It was the night before I turned nineteen, the night of Thanksgiving. Winter had taken a full swing and I could feel the chill sitting beside the fireplace. I had always longed for thanksgiving dinners, but that night I wasn’t feeling up to it. I could hear the people laughing and giggling, dragging their stuffed duffel bags and the Kipling Wheelers, as they made their way through the hallway to the exit, where the families yearned for the sight of their sons.
As for me, I was all by my loneliness, sipping the last of what remained in my coffee mug, hoping to do to away with the cold. It was getting irritably chilly in the room and I even felt my body shiver a little. The fire wasn’t doing much good either. I pulled my hand out of the thick blanket I’d embraced and reached out for some more wooden chops to place in the fire. I, then, drew my hand back inside, holding the blanket closer to my chest, saying to myself as I did
“Oh God, it’s gettin so cold”
and leaned my head along the Pembroke table beside me.
But it wasn’t the cold that left me sour-tempered and sullen that evening. I’d been feeling dispirited since long. In truth, I had never really found my way out of depression since the incident. I was quite lost in grief. I still felt my heart regret every single moment of the accident that rendered me a stranger to peace and joy. I wished dearly that thanksgiving were over so I wouldn’t miss my deceased family so much.
I tried a lot to get my mind off of the past, but the harder I tried to escape, the more painful it became for me to breathe. Still, I closed my eyes and pushed the memories deep down in my head. This only furthered the anguish and the pain surged. I finally chose to let it go so my agony could come to an end. I stifled a deep sigh, opening my mind to the past that gave way to a journey down the memory lane I had locked for ages.
I, then, opened my eyes to a visual of the tragic happenings that I have been trying so hard to bury all this time. All of them came unleashed, all of a sudden, as tears began to gather in my eyes. I fighting with my father, yelling, my mother crying out loud, my brother trying to keep us calm, my little sister quivering in intense fright, I threatening to commit suicide, my father hitting me, I leaving the house in a fit of rage, the gas leak, the explosion, fire everywhere; all of the scene played out before my eyes as tears rolled down my face.
“Oh My God, oh..”
I thought after all these months I had forgotten it. But there I was, recalling every single moment of that dreadful night. I remembered the rescue team extracting from the rubble the corpses of what used to be my family. By now my tears had gained pace, with my glance fixated at the fire before me, as I saw it turning into fumes and smoke. For a moment there, I wished I was burned alive myself. My shirt soaked wet as tears tricked off of my chin.
The cold didn’t bother me now. The firewood started to darken. The flame disappeared. The chill penetrated the blanket, the cold besieged my body. But I didn’t shiver, or couldn’t, for I was utterly drowned in the ocean of remorse.
All this time I’ve lived with the loss in my life, I’ve carried the pain in my heart, I’ve felt the grief in my soul, but what I cannot take, is the guilt and regret, that brings along all the precious memories I have of my family.
“Oh Good Lord, what did I do..” I couldn’t help but blame myself.
“It was all my fault, it was all me..” Perhaps I had known that all along, but it was hearing me say these words that made me start to sob instantly.
“and I… I can’t forgive myself for that….ever…never..” my voice gaining intensity, with my sobs turning into bitter cries “…never..” I shut my eyes as pain grabbed me once again. My face drenched in tears, my eyes swollen with moist.
“ If only ..I… I had a chance..to..to say Goodbye…” I broke down completely.
“If only…they could know..”I wished there was somebody who’s shoulder I could cry on, anybody.“Oh mother, you were the world’s best mom, ever..you loved me and adored me like nobody else did..”
“ My brother, my buddy, my best pal…” I slammed my hands onto my face. “man, you stood by me no matter what happened, no matter how hard the times were.. and my baby sister, oh sweetie, you were the best thing that ever happened to me.., you warmed my heart with your sparkling smile, and a laugh to die for..”
“and you my Dad…” I broke again,
“ I have no words that possibly describe what you matter to me.. you were the best person I know, my role model, my best friend…my only friend…oh”
I raised my head and took a deep breath.
“All you people..the most amazing people that you were.. oh I love you all so much.. you are the breath to my life, the soul to my body, the haven to my being.. and how immensely sorry I am for all I did, to all of you, only if you’d known..” Only if.