When I felt ready, I opened my eyes and found myself back in my bed, but with the same peace I had with Harmony. Reality was not yet present. My mind and body were only filled with contentment. Nothing more, nothing less.
I lay there for a little while longer, staring at the endless abyss of white, undefined light. The light changed from an almost blinding white to a soft yellow, then to a creamy orange, and finally to an earthy, yet sharp red. The red pulled my body upward, until I was sitting up straight. At this point, what was once blurred became a perfectly clean window.
I did not know what to make of all that had happened that night. It was so much to absorb in such a short amount of time. Yet, I felt like I had been gone for a whole century. I even expected to look down at my hands and find them wrinkled. Luckily, they weren't. I had way too much to do in this lifetime.
And with that thought, I remembered why I was back here on Earth. I had a mission. A mission that may take me a week or maybe years, but it was a mission of purpose, of value. I knew there was no reason to grieve, and no reason to be sitting in my bed!
It was early yet. The sun has just risen and everyone was still asleep. I jumped into the shower and got cleaned up fast, before anyone else awoke. I tried to be as quiet as I could so I wouldn't wake anyone. I was just about to put my hand on the handle of my door when I heard a whisper. “Liz? What are you doing up so early? You are never awake at this hour.” It was my oldest brother, Jamie.
“Well, I got up to go to the washroom, and couldn't get back to sleep, so decided to take a shower. Why are you up so early?”
“Uh. Well, actually, to tell you the truth I am always up this early. It is usually the time when dad wakes up and sneaks out. I spy on him to see where he might be going.” He told me as he followed me into my room.
“How long have you been doing this for?” I was shocked and scared for him that he did this, but he didn’t seem too concerned about it. I assumed he had gotten really good at sneaking around.
“For a while now actually, but I haven't found anything out. All I know is that he goes to the garage to have a smoke and make a phone call right when he gets up. I don't know who he calls, because all I can hear is mumbling. I tried to get closer, but I don't want him to catch me.” His voice broke a little at the end. He was scared.
“Hmm. Then what does he do?” I asked, anxious to know more.
“Well, he comes back in. Then sometimes he takes a shower, makes a coffee and leaves in his car. I know, at the end of the driveway, he always turns left, so he must be going to somewhere specific and it isn't into town.” This time his voice raised a little, as if he was angry about his findings.
“That is bizarre. So, did he already leave, or is he still sleeping?”
“Well, that is the weird thing. I think he hasn't been home all night. I was hoping maybe that you caught him leaving earlier.” He bit his lip, hoping not to hear the truth.
“Nope, I haven't seen him, and I’m glad I didn't. Maybe he was just stressed out about last night, and so he couldn't be home?” I asked, hoping to be right, but knowing I was wrong.
“Doubtful. Did you see his expression last night? He didn't even tear up.” He said, with his face scrunched up and his voice hostile again.
“I don't remember you crying either.” As soon as I said it, I wish I could have taken it back. There was a raging red all around him.
“Of course I cried Liz! Why would you say that? I balled my eyes out all night. I loved Ruth. I still love Ruth. How dare you?!”
“I'm sorry, Jamie, I didn't mean it like that. I just thought maybe because he is a man, like you, he would do his crying in private.”
He walked over to my desk chair, and plopped his bulky body on top of it, shifting it slightly across the hardwood. He then lowered his head, and brushed the edge of his brow bone. He then finally said something, “Well, maybe that is why he left the house last night. I hope so anyways. I wish that bastard would at least show us a little emotion. Sometimes I wonder if he even has a heart.”
I frowned, “Yeah, sometimes I wonder the same thing. Anyways, I got stuff to do today. Can you do me a favour, and keep spying on dad? I feel like he is keeping something from us.”
He ignored my last comment, stood up with his chest out and said, “Stuff? What stuff? Your sister killed herself last night and you got stuff to do?!”
I walked over to him, pushed his shoulders downwards and said, “Jamie, calm down. I will explain later. But I promise this “stuff” is for Ruth.”
Jamie raised his brows with suspicion then said, sitting down again, pointing his finger at me, “Okay, I’m trusting you Liz. And by the way, don't worry about dad. I will get to the bottom of it. Maybe I will find a good enough reason for mom to leave him.” The last was hopeful but sarcastic. I knew he wished that to be true, but knew it wasn’t, so tried to make a joke out of it.
“As if she doesn't have enough good reasons already.” I said trying to remind him of the absurdity of his remark.
He waltzed over to the doorway while saying, “True. But you know what I mean.”
“Yeah. Well, I will catch up with you later. If anyone asks I am still sleeping okay? I will be back before all the drama happens, I am sure.” I said as I tried to encourage him out of the door with large arm gestures.
“Okay, good luck sis.” Jamie patted me on the shoulder then returned to his room. As he left, I realized that I should also start spying on our father. I had a feeling he's much more complicated then we think.
I then started to gather my things, including my gifts. I searched my drawers for money I had stored in there a long time ago. I knew I would need it some day. I then went downstairs to throw some snacks into my backpack. I checked the phone to make sure no one was on it, then called a cab to arrive at the end of our neighbour's lane.
I made a sprint down the lane to be sure my father didn’t catch me on his way back home. I thought I made it, but then I saw his car coming down the road. I quickly looked around for somewhere to hide. Just then the mysterious tree appeared before me! I swiftly climbed up it. I watched closely as the car came closer. There was something different about the car. It almost looked newer. Did he get it cleaned? Did he get new parts for it? I could not be sure. I would take a closer look when I got home. Right now, I had to get to the school to inspect the surrounding area. I saw my cab approaching. I jumped down from the tree, said thank you, and ran as fast as I could to the other lane. I made it just as the cab approached.