Emma sat at the window,
her gaze fixed on the falling rain outside, motionless. Her green eyes
reflected the grey-green darkness of the world outside, as she lost herself in
thought, numb to all her senses. I saw her shiver, but she seemed not to notice
the cold. She was right in front of me, and yet she was too far away. I watched
as the first tear rolled down her face, and then the second. She trembled and
yet, her gaze never shifted. She made no move to get warm, none to stop her
trembling, and none to wipe her tears away. I understood. This was my fault.
My name is Emily Baron.
Emma is my sister. Or perhaps, ‘was’ would be the apt word now. I’m not there
anymore. Emma doesn’t have a sister anymore. And it’s my fault. You see, I was
scared, I was just plain petrified of life, and so, I found a way out. Except,
I didn’t think about Emma, nor did I think about Mum and Dad. I just wanted to
take the fear away, that pain of feeling so alone. I was sick of being told I
wasn’t good enough. My parents wouldn’t say it, but I know they wished I’d take
more interest in my studies. Emma has always loved studying, but me; it’s never
been my cup of tea. My teachers took joy in making me miserable. No grade I got
would ever be enough because Emma would always have done better. It amused me
how Emma always thought I was unaffected. She told me once that she admired my
nerve to stand up so defiantly every hour, to each new teacher, listening to
the same speech and come away smiling.
But I wasn’t smiling. I
honestly didn’t know how to tell them how lost I was. I’d heard enough of their
speeches to be numb to them. I wanted desperately to become better. I read
incessantly, I wrote and rewrote my assignments, till my fingers were sore and
calluses had formed where I held my pen too tight, for too long. It wasn’t
Emma’s fault. She had an eidetic memory, that is, she could remember everything
she read, word for word, after having read it only once. That’s not something
anyone should have to compete against. Emma always told me to do my best and
leave whatever happens to happen. She was never the kind of big sister to rub
in her brilliance. In fact, I loved her all the more for her humility and her
willingness to help me. But it just wasn’t enough. I couldn’t understand like
she did. I just wasn’t good enough. I never would have been.
So, last year, on the
10th of August, I put an end to it. It was just after our end of
semester exams and I really didn’t feel too confident. I’d been moody all week
and my day really hadn’t gone well. Emma had come home for the weekend from
college, upset about the dorm rooms being full of girls who cared about nothing
but their hair and make-up and had no sense of personal space or respect for
others’ belongings. But I didn’t have the patience to listen to her rant about
it. She’d meant it as a joke when she said, “You’re always in your head. When
are you going to think about someone else?” But that wasn’t the moment for
those words. Before I knew what I was doing, I lost my temper at her. I threw
my backpack at her, ran upstairs to my room and slammed my door. Hard. She came
up after me, apologising, even though she didn’t have to.
All I wanted to do was shut her out, shut out the
world, shut out the voice in my head telling me I would never be good enough;
that there was no point in my existence, shut out all those comparisons with
everything I’m supposed to be, everything I could be, but am not.
broke down, my head throbbed. The voice in my head kept telling me I wasn’t
good for anything. It told me I was a mistake, one not worth keeping, not worth
having around, a mere burden and embarrassment. It echoed in my ears. Over and
over again. I couldn’t make it stop. I tried to sleep it off, but I couldn’t. I
stumbled into the bathroom, drenched in sweat, my face stained with dry tears,
to find the medicine cabinet. Maybe something in there would help. Mum had been
prescribed sleeping pills last week; I thought I’d just take one.
didn’t help, nor did two. I don’t remember how many I took. The pain stopped as
I fell asleep. But, I never woke up. At least, not in the sense that people
normally do. I woke up to the sound of sirens, and watched as Mum, Dad and Emma
rushed into the ER behind the medics who were frantically trying to revive me,
in vain. I watched Mum break down into pieces as the doctor from the ER told
her there was nothing he could do; I was gone.
hadn’t meant to. But it seemed like I’d found peace. I hadn’t. It took mere
seconds for my heart to break watching Dad struggle to hold tears back as Mum
and Emma held each other and wept in the waiting room, wishing it wasn’t true;
wishing, hoping, praying that I’d wake up, that the doctor would come back
saying it had been a mistake, that I’d woken up, that I would be alright. But
I’d never known how
strong Dad was till I watched him go through all the paper work the hospital
had him fill out, without a flinch. He went through all the questions stone
faced. I couldn’t read him. And then they let him into the room where my body
was. He was in shambles before he entered, crying his heart out. It was then
that I realised that Dad was always there for me. I wanted so much to tell him
I was there, but I knew it wouldn’t help. I’d been his special helper, his baby
girl. What had I done?
My pain had been gone
for a little while now, but as I watched my family, a new pain seared through
my being, whatever I am now. A spirit? A presence? I don’t know what I’m
supposed to be called. All I know is that my peace, or what I thought was
peace, is non-existent. I live, if you can call this semi-existence ‘living’,
in constant regret and guilt. In my naivety, I’d torn four lives apart. And all
it took was a moment. Unintentional as it was, it could not be fixed. I
couldn’t watch them anymore; it hurt too much to see their pain.
That voice I’d heard,
it comes back every now and again, reminding me how Emma at the window now,
trembling in the cold, unmoving, was my fault. It’s been a year today. I
thought she was doing better, until today I found her sitting by the window.
Mum and Dad are at my grave, but I don’t like the cemetery. I’m alone where I
am now. No one to talk to, no one to listen to. I need no sleep and time is
irrelevant, but I spend it all with Emma. I know I can’t do anything to help
her. I can’t tell her I’m in a better place, or ask her to let go and be happy.
Mum and Dad are doing better, Emma’s the one I hurt the most. She blames
herself. I wish I could tell her it’s not her fault. Mum’s tried a million
times, and she says she knows, but if you saw her today, like I do, you’d read
it in her eyes.
If I had a moment, a
single moment to change, it would be my last minutes with Emma. I’d hug her,
listen patiently, and tell her that I loved her and that she had been the best
sister anyone could ever hope for. Unfortunately, life was a lifetime ago, and
it has never been known for its generosity in second chances. I just hope
someday Emma finds her peace. She knows I’m sorry, but I wish I could tell her.
I take quite a few walks down memory lane every so often. I find it refreshing. There are times when I wish I could paint or sketch or something because there are those moments that are so precious and every time the image comes up in my head, part of me wants to plug my brain into a printer and have a hard copy. And the other part of me tells me I possibly wouldn't do it, even if I could.
See, the thing about me is, I remember a lot, at least when it comes to things that matter to me. Now, I'm gonna apologise to anyone I offend here and now, because it's bound to happen somewhere along this post.
I remember people who have given me something to think about, something to smile about. I remember what they said, how they said it, why they said it, when they said it and the whole sha-bang of the conversation. I remember because, to me, it was worth remembering. I remember things about people I've never met sometimes, just because someone in my memory mentioned them.
And yet, I remember less than half of the new faces and names I met this Sunday at the youth gathering. I know there are about three people I'll remember for a while, two because I actually got to talk to them for a little less than 5 minutes, but it was a conversation. And I'm happy to remember. The third just has one of those faces that I cannot place, but looks so ridiculously familiar for some reason. It's like I'm missing something I'm supposed to know and yet, the chances of that actually being true are practically nil.
I have so many memories flooding my brain right now, I couldn't possibly begin to type them out, but brains are funny things. I'm actually happy that they stump man every now and again, reminding us that if we don't know our own brains, everything else we know can't amount to much. At least, that's how I see it. I'm glad to remember. And no, I haven't got only happy memories. But, I'd like to believe that I've taken what I need to learn from those that weren't so pleasant, and the unpleasantness isn't meant to be dwelt on. It helps to start off with clean slates when you're as short-tempered (gaining length each day ;P) as I am or have been.
Take a stroll down memory lane. Remind yourself of good things. Sometimes they hide in the silliest of jokes, sometimes in the angriest quarrel. But memory lane always has something for us to learn.
Today is a new day.
I can say it again.
Today is a new day.
A day to forgive.
I forgive you , for whatever you did.
More so, I struggle to forgive myself.
For it was worse, what I did, I think.
And I ask that you forgive me too.
Today is a new day.
A new day to live.
Today, I choose to be new.
I choose to walk new and talk new.
Yes, the old has slipped in,
But it reminds me once more, today is new.
Today is a new day.
Yesterday was too.
But today's different.
Today, I'm with You.
Yesterday, I wasn't so sure.
Tomorrow I'll be surer, I hope.
But today is a new day,
And I choose it to be new.
Today is a new day.
I learn to forgive.
I learn to live.
I learn to be more than the memories that weigh me down.
I learn to be more of the memories that change my frown.
I learn to smile, even at the storm.
I learn these because...
And the day after that.
I watched today as three little boys, the oldest of whom could not have been more than thirteen or fourteen, tease and torture a poor wounded pigeon. I wondered if it was a pet, or if they were trying to help, but it was soon blatantly evident what their intentions were. The eldest boy, I see him around everyday almost, his dog quite annoys me sometimes with it's barking, but today, I gained so much respect for it, much more than that boy will earn from me in a long time. I watched the boys, aware of my gaze, play with the pigeon softly. Then, it got rough. They threw little stones and biscuits at the poor flightless creature who cornered itself and I'm sure, wished it could fly far away. My telling them to leave it alone before they killed it was pointless and so annoying. Little arrogant boys acting smart just because they think I can't understand Kanada. For their information, I quite understood most of their snide comments and evil plots and the only reason they were saved an earful was for my inability to carry a full row in any language other than English :|
They tried to force the dog to bite it or something, but the dog refused and growled at his master. I've never been prouder of that dog before. I believe the boy was scratched ever so slightly, and in my opinion, it was a little too slight, but for the dog's sake, I'm glad. In false humour now, the boys annoy the dog and further torment the pigeon who somehow manages to jump off the terrace and find a snug hole in the wall of the gutter next to the eldest boy's house, only to be dragged out and caged in the sunshine.
I watched the dog stand on two legs trying to reach the cage, in vain. I watched it chase away the nasty crow that seemed eager to torment the poor wretch in gray, all the more.
The cage is gone from the clothes line, the dog's been tied up again. I don't know how the story ends.
What I do know is that the dog had more 'heart' than those three boys put together.
So, I've been away for a while and I haven't written anything proper in AGES!
And I don't quite know if this will be 'proper' either. But I might as well start somewhere to get back into maintaining my blog.
So, if anyone bothered to read the title, I'm wondering if it makes you wonder what I could possibly say about Black and White that hasn't been said before. Well, I'll admit, I can't say it's something that hasn't been said before. But I have something to say, just the same.
WE live in this crazy world right now, where there are quite a few people out there seem to think it's alright to go around bombing places and shooting people and watching Criminal Minds of late and too much at the same time, might end up unsettling me I think. And I keep hearing people say, nothing's black and white. But what if it could be?
No, life isn't black and white and hopefully it never will be, because the colours add so much that it would be a shame to lose even a little bit of it. But our thoughts and deeds. Our reasons. Can't they be as defined as the distinction between black and white? Do so many things have to be gray? Must we keep adding to that mountain of doubt and fear and indecision that defines 'gray', at least the way I see it? Aren't the 'grays' just ways to keep from choosing one or the other or perhaps both or neither. The 'gray' seems to be a way out. But, is it?
I leave you to it. Have a beautiful week, what's left of it anyway. God bless!