During the transition...
I felt like I was floating. I was in a dark void of complete and utter nothingness. What happened? How did I get here? Where was I?
Then suddenly memories started coming at me. It was like my life's biggest hits all at once. If I had been conscious, I have no doubt I'd be crying right now. But all I can really do is watch. I was just an observer to an event.
It's like I was standing at the red carpet for a premier for a movie. A movie that never got to be released. It was like some massive uptown party. I was the star and everyone wanted my attention. It was like the unveiling of an event.
An event that was my life. It was like a new movie that had been rolled out to theaters everywhere. I couldn't control what happened. All I could do is feel every emotion I felt. All I could do was watch my life unfold in the most unflattering way ever.
The very first seen in this ridiculous movie that is my life, is the death of my parents. I had come home from my friend, Mira's house to find my parents dead. My mom was facedown on the carpet in the living room with gaping wounds in her neck. There were also marks on her wrists. Her eyes were wide open and she looked so...empty.
In the next room my dad was laid out on his back. He had the same wounds as my mother did. He looked a little shocked. Like he was surprised someone had entered the house, or surprised someone had attacked them. He also looked like he had taken a beating.
The tears welled up in my eyes and all I could do was run out into the street begging for anyone and everyone to help. I was fourteen at the time, and some of the neighbors thought I might have been exaggerating. When someone finally called the cops and they labeled my house as a crime scene, the heaviness of what had happened sank in. That two healthy people had been killed in their home. Two people that everyone in the city of New Orleans loved.
Then, I heard the worst words ever while two cops were talking to each other:
"No signs of forced entry."
That means someone was let into the house because mom and dad knew them. Cops kept trying to take a statement from me, but I was too beside myself to think straight. They kept trying to figure out if I had touched anything when I came in, and if I had moved the bodies. I kept sobbing and shaking my head back and forth. I didn't know.
"What's going on here?" a voice asked.
I felt relief somewhere deep inside. My older brother, Max had showed up. His usually wavy brown hair looked like a mess. He had dark circles under his eyes and he looked angry. He came to my side immediately.
"She's had enough questioning for one day. Our parents just died and all you can do is interrogate a fourteen-year-old girl?" he snapped at the officer.
"Sir, we are just trying to determine the timeline of events. We have to ask questions so we can see when your parents may have died," the cop said.
He made eye contact with my brother and he shrunk back away from me. My brother reached for my hand to lead me away. He stopped and turned to face the cop again.
"We will come by the station tomorrow to talk to you. She needs to calm down. She needs time to process what just happened. If something comes to mind, we will share it with you," he said.
He walked off with me and checked me over to make sure I was okay. He held me as I cried in his shoulder. He wiped away my tears and he comforted me. When we finally did get to go to the police station, we found out the cause of death was an animal attack. I thought it was strange but I didn't question it.
After the funeral we moved in with my Aunt Natalie. She said I reminded her of my mom. The three of us were very similar in physical appearance. Red hair, emerald green eyes all round, and we were all tall. The only difference is the way our hair falls. Mine has kinky curls, Aunt Natalie's is straight, and mom's was wavy.
Aunt Natalie was great to live with. Two years went by without incident, until I started dating. She always said my dad was against me dating at such a young age. She liked to talk about it a little bit. Usually the same lines were always said.
"Danny would probably not like the guy from the beginning. Naomi would probably be more cool about it. She would keep your dad from killing the poor fella."
I'd laugh. Dad had no problem when Max started dating, but I guess that was a guy thing. He was protective over me, and so was Max. I don't think any guy would be good enough for either of them. Dad would never get to meet Justin though.
Max hated him instantly. Said Justin gave him a bad feeling. He told me I needed to stop dating him. He didn't understand that I thought I was in love. Justin was just the greatest guy!
About a year and a half into our relationship, he became real abusive. He kept calling me fat, and made me feel so bad that I quit eating. Aunt Natalie was worried about me, but she couldn't make me eat. I came up with excuses like I had already eaten, or I would be eating with Justin later. She warned me about being with Justin too much.
She tried to have the "sex talk" with me, but at that point she was too late. It was the worst thing I could have done. I thought he loved me, but he just wanted to control me. He made me feel special and loved, and the moment he got what he wanted, he changed. My friend, Mira, was even worried.
Mira tried to get me to break up with him, and Max tried his hardest to separate me from him. I was stuck. I loved him, and I was certain he would change. I was scared to be at school or anywhere without him. He was the star baseball player and I was an incredibly talented dancer.
We were a power couple. I was the head of the dance team, and so I thought I had to live up to certain social norms. It was my duty to date the hottest guy in school. I was pretty and lean, but yet, here I was starving myself to live up to someone else's expectations. I hated it, but I did it so I could stay in the popular circle.
One night, we got into a fight. The rage was evident in his ice blue eyes. His blond hair looked like he had raked his fingers through it and tried to rip it out. He was mad because his parents had told me there was some food in the fridge if I wanted to eat. He was threatening me because he didn't want me to eat anything.
His parents had left after I got there. I think they were having a date night or whatever. So they left me here, with this rage monster. He yelled and yelled and yelled until he was going hoarse. I was on the other side of the room from him because I did not want to get to close.
He was scaring me.
"Have you told anyone that you aren't eating? Have you been eating? You know you need to look a certain way if you are going to date me," he said.
He was such a sleaze in this moment.
"I haven't told anyone anything. Have I not lost enough weight? I am wasting away and people are noticing!" I shrieked.
"You look beautiful, but you could stand to lose a little more weight!"
Next thing I knew, he was beside me. He was breathing really hard, and all I could do was cower away from him. He grabbed both of my arms and shook me and still was shouting at me. My inability to respond to him shouting at me only spurred him on more. When he asked a question and I didn't answer, he became even more irate.
He raised his hand to me. I never thought he would hit me. Yet, I found myself bracing myself for impact. When he struck me my head snapped to the side. I raised my hand to my cheek and rubbed the area. I'm sure there will be a bruise there tomorrow.
I found some strength to say what I came here to say anyway.
"You know what? You are right and this is not working anymore. Lose my number and don't call me again," I said.
I made a run for it and I never looked back.
That was almost a year ago. I began eating and feeling better. I built up my confidence, but I didn't go out much anymore. I focused on my dancing, and I ignored the whispers about me. I even talked to Justin's new squeeze. She ran hard and fast away from him.
Max got tired of me moping about the house and practically forced me to go to a party. I met a guy named Adam there. He had black hair and black eyes, but he seemed to be kind. I was cautious about being around him because I didn't want to fall for the same trap I had before. He never made me feel bad the whole time we talked.
I knew Max liked to go to parties to hook up with girls, but I was surprised to see him check up on me every so often. He knew Adam, and he approved of him. Adam and I liked the same books, movies, music, and subjects. It was like everything fell perfectly in place upon our meeting. I felt at peace.
When Adam and I started dating, he treated me like a gentleman. He opened doors for me, brought me flowers, called me and texted me first. I never had to pursue him because he believed in pursuing me. He was perfect for me. He also protected me from Justin when I would run into him at school.
He was there for me when Max went missing. Max went missing after my aunt had gotten killed. It's like my family was cursed. Adam was there and I don't think I could have gotten through it without him. I knew I couldn't have.
Life went on, and the tv interviews I went on to beg for information for my brother stopped happening. Adam and Mira wouldn’t let me stay hidden away in the house. They knew Max would want me out living the best life I could. So, I continued studying and going out on dates with Adam and dancing. But everyone knew I constantly had thoughts of Max.
I tried to put on a brave face, and tonight I went to a party. A party that I had a little too much fun at. The drinking, the boys, and the dancing. Mira and I were the center of the dance floor. Dancing our hearts out and turning down boys who wanted to dance with us.
We were just teasing them a little bit. Sometimes, sometimes that’s a mistake. One I hoped I would not make again. Boys don’t like being teased. It tends to make them angry.
That brings us to right about now. The present. Those memories are a little blurry right now. Life without my brother for two years. A life that looks like it has now been wasted.
As the film that was my life came to an end, I felt this tugging. I ignored the feeling and continued to be lost in my own thoughts. Suddenly, it felt like I was being yanked out of the world I was in back to the real world. What was waiting for me on the other side? Would it be good or bad?