All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
“I’m planning on moving down to Springfield this summer.” Mark, my brother, managed to squeeze out through mouthfuls of spaghetti.
“What are you going to do?” Our grandfather asked. “It’s high time you got married. When I was your age, I was getting ready to get married to Ida.” He smiled at Granny. “Then the war came along and I couldn’t do nothing. Still waited for my Ida though.”
Granny laughed. “Tom, you’re boring Claire.”
“Is that right?” Granpa said in his raspy voice, squinting at me.
“Anyways,” Mark said, taking back the conversation. “I’ll be going to a flat, and I’ll be trying to get some artwork done. I think the buildings might inspire me.”
“I still think you shouldn’t have gotten a degree in the Arts, dear.” Mom said. “I think Math is more your subject.”
“I like art more. Besides, I’ll be a 3-hour flight from home.”
“I still don’t think you should go to Springfield.” Mom insisted.
“I think it’s a great idea.” I interrupted. “But the country would be even better. You could get some real scenery there.”
“I just don’t like the idea of you living alone.” Mom fretted.
“Mom, I’m 24. I know when enough is enough. I’ll be fine.” Mark said, rolling his eyes.
“My little baby’s grown up so fast.” Mom said, pouting. I smothered a snicker. Little baby? I was never gonna let this one go.
“Are you done yet?” I was leaning against the doorframe of my brother’s bedroom. He was packing stuff, clothes mostly. A little deodorant. Some hygiene things.
He walked to the other side of the room, and took down a picture. I looked at it, realizing that this was the first picture he ever painted. It was detailed and beautiful.
The scene was a horse in profile, standing against a red sun. It was a half-sun. There were cacti surrounding the horse, but you couldn’t see the horse’s rider.
Mark walked over to me and gave it to me. “I want to make sure this one doesn’t get lost. Think you’ll keep it safe?”
I nodded, a thin smile on my lips. “I think I can handle it.”
“Piece of advice, do what you feel like doing in collage.”
“What if I don’t find it?” I asked, worried. “What I like, I mean.”
“You’ll find it. Don’t worry.” He told me, grinning. I smiled back, smothering tears.
That was 2 years ago. I haven’t seen him for two years. It seems short, but it’s a long time. No one to talk to when you’re scared. No one to tell you it will get better. No one to give you dating tips. But I’ve survived. And Mark is coming home. The other times he couldn’t because we were going somewhere, he was going somewhere, or all the flights were snowed in. This time, though, nothing was going to go wrong. This time, he was coming home. I was sure of it.
We drove through traffic, weaving our way in and out. I caught a lot of, “And then…”s and “Can see his face…”s. For a coming home present, we’d gotten a portrait of him at home. I painted it. I was too excited to listen to the talk. I was bouncing up and down on my seat.
We arrived at the airport, and got a cart. We headed for the place where all the passengers were coming out. I couldn’t wait. Then the guard came up to us.
“Are you Mark Pelham’s family?” He asked. No, I wanted to scream, we aren’t Mark’s family. We’re waiting for someone. But my mother just nodded. “His flight crashed.” My mother covered her mouth with her hand and my dad started crying. I was too numb. I couldn’t think of what to say. I let the guard lead me to a seat.
I sat, kicking my legs back and forth. How could he? I suddenly thought. How could he leave us like that? And who says I have to sit on this stupid seat? With that thought I ran past the guard, past everyone into the cool, crisp winter air. I ran and ran and ran. I don’t know where I ran, only that I collapsed somewhere.
“Hey kiddo.” Mark was near me. I realized I wasn’t out of the airport. I was just in the parking lot at our car. Mark was leaning against it.
“You’re dead.” I panted.
“You’re not dead until you say you are.” He told me, grinning. “I’m not gonna die until you let me. Don’t let that happen, ‘kay?”
“’kay.” I replied. “I won’t let you die.”
Mark grinned, then vanished, and I was left next the piece of junk called our car.
“I won’t let you die.” I whispered again as the footsteps of our parents echoed across the cement floor. “I promise.”