scottsdale for some recital rehearsal. The pounding of my feet sends that anger kicking up like dirt in a dust devil. Emily comes first. Drop everything for Emily. Emily. Emily. Emily
I arrive at home, unlock the door, toss my stuff around like it’s meaningless, turn on the TV. Pause. Check my phone. Recognize something on the TV. Hit pause. Call my messages. Drop to my knees, start praying to a God who probably doesn’t recognize my voice that I’m wrong. Call Mom. I can hear her sobbing the same word I angrily stomped…but somehow it’s completely different. Emily. Emily. Emily.
Now? Well now I can’t quite figure out what I am. It’s like I stopped growing when she did. It’s like everything before, when we were together, is this beautiful memory that I always took for granted.
People say “shell” or “shadow” like they’re hollow or replicas of what they were pre-tragedy. I don’t say that. I prefer stump.
Did you know “stump” is defined as part of the tree left projecting from the ground after the trunk has fallen or been cut? That’s us. Emily, my forever 14 year old sister, cut down. Me, the tree that fell hard to the Earth that day. Maybe I leaned on her more than I thought. It turns out I am just too weak to stand alone.
Either way, we’re stumps now. It’s how I feel every day. We’re still together, but we’re kind of frozen.
I never appreciated you enough.
I never spent enough time with you. Now? Now I’d kill for that chance.