I could hear her voice, my mom is alive, thinking about this made me more confused and curious because I thought I’ve lost her. “Mom” I called out.
“Ryan? Is it really you?” I heard her voice as I imagined she was crying. “Yes mom, it’s your baby boy, where are you?” “Ryan you have to listen to me, your father…”
“Mom” I yelled as the line went dead.
“Mom, mom” I persisted.
“Was that supposed to happen?” I faced Len and he took the phone trying to reconnect but it wasn’t going through.
“Answer me! Do you know where she is?” I yelled loudly with rage because I was scared I’d lose her again.
“Ryan, calm down” Michael advised and I breathed in trying to stay cool.
“She is in a mental facility up north and your father locked her in there, we’ve been communicating for years since your sister found the note first” Len explained. “Wait Lala knew about this?” I asked puzzled wondering why she didn’t tell me about this.
“Yes, and I deciphered it the first time, I found a number and an address and since then I’ve been talking to your mother and I guess Lala too, she has been waiting for this day” Len said and I ran my hands through my hair.
“Okay so what happened why did the line die?” I inquired.
“I don’t know, it has never happened before” Len said innocently and this scared me, what if something happened to her, I can’t lose her again. Not again! “I need to go see Lala” I concluded.
“You can’t leave Brooks, you have to attend Aaliyah’s grandparents funeral, you need to be there for Aaliyah” Michael said. “But she doesn’t even want to see me” I tell him.
“I know but deep down you know she wants you there to show support, she’s going through a lot right now and she is processing” Michael made me see reasons and I agreed.
“Poor Aaliyah, I heard the fire was caused by a body spray explosion” Len added. “Body spray? But they didn’t have a body spray because Aaliyah said grandma esthy was allergic so we threw ours out, remember?” I faced Michael. “Yes, so that’s proof that it was an homicide” Michael said.
“Write the address and every other important things that I can use to find my mother” I faced Len and he nods and went on gathering the things I needed. ***
Everything was prepared including the clothes we would wear for my grandma and gramps funeral, my Uncle and the twins arrived yesterday and Auntie Elena would be here too with her kids. it’s being three days and I can’t still comprehend the fact that they are gone, just like that, without saying goodbye or turning back, it’s painful thinking about it, it breaks my heart so much that they left me in this cruel world.
“Are you okay?” My mom asked as I struggled with the zip on my black gown.
“I’m fine” I sniffed, I knew I looked pale because I barely ate and I’m being forced to sleep and this wasn’t good for my health. I sighed and I now know how my parents are going to feel when I die because this feeling is something else. I wish I didn’t have to leave them because they’d be devastated and heart broken especially my dad who just lost his parents and then would lose his daughter a month later. He is going to look like a bad omen. Honestly I had less than a month and I knew my parents were freaking out but pretended to be okay around me.
“It’s time, the car is ready to take us to church” my mom held me as tears flowed down her cheeks.
“Mom, it’s okay, I know grandma wouldn’t want you to be shaken up like this” I sniffed.
“Thanks, it’s not that, I’m just scared of- scared of losing you baby, I would die” her voice broke and I felt my heart shattered into a million pieces.
“I’m going no where mom, I promise” I held her hands as I helped her up walking towards the elevator as we both entered the car with my dad and drove to church. ***
I entered the church and the song ’till we meet again’ filled the air and brought back a lot of memories, I didn’t know when I started crying and my parents held me tighter. We took the seat at the front row with Auntie Elena, her children, the twins and my uncle. The room was filled with grandma friends and gramps study buddies and a few other relatives. I looked back and my eyes met with Ryan’s eyes, I smiled and looked away, I knew in my heart that he would smile back. He was sitting with Harvey and Michael, I breathed in as the pastor took to the alter and the choir stopped singing and took their seat. Gramps and grandma’s ashes was placed at the front of the church in a can, it was painful to watch as they didn’t even have a body this be buried.
“We are gathered here because of this two beloved members and followers of Christ, they gave their all to serve God including going for outreaches and Bible studies, Gramps would never miss a Bible study even when Granny did, he would say ‘what am I without God? I’m obviously a piece of rag without him’ he was a true believer and a follower and I know that his soul is rejoicing in Heaven with the host of angels and God knows best…” The Pastor went on and on, I just sat there wondering if it was true, maybe God really knows best. I glanced at my right side and I saw the same person I’ve been seeing for days smiling at me before running away. The person’s face was blur, I knew this has to be connected with the fire outbreak. maybe I saw the person.
“You” I said holding my head as I looked again it was just a nice old woman listening to the Pastor. What’s wrong with me? This is the fifth time I’m having this memory clash, I don’t know what I’d call it but every time it felt so real. “Are you okay?” My dad asked and I nod. I’m not okay to be totally honest.
After the pastor finished with his speech, my dad came out to give his speech and I cried through out.
“Baby, would you want to say something?” My mom asks and I nod. I stood up and glanced at where Ryan sat down. “You can do it” he mouthed and I smiled. “First and foremost I’d love to thank you all for coming out to say your last goodbye to this wonderful, amazing and the best grandparents one could ask for, I’m happy that…” I broke down and later breathed in and out before I continued. “I’m happy that they were part of my life, you know when I was little, grandma would always make me cranberry pie because that’s was my favourite, well it actually became my favourite because she made it all the time and anytime I ate it, I would always remember her smile, it’s painful that…” I broke down again and my mom mouthed a small “be strong baby” to me and I sighed.
“I’m sorry, I’m just a little shocked because the last conversation I had with her was about Christ, she led me to Jesus and I thought she would hang around a little bit to teach me the ways of God because that has always been her wish, she wanted me to go close to God and she never one day made me feel bad, she just loved me and Gramps was the most amazing, wonderful and… I can’t do this, thank you” I started crying as everyone was now in a solemn mood and my mom hugged me as I joined her in the front row. Auntie and Uncle said their own speech before the choir started singing again as we took the ashes to the church cemetery, it was painful to watch as they buried the ashes in one of the tombs. “Are you okay?” Ryan sneaked up on me.
“I’m fine” I nodded and Ryan smiled, we didn’t talk and I was grateful that he was silent and respected the fact that I needed some peace and quiet. “My mom is alive” he brought his head down.
“Really? How?” I whispered.
“Long story but apparently Lala knows” I tell her.
“I’m sorry Aaliyah” Auntie Jocelyn, one of Grandma’s friends hugged me interrupting our conversation and I smiled. “Thanks”
“We’ll talk about this later, you are busy” he smiled and I nod.
After the funeral, we went back to the house, my dad and Uncle did a little
renovation because of the funeral, we had some few friends over and entertained
them with food and drinks.
“Harvey” I hugged him and stayed in his arms for a while, I knew Ryan was looking but I didn’t care, this wasn’t a time for jealously. But seriously I’m happy for Ryan, His mom is alive which means he’d be happy and less crappy from now on.
“I’m sorry this had to happen to you” he patted my back and I sobbed a little. “It would all be fine”
I looked through the window and I saw someone smile at me and ran away. “Excuse me” I said and walked out looking left and right. I glanced at the flowers and couldn’t find anyone, I was about going inside when… “Rough night?” I heard her voice and turned.
“Tasha? what are you doing here?” I asked.
“To finish what I started” she brought out a gun and pointed it at me while I froze and that was when my memory came back. I remembered who smiled at me during the fire, I remember calling her name.
“It was you who burned the house” I said lowly because my head was hurting me.
“Do you know that you talk too much?” She smiled and I swallowed hard.
“What do you want? Ryan? You can have him!” I yelled.
“Bring your voice down, I don’t want Ryan, not anymore but I just want to hurt you, maybe you didn’t die in that fire but you are not going to escape this one. Trust me” she laughed sarcastically as I kept breathing fast hoping someone would show up and rescue me. I hoped and prayed but no one came out. “Bye bitch” she pointed the gun at me.
And the next thing I heard was a gunshot and I saw blood…
MARRIED AND STILL SINGLE