One and a half years ago, …
I always thought, the day my mother died, my life would begin. Yet here I was stuck, staring into space without a specific reason. All I knew, was everything would be different. The best I could do was take in deep breaths and push back every single thought in my mind.
The house was unusually warm during that fall and the entire living room smelled of nutmeg. I could still feel her presence all around the room. My eyes scanned around the room taking in each detail. Magnus was spread across the couch, his face blank, staring at the ceiling. His eyes were wet and the skin all around them red from all the crying. I was standing at the breakfast nook staring at him while biting my cheek and bobbing my head.
The drive with Matthew from Saginaw had been a blur. But every single detail before that was clear and fresh in my mind.
The rest of the school was walking down the halls. Some of them with smiles on their faces, others focused on the conversations they were having. All I could see was my brother at the other end of the hall, his face pale than usual, with the principal next to him. Freya was holding my hand, squeezing it enough to remind me I was there but not hard enough to hurt me. The moment I had been waiting for since I left home had arrived.
As if on command, the air around me became thick and heavy. Making it harder to breathe with each passing moment as the cold consumed my body. A buzz filled the entire room, at the same time a ghost-like quiet settled in. So much noise, yet not a single sound. I blinked trying to push away my tears and instead filled the entire room with them. My vision now blurry, my hearing clogged and my body shaking. That was when every single hope of feeling alive faded away.
All I needed at that moment was the person I couldn’t have. She knew how to hold me, help me keep my composure. I don’t remember how or when he got to me but I remember the moment I broke down; all I could feel was Matthew’s arms around me. I didn’t care if the entire school was watching, I needed that, needed someone to hold me and he did exactly that.
Everything else came and rushed away in waves for the next few days. Magnus wasn’t any better. Matthew was trying to hold us together. With constant reminders that everything would be fine. He never said it aloud anymore, but his body language always suggested it. My father was clearly a mess with the long hours spent in his office doing whatever he had to do.
The three of us may have lost our mother, but he had lost the love of his life. The person he had dreamt of growing old with. His pain was ours but he was going to experience it differently from how we would. Healing from this was going to take time, maybe forever but all I could do was breathe. Or at least try. That was what she would have wanted me to do.
“Amelia,” I turned my head to face my father. He was on the other side of the counter with an empty glass in front of him. “You know you don’t have to go back to school tomorrow,” he added.
“I know. I want to keep myself busy and you know what she used to say,” I said. He responded with a nod and turned to walk away, back to his office like before.
When I turned around, Magnus was off the sofa and in front of the glass doors to the backyard. Matthew was seated on the last step, his attention to the floor with his head between his knees. I walked over to where Magnus was and looped my arm into his.
“This is it, the four of us,” I said.
“Not for long,” Matthew said before he rose up and walked over to where we were. Standing next to Magnus as he draped an arm across his shoulders. Some of his fingers grazing the top of my head. “The Ward family will be in town soon. Melissa and her boys will be moving in.”