Ally remembered the first day that she decided she hated snow. It was the day before her tenth birthday. Her frail form held a light pink rose tightly in her small hands as her Auntie told her that it meant she was sorry for Ally’s loss. Ally looked above to the sky, the down cast of shadows swirling in the midst of the clouds frightened her, but confusion of why had eluded her. Ally watched as the first snowflakes fell on the casket. Nothing but a blanket of people all dressed in black with white flakes resting on their shoulders encased in a circle as she surveyed each person with tear stained eyes. Lastly she looked at her mother, tugged on her dress and whispered.
“Mama, Jesse’s comin’ back right? He’s only leaving for a little while right?”
Ally’s mother regretted her decision to keep as much information from her until afterwards. She hardly stood straight looking down at Ally, stroking her long dark brown braid. Telling her the truth in that moment would crush her soul if she told her, but she knew it had to be done. Her thin frame bent to Ally’s level, tears smearing what little make-up she had on. She wrapped her arms around Ally, allowing Ally’s head to lean on her shoulder and whispered the words that she knew would forever change her baby girl,
“I’m so sorry baby, but Jesse’s not coming back. He’s going to meet Papa and Nana in heaven.” Ally’s mother physically felt her daughter’s body shiver uncontrollably. They wept together as Ally held on for dear life while the pastor said his final words.
Ally’s mother pulled her slightly away from her to get a good look at her, and what she saw was a small shattered soul In Ally’s now vacant crystal blue eyes. Ally’s innocence had disappeared in one swift moment. She knew this would be hard on her. Ally had never been to a funeral before. Her mother felt she was too young to accompany her and Jesse when her parents died. Jesse and Ally were so close, she couldn’t fathom the idea of not giving her the chance to say goodbye. All she could hope for was that Ally would wait until after the funeral to ask her questions, sadly she knew her daughter all too well.
The luncheon came and went. Everyone spoke their condolences to Ally’s mother, and some tried to talk to Ally. Ally had no effort in trying to be social. She stood with her back toward everyone as she looked outside, silent tears drenching her face. Snow – today was the first day it had fallen this year. The day her brother was gone forever. Ally hissed under her breath, “I hate snow…” Her crystal blue eyes now shadowed by hate and fear.
Fear of going home and never seeing her brother walk through the front door and greeting her with a massive hug. Ally reflected on the day that Jesse moved out of Mama’s house. She remembered how upset she was with him. That day was the first and only time she ever said she hated him. She knew she didn’t mean it, but it came out before she realized it. Instead of Jesse getting mad at her, he smiled. Jesse walked over to an angry little sister and disheveled the top of her hair, bending down and looked her straight in the eyes and said,
“Hey little dove, How ‘bout I make you a promise?”
Ally glared at him with defiance, but wondered what the promise would be. Jesse tilted his head to one side with that quirky smile she loved, and she finally relaxed.
Jesse raised his forefinger to Ally’s chin so they were eye to eye and said, “Little dove, I promise to be here every morning to eat breakfast with you and see you off to school. I promise to be here and help you with your homework as soon as I get off of work. I promise to give ya a big hug and tell you how much I love you before I leave each and every night. Even though I’m not here physically all the time; I’ll always be with you no matter what. I love you.”
Ally smiled as she closed her eyes with wet lashes, her forehead leaning against the window pane. Jesse kept his promise for almost a whole year until now. She wanted to be mad at him for leaving her behind. She wanted to scream at the top of her lungs, but he was gone and there was nothing anyone could do to bring him back. Her happy tears from her memory soon gave way to the feeling of complete loneliness. She knew she still had Mama, but Jesse was her light that brightened even the darkest of nights. A flicker of light shown through her sorrow when she remembered Jesse telling her one day,
“You and me little dove, we’re soul mates, until the end of time. No one will ever capture my heart like you have.” Ally remembered him saying that right before he stole her ice cream cone and ran, laughing at her as she tried to get it back. Ally was lost in old memories for so long that when her mother turned her toward her. Only then did she realize that everyone was gone.
Ally’s mother gently spoke, “Baby, it’s time to go home.” She held Ally’s little hand in hers. She noted that her touch felt different, as if her life had been sucked right out of her. She chalked it up to Ally needing more time to learn how to cope with the death of her beloved brother. She began walking to the front door, but Ally wouldn’t move. She stood still. Her mother knew they had a bond unlike what she had with her brothers. She wasn’t sure how to handle her own loss of her only son, let alone Ally’s loss. She realized then that they would both need some help eventually. She leant down and asked Ally what was wrong,
“What is it baby? Tell me what I can do to make you feel better?”
Ally’s answer was cold as ice and right to the point, “Mama, I don’t want my room anymore. I want to sleep in Jesse’s old bed, with his blanket and everything he left at home.”
Her mother wasn’t sure if that was the best idea. She knew she was already treading on thin ice. Ally needed to learn how to live without him, not bury herself in a room that she may not ever come out of. At this moment, she saw the determination in Ally’s eyes and she didn’t have the heart to tell her no.
“Okay baby, but only for a little while. It won’t be good for you to stay in there permanently.”
Ally stomped one foot firmly to the surface below her as she crossed her arms, “Mama, he isn’t coming back. Please let me move into his room. I want to feel closer to him.”
With that said, her mother broke. She let Ally move into Jesse’s room where she stayed for good. The only thing that kept Ally going was when she fell asleep and dreamed about Jesse. He would always make sure she knew that by morning she would feel safe and sound and always remembered and loved. When she turned thirteen, the dreams didn't come as often and that worried her. She didn't want to lose those precious moments with him. She didn't want to forget. Gradually Jesse stopped coming to visit her dreams. Those were all she had left besides his belongings.
Three years after her mother eventually passed away from drinking herself to death. From the age of eighteen until she was twenty, she lived in solitude. Regretfully, Ally’s decision to put the house up for sale was heartbreaking. Her fondest memories rested within that house, but her worst were also there and she just couldn’t stay wrapped up in the past any longer. She knew she had to move on. It was a welcoming release yet her heart told her differently. She felt guilt for wanting to let go.
The new homeowners, was set to receive the keys on the very day that Jesse was buried. Ally became frantic. She couldn’t allow two horrible things happening on that same date. She pleaded with the realtor to give the keys over to them on her birthday which was the next day. That wasn’t an important date to her since she was nine, the last day she would be nine. The next day after Jesse’s funeral was her birthday and she was hell bent on never celebrating it ever again. The realtor reluctantly waited another day although the couple had already moved everything out of the apartment and handed the keys back to the land owner. In the end, they slept in a hotel nearby and Ally was handed a small amount of peace of mind.
Ten years had passed on in the small town she grew up in. She looked at the house one last time then proceeded to put her car in drive and slowly drove away with the U-Haul in tow. She drove slowly through town. It wouldn’t take her long to get out of town considering it had only one stop sign. Ally sighed heavily as the weight of the final goodbye hit her hard. She cried as she drove down the five mile stretch to the next town. In between her town and the next, tall stalks of corn stood swaying in the breeze.
Ally drove through all of the small towns that stood between her and getting to I-80 eastbound to Chicago. When she saw the sign that said, ‘Welcome to Grinnell’ she tried hard to stay within the speed limit as much as possible, Ally’s grip slowly tightened on the wheel. I-80 was just on the other side of that small town. Finally, she aired a sigh of relief when she turned onto the highway. She couldn’t describe the odd feeling of relief when she did so, but a small portion of elevation raised her spirits and she almost believed that she was doing the right thing. Almost…
There will be more to come if everyone enjoys this story. Let me know what you think. Comments are welcome. If anyone would like updates, please send a friend request so I can keep you up to date.Thanks Amelia
Oh thank you so so much for reading Jro, lol. Hope you don't mind my shorter abbreviation of your name. I'm liking this whole writing style thing everyone keeps talking about. Really thanks for the comment. I hope you and everyone else will come back to read more. Woohoo! :) Amelia
oooooo I like!!!