I opened my eyes, laying on my bed and clutched at me chest. Something felt like it was missing.
I felt different.
And I didn’t like it.
I knew it had something to do with Ali. I heard a drunken yell from downstairs in the kitchen. I rolled my eyes, picked up my sister’s suitcase and took a deep breath before I rolled the suitcase in front of me. I left mum in the kitchen, I didn’t say goodbye. I closed my eyes and then walked out the door for good.
At the ivy gate I turned and waved at the house. I turned around self-consciously. Then I smiled at the house and left.
I didn’t want anyone to pick me up and feel sorry for me.
I walked, dragging the suitcase behind me and stopping occasionally for a rest. I knew the way to the cemetery. I knew it because I went there once or twice to visit my dad who I barely knew. I looked up at the blue sky. There were no clouds but there was a chill factor. I knew that once it hit about five, it would get very cold. It always did.
There it was.
The cemetery wasn’t a place many people liked to hang out. In fact, it was almost always empty. Even on Halloween it was empty.
And there was Ali’s grave. It was placed strategically next to our fathers. I hadn’t visited Ali’s grave yet. It caused too much pain and I was afraid I would break down. Then there was a scary thought that she would appear or that I would go mentally crazy and try to harm myself the way that she did.
I took out a picture of Ali and hugged it close. It was framed in white and it wasn’t just her in the picture. It was me too. And we were so, so happy. And then I looked at her grave and started crying again. I sat on the overgrown grass and stared at the other graves so I didn’t have to look at my sister’s name in bold bright black letters.
I set the picture down in front of her headstone and cried some more. I heard noises behind me but I didn’t look to see where they came from. I already knew they weren’t here for me.
“Look, Mummy, there’s a girlie here!” A little girl with a cute lisp spoke from a few headstones back. I didn’t realise that some of these graves were fairly new except for Ali’s. The mum obviously knew I was crying, what with my head on my knees and my body shaking.
I felt a hand on my back and I brought my head up with so much effort. There, sitting next to me, was the little girl. She was cute, with her brown hair placed in pigtails at the side of her head. Her bright green eyes were full of concern. The mother was catching up. The girl gave me a quick hug and I didn’t react except for another ethereal sob.
“You’re going to be alright?” She asked me. I didn’t answer. “I know you will because you’re strong. You will be strong for your sister.” I was amazed at how wise she sounded. I was amazed that she knew so much about why I was here.
“H-How do you know? Why are you here? Who are you?” I asked quietly amidst the tears. She smiled a cute smile and I looked at her some more.
I must have been hallucinating but I couldn’t be. I closed my eyes, rubbed them and then shook my head.
She was wearing a white dress. Her feet were bare, with nothing to cover them but they were glowing and they seemed as if she had floated towards me. Her dress seemed to be clean and just plain white. She stood up and I looked around for her mother.
I knew I was right.
Her mother had brown hair, silky soft and smooth. She was young. And I knew who it was. I knew who they both were. I knew what my mother had done.
The mother smiled at me as she approached. She held a bunch of flowers gingerly in her hands. She came to a stop in front of my fathers’ grave. She placed them in front of his headstone and looked at me openly.
I must have fallen asleep in front of Ali’s grave and then woken up inside a memory- accidentally of course. And then there was a man who stepped out from the line of trees, shaded by the leaves that surrounded him. I heaved myself up and stepped backwards, shaking my head. He came forward and took the mothers hand. I felt alone as the little girl ran a hand along Ali’s headstone and joined her parents.
“Mum?” I whispered. They looked up at me sharply. “Ali?”
They didn’t speak; they just stared at me in a stony silence which scared me.
“Dad, is that you?” I gasped. I closed my eyes and smiled sadly. “I’m hallucinating, I know, but why can’t I come with you and be happy. You don’t understand how unhappy I am, all alone and with no one to guide me. Help me, please.” I yelled at the happy family of three. They hugged and started walking into the trees and I ran to follow them.
I caught up with them in no time seeing as though they were only walking at a slow pace. I was on the edge of the forest. They didn’t acknowledge me at all until I put a hand out to grab my baby sister’s arm. Her white dress was glowing brighter and as I reached for it and touched it, my hand fell through it. I grabbed and grabbed and I froze.
I blinked and my family disappeared at once, like a grainy TV finally flickering off.
I felt another hand on my arm and I turned to shake it off, expecting to see Ali. But there was only a little old granny looking at me with what seemed like pity.
“Are you alright dearie?” I was asked. I shook my head and ran back towards Ali’s grave to take my suitcase. I picked it up and turned back to the granny.
“No, I am not ok.” I whispered.
And I ran.
And as I ran, I couldn’t help it. I was running whilst inside a memory.