Life As He Knows It

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It Never Ends

I held her, mostly because she was my mother and she was crying, but also because I was scared she might fling herself out the window; even though it wasn’t open.

I once heard that a child should never see their parents cry, since it can make a child scared or hurt for their parents, but also because you think your parents are the bravest people you’ve ever met; as though they were superheroes.

Now, I had heard and seen my mother cry many, many times, but it was different somehow this time. Like this was the last time she’d ever cry; but it wasn’t her last.

I tried to calm her, but the tears came down like a waterfall and landed on the floor she leaned over. Josh was on the other side of her, rubbing her back in a soothing way. It was in this moment that I knew that Josh thought of my mom as his mom, because she was the only mother he had ever known.

“It never ends!” my mom blubbered. “The haunting thought that you might leave again. It never ends, and it hurts me so much to think about.” I wanted to help her, but I could only hold her. At this point, her howling had gotten pretty loud, and my father ran up the stairs and into my room.

When he saw my mother crying, he instantly took her from us, picked her up, and hugged her tight; like he had found a stuffed toy that he had been looking for a long time.

“Were you cutting onions again?” he tried to cheer her up. She giggled. My dad had always tried to make everyone laugh. ’Guess I know where I get that from too.’

My mom rested her forehead on my dad’s upper chest; he was maybe three heads taller than she was. My mom had always joked that my dad was really tiny when he was my age and that I would be just as tall as he was; I had never believed her.

“I was not cutting onions.” My mother said and wiped her eyes.

“No, but really, what’s wrong?” My father said and tipped her chin up so he could look into her eyes. “Hmmm, what’s wrong, Clara-Beara?” He smirked down at her.

My parents were so much unlike a lot of the other kid’s parents I knew. They were always yelling at their kids and yelling at each other; but not my parents. Yes, my father had been unfaithful but my mother had forgiven him, and my father was working on forgiving himself.

That was what set them apart from other parents, no matter how big the bad things was, they always powered through it like a tornado. I felt so lucky to have them.

“I was just thinking about everything,” my mother answered, “Ben, you, and how we’re going to handle all of this.” Tears welled up in her eyes again.

“C’mere,” my dad said and pulled her closer. She cried into him again, and I wanted to help her so badly but I knew that I should let them have their moment together.

I smiled because I was thinking about how this was how Josh and I were. Josh shuffled over to me, a face full of shock and happiness. He had never seen so much love in one room; with me and him, and my mother and father.

I walked through the door and into the empty and quite house. My dad was at worked, but I knew my mother would be at home. Violet and Charlie ran inside from behind me.

“Mom,” I called out. Josh had gone out for a run around the town; and I was alone. “Mom, I’m home!” I walked through small strip of wall-less hallway and up the stairs. “Mom?” There was still no answered. I walked toward her room and opened the wood door. “Mommy?” I whined.

I found her hanging there, one end of the rope around her neck and the other tied to the ceiling fan above. She looked like one of the dolls that she made, a deep frown but no expression in the eyes; only a lifeless giggle of what was once a bright soul.

Mom...” But I knew that she would never answer. My mother was dead. My mother had hanged herself. My mother had had the guts to kill herself. I ran over to her and tried to pulled down the rope but couldn’t. I was crying, and nothing else mattered but her.

“Ben?” I heard Josh call out from down stairs. I only wailed at him in response. He came running up the stairs. He found me standing there, crying and clinging to my dead mother like a baby monkey. Josh walked over, stared at me for a few seconds, watching me cry, and then hugged me so tight it made it even harder to breathe.

I’m sorry... I’m sorry... I’m sorry...” he repeated, as though he was talking to himself. I cried, and I cried, and I cried, and I cried. I cried so much that I thought that I would never stop. And then my dad came home and found us, and oh boy, you did not want to be there.

The horror that went through him was unbearable to watch unfold in front of me. It was terrifying, to watch him break down and cry right there, falling right there, on the beige carpet of his room, breaking in millions of pieces. I wanted everything to end at this moment, because we begin and end in darkness. Darkness is all we had ever known, darkness is us.

“It never ends,” I say to my four aunts, four uncles, my dad, my mom’s parents, and, last but not least, Josh. Everyone was wearing black, and I was wearing the suit I had promised myself that I would never wear again. But there I was, wearing it, at another funeral: “This pain of knowing that this endless cycle of hurt. It never ends; for any of us. It doesn’t want it to end, and we let it continue. We let it devour our souls and control the way we think. It...” I rambled on for a few minutes more, trying to make myself feel comfortable, but the whole time I was thinking: ’So this is what happens when you die, people become sad and angry at you.’

Nobody else but Josh and I understood suicide. Josh understood it because he had failed at it, and I understood because I thought about it every single day. I walked back to my father and Josh, but my father instantly stood from his plastic chair to speak.

“Clara Bianca Deverlow-Snow was my best friend,” he started, “She listened to every rant I ever said, and always had an opinion on the latest News gossip. Clara was also a joy to be around; bubbly, positive and full of life. I see her every day in my son Ben,” I caught his tear filled eye.

And I see her in the whisper of the trees, and the buzz of the bees; in the growing of grass, and the freeness of every bird. Clara was everything I had ever wanted in my life; she was my soulmate and the only woman I will ever love.” He closed his eyes as the tears streamed down and took a deep breath. When he spoke his voice was choked up, “Clara was the thing that held our family together. Without her, we would have been gone a long, long time ago.” Then he was done and walking back to sit beside me.

My father looked just as bad as he did when I first saw him at the hospital; tired and depressed. He looked like how I felt. But the worst part was that he was right, my mother was the glue of our family; she held us tight in times of need and sadness. Her sadness had gotten to her, and then...

“Ben,” my dad said from beside me, I turned to look at him. “I’m sorry about everything.”

I didn’t say anything at first, but then: “I’m getting sick of that word. ‘Sorry’, what a stupid word, and it’s used far too much in our family. There is no reason to be sorry, Dad; it was her, not you.”

“Yes, but, if I hadn’t cheated,” he said, “then I wouldn’t have left, and you wouldn’t have run away, and then there wouldn’t have been anything after that. It was my fault.”

“You know,” I said blankly, “if you keep blaming yourself, you’ll be the one who dies next.” That shut him up pretty quick, which I regretted immediately. I hated hurting him.

It was hard dealing with everything at once, but that was life, and that was how it was, and I would have to deal with it.

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