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No one ever tells you

by Yas M 5 months ago in family · updated 4 months ago

that this would remind me of you

Photo by Rudy and Peter Skitterians

Everyone will tell you the same 6 words. “I am sorry for your loss.” When you meet their eyes, you will see their hesitance to meet yours, hurriedly expressing how “sorry” they are for their sense of consolation and then proceeding to the table in the back with the stale pastries you bought over 2 weeks ago. No one will notice and even if they do, they will not dare attempt to comment due to your state of grieving and a rather impertinent look on your face. You get a pass this once.

No one ever tells you what comes after. When all your loved ones go back to "real life", leaving you in your own disorientated state of what you now call your life.

I imagine myself on a wide black stage, looking at the black hole of a floor below me, unable to find my feet. I look up to see the floodlit audience, my friends and family, waving at me with a grin ear to ear as they hold up huge signs and shout at me to “come back already!” The plea echoes behind my ears in a hushed whisper as I open my eyes and see the static from the television, my newfound favorite tv show ever since I lost the remote. A few boxes of pungent Chinese food sit in the corner of my table. I leave out a deep sigh, trying to release whatever tension that has cemented to me, with no success. My eyes follow the white wall of my living room, all the way to the tall white-framed window in its center. Then suddenly, from the corner of my eye, a small green light shines brightly from across the street.

By Luis Morera on Unsplash

No one ever tells you how powerful the mind actually is. How at any moment, you can look at something and be thrown back into a memory that was so deeply embedded in your being that you forgot it was ever there or happened in the first place. But then you do remember, and with a wave of nostalgia, you give in to that warmth of familiarity and let yourself go on a ride.

For me, it was the color green. You can take any color and make it your own. For many people, red can be associated with hate, anger, lust, or love. For a few, it could mean something else entirely. Green reminded me of her.

By gryffyn m on Unsplash

When my mother passed away, my mind went black. You see, a lot of people grieve by talking about fond memories of their loved ones, but I did no such thing. I thought I had lost the memory of her up until the moment I saw that aimless green flicker in my window. In that moment, like a sucker punch to my face, it all came back to me.

My mother’s eyes were green. Vibrant, kind, beautiful, welcoming, forgiving green. Green reminded me of the days I would wake up early before school to follow the scent of apple pancakes and burnt butter waiting for me upon the table I couldn’t reach without her help. I sat across from her as she hummed along to the sound of the sizzling green apples as if they were her instruments. She would turn to me to bow after her performance and her green eyes met mine as we laughed over our tomfoolery. Green reminded me of the first time I experienced heartbreak in 6th grade to Jeremy Grey. I had just gotten back from a small trip over spring break and happened to gain several pounds (I really liked pancakes). Jeremy took one good look at me and told me it was over (and that Allison Renner was a way better fit for him anyway). I cried into my mom’s chest as soon as I got into the car and her green eyes looked down at me. “Let’s go throw eggs at his house.” “Mom!” “I am only kidding.”

Green reminds me of the day I graduated from college, with my mom’s loud voice drowning in my ears as she clung her arm around me and screamed, "that’s my sweetheart!", to everyone around us. Green reminds me of the day I told her I was moving across the country for a guy who I believed was the love of my life (that is no longer in my life). She looked at me at that moment as if she knew something I didn’t. It happened to be the last time I ever saw her.

Over a year later, the indicator light on my home phone flashes green and I quickly pick it up as I am trying to clean my living room and eat Chinese food at the same time. “I am sorry to inform you….”

By Isabella Mendes on Unsplash

You see, in a flash, your life will change. It happens to all of us eventually, we know that, and yet we never seem to prepare ourselves for it. I wish someone told me to hold on to that feeling of joy because you never know when it will be the last time you will feel that way. “I am so sorry for your loss,” the words from the phone on the floor travel to my ears. I stare back into the window, desperately searching for that sentimental catalyst. I laughed just as soon as the thought finishes. Had I gone mad? Well, I need to remember you.

As if something from across the street was listening to my demand, the tiny green light flashes once more, brightly towards my vision. Vibrant, kind, beautiful, welcoming, forgiving green.

My feet break past the door and onto the street, with a downpour of water hitting against me, and the water blurring my vision as I determinedly stare into the green light. “Come back to us,” soft voices rustle against the leaves and serrated wind. My bare feet follow, one after another, in the mud-caked grass and I make my way closer to the light. “Come back to us,” the voices say over and over. With each step, a new moment flashes in my mind. “Come back.” A memory of our hands clasped together as we skip happily to the grocery store. “Come back." Us at the dinner table with friends and family as we all try to make up lyrics to the hum of her voice. “Come back.” Tears she tried to hide from me as I was packing for my new life without her. “Come back.” She finally told me weeks later on a video call I dreaded. “Come back.”

The green light is inches away from my face now. With an exasperated breath, the faint voices now a loud chorus, and water splashing against my head as if it was angry at me for trying, I hear another voice under the grating uproar of it all.

“It's ok. Go back, sweetheart." And for the first time in a long time, I remember what joy feels like.


Yas M

Writing has been an escape for me. Thanks to whoever takes the time to read my stories! I appreciate it. I am learning a lot along the way through reading others' wonderful creative stories and learning a lot about myself through my own. <3

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