- Chapter One
- Chapter Two
- Chapter Three
- Chapter Four
- Chapter Five
- Chapter Six
- Chapter Seven
- Chapter Eight
- Chapter Nine
Of What There
Is to Know
It’s a rather tired trope, by now.
You see it on TV. You read it in books, in comics. You play it in games.
“Be careful what you say to your loved ones each day,
because your words may be the last ones you share.”
Turns out, in real life, it doesn’t usually work that way. I mean, I’m sure it happens,
but people don’t usually have a screaming fist-fight and then run outside
to get killed by a falling piano.
Instead, they say something mundane.
Something that takes the continued existence of their loved one for granted;
something that takes the grand sum of Life So Far and
turns it into just another episode of General Hospital.
The last time I saw Dad, I told him I would see him later.
My sister asked him for twenty dollars.
Mom told him not to forget the potatoes, again.
Sure, I’d change it.
I’d tell him I loved him. I’d tell him he was a great dad.
Who wouldn’t say something nice to someone who was about to die?
But that’s a given. It isn’t important.
Like most of what we do when someone dies,
none of it matters one little gram to the person that’s gone.
They’re dead. Cashed in. Poof, gone.
Like money, or cars, or houses, any remaining fucks my dad might have given
were abandoned shortly after that truck driver fell asleep at the wheel.
They were left behind with the twenty-dollar scratch lotto in the glove box,
a gallon of milk in a bag from the gas station down the street, and
a pair of panties under the seat that didn’t belong to my mother.
I think a better trope might be something like:
“Be careful what you say and do each day,
because your loved ones might not ever forget.”
Dad’s last reply to me was a shrug.
He told my sister he didn’t have twenty dollars to spare.
And I guess he forgot the potatoes.
With a stifled huff, Rebekkah stuffed the last garment of clothing into the already-overladen suitcase. When she finally managed to zip it shut, she plopped onto her knees on the carpet with a tired sigh. Packing for Vala was always the worst experience. Vala never had an opinion on what to pack. When Rebekkah made suggestions for outfits they were unanimously greeted with uncertain mumbling, and every trip they made together culminated in Rebekkah shoving twice as many outfits as necessary into a suitcase the morning of departure.
Thankfully, they still had some time. It couldn’t have been any later than six. At least, she hoped it wasn’t. Somehow the alarm in her phone had either been shut off the night before or ignored for long enough that it got offended and decided to keep to itself. There was a decent chance mixed drinks were to blame, but thankfully she’d been waking up at five-thirty every morning for the past two years for school and couldn’t sleep past it to save her life.