It was a cold December mourning and Esmee had lost it all.
She stood in black against the trunk of a huge evergreen, gazing down at the dirt, fingers clawing at her wrists. Her eyes red and bloodshot, hidden behind a cascade of blonde hair, that covered a young and innocent face - a face that was destined for greatness and so full of potential... but not anymore.
Unbeknown to her, last Tuesday was the last time she was to ever see him again—her world, her rock, her brother. And now she leaned, unfamiliar to such solitude, upon that moss-covered trunk of evergreen. Leaned against it like a wishbone, yearning for an embrace; but the embrace that she so painfully sought, did not come. The evergreen did not greet her with open arms, like he had without fail. But, despite its unwelcoming nature, the evergreen lived on, whilst her brother was gone forever.
A sickening feeling churned inside her stomach. The screaming child inside of her needed to get out.
In a violent fit of rage, it thrashed about her stomach and charged up towards her throat, threatening to cover the ground below with acidic tears and bile, but only air would come. Retching. Frantically, gasping for air, her jaw wide and her mouth full of agony and silent screams. She threw her hands behind her head and fastened them together, cradling the back of her neck before collapsing to the floor, as if a baby blackbird had fallen from a tree to its death; a pile of beautiful black velvet, and ruptured heart strings.
The world became that cave she made, between her head and thighs and she could not get up. She couldn't do it. The walk up to the crematorium was far too long.
Fifteen minutes of gentle rocking and intermittent sobbing had transformed her—once a protector of her country, now five years old making up a dream; muttering to herself how it was all a lie. "He’ll be back, they’ll see… he’ll be back… he wouldn’t leave me," but it was real.
Raw and angry; a knife wound that could cut through flesh and expose soft and fatty tissue; a laceration that extended her entire body, making every cell of her being weep lamentation and pour with remorse. Such sorrow is a mortal affliction. It was impossible to carry on.
Could she not transcend this restricted form that damned her to the susceptibility of human emotion? Could she not just play make-believe and escape all this responsibility? She didn’t want to give his life’s story with absolute conviction, she didn’t want to be the strong one that held his daughter’s hand, she didn’t want to stand there on her own with such a heavy burden. He deserved a momentous farewell ceremony, but all her words turned to water and danced around the paper. She’d been writing it for days. Her bedroom floor was littered with white paper pebbles that couldn’t capture the true beauty of this phenomenal soul. No words would do him justice.
So, she stood, for a while, staring into the vast emptiness of space and said with tired, heavy sighs, "I’m sorry – I’m not qualified to do this. I can’t summarise… him. He was complex…he was wise… he was brave… he was…hhh… he was him and there will never be a person, or a being that possessed such a depth of character, that was so down to earth, that was so attentive to human emotion, that he could cure you of your darkest delusions, before you even knew they were there. He just knew what to say, he just knew what to do. He was incredible, and his compassion and love were indefectible. I am honoured to have had him as a brother and I commemorate Nick…," she paused, now looking at her audience and with confidence, said ‘and I know we’ll always have him in our hearts’.
She put the paper she hadn’t used on the stand next to her and looked down at her shoes as a sign of respect as his favourite song started. They picked up the polished oak coffin with her brother inside, and everyone began to depart from the service; a mass migration of family and friends.
Everyone advanced outside but her, to say a final goodbye, but Esmee took a moment to stand back from the crowd and pay her own personal respects. She closed her eyes, to mitigate her pain and as she inhaled a deep, vital breath, a ray of sunshine, warm and reviving, poured in through the stain glass window, and in that brief second of serenity, she knew that he was there with her, and a feeling of fortitude and oneness was born.
By Unity Addison © 3/05/18
Please let me know what you think. My facebook is @unityaddison or Instagram @echoesfrombefore
Thank you for reading my first short story.