I’m 4. The 3 of us are sitting on the floor watching The Lion King. I’m wrapped in my sister’s arms on the gray carpet while our older brother is sprawled on the worn leather couch.
“This is boring. Why do I have to sit here and watch this? Do you guys think I didn’t see it a thousand times when I was little?” my brother asks. He’s 15.
“Just watch it with us. It’s family time. Don’t you want to spend some time with your baby brother and me?” Meg chides.
“Lion King!” I say and smile up at him.
I’m 5. My sister catches me as I run into her arms and spins me around. I can hear the wind rushing through my ears and her ringing laugh. It sounds like chimes and bells and happiness. She’s laughing so hard she can barely hold on to me. Slowing down, she mock-falls on the floor taking her with me. We lie there laughing together.
“I love you so much sweetie.” She says.
“Love you too Meg.” I say back.
I’m 6. Meg is 15. We go for a walk in the woods. The sun’s rays are shining through the forest ceiling. It’s the middle of summer, but the full green leaves make it chilly in the shade. She’s pointing to the trees, explaining to me how they grow from tiny little seeds and rise up to the sky.
“They’re trying to get closer to God.” she says. “Like all of us. When they die, when they’re cut down, you can see how long they’ve been trying by the number of rings.” I’m holding on to her index finger with my small hand. It’s peaceful in the woods, but I have the urge to break that peace. I let go of her and run forward.
“Where are you running off to?” she laughs and runs after me. I run faster and look back to see if she’s behind me. I don’t see the root in front of me and trip over it, falling on my knees and hands. It stings so much that I start crying.
“Oh, baby, are you ok?” Meg is by my side, picking me up and sitting me down in her lap. “Let me see that.” She looks at my knees, then at my palms. I’m still crying. It hurts so much, I try to tell her, but all that comes out is sobbing mumbles.
“Shhh. It’s ok. I’ll carry you home and we can get that cleaned up ok?” she smiles at me. I fall asleep in her arms on the way home.
I’m 7. I’m dressed in a suit. It’s uncomfortable and my dad tells me I have to keep my shoes clean. I look for Meg. I can’t find her anywhere. She hasn’t been home for days.
“Where is Meg?” I keep asking. My Mom’s eyes are tear-stained. Meg should be here to make Mom feel better. I never see Mom cry and Meg would know what to do. She always makes me smile. She can make Mom smile too. My brother is leaning on a tree, away from all the people so I go over to him.
“Where is Meg?” I ask. He seems angry. I pull on the corner of his suite jacket. “Where is Meg?” I ask again.
“She’s not fucking here!” He yells at me. “She’s gone. She’s not coming back! She’s dead.” He scares me and I run to my Dad crying. He picks me up and hands me over to Mom. I see him walk over to my brother and start yelling at him. Dead? What is dead? Where is Meg?
Dead means never coming back. Mom and Dad are sitting in front of me in the living room. It’s dark out now. Mom is trying to tell me something. Something about Meg. She was somewhere, with friends. There was a car. It was night time, just like now. I don’t understand.
“God takes the best.” Dad says. “You will see Meg again. She’s with him, up there in the sky: in Heaven.”
“She’s coming back?” I ask. I know what hope is, I’m 7. I can feel it. He said I’ll see her again.
“No, darling, no.” Mom tries. “She’s…” she starts crying again. She touches my Dad on the arm, stands up and walks out of the room. She hasn’t stopped crying for forever.
“Son,” Dad sighs. “Meg… she’s not coming back. She’s watching you from above. That’s what death is. You go back to God and you leave your family behind and you wait for them.”
“Why would she leave?” I ask. Now I feel panic. Meg would never leave me. She says she loves me.
“Honey, I don’t know how to explain this to you…” He seems to be giving up. I can feel it. I need to understand. Why would she leave?
“She didn’t want to leave us.” He tries again. “She didn’t want to leave you. She loves you and always will…. God called her back to him. It will eventually happen to all of us. Mom and I will go back. So will your brother, and you will too, when you’re very old. Like grandpa’s age. You have a whole life to live before that. Ok?”
I sit there for a couple of minutes.
Meg is gone. I can’t see her until I’m like grandpa. That’s forever! She’s not coming back, Dad says. She’s dead. Dead means gone. Gone?
I miss her.
“I miss Meg.” I tell Dad. I start crying.
“I know son. So do I. So does Mom and your brother. We all miss her so much.” He takes me into his arms and I cry there until I can’t cry anymore.
This is a story I’ve been working on for a while. Hope you enjoyed! Any feedback and constructive criticism is greatly appreciated.