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A song for the dead
It was a rainy day out and everything was grey. The clouds were building up and the thunder was crashing loudly. Lightning had struck one of my neighbor’s trees putting it on fire. It made my room fill with dark clouds of smoke. I was terrified. My mom hadn’t come home yet from work and my dad was home in his office. I was in my bed thinking about when my mom would come home, was she ok?
I then closed my window. Trying not to inhale the smoke, I had gotten a towel from the bathroom. Putting it at the bottom of my door kept the smoke from spreading. Tears were running down my face as I coughed walking to the window seat where my mom would comfort me when I was sad or having problems.
I heard the alarms of ambulances and fire trucks come. My eyes were red and more tears were coming down. Thoughts about my mom popped up again. It was 3 in the morning. I couldn’t stop thinking about what could happen or why she was still gone. The storm was still loud and the lightning was hitting the ground as if it was Armageddon or the ground was made out of metal. I soon fell asleep in my tears hoping I would still be alive tomorrow.
Then the next day came. When I came down stairs, there was my dad with the vodka out, his eyes blood shot, and tears were pouring out. I didn’t understand until he told me an hour later that mom had died. She had got into a car accident last night on the freeway; a car from the other lane swerved and hit her. Tears filled my eyes as I ran outside. Sitting on the curb in my pj’s I felt so embarrassed, lonely, and hopeless.
It’s been 5 months since my mom’s death happened. Living in Estes Park, Colorado reminded me of her. I still get empathy from the people in town because my mom was greatly known for her generosity and kindness. My name is Sarah and 15 years old.
Right now my dad and I are driving to The Great Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. My dad “Carter” thought it would be a good idea to get me away from my past and get a fresh new start. I for one didn’t like the idea at all because I have to leave my friends and family behind. Not to mention my mom.
On our way down there I would ask Carter, “Are we there yet?” just to bug him. In reply he would say with a smile on his face,“ Only a few more hours sweetheart.” but I knew it was more than that.
Every time I would look out the window, all I would see were fields. I asked, “ Why do we have to move out here?” In reply with a sigh, carter said, “ Sarah I have told you many times that we are moving here because your moms dad is sick with cancer and he needs some help out around the farm.” “I can’t believe this! Why couldn’t I have stayed in Colorado while you helped him out? Why haven’t I heard of him? Didn’t you say he had someone who helps him out?” I said. I can tell he was getting upset. Then he said, “ He was your moms father and was a very sweet man. He was always nice and your mom loved him very much. He has done so much for this family and this could be a great chance for you to get to know him and have a new start.” I looked down feeling guilty for being so selfish and said,“ Sorry, I didn’t know. You could have at least talked about him more often. It would make me feel like I could be much more closer to mom or at least know that I have a grandpa. What’s his name?” I said. In reply he said, “ Bruce Canary” then his tone went to calm again and said, “ You’ll like him… and the person helps him out” then he starts to smile his big Cheshire cat smile like he’s up to something. I am just hoping he’s not going to do something stupid. I don’t trust guys at all. I don’t like guys and guys don’t like me, that’s’ just how it works.
As we were driving in The Great Smokies, I saw this beautiful brown house with huge stables and a barn. There were around 10 horses in one pen. Then I saw tons of cows’. By the look of it, there were probably about 600 of them. All the grass was bright green and cut so nice. It looked so perfect. Then I started to think that moving here might have not been that much of a Problem. We then started to pull into the long, smooth, black driveway of the house I saw that had such beautiful grass. I said with excitement, “ Wait! Why are we here? Is this the house you bought? Or is this Bruce’s house?” He smiled and said nothing for a few moments. Then I butted in and said “ um hello, Sarah to Carter, Peanut butter to jelly?” He laughs and say’s, “It’s the house that your mother grew up in. She said it wouldn’t be hard to miss if we ever came here.”“ Ok dad but holy cow! Did you see the house, let alone the barn and stables?” Carter said, “yeah its pretty big. Are you happier now?” In reply I said, “Oh yeah! I am very excited and happy now.
As we got out of the car I took a huge fresh breath of the Tennessee air. As I was looking around I saw that Carter had already gone inside. There were gardens everywhere. They were filled with oranges, purples, greens, blues, and pinks. I set my bags down by the car and headed into the stables. In there was this beautiful appaloosa named dynamite. I started petting him when all of a sudden a person came in and said,” Hi”. I was startled and my heart was beating like a rabbits heart at high speed. I felt like a deer in the headlights. With a quick glance I said “Hi”. There was an awkward silent between us. I really wanted to go and hide. I didn’t know what to say; so I just kept on petting the horse hoping he would go away and ignore me. Then he came over and said, “I’m Josh by the way”. Then he stretched out his greasy/dirty hand and I said “ Sarah” shaking his hand. As I started to walk out he said, “Are you ok? You seem kind of scared or jumpy, do you want any help carrying in your bags?” “ I’m ok! Just startled and a little new and scared. But I think I can handle my bags. Thanks any ways.” I said.
I actually needed help, but I was too shocked to even say yes. When it was about suppertime, I came down the stairway made out of a golden cedar and started to think about Josh. He’s taller than me, has green eyes, light brown hair, is tan, and seems like he is nice. I felt so stupid for being rude and shy. Then I heard my dad say, “We’re in here Sarah.” His voice echoed through out the whole house. As I tried to follow it, I went into the dinning room and saw a table with tons of food. The table was meant for a large family. I wondered if Bruce had at one point a lot of children.
I sat across Carter and Bruce was sitting to the left of me. Josh sat at the other end, across from Bruce. Everyone was quite for five minutes; I then decided to speak up and say, “I love Dynamite. He’s a beautiful Appaloosa.” Josh spoke and said, “ He is a great horse but I think you would like Rocky and Dancer better. They’re much more calmer. Dynamite has a tendency for kicking and running off when you ride him.” Then Bruce starts to laugh along with Josh. I said,“ What’s so funny?” “The only reason Josh knows that is because he went on the horse when he was young and didn’t know what to do, so he fell off on his butt.” Bruce said. I looked back at josh that was red as a tomato and smiled saying. “ Hey I was young. You can’t blame that”. I started to laugh. Carter started to say, “Sarah this is Bruce by the way and this is Josh, he helps out around here. I think you two already met.” “Yeah, I guess you could say that.” I said as I felt warmth spread to my cheeks knowing they were probably bright red. Then Carter said, “Hey Bruce it looks likes we have two tomatoes in the house.” Then the two of them laugh. I was humiliated. I wanted to go bury my head in the sand.
I then started to pig out on the food and left immediately. Carter said, “Sweetheart I didn’t mean to make you mad or humiliated.” I couldn’t accept his apology because both Bruce and Carter were still laughing. I then went to my room and decided to unpack.
The first few days were uneasy. It was Wednesday and on Monday my dad and Bruce humiliated me. I will not forget that day because it was my first day here and the first time I got embarrassed in front of a guy here. Also on Monday I froze in the stables when talking to Josh. It’s also the first time I stayed in a huge nice house.
On Tuesday, I decided to just walk around. I went into the barn and found a loft. I started to play my guitar. I like Sarah evens and Christina Perri. I had taught myself some of their songs. Finally I’m alone I thought to myself. I tuned my guitar and started playing one of my favorite songs called ‘Back Seat of a Greyhound Bus.’ I got done finding the right tune and started playing and singing. “How did you learn to sing and play like that?” Josh asked. He was peeking through the entrance of the loft. I looked down sheepishly, “I kind of taught my self over time.” I said. Well you sound amazing!” He replied. “Thanks.” I said while blushing. Scared as can be and embarrassed.
Today, I decided to go riding on Rocky who is a brown and white paint. I didn’t tighten the girth strap tight enough so once I was on top of him, the whole saddle flipped upside down along with me. I was upside down, with my head almost toughing the ground. I couldn’t get my feet out of the stirrup, so I was stuck. Then Rocky started to walk to the lawn and I was panicking and laughing at the same time. I tried to get my feet out but they were really stuck. My face was turning purple-red from being upside down. No one was there to help me until I saw Josh looking at me. He ran looking confused and worried at the same time. I felt really dizzy and tired. He asked if I was all right and I said, “ I’m all right?” Laughing but almost crying because my ankles hurt so badly. He got my feet out of stirrups, tied Rocky to a tree, and carried me inside. My dad wasn’t here because of a job offer and Bruce was taking his daily nap.
Josh set me on the leather sofa. It was so nice and soft. I hadn’t talk to him ever since I told him I was all right. I was laying on my back looking at the ceiling while the blood flow to my brain went back to normal. Then I started to feel a lot of pain in my ankles. I said, “Oh my gosh that really hurts.” Josh was touching my ankles and said very concerned, “Well I don’t think they’re broken. But you should really be careful next time! Your lucky you didn’t get a concussion, stepped on, kicked, or killed!” There was a quiet moment and then I just closed my eyes and tears were running down the sides of my eyes, going into my ears. I didn’t realize how concerned he was for me.
Josh saw that there were tears running down and then realized what he had done. He said, “ I’m sorry. I hate it when people get hurt, especially people I care about and I guess I’m just overly protective.” “ It’s ok. I’m just surprised at what you said and my ankle really hurts.” I heard him stop and I sat up and went into the fetal position, looking down at the brown wooden floors, “ I’m just not use to someone like you saying something like that about me. I have never had a relationship before. Most of the guys in Estes Park never liked me or just ignored me. I wish my mom were here so I could talk to her about what has all happened. But she will never be back.” I look at him and he came over, sat right beside me, and put his hand on my shoulder squeezing it. “I never knew that. I’m sorry about your mom. Do you want to talk about it?” “Um… well my mom got hit on the freeway from another car colliding into her. It was a very stormy day and lightning had struck my neighbors tree sending smoke into my room. I then sat in this window seat that my mom would always comfort me in, then heard sirens, and passed out from my tears. The next day came and my dad was drinking vodka and he had a look on his face that I couldn’t describe. He then told me what had happened and then I saw it on the news…I miss her so much.” I said breaking out in tears. The pain in my ankles wasn’t as bad as the pain in my heart. “I am so sorry Sarah. I’m sorry for bringing it up.” Josh said. Then he embraced me in his arms while I was crying like a little kid. “It feels so good to be hugged since my dad and I don’t.” I said calming down.
When Carter came home, he heard what had happened. I was busted. “ Sarah you can’t go riding unless it’s with someone around here.” He said with a concerned look on his face. “But dad I think I’m capable of riding by myself. I just didn’t have the girth strap tight enough.” I said. I tried the look but that didn’t stop him.
* * *
It was Friday and I haven’t gone riding since my incident. Instead I have been exploring the land and going into the horse pens brushing the horses and petting them. I saw that there was a horse trail that went into the woods somewhat. I followed it with my acoustic guitar on hand. It was my favorite point of the day. The sun was at the horizon and it made everything have a golden glow. It made my skin shin with radiant oranges and browns. Everything was so beautiful. I found a cherry blossom tree near by and sat under it. I started to play a calm song that met the time of day.
I was thinking of my mother and how I really miss her. In times like these I would tell her what happens in my day but she’s gone. She won’t get to see me grow up, get married or have my first crush. It seems like all life is gone with out her. Playing the songs ‘I miss you’ by Miley Cyrus and then ‘Butterfly fly Away’ by Miley Cyrus made me more sad and that didn’t help me.
Now the sun was perched on top of the trees with its golden rays kissing my skin in warmth. I thought about Bruce my grandpa. I was so surprised I had a grandpa since the one on my dad’s side died. I then started to cry more because if Bruce died then I would have hardly anything real that was my moms. I decided to head back and spend some time with him but which way was the house? I had my cell phone on me so I decided to call my dad. “ Hey dad. The funniest thing happened.” I said. He said,” Sarah, what did you do now?” “ Well I am sort of lost. I lost track of time and I didn’t see that it was getting darker out.” I said worried. In reply he said, “ Well I’ll send Josh to get you.” “What? You’re breaking up.” I said. Then I lost him. I sighed in frustration, no signal. Well 10 minutes has gone by and it’s dark out. I probably missed supper. I was so stupid to not look at my phone to check the time. It was very humid out but the wind brought a chill. I was in my shorts, turquoise tank with a really thin sweater. I checked my phone and it said 10:42pm. I was really hoping that Josh would come soon. I only thought there was one horse pasture. Oops! Maybe not.
All of a sudden I saw a light, not very big or bright. It looked like it was a hat light, like the ones that hunters use. It was Josh. He was riding Rocky. I thought oh great. I hope nothing happens when I am riding on him. “Hey, are you ok?” He asked. “Yeah, just tired and a little cold. I got on and held on tight, practically squeezing Josh to death but I didn’t want to fall off at all.
We got home at 11:30pm. I was so tired. “ Thank you Josh.” Then we headed inside. My dad and Bruce were in the entryway. I hugged my dad and said “Goodnight Grandpa, dad, and Josh.” I then hugged Bruce. He smiled at me in his overalls with his white hair in a mess. I started to head up stairs to my room. I over hear the three of them talking. Josh said, “I’m sorry to say this but wow she’s really emotion but nice. I really wish I could get to know her more but she is so cautious and doesn’t talk that much.” I smiled as I was walking slowly. Then I heard my grandpa say “ Your young. She just needs to get to know the place and everyone a lot more better. And son, you will never figure out girls. In my 82 years I still haven’t figured out any of the women in my life.” Josh and my dad chuckled a little bit.
My dad started to say, “ It wasn’t easy for her to move here because when she was young, her mother got into a car accident and died. Sarah hasn’t really been the same since. She doesn’t trust people as much anymore. She asked if she could get home schooled. So she started homeschooling when she hit high school.
“ I’m so sorry for the loss. I lost both of my parents. So I can relate.” Josh said. I was in my room and everything that they said sounded like a blur. I was getting tired. Soon I passed out, having the most amazing dream.
Two weeks had passed by in a snap. I had spent most of the time helping out or spending time with my grandpa. I have also made better friends with Rocky and Josh. My dad found interest in a lady from work. She looks nice but she hates Animals period. She is a blond, go figure. I just hope she won’t be mean or stuck up and hate kids.
Today Josh and I are going on a ride. My dad is at work and grandpa is taking a nap. I thought it would be nice to get out of the house. Later on we headed back around 4:00. “I’m going to check on grandpa, ok?” I said in a happy/ laughing tone. In reply he said “Ok I will be in the stables if you need me.” “ Ok!” I said. When I went to check on Bruce, his skin felt cold. I checked his pulse and there wasn’t one. I didn’t know what to do. I ran as fast as I could to the stables crying my eyes out as I screamed Josh’s name. “JOSH!!!” I yelled. He embraced me with his strong arms and I buried my face into his chest still crying. I felt like I could faint any minute. Josh said, “Sarah what’s wrong?” his voice full of alarm and concern. I could barley talk so we sat on some hay bales and I was curled up with his arms around me. I eventually calmed down. I said sniffling, Grandpa’s dead. I could feel his heart beat fast and faster. “ I’m sorry Josh.” I said and then started crying again.
Josh and I were sitting in the living room. I was curled in a ball sniffling and crying in silence with tears running down my face. I thought that things were turning around and now my grandpa has to die. He was the closet thing I had to my mom. He was so nice and let me stay here. I got out my cell phone and called Carter. “Dad its Sarah. I’m Sorry to disturb your dinner with Debra but something bad has happened to grandpa.” “What happened?” He said. His voice was high and I then said softly and slowly, “Grandpa is dead.” There was a big silence. Then he said, “ I will be over as soon as possible.” “No dad I want you home now. I think death is more important than a date.” There was nothing else said. He hung up on me. Josh looked at me. “What did he say?” He asked. “He said he’ll be here as soon as possible” I said worried and sad.
I was so mad at my dad because he never came home till 40 minutes after I called. Josh was pretty disappointed to. When my dad called the funeral home to get my dead grandpa out of the house, there was an awkward silence. Then he spoke up with a happy look on his face saying, “ Well I have a good explanation for why I was late and I think you two are even going to like it.” “ I don’t think that there can be anything that could make me happy right now dad. So don’t even try.” I said infuriated. Josh was quiet and had a look that I have never seen before. It looked like mad with confused and sad. I didn’t know what to think of it. Then my dad said, “ I’m getting married! Isn’t this just great.” I was thinking oh no. He better had not said that. If he did I would have to kill him. I am so mad at him that I feel like screaming! “ You didn’t say that. How could you; that was pretty stupid and two people in my life that I care about have died and you want to get married!!!!! It’s only been 5 months since mom has died! …. I am going to go outside to scream because the other option would be breaking something or smacking you so hard that you fall on the floor regretting what you did!”
It was silent until I went outside and yelled and cried my head off. I was just so mad at him. How could he have done this! It’s insane to propose when his DAD in-law just DIED! She better be worth it because if not then she’s going down!
The next day came and look who decided to show up. It’s my future mother-in-law. I was in the stables and saw this white dodge charger pull up the driveway. It was a nice car but the one seated in it was not. She was wearing white Capri’s on with tons of gold jewelry.
It was early morning and the funeral home people came and took away grandpa. While in the stables sitting on a stack of hay bales, I heard josh come. He sat right next to me and said “Good morning sunshine.” “Good morning.” I said slow and depressed. “ I know you’re not happy about this at all but could you put a smile on your face today for me?” josh said. In reply I said, “ Sure but if that little devils wear Prada is a snot then I am so not going to be going through this!” Then I grabbed my bike and said” I’m going to go down and get the mail.” “ See ya later.” He said with a smile. I smile back and pedaled off.
It was nice out and the mountains look fake for how warm it is out. The grass is so soft and green and the breeze smells like autumn. It was 10:02 am and I was pedaling slow and enjoying my morning before my dads lady friend ‘Delilah’ ruins it. When I finally was at the mailbox it was filled with tons of thin and thick envelops. I wish I have would of brought my bag down here. I took a look at each one of the envelopes. They were all bills and then there was one that stumped me a bit.
I had envelops in my back pockets and under my straps of my orange tank; also I was driving one handed which I thought I was pretty good at doing. As I was heading up the driveway I kept on trying to concentrate on the beauty but then that envelop popped into my head. It was about our house or reality.
When I went inside and into the office, I asked, “What is this?” I was very concerned and then I saw Delilah sitting her BUTT on grandpa’s desk. I looked at her and back at my dad who was reading it. “Well it appears the bank is going to have to take the house away. They say that Bruce was paying it off too slowly and now that he’s dead they have a right to take it.” He said with a professional but considerate look. “ What about us? Couldn’t we own it? Is there anything we can do about it? What about the horses and cows? I bet we could make something off of them.” I said almost loosing it. “ Sweetheart we don’t have enough money and me and Delilah’s paychecks couldn’t even pay for this house. We could sell the cows to the butchers and the horses could go to some good families.” My dad said. Then Delilah popped a loud-pitched bubble.
“Can’t you rent the house? The price of it would be less and I could get a job and josh could get a part time job.” I said trying to think of more reasons. He said, “ Ill see what I can do.” I then smiled and said, “Thanks dad.” Then I gave an evil look to Delilah as I was walking out. She rolled her eyes.
“So how did it go? Isn’t Delilah nice?” Josh said in his calm but chipper mood. I said angry, “ No she wasn’t nice at ALL and plus we are going to loose this place if my dad doesn’t get off his love struck boat.” He starts to laugh, “Love struck boat?” He said. “Ok who cares. I for one can try to save this ranch on my own.” I said walking off back into the house to talk with my dad. Josh says shouting out, “ I don’t think you can save this place Sarah”. I turn stopped, turned and put both of my thumbs up and give him my huge white smile.
As I walked into the office, I was blinded. My dad was making out with Delilah and then all of a sudden I made this funny fart sound on my arm to break up the smooching. They then stopped and my dad said “Hey there, what do you need Sarah?” “ Well I need to talk to you alone. If you don’t mind” I said sharply. “ Ok Well I can leave you to alone if you want.” Delilah said not really wanting to go. “That would just be peachy!” I said in a high voice.
Once she was out of the room and the door closed I said” So have you found a way to save this place or were you sucking face with Delilah the whole time?” “ No we weren’t sucking face the WHOLE time. But I do have good news. You know the idea you had about renting the place? Well I asked the bank if we could do that and they said yes.” Dad said with a Cheshire cat smile on his face. “ Seriously? You’re not kidding. Wow I can’t believe this!” I said shocked and about to tip over. He jumped in and said,“ And the best part is that when your older, you and Josh can live here and get jobs and the bank will go easy on you at first. But the bank will start doing it when you turn 18. Ok?” “How do you know if Josh an I are going to get married or be living here when were older?” I said a little bashfully. “It was just a guess Sarah. It seems as though you really like him. He’s always nice to you. Yeah you do have fights but that’s what people do. Plus he’s the only friend that has really been there for you instead of playing with your feelings like the rest did back in Colorado.” Dad said in a giddy but serious manner. I said, “ That may be somewhat true but I will never tell.” Then I laughed. “Hey dad one more thing, is there any way I could get you to not marry this Delilah person?” I then began to look out the windows as he said, “I’m going to marry her Sarah.” Then his tone started to go strict and serious. I then opened the door and Delilah was on the other side with a glass cup listening to our conversation. Then I told her, “ You never can stop ease dropping and being a little prissy, can you?” There was no response. She was shocked that I caught her.
It has been three days since the death and proposal. Everything is running smoothly. We had to sell 250 of our cows because feed prices are going up and my dad has to watch the rent and bills that come in. I for one was very sad because I had 2 bulls getting sold that were my favorite. My dad broke up with Delilah because she had a fit just because she fell off of a horse. They were on a trail and when they stopped she fell face first into the mud and then started complaining how she hated the place. Also afterwards when she came into the house to get her things. I started laughing because of all the mud on her face. She then went up in my face and said, “I only wanted to marry your daddy because he was rich. Then she left and my dad heard the whole thing. I told him, “ I told you so. That woman was evil.” I was so happy and then he said, “ You were right Sarah. I guess you can’t go wrong with that.” Then we laughed and hugged. It was nice to get hugged. It seems like forever since I have gotten a hug.
So every thing was good at my grandpas house and eventually when Josh and I would turn 18 we would be the owners of the house. Now All I have to do is find a job to keep the place. There is no place like home. This was my home and even though my grandpa and mom are dead, this place makes me feel much closer than I ever was before.