Burning August

Burning August

A Story by Albatross
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I remember.

I remember when the smooth, Autumn breeze lifted my hair and caressed my skin, clearing my mind. Refreshing me. I used to close my eyes and feel it pass me by. Peace. Happiness. Breathing in the warm scents of a better day. I would sometimes lie in the grass, watching the birds, leaves swirling in elaborate patterns, representing all of me and that which was closest to my heart. Nature was a part of me. My soul. My escape.

My mother would come home then, pulling into the driveway with her old tin Ford. Step out of the car, kiss my head, walk inside: Her regime after working twelve hours at the hospital. I would follow her sometimes, watch her wash her face, leaning over the sink. Sometimes I would tell her to go sleep. She always looked so tired. But then she would always shake her head and sit down in her office. She was busy, always busy.

I always wondered if my fascination with life was born from her lack of. I didn't understand why she tried so hard, why she would stay up late and get up so early in the mornings. Confusion always conflicted my thoughts, thinking of her. Why didn't she sleep? The only time I would see her eat was during dinner. Slow down mom. Taking life so seriously, so quickly. Sit back, please.

And then she would leave next day, always before I woke up. I would be here, alone, until it was time for school.

School. School meant boring, dirty buildings. So many people. The Freshman tease you because you're still taking classes with them. The older kids laugh at you because you're too skinny, 'cause you cry when they make fun of you. Teachers telling me to keep up. Sure they cared, sometimes. I suppose that was a good thing. Friends. Friends were always the best. Always doing something different, making it all interesting. I suppose I could last it out the rest of the school semester with them.

I remember always being tired when I came home, but there was always too much to do, to much that I'd miss if I slept. I would grab my camera, sometimes. Going outside I'd take pictures with it, always on a sunny day. Whenever it rained I could take those pictures and look at them when I was bored. I didn't like the rain, it was always so cold, damp, uncomfortable. Taking my mind back places I didn't want to remember. It always made me feel like crying. The sun, it was there with a promise that it would always come again, like happiness. I used to love feeling the sun warm me as I sat out underneath it amidst the trees and flowers.

On some days I wouldn't go outside, even if it was sunny. I would sit by the window sometimes, maybe draw. Some of my favorite moments would be me, alone in my room, lying in my bed or sitting back somewhere, just thinking.

Night would fall, and I would come inside, do my homework. My mom would come downstairs after a while, cook dinner, and we'd eat. She would ask be about my day, and I had enough to talk about that we never got to what she was up to. I never knew what my mom did during the day, besides work. She never talked about it or herself. We'd talk for hours, sometimes, but never about her.

Sometimes we wouldn't talk, just eat. Those times dinner was short, neither of us feeling like speaking. That was ok, I was still with her. Thankful that I could do something with her during the day.

I remember the day she didn't come. Hours clocked by, it was night. Alone in my house, my home. Nightmares of the worst flashing through my head. Wondering, waiting. I remember staring out the window, at the driveway, at the phone. Waiting for a car to pull in, for a call to come. Nothing, an eternity of nothing. Waiting forever, falling deeper into a horrific, invented world of darkness called my imagination.

I still thought I was imagining things when the knock sounded at my door.

I remember. Two men at the door, and one of them… Vision clouded. My eyes could barely register. Seeing him. The memories ripped themselves from the very depth of me. It was the first time I'd seen him in years. Why? Why now?

“Dad, what are you doing here?”

            I noticed the way he lowered his eyes, the police badge flashing from the coat pocket of his companion. I noticed the flashing lights behind them.

            And suddenly I knew my mother was dead.

            And suddenly I realized I was being carried. Carried by the man who had abandoned me and my mother, who hadn’t spoken to me in over thirteen years. I hated him.

            Then came that awful idea. I couldn’t do anything. She was gone. There was nothing I could have done. I was alone. My brain flashing the whole gruesome situation so fast I couldn’t smother it in my pain. It hurt so bad, realizing she couldn’t come back. And I had to stay with… him…

            This couldn’t have happened at a better time. I snorted at my sarcasm. Life had just gotten rough. I had just entered high school. I was youngest in my class. Mom was supposed to be there. Be there when I had my first date, my first prom, my first boyfriend. Be there when I was discouraged. She was supposed to share the joy of my success, my graduation, my first day of college. But she wouldn’t. I would grow up, get married, have children… And she wouldn’t be there.

            Now all that ran through my mind was “NO!!” except with a million more exclamation points. “NO!!! No!! Noo….”

            In the back of my mind, I knew that one day, far into the future, I could celebrate August again... Slowly, in the back of my father’s car, I’d fallen asleep. Drifting into a world without pain or joy…

 


© 2010 Albatross



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...
... i haven't read something as moving and overwhelming in a long, long time ... and i find myself short of words as i'm moved to tears ... this is written so brilliantly and so lovingly ... but most of all with a simple elegance and eloquence that is the trademark of powerful shorty story writers ... and i am simply numbed by the profundity of the end of this story ... the last line ... it's so true ... after all of it ... the only closure that we actually witness or experience is sleep ... "Drifting into a world without pain or joy…" ... this is remarkable work ...

Posted 7 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Oh this is wonderful. Each sentence just flows so easily with so
much emotion in it. I really love this and felt like crying at the end
well done:D

Posted 7 Years Ago


Beautifully written, I could feel the emotion in every word, see the scene unfold before my eyes...I love, utterly love how you ended the piece..." I could celebrate August again"....love those words...so wonderfully emotive.

Posted 7 Years Ago


Mixing beauty and immense sadness through memory, this story is told almost seamlessly, like a flowing thought where both ends of the emotional spectrum bleed into one.
It appears on the page so clearly and unadulterated that it seems great care and affection were laboured over its writing. It is the kind of tragic childhood tale that those of us who have not experienced it will have almost certainly imagined it as a nightmare eventuality.. The times when your beloved mother is late home or has gone out on an errand and a traffic accident is reported on the radio and sirens scream urgently down the street nearby.. all conjuring the horrors and fear of her sudden loss.. Then the relief upon her return, discovering your anxiety to be -thank God- unfounded... but you know that you are lucky, because somewhere someone has not been so fortunate..
This sad remembrance represents that alternate world that we must all one day perhaps face through the death of a loved one..
This is extremely well told and concisely stated with a neat and smooth arrangement, allowing the tragedy to convey the power of its story... and the nostalgic loss of innocence..

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I haven't read anything quite like this on the site. It really is so beautiful, and so unique- it stands far above the other stories I have read.

It's very poetic, and really moving. You wrote it so wonderfully that I became completely absorbed in your words, I found myself seeing it all happen through your eyes.

I'm not ashamed to say I cried a little by the end.

Just indescribably beautiful.

Posted 7 Years Ago


[send message][befriend] Subscribe
...
... i haven't read something as moving and overwhelming in a long, long time ... and i find myself short of words as i'm moved to tears ... this is written so brilliantly and so lovingly ... but most of all with a simple elegance and eloquence that is the trademark of powerful shorty story writers ... and i am simply numbed by the profundity of the end of this story ... the last line ... it's so true ... after all of it ... the only closure that we actually witness or experience is sleep ... "Drifting into a world without pain or joy…" ... this is remarkable work ...

Posted 7 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

I really enjoyed reading this story. You made me have feelings, lost in my youth, through the entire piece. It was very well written, as well. Great job!

Posted 7 Years Ago


Very emotional, and simply written, as if you're laying it out for us, clearly and straightly. Very well written- concise, while still descriptive. Great job.

Posted 7 Years Ago


Hey! Now this is such a well written story. You paint the pictures perfectly and I am there with you through this entire ordeal. This is a sad story though, so I hope this is pure fiction, or you really could use a bunch of hugs.

Posted 7 Years Ago



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Added on May 2, 2010
Last Updated on June 4, 2010
Tags: August, Death, Lost

Author

Albatross
Albatross

CA



About
I don’t write stories. I write moments. I write moments because they are all that make a life. Moments are what give people both joy and sorrow and humanity. Moments address our deepest emotions.. more..

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