Thursday, July 7, 2016

Writing Prompt: On The Day I Buried My Sister

“On the day I buried my sister, I felt completely numb,” she says. She takes a long hard drag of her cigarette as though trying to pull every drop of nicotine out of it. She leans over and crushes it out in the metal ashtray already overflowing with cigarettes. Her handcuffs clink against the metal table as she draws back. She looks up at the ceiling and lets out the smoke in a long burst.
“Are you trying to say it wasn’t your fault?” the detective asks, looking up from his notebook. One dark bushy eyebrow travels up his forehead as though it is trying to follow his receding hairline.
“No,” she says flatly. “I’m just trying to explain. Listen.” She leans as far across the table as she can. “Have you ever lost anyone you loved? Had them suddenly ripped away from you?”
“I was under the impression your sister was sick for quite a few years before she passed,” the detective says consulting some notes on his pad.
“And you think that means it wasn’t sudden?” she demands. She pushes herself away from the table; scooting her chair back. She starts to rise but the metal chain connecting the handcuffs is looped around a metal bar on the edge of the table and she is jerked back down before she can fully rise. “It’s always sudden.”
The detective nods as if conceding the point and gestures for her to continue.
She drops back down in her seat and puts her elbows on the table. She leans her head down and rubs one hand through her hair. The burnt ends of her brown hair break off in her hand and fall down onto the table in clumps that she ignores. “I drove myself to the cemetery. People offered and the funeral home would have given me a limo but I wanted to be alone.” She grasps her hands together and starts to rub them one over the other. “When it was over, I stayed there staring down at that horrible hole in the ground and I felt frozen. Like there was this wall of ice between me and this horrible thing. I didn’t want to move; didn’t want to crack it. I knew once I started to cry, I wasn’t going to stop. So I just stood there.” She rubs her hands over her eyes; missing the look of pity in the detective’s.
“I’m not sure how long I stood there when this guy came up to me. I didn’t see him walk up. He was just there. I ignored him. I didn’t want sympathy. I didn’t want to be consoled. If he tried to make me feel better, it would just make me feel something and that was the last thing I wanted. So I ignored him. But that didn’t seem to bother him at all. We just stood there until it got ridiculous.” She pauses now; her eyes distant as if remembering.
“What happened next?” the detective asks her.
“I turned around and started to walk away. He came with me. Still not saying anything; just keeping pace.” She goes back to rubbing her hands together. “I got frustrated with him and then I got mad at him for making me feel frustrated. Making me feel anything.” She takes a gulp of air and wipes her hand across her face. “So I turn on him. I’m ready to blast him and I look him dead in the face and I open my mouth to yell but he’s just looking at me. He’s looking at me like he can see straight through my soul. I stopped right there with my mouth hanging open.”

“You need a distraction, he tells me. He holds out his hand. It’s just hanging there between us. He doesn’t say anything else. Doesn’t introduce himself. And I look down at that hand and I think what the hell. I put my hand in his and he turns and starts walking away taking me with him.” She gulps now. “That what the hell moment. That one moment of wanting to be anywhere and do anything as long as I didn’t have feel; to hurt. That’s the moment I threw my life away.”


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