A Rose On The Coffin

It was a cold day when they placed a rose on the coffin.  Peopled wondered how this tragedy had come about, but never the less it did.  It came without noise, digging away at the earth until it had succeeded in creating a hole in the dirt and a crater in the hearts of the people around.  Everyone who was loved and cherished had gathered for this day, to witness the final departure and goodbye of a young soul.   The tombstone read,

Thomas James Dawson
Loving friend, son, and brother
June 30, 1992 – December 16, 2009

I was on my bed after we got home; I just sat staring at the empty one across from me, letting the world pass.  I noticed nothing, not even my parents who came in several times, as well as my relatives, to see how I was doing.  They would try to come in but were merely able to stick their heads in, for something in my face told them not to touch, speak, or draw near to me.  I needed to be alone, I was scared and I was hurting.

A year had passed since the funeral and I had grown distant from all my friends.  My parents tried everything they could but I remained a secluded mess.  He died and I couldn’t handle it, I still couldn’t.  I went into my bedroom, locking the door behind me, and looked into the mirror between the two beds.  I did this every day, so it shouldn’t have been different, but it was. I was sick of what I saw.  I balled up my fist and swung it at the mirror but I couldn’t hit it; no matter how hard I tried I would stop an inch away.  I just stood there with my arm and fist raised and just stared into those eyes.  It was never me that I saw on the reflective surface; it was him, always him.    I fell to my knees and cried out in anguish, leaning forward with my hands stretched out over my head, digging into my scalp and hair, as I rocked back and forth.  Sobs and screams wracked my body as I rolled into a ball on the floor.  I lay there for what seemed like hours until my eyes dried out like a desert and grew so red and puffy I couldn’t see through them.

When I had finally quieted down I slowly removed my hands from the back of my head and looked at them.  I could see better now but flattened them out, palms in front of me, and saw that I had ripped out some of my hair and scraped off some of my skin with my nails.   I lay in a curled position in front of the mirror and that is when I spoke in a whisper, still looking at my hands, “This is your fault!  Why would you do this to me?  You left me here to suffer through life.”  I was exasperated but I still stared into the reflection of the person in the mirror.  Nothing happened, no response.  Merely a face, that was clearly in pain, stared back. “It’s been a year and I have tried….I’ve tried to go on in life, I whispered and sat up, close to tears again but never taking my eyes off of his, “but I can’t; it will never be the same.  I don’t understand why this would happen!  How could you just go and leave me like this?!”  I sat up with my legs propped up and stretched my arms over my knees and I tucked my head down and just sat there for a while.   “Mom and dad aren’t here today,” I said with my head still down and then looked up and with a desperate, disappointed chuckle when I said, “I’m not surprised, they’re disappointed in me and didn’t take me to your memorial service today.  I wi- I wish it could have been me that had died in that stupid car instead of you.”  My words began to get nasty as I continued to say, “You were always the ‘golden boy’, the one they could be proud of no matter what you did! I hated you for it too!  Mom and dad never loved me the same as you. It didn’t help that you were older!  They treated us like we were years apart when it was really a few minutes.”  I was nearly shouting at the mirror then but then I calmed myself somewhat and put my head back down before saying in a distressed voice, “I still remember that night…….”Come on Andrew just come pick me up!” The voice on the phone slurred out.  “I told you I’m not doing it anymore Tommy! I have a life and responsibilities!” I replied getting annoyed, but then Thomas responded by saying, “You can study for your test later! Please just this one last time pick me up, I pro-” I cut him off before he could finished, I could tell Thomas was getting annoyed now and his drunken state didn’t help him, but I had had enough! “Tommy! You make excuses every time! Taking me down on a guilt trip, ‘Oh Andy this is the last time I promise’ I’ll stop drinking if you come pick me up! Think of mom and dad’s disappointed faces when they hear that you didn’t help me!’ You and I both know mom and dad love you more and you use it! I’m SICK of it Tommy, I’m sick of you! Get your own ride home!” and I hung up.
                “I still remember being down stairs in the living room watching the football game with dad while mom was in the kitchen cleaning.” I paused before continuing, “I don’t even remember her answering the phone, just when she dropped and it smashed on the tile floor.   Everything was a blur after that.  We were told that you had been stupid and tried driving yourself home, drunk.  On the way you crashed and you were killed instantly.”  I stood up quickly and walked toward the door and unlocked it.  I strode down the carpeted stairs that shown proof of my entering the house without taking my shoes off.  I left another set of muddy tracks going down to the front door.  I swung it open and strode out of the house.  I walked to the cemetery, the cold wind whipping around me dragging the snow with it.  Quickly my nose began to run and I hugged my leather jacket closer to my body for warmth.  The air bit my nose and numbed my cheeks but it wasn’t from that which I felt pain.  I crossed a main street to the wooded edge on the other side and found the icy snow covered path.  I picked my way along it till I got to the cemetery where I reached a rusty iron gate and proceeded to walk through.  I have never seen anything more chilling than the graves of people’s loved ones.  When I finally reach Tommy’s headstone and froze in front of it.  As much as I hated him, I loved him.  There was nothing I could do to change that.  “It-It’s my fault you died Tommy,” I said with tears painfully crawling into my eyes again.  “I-I didn’t wa- want you to die man.” I fought the tears as best I could and said, “If I had just picked you up from the bar….instead of….instead of yelling at you!” then they came, the tears poured out of me.

For a year I had tried not to blame myself for his death but it was the truth, if I had just gone and picked him up he would still be here today and it killed me.   I couldn’t handle it, I couldn’t handle his being gone, his bed across from me still empty every morning, the fact that my parents were even more distant from me now, I couldn’t take it.  I stood there silently crying for a while until when I finally shifted my position to leave I had realized how dark it had gotten.  I looked at my watch, it read 9:00 p.m. then before leaving I reached out my freezing hand and placed it on the head stone saying, “Talk to you later man.”  I turned around and trudged back the way I came, I went through the icy path until I got to the main road on the way home and stepped out onto it.

It was a cold day when they placed a rose on the coffin.  Peopled wondered how this tragedy had come about but never the less it did.  It came without noise, digging away at the earth until it had succeeded in creating a hole in the dirt and a crater in the hearts of the people around.  Everyone who was loved and cherished had gathered for this day, to witness the final departure and goodbye of a young soul.  The tombstone read,

Andrew Casey Dawson
Loving friend, son, and brother
June 30, 1992 – December 16, 2010

So that was a short story a wrote back in grade 10, mind you it hasn’t really been edited, but I thought I would share it anyways.  My purpose behind it really was that I wanted to give a glimpse into the guilt tortured mind of a kid and what can kind of come of it when it isn’t dealt with.  I also left the circumstances around Andrew’s death open to interpretation by the reader because that’s one thing I enjoy as a reader myself.  I crave the unexpected in stories and sometimes get sick of happy endings. Also, I’m curious as to what you think happened.  Suicide or accident?

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