“Time of death, eight thirty-six am,” K.B., the Hospice nurse, said quietly.
I am fourteen years old and standing in my brother’s eight by ten bedroom in our twelve hundred square foot apartment. The sun shines brightly through the pale blue curtains and it makes me angry. I stare down at the dirt brown carpet; it needs to be vacuumed. I look at the hundreds of Special Olympics’ ribbons and medals that hang from the walls. I make eye contact with the happy, smiling faces in the photographs that hang beside them. I notice the twenty inch television in the corner is playing a muted Nickelodeon cartoon.
I step back and bump into the oxygen tank, useless now. I wonder what we are supposed to do with the half empty medicine bottles. What happens to the rented hospital bed with the starched sheets and handmade patch quilt? I hear my parents, my other brother, my grandparents, my aunt, uncle, my cousins. I can’t look at them. I stare at my brother. He doesn’t look dead. Just asleep. The sunshine hits his face and I think I see a smile. How dare the sun be shining today? It makes me angry.
Jen is a full time college student and stay-at-home mommy to two amazing boys and loves rediscovering the joy and innocence of youth through their eyes. She currently resides in Las Vegas, but is a country girl at heart. She is an aspiring screenwriter, but recently discovered a passion for short stories. She loves springtime, coffee with cream and sugar, country music, and butterflies. She believes that there is a never an excuse to give up your dreams, and that you can move mountains if you do it one stone at a time. She handles rejection by reminding herself that Dr. Seuss was rejected by fifty publishers and no one wanted to produce Star Wars. She believes the most important thing any artist can do is to stay true to themselves and wait for someone to share their vision.
Illustration by: Sayantan Halder