One Minute; By: Anonymous
Change happens whether we like it or not. Nothing can prepare us for change or warn us that change is coming. Maybe that’s why change is so scary. It happens when we least expect it and can turn a person’s world upside down. I would have never guessed that in one moment, my life would be irrevocably changed. Everything I had come to accept as normal would be wiped away in a matter of seconds. All it took was one phone call. It all started on a day no different than any other.
“Wake up, sweetie,” my mom said as she gently shook my shoulder. I grunted and pulled the covers back over my head. My mother laugher her loud, goofy laugh and shook me one last time. I begrudgingly rolled out of bed to greet the new day. I walked down the stairs following the aroma of pancakes and vegetarian omelets. My father and brother were already seated at the table and scarfing down their breakfast enthusiastically.
My mother was wearing her crazy apron with pictures of all different kinds of cartoon frogs. She had on our ancient radio and was singing (horribly off tune) along to a Beatles song as she cooked. Just as I sat down, she put a plate with a tower of hot, steaming pancakes in front of me. I gratefully dug in. when she passed my father, he pulled her onto his lap and kissed her. She playfully slapped him with her spatula, her eyes twinkling. I rolled my eyes and laughed as my brother made gagging noises. Our parents were like that all the time. After breakfast, my mother drove my brother and me to school. She drives an old, beat-up van that is painted neon green. It embarrasses me to go anywhere with her because she is so different. To make matters worse, she honks and waves at us when she drops us off.
I turn bright red and don’t bother to wave back. I will probably regret that for the rest of my life. Then I rush over to my best friend Skye.
We talk until the bell rings and then we head to class. Skye has been my best friend since elementary school. We do everything together and tell each other everything.
School is the same as everyday. Boring and redundant. Although that day something horrible happens. In fourth period, my principal bursts into the room and speaks to my teacher in a low, serious tone. The news must be bad because my teacher pales and starts fidgeting. Please don’t let it be about me. Please don’t let it be about me. Please don’t let it be about me, I silently pray. Then my teacher solemnly says, “Bliss Haven. The principal needs to speak with you.” There was something in his expression, brimming behind his eyes. I couldn’t pinpoint what it was. I got out of my chair and tried to avoid all the eyes on me.
My limbs felt like lead as I made my way to the principal’s office. It took all my strength to lift my feet. Almost as if my body knew what was about to happen and it was warning me. I took a deep breath and turned the knob, even though I wanted to run away in the opposite direction. The principal was on the phone and was pacing back and forth.
“Yes. She’s right here.”
He handed me the phone. My heart started thumping faster and faster, and I could hear a roaring in my ears. I wasn’t ready for this. I suddenly realized what I recognized in my teacher’s expression. Pity.
“H-hello,” I croaked.
It was my dad. His voice was ragged as if he had been crying.
“Yes. I-it’s m-me.”
“There’s been an accident. Your mother. Not going to make it.” He sobbed, unable to from coherent sentences. My hands started to shake, and I dropped the phone. I fumbled around the floor, trying to find it. But I couldn’t because everything was blurry. Then I looked up and saw the phone in the principal’s outstretched hand. He actually had tears in his eyes.
“She’s gone. She’s gone,” my dad was repeating. I don’t think he even remembered he was on the phone.
“Dad,” I said worriedly, but he just kept repeating it.
“Tell your brother she’s gone.”
I will, Dad. I will. I’m coming home. Just stay there. Don’t move. I’m on my way.” I sobbed.
“She’s gone, Bliss. The love of my life is gone.”
Then the line went dead, thus ending the moment that forever changed my life. Now everything about my life is a reminder of all I’ve lost and all the things I took for granted.
Now I awake to the blaring of my alarm clock. That is if I’m even able to get any sleep. These days sleep is impossible. The emptiness in my chest keeps me awake all night. I always get up, though, no matter how tired I am. I know my family needs me, so I gather what’s left of my strength and face the day. I make breakfast for my little brother and my father. I have to take it to my father’s room each morning. Day after day he lies on his bed, staring at the TV, even though it’s turned off. Countless bottles of beer litter the floor. I have no idea where he gets them, but I always throw away the empty ones. The next day there would always be more. I never ever go in my mom’s office. It is too painful and overwhelming just to know she will never be scurrying around with her paintbrush in her hand and a crazy, goofy grin on her face.
Then I walk to school with my brother as an oh-so-familiar ache forms in the pit of my stomach. School is like a prison to me. Everywhere I go, people are staring at me. Some try to hid it by peeking at me out of the corners of their eyes, while others openly stare at me with wide eyes. The all have the same look in their eyes: pity. I can hear their whispers everywhere I turn.
“Is that the girl whose mother died?”
“Isn’t she the one with the weird mother?”
“Oh… that poor girl. I can’t imagine what its like for her to lose her mother at this age.”
“She looks like a zombie. Just because her mother died doesn’t mean she can walk around like that.”
“That’s the girl whose mother died. Yeah. And I hear her dads becoming a major alcoholic. I know! It’s so tragic. I’m so glad that’s not me.”
I was the talk of the school. Even the teachers and faculty referred to me as, “the Girl”.
Many of my teachers had told me that I could have extensions on all of my assignments. A few even said that if I needed to talk, they were there for me. I am getting so much attention when all I really want is to disappear. I got through each day of school in a daze. By the time I get out of school I don’t even remember one thing my teachers said. I’m not even sure how I travel from class to class, but somehow I’m where I’m supposed to be. At least my body is where it’s supposed to be, but my min is far, far away.
I think about my old life. About how much I miss my mother. Without her, my entire life has changed. I’m responsible for all the meals and cleaning and I have to keep an eye on my little brother. I’m really worried about him. He’s barely said one word since our mother’s funeral. I hear him crying at night through my thin walls. If eel horrible because I don’t know how to comfort him. I can’t bring out mother back, nor can I replace her.
I’m just doing my best to keep it all together and not have a mental breakdown. It’s bad enough that my old best friend Skye tries to reach out to me.
The other day she came up behind me while I was at my locker. She tapped my shoulder and said, “We need to talk, Bliss.”
“No… I’ll be late to class,” I said brusquely.
She cocked her head in a painstakingly familiar way. I got a pang in my chest just listening to her. I wish we could still be friends, but things are different now. I’m different now. She’s just a reminder of my old life, and it would be too painful to bear to pretend like everything is okay.
“You know that doesn’t matter to you anymore,” she said sadly.
I couldn’t argue with that, so I said, “Make it quick.”
“I miss you, Bliss. I miss all the things we used to do together. I miss being able to tell you everything. I miss spending time with you. I just… I really miss you.”
She had tears dancing in her bright blue eyes. She reached out and put her hand on my shoulder. I brushed it off and ignored the look of hurt that contorted her face.
“I miss you too, but we can’t be friends. Besides, the girl you used to be best friends with doesn’t exist anymore.”
She just stood there with pity written all over her face. I could take that from every other person in the school, but not from her. I didn’t want her pity. I wiped the tears from my eyes and walked away without looking back.
One minute changed my life forever more. Nothing will ever be the same again. I will never hear my mother’s laugh, watch her face light up in a smile, or feel her arms around me. I will miss her until the day I die. I know now that everything is always changing.