My birthday. Birthdays are the happiest days of the year for some folks, but while they remember a life on their birthday, I remember death. The death of my momma. She died tryin' to brin' me into this world. I never forgot that fact, and my family sure as hell would not let me. You killed your mother, they would tell me. You killed your mother just so you could live, and so you must be punished for your greedy act.
Every day they would punish me. They would not have me forget the crime I was committin' from the moment the first burst of air entered my puny lungs. My mother died with wounds, as fresh as the night air. And so I must retain these wounds. If I am to live, I am to pay the high cost of livin'. The price of livin' is unbearably high for me. But I am payin' off my debts, little by little. ~*^*~
When I was eight years old, my older brother Michael died in a house fire. I'll have you know that I actually loved my brother and he loved me. Michael was also very much-loved here in Pittsburgh. All the other dudes wanted to be just like him, all the chicks wanted to be with him, and all the teachers were dyin' to teach him so they could say they taught the famous Michael Harris when he grew up to be a famous sports hero. That's what my brother was famous for at school. He was on the football team, the baseball team, the wrestlin' team, and the swim team. He had the best abs any girl could ever dream of, and even if he sat in a dark closet with no sunlight all his life, he would still be able to see, because his personality could light up any room. Michael's graduation was three weeks away when he died. I remember him lettin' me in on a little secret. He was goin' to propose to Marguerite, his steady girlfriend for the last four years, right when he was makin' his valedictorian speech. When he finished his nice little speech, he was gonna turn around, pull that sweet Marguerite to center stage, and bend down on his knee while holdin' up the most beautiful diamond ring. He even showed me the ring he was goin' to use. I imagined him doin' that as he told me about it. I imagined that sweet Marguerite jumpin' up and down excitedly, clappin' her hands and smotherin' Michael's beautiful face with romantic kisses. I imagined them walkin' down the aisle, hand in hand. I remember Michael tellin' me that his only death wish was to be dead beside that sweet Marguerite, hand in hand. I was happy for Marguerite, because Michael was the best thing that could happen to someone. He happened upon me. He was the only reason I stayed alive as long as I did. Michael stood up for me when no one else would.
But then that horrible night happened. Michael was taken away from me. My own brother was charred to death because of me.. Me. ~^*^~
Jump out the window, Sandra, Micheal yelled through the warm night air. I stood on the second floor window sill, shiverin' with fear. My eyes widened at the sight of the drop. Makin' up my mind, I shook my head. Where is everyone else, I wants to know. My father was long gone, at a neighbor's house, with my other brothers and sisters. Michael stayed, despites my father's protests. As far as my father was concerned, I could burn to death this very night, and he'd not so much as blink his big brown eyes with worry. Sandra, I'm comin' up to get you, Michael shouted with worry. I could tell his knees were a-knockin' with fear. Nevertheless, I watched as he entered the house with a determination. He was not goin' to leave the house until I was safe and without burn marks. The next thing I knew, he was right behind me, his voice full of concern. On the count of three, we'll jump together, he had told me. I trusted him with all my life, however much it was worth. He took my hand and said do not be afraid Sandra, I love you. I says I love you too Michael. It was the last thing he ever heard from me. At that moment, I think he realized that we weren't goin' to make it and shoved me forcefully off of the rooftop. He made to follow, but a sudden burst of orange light appeared behind him. The fire reached the gas tank in the house. I screamed with horror as I watched my now-dead brother fling through the air, body parts smokin'. I could smell burnin' flesh. His horrified shrieks never pierced the air, because he didn't never scream. Michael did not want me to see that he was afraid. It's ok to be afraid, Michael. I am afraid now.
The next day I came back to the pile of rubble that was my house and dug through the ashes. I remember that while I was diggin' through the horribly stinky shit, somethin' shiny caught my teary eye. I remember searchin' for the source of that shine, and boy, when I found it, I nearly burst into heavin' dry sobs. Reachin' down for it, I picked up the large diamond that my brother was showin' me only last week. The engagement ring that he was goin' to use on sweet old Marguerite. Before my bastard of a father could see me fingerin' the almost flawless diamond (despite bein' in a bazillion degrees of heat the night before), I slipped it into my sweater pocket. It was the only thing I found the entire time. Later that night, Marguerite's momma called to let me know that Marguerite, in a fit of sadness, had shot herself in the brain. I was to come to her funeral, because since Michael loved me, she loved me as well. ~^*^~
The next day was Marguerite's funeral. I quietly slipped into my older sister Natalie's brand new room of our brand new house and stole a black trench coat from her. It was the only thin' I could find. I put it on on top of my raggedy blue overalls and headed outside before anyone knew I was gone. I walked back to our old house, now just a pile of worthless black dust. Bendin' over, I took a big handful of that nice soft dust and put it in my ripped overall pocket. Then I went to Marguerite's awfully sad memorial service.
There were old fat ladies cryin' all over the place. I did not make myself known there; just nodded acknowledgement to Marguerite's momma and went about my way. I could see out of the corner of my eye, in the front of the room, a big long lavender box. That must be the coffin, I says to myself, and I make my way slowly to the front, unsure of what I might see up in that big long box. When I am two feet away from the dead body, I start to rethink my purpose. You know that stomach-achey feelin' that you sometimes get when you eat too much grits for breakfast? I had that feelin' only, I knew this time that it had nothin' to do with my breakfast. Slowly, I backed away from that box. I sure as hell didn't wanna see what's in there. Is Marguerite in there? Do she look the same? I don't know myself. This is the third death I had to bear, how much more can I take, really?
Now, Sandra, I says to myself, you got to be strong here. Michael kept his promise to you. He did not leave that burnin' house until you was saved. It's time you keep my promise to him. I took a deep breath and edge my way closer to that big coffin. The stomach-achey feelin' comes back, but I ignore it. Michael's whole body probably felt like he had too much to eat when he made the choice to save me. I can handle this. So I shut my eyes real tight, and step forward ever so slowly. I keep steppin' until my dry blistered hands are touchin' the smooth sides of the coffin. And then.I open my eyes. And there she is. That sweet Marguerite. She's just layin' there, like she's takin' a nap. A short nap from which she'll wake up in a few hours. Then her momma will walk in, holding her homework and books and tell her quit lazing around, Marguerite, you got things to do. Only difference is she's not moving and she's wearing a ugly pink dress. Marguerite don't like pink. At least they didn't take her cornrows out. She liked those. They gave her spice. Her hands are folded neatly over her stomach, like she's tryin' to belch or somethin' at the dinner table. Before anyone noticed that there was a small colored girl up in the front of the room, I snatch up one of Marguerite's dark coco colored hands. It feels the same. I thought it would be squishy and gross. I was wrong. Her hand was a little bit colder than usual. Still makin' sure that no one was lookin', I took the diamond ring out of my pocket and slip it onto her waxy finger. Then I put her dead hand down. I grabbed her other hand and clumsily took a fistful of the ashes. Michael's ashes. I stuffed the ashes into her hand and put that down too. Then, for the first time in all eight years of my life, I burst into tears. Real tears. Not the kind of tears when you fall on the bumpy street in front of Hoover's Grocer and skin your knee. Not the kind of tears that fall from your eyes when you don't get your way. I was talkin' 'bout the real tears that come out of your heart and make your whole body shake up and tighten up like a boa constrictor wrapping itself around a rat. I was shakin' madly, keening and wailing in anguish. My breath was short, and I couldn't breath too well. My heart was jangling around my ribs like an unmanned machine gun preparing for war. Finally, when I realized what a damn fool I've been to blubber madly in front of all these strangers, I pick up myself and leave. Just like that. Because now I've done my duty. Marguerite and Michael are together forever.
A/N: Before I continue, I must know two things.
1) do you like this story? (is it written .)
2) should I end it here and make it a one-shot, or add more stuff