Above the Darkness

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Before I knew it I was waking up in my bed, feeling more refreshed than ever. I had a strong inclination to do something exciting. I must have gotten that from Mazfanny. I really did love that woman. Some might find her liveliness overwhelming, irritating even, but once I had come to enjoy her presence and that great big smile, there was nothing irritating about her. I wish more people existed like that on Earth. Why couldn't we all just be overly joyful like that? What was stopping us? Then I thought: pain. And, in Awesome World there was no pain. None at all, not even the pain of being overweight, or the guilt of enjoying too much. I knew pain, and the feeling I got from the light, was part of the missing puzzle piece. I just did not know how all of the pieces fit together.

I could not sit there all day and ponder, I had to get out, and maybe have some fun! I got ready quickly, ran downstairs eager to eat a hearty breakfast and start my day.

“Well, don't you look chipper,” Sam commented ever so bitterly.

“Yes, as a matter of fact I am chipper.”

“Why? Aren't you sad at all? What is wrong with this family? None of you have a heart. It disgusts me.” She began to tear up.

“Oh no, no, no. Sam, please.” I took her hand, gently. She pulled away a little. “I do have a heart. You must know that. I miss Ruth terribly, and I wish what happened never did, but I can't live forever crying about it, and I am sure she wouldn't want me too. I bet she is looking down on us right now, and wishing all the best for us. For us to be happy, Sam.” She just looked down at the floor, and awkwardness settled in between us. I decided to try to change the subject to make the situation better.

“So, I got an idea this morning. I want to do something fun, with you and anyone else who wants to join. I think it would be good for us. And, I know Ruth would be happy to see us happy and laugh, don't you?”

Her tears let up slightly, but she still could not look at me directly. “I don't know Liz. I mean, that makes sense. And, if I was her, I would want everyone to be happy too…but it is just too soon. How can I put all these sad feelings away and have fun? How do you do that? You must not care as much?” Her eyes pierced through me like swords.

“Trust me, I care a lot. I want Ruth to be in peace, to be happy, and not worry about us. It still hurts. Really hurts. But, that doesn't mean we can't try, right?”

She sniffled and wiped the moisture from her cheek then finally met her eyes with mine. “Yeah...I guess so. For Ruth, right?”

“Yeah, for Ruth, of course. And, for ourselves. We have had enough pain. I think it is time we experience some happiness.”

She looked at me, almost shocked at my honesty, and deep words. “What did you have in mind?”

“I am not sure. What do you like to do, for fun?”

“Well, me and Christine usually go out with friends, and…sometimes do, well... what you and Jordan definitely wouldn't be allowed to do.” Her head lowered again, but not in sadness, in shame.

I knew exactly what she meant, and I wasn't impressed and she knew it. “I don't mean superficial fun, I mean real fun. Like the type of fun kids have on a perfectly warm, sunny day.”

“Most of us aren't kids now, you know?” Her tone was sour, as she looked down on me.

I put my hands on my hips, raised my brows and stared into her eyes doubtfully. “Actually, Sam you guys are. Even our older brothers, who claim they are “men” now. Please, both you and I know better, right?”

She paused for a moment, and then said,” I guess.”

“And even if we were adults, who says we can't have fun?” I said, trying still to convince her. I felt like I was chopping at a concrete wall.

“Do you ever see any adults having fun?” She asked, continuing to distrust what I was saying. I now thought she was just trying to get to me.

“Not that I often. But... I know there must be some that do, right?” Another chip fell away from the wall, cracking it.

“Yeah, you would think so. But I can't really think of anything we can do.” I could tell I was getting to her, I just needed some incentive.

“What are you guys talking about?” Matt asked.

“Liz had this great idea that we should do something fun today. You know, try to get our minds off things, and try to be happy, you know, for Ruth.” I was surprised that she said ‘great’. I thought maybe she was just mocking me, and so did Matt.

“Huh? Are you being sarcastic again Sam?”

“No. I’m serious, and so is Liz. You don't have to participate, but do you have any ideas on what we can do?” Maybe I got to her more than I thought? Either way I was happy the wall was gone.

“I do, but you girls wouldn't enjoy it. You might break a nail.” He said in his regular, pompous attitude, trying to get a rise out of us. I didn’t play the game.

“No. Please, tell us.” I encouraged.

“Okay, Jamie and I were thinking about going to play some touch football, and were going to call up some buddies, but… if you think you girls can handle it...”

Sam and I looked at each other unsure. “See, I told you. You girls would never go for it.”

“No! Wait. We’re in. Right Sam?”

“I guess...”

“In? In for what?” Christine asked, as she walked into the kitchen, with everything from her hair to her jeans perfectly in place.

“Touch football!” I exclaimed.

“Hahahahaha. You? Football? This is a joke right?”

“I thought so too Christine, but they say they want to play. So how about you?” Matt asked.

“Oh yeah, I’m totally in!” Christine said, excitedly, while she gave Matt a high-five. I was surprised, because she did not seem like the type of girl who would be willing to ‘ruin her hair’, but I was glad my judgement was wrong.

Jamie and Jordan dragged themselves into the kitchen, looking very hungry, and tired. “What is all the noise about?” Jordan asked, irritated.

“Yeah, we have enough trouble sleeping as it is. We don't need to be awakened so early.” Jamie agreed.

“Early? Which planet are you living on man?” Matt asked.

“Why? What time is it?”

“It is 9 o'clock.” I said.

“Yeah! See? That is early!” Jordan exclaimed. Both of them pretty much always sleep until 11 or 12, if they don't have to get up. Dad gives them heck every time they sleep late, even on Saturdays, when they are allowed a little extra time in bed. I know Jamie has his reasons. He really hasn't been happy even before what happened to Ruth, and seeing as he does get up early to check up on dad, I don't blame him for sleeping in. As for Jordan…I blame it on early teenage hormones.

“Well, just so you know, you better get your butts in gear because we are going out to play some touch football.” Christine urged.

“Football? Don't we have a funeral tomorrow guys? Come on now, whose idea was this?” Jamie said in a scolding voice with his hands on his hips.

“It was mine. And the funeral isn't until tomorrow. I figured it would be good for us to have fun, for once, together. Maybe we could try and appreciate each other a little more? I feel it would be good for Ruth's spirit too. She doesn't want to see us depressed. She wants us to be happy.” They looked at each other first for approval, then for assurance.

“You can't tell me that there isn't some truth to that, right?” They looked at each other again, in the same unsure manner. I let them get their thoughts together.

“Yeah. You’re right, sis. It wouldn't kill us to spend some time together, and have some fun. For Ruth, right? Since we should have tried to be closer with her and, maybe, even tried to have fun with her? Right, Liz?” After he let go of his need to be responsible and keep us in line, Jamie always seemed to be on the same level that I was, maybe because he was the most mature.

“Yeah, exactly.”

“Okay guys. Get ready. I will get the football and the car started. You better be out there in 10 minutes!” Matt demanded.

“Hey, you’re not driving man.”

“Why not? You always get to drive. Please Jamie.”

“Okay, but you better be safe.” There was the paternal instinct kicking in.

“Yeah, yeah.” Matt said as he waved his arm back, leaving the room. He used to get really irritated with Jamie’s disciplinary nature but, now, I think he knows Jamie is trying to be a good brother, so he ignores it.

The experience was better than I imagined. On the way there, Matt cranked up the music, and we sang and danced in our seats the whole way to the school. We decided to go to my school, since the high school would bring up too many bad memories.

None of us fought, and Sam and Christine actually included me in their “older girl” conversations. I learned some new things about boys, and yes… s-e-x. Not sure if all they told me was true, but it was interesting, nonetheless.

When we got there, the sun was shining brighter than ever, and you could feel summer in the air. It was coming early. We were lucky there wasn’t any rain, which normally would have shown up on a beautiful day like today. The grass was still wet from the rainfall the night before. The ground was also very soft, and muddy. I didn't mind, though, as it made it even more fun.

I had played football at school, and it was always okay, but this time there were no rules. I must say I released some of my pent up energy and anger, as did the others. Luckily, none of us got hurt. I thought, surely that one of us was going to get a broken wrist or something, but the older ones gave us some slack.

I had never needed a shower so badly before in my life, and it felt great! If I were to go to Awesome World, I think I would choose to do this. Well, at least once in awhile. I’m not sure how my body would take it 24/7, but - oh yeah! - there are no physical consequences in Awesome World, which makes it even more fantastic!

I thought of my dream helpers, and wondered if they would approve of what I did today. I also wondered if it was what Ruth would really want. I know I was supposed to do more investigating, and her funeral was tomorrow. I felt guilty now. Maybe I should have done something more productive for Ruth?

“Matt! Pull over here! At the high school! Please! I need to get something.” I blurted out without even me realizing it.

“Okay, okay. What could you possibly need to get?”

“Yeah. Didn't you get enough yesterday?” Jordan asked doubtfully.

“What is he talking about Liz?” Sam asked concerned.

“Should I tell the rest of them? Jamie? Jordan?” I asked, looking for guidance in how to deal with the situation.

“It's up to you.” Jamie replied.

“Okay. Well…you know Ruth's best friend, Tanya, right?” They all nodded. “Well, she told me about something of value Ruth had in her locker that she thought her family should have.”

Their eyes narrowed in on me, and their tense bodies turned to fully face my direction. “Well?” Christine pushed.

“It is a necklace. From her ex boyfriend. Jamie, you tell the rest. I can't talk about it.” I suggested, hoping he would comply.

“Sure Liz.” He went on to tell the whole story about who I thought Ruth's boyfriend was, her friend, and the restaurant incident. The feeling in the car grew slowly more depressing. Everyone was angry at “this guy”.

“So are we here to kick this guy's ass, Liz?” Matt asked with his face flush and ready to jump out of the car.

“No. That won't make us feel any better, right? I want to double check her locker, to see if I missed anything important. I mean, we should probably clean it out for her anyway. Someone else will have to use it again, someday.” They looked at me with assurance.

“Okay, I’ll be back in a few minutes.” I said, while trying to get out of the car as fast as possible.

“We should come with you, or at least one of us should.” Sam suggested.

“No. It might be too risky. You know, you might see friends or something, and they might ask questions. I suggest we stay under the radar. I don't think our sister should be the latest gossip.”

“I agree, but I don't think that can be avoided.” Christine made a good point, but I still wanted to check Ruth’s locker by myself. “I still think it is best if I go in, on my own, since no one knows me.”

“Okay, see ya in a few then, Liz.” Jamie insisted.

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