Emily Millar, Grade 12
The cool winter’s breeze whips my hair around my face, for a moment it catches the light and glows in the sun, shining gold like the lettering on the harsh shape of a tombstone in front of my cold bare feet. I kneel down on the scratchy grass, amoungst the weeds and windblown, abandoned, plastic shapes of flowers, desperately trying not to fade like the people beneath them.
They were too morbid and I thought for a moment how ghostly they looked scattered around everywhere like the roses a dancer receives after a performance. These were life’s last tribute to the dead. It is ironic isn’t it, how we allow our lovers to fade quicker in our thoughts than these artificial petals that we bought for two dollars as an afterthought at the corner store, aren’t people more than that?
I reread the o so familiar words over again, loving daughter, sister, mother and wife. Where the word wife once was someone had crossed over it and written hero.
I remember the day I got selected for a special art camp so clearly, every other memory seems foggy, I came running up the stairs as fast as my little stubby legs could carry me, but I stopped stock still as soon as I heard the yelling, the deep thunder of my father’s voice, as he smashed something to the ground, it landed with a thud. I heard the muffled cries of my mother and her quiet sobbing as my father continued with his rage. I continued towards my parent’s door, I wanted to hug my mum the way she hug me when I was upset and sad. The door burst open and hit me like a sledgehammer in the stomach, my dad’s great big hands that used to push me on the swing as I screamed higher, higher, and that had once hugged me so tight at night times as he whispered “I Love you,” Into my ears. Those great big hands grabbed me by the hair and threw me into the wall. My mother screamed from the bedroom, and ran into the hallway, I just lay there stunned as I felt something warm and sticky trickle down my face.
My mother scooped me up in her arms, her face already starting to turn purple and blue, as if an unseen painter was making it his canvas. She threw open the door as my dad thundered down the stairs screaming all types of insults at my mother.
The old engine chocked and spluttered like my mother’s sobs, The car roared to life.
That was the last I saw of my dad, he was standing there yelling after us. Then the pain sunk in.
“Mummy my head hurts.”
Everyone seems to look up to basketball players, and pop stars as their heroes, however when I think of heroes I think of my mother. It has taken me my whole life to realise that the heroes are your friends and your family, because they did all they could to save you no matter what, despite their weaknesses and flaws and bad hair days, they were there to save you from the monsters under your bead or the ones inside your head.
I spread my arms and look up into the sky and yell, “I love you Mum.” I choke on the rain and end up breathless, for a moment the irony of dying in a graveyard crosses my mind. I get my breathing under control and watch as the ink from the rewritten word hero runs and mixes with the dirt. The rain could wash away that name, but it would forever remain in my brain.