The night of the funeral, after dragging some cousins to a bar to have fifteen shots to celebrate the fifteen years of Ryan’s life, a mottled brown owl landed on the tree branch outside of my bedroom window.
Instead of filling his room with CDs or Rangers merch or posters of naked girls, he had shadowboxes stuffed with dead moths swinging from his walls, their wings pinned down with tacks.
I was digging under the bed, searching for pictures of my deceased parents during my last visit to my childhood home before it got sold, when I found it. A diary covered with neon Lisa Frank stickers of unicorns and ice cream cones. A little yellow lock dangled from the edge, securing the pages together, but it was flimsy. I could snap it right open. And I did.
When I looked at the twenty-year old family portrait, one of my mom and dad and me, I saw an extra face hovering in between my parents. A face that didn’t belong there.
I checked Twitter. The top hashtag was something about unexplained deaths. There were links to obscure websites detailing the different murders, mostly blogs with fonts that were a little too bright and mice that spouted glitter as you moved down the page.
As I sat in the hospital room, Tara was lying in the bed, tubes in her arm and my heart was breaking. The strongest person I knew gave up on herself and I could only wonder what I could have done better.
In my head I can hear my parents, my grandparents, and all my aunts and uncles in some heavenly choir, coming at me from all directions. If you can’t say anything nice…
I hope that there will always be an us. In every world, in every story.
There were moments in life
that deep in my soul,
I knew something was going to radically change
the path I was bound to take
and I wanted those moments etched into my skin.
Each new day is an opportunity to write a new story; a blank page to start over and begin writing a new chapter. You have pages to fill with your own words. You have sentences to live by and characters to support your story.