I stood steady amidst the mass wearing black while a feeling of being barren was eating me alive.
People coming to me. All had a common expression of sympathy in their eyes as they talked to me. No words were coming from my mouth. It all felt still a nightmare. That I was waiting for to wake up from. But it had been carried on for too long that even my belief seemed to be faltering of ever waking up from it.
“Ansley,” I heard my name being softly called. I turned lifelessly. There stood Derek in a crisp black suit. An expression of condolence on his face. He held an empathy as he peered at me wordlessly, my eyes were casted down. I didn’t have a strength to look at anyone without crying. So I avoided contact.
After few seconds, he spoke, “I’m so sorry for your loss...”
I nodded. Again the silence fell. I expected him to move on to avoid my overly quiet self like everyone else did. But he didn’t move. He stood before me, unmoving, gazing at me softly as if I were a glass doll who would break by just a mere touch.
“I’m here, Ansley, for you.” his words were so tender that for the first time today, I looked at someone. His eyes, deep green irises, were focused on me in a soft gaze.
My eyes brimmed with tears. I tried to keep it in, to immure my grief. But to be looked at with so much kindness overwhelmed me. A tear escaped me, followed by the second tear until it was pouring out from my eyes.
Derek arms came around me while I kept my face hidden in his chest. I was sure everyone eyes were at me. But I was too much tangled in my emotional turmoil to care. I cried silently while he hid me in his arms away from everyone.
I didn’t know after how long I pulled away. But when I did, Derek was looking at me softly, a gentle gleam in his eyes. He wasn’t seeming like that guy from the coffee, a sweetly cocky one, I spent with him. That side wasn’t bad. It was actually a fun time that made me want to spend more time in his company. But his this new side was gentler and softer. A totally different shade from what I had seen earlier. A side that showed his capability of empathic emotions.
I felt hand on my back. Rayon was by my side. He glanced at Derek, but didn’t seem to acknowledge his presence. He leant onto me and whispered, “I think you should go see Sam.”
I frowned, a worry etching on my face. “Is he okay?”
“Not emotionally, I think.” Ray said, looking kind of concerned himself.
I looked at Derek. “I’ll be back in a bit.”
Excusing myself from there, I moved through the people gathered in our home. I went upstairs down the hall to the room where dad’s man cave was.
I stopped at the door. There he stood, alone. His eyes, almond brown just like I, which we both took after our father spasmed my chest. I let in a deep breath, restraining my tears from falling again. He was peering at the wall where hung a frame, keeping intact the memory of our family vacation from two years back in the beach house we owned in Malibu. We all were looking so happy in that picture. No body seeming to be aware of the tragedy we were going to hit with.
I approached behind him, wrapping my arms around him from back. His body twitched, seeming to get aware of my presence. But he remained stilled.
He had grown a lot since our last vacation together. He wasn’t that skinny thirteen year old anymore. He was now fifteen, his body now filling on the skinny side of him. But still he was my little brother.
I could see how he was trying to suppress the pain, restraining the tears to shed from his eyes, trying to act like a strong guy. But I knew better. How strong he was at the moment.
“You can cry, you know,” my voice thick by my own tears.
“Mom called me a day before the accident. But I was still mad from my fight I had with dad before going to the baseball camp that I avoided it,” he told silently. His voice overly calm just like mine was. “Only if I knew that could be the last time.”
My hug tightened around him. “No one could know about this Sam.”
“I didn’t get to even talk to them.” his voice shook in regret.
I pulled back from the hug, turning him to face me. I wrapped my hand around his neck, sliding my fingers up to his sleek blond hairs as mom. “There’s no point in regretting the things that could have been. We have to learn to move on. Even mom and dad would want that.”
His face lowered as the tear escaped his eyes. “How would we go on our lives without them?”
I wanted to say something, but I had no answer to this question. Not even a vague one.
I remained silent for a while. But didn’t lose it. I managed a weak empathic smile through my tears and spoke, “We’ll try to learn...through the memories we have of them. The way they would want us to be...sticking for each other...having each other’s back... We’ll come to learn eventually...together, brother.”
My words didn’t stop his tears, but they had a little consoling effect while I pressed him to me in an assurance, mending his broken self while being broken myself.
I pulled after a short while, caressing his hairs. “We should be now downstairs.”
I knew he wasn’t people’s person when emotional. He loved solitude at the moments like this. But he didn’t deny me. He nodded and walked down the stairs with me, back to the funeral we were having.
Some of our parents’ friends came to us with their deep condolences expressing how shocked and sad they were.
My eyes shifted around, looking for grams. It was as hard for her as it was for us. She had lost the family too. Even her tears weren’t dried, yet she remained strongly beside us like a parent which she was but a grand one.
She was their in the north corner of the house where glass door to the porch was. Her brown hairs were fastened in an updo, a flick escaping it again and again which she was constantly tucking behind her hair while glazed eyes were trained on an unfamiliar face of a women. Well, for me it was. I hadn’t seen her around. But then I couldn’t be knowing each and everyone my parents were associated with. Though, with mostly I was.
My eyes studied as if trying to remember if I had seen her. Her hairs were the glazing shade of brown with a little tinge of red which she had seemed to dyed. My eyes moved to her face. And immediately I was sure, I didn’t know her. As exquisite face as her. I could never forget. Her eyes, brown and big, they were so kind...so warm.
“Hey, Ann,” Sam called. I looked at him, breaking away from my stare. He slipped out an envelope from the jacket. “I forgot to give you this. I found it in mail box in the morning. It has your name on it.”
I frowned, taking the letter from him. It didn’t seem to have a sender’s address. I tore it open as Sam eyed the letter with curiosity. I was having a weird feeling about it.
I slipped out the folded paper from inside it and unfolded it.
My frown deepened as I caught my name written. I grazed my eyes on it. It was looking some kind of record. I shifted my eyes on the top of it. And my heart almost stopped. My eyes went through it again.
This isn’t true...
No...I felt my eyes burning.
“Ann, what is it?”
It’s lie... It all is nothing but a big fat lie...
I felt my shoulder being slightly shook. I looked at Sam with extreme hurt. Tears again falling my eyes.
His face was inundated with worry as he waited for me to speak. But he wasn’t so patient at all. So he tore the record away from my grip.
His eyes were trained on it, a perplexed frown on his face. Minutes passed before he gazed back at me.
His mouth open, but there seemed to be no words coming. He closed it again as he looked at me with sympathy.
It was a record...
An adoption record...
My adoption record...
Why would I have one? I could not be..Why would it be...?