Ok, so I come back to life in the forum with a story. I started writing this in the old xsorbit forum, and never finished. So I revised, and made a few changes. I also have formed a better outline for the story. I know some have never heard of it, and some have. It was from 2006 so I think most of you may just barely remember it. So here goes, I hope you like!
Searching For Michelle - Prologue
I nervously twiddled my fingers in the backseat of the cab watching each building pass by, taunting me of past memories. It had been ages since I have been down this street. As we veer right, I recognize the house, looking very rundown, where at one time it was so lively, so beautiful. The roses that once lined the front of the house were nothing but dried up, naked and pitiful looking branches. The paint that once blinded one in it’s whiteness, now looked as if it were a shattered window with the peeling paint. It brought a sadness to my heart to see the front door that once was constantly opening and shutting with eager children - all boarded up, warning anyone to keep away from the gloomy past the house embraced.
The cab slowed to a stop and pulled to the side. “You sure this is it ma’am?”
I smiled into the rear view mirror and nodded, “Yes. Thank you.” Although I was still unsure I really wanted to stir up these memories of the past.
I made my way to the house, hesitantly, shaking my head at the sight of the mailbox. It’s painted flowers no longer visible, just the the piercing orange color of aging. I could see the name was still somewhat readable from the front. I traced my fingers across the letters, “Lund” I say quietly. Feeling the sadness in it’s heritage.
“Ok, c’mon now Michelle, just take it slow” I proceeded to tell myself as I approached the door. Noticing earlier that the boarded wood would more than likely be rotting, I pulled at the boards only to find they wouldn’t move. “Darn.”
Looking around suspiciously, I made my way around to the back. Stumbling upon the sandbox the memories flooded through my mind, causing a couple tears to sting the corners of my eyes. Looking at the back door that, thankfully, was not boarded up, I made my way to the steps that would, once again, lead me inside. I pulled on the screen door, rusted and whining at me to keep it shut. I turned the handle that, of course, was locked. I set my suitcase and purse down and reached into my pocket to retrieve the little demon that had started this whole journey across the country.
I put the key in the door and with a little muscle it gave. The door creaked in front of me as it welcomed me to the whirlwind of both good and bad memories. I took my first step inside and looked around, the kitchen never changed much from that day. Just a little more dusty. I walked through to the dining room where shoes were still lined up along the wall underneath the coat hooks. I made my way to the family room, the couches didn’t seem as big as they used to, when they would swallow my scrawny body up and keep me safe and warm. Now they were covered in mouse droppings and dust, and faded from the sunlight that peeked through the half drawn curtains.
I wiped a tear away as I made my way up the stairs to where my safe haven once was. I stared at each picture on the wall on the way up. Running my hands across each one and feeling an emptiness inside.
“Mom, you were so gorgeous.” I whispered as I caressed the glass and traced her smile. Then I saw it, Paula’s face. Bright and smiling, as always. I felt my stomach churn as I closed my eyes. I could still hear the screaming as we were separated that day. “I miss you Paula, where are you?”
I rubbed my eyes and sniffled, I trudged the rest of the way up the steps to the hallway. The first bedroom was dad’s… well mom -and- dad’s I suppose, I was just too young to remember mom staying in that room before she went. Daddy’s overalls were still slung over the rocking chair in the corner. His bed was made perfectly, although now it wasn’t so bright and cheery.
I turned around and made my way to the other bedroom, the bunk beds still holding up, blankets torn off the bed and clothes on the floor. I walked over to the bed, remembering the fights Paula and I would get into over the top bunk. Of course, she -always- won.
My eyes began to well again when I saw him. “Bubba” I slightly sighed, picking up my one-eyed teddy bear. “How I have missed you buddy.” I embraced him for just a moment before I set him back into place. I slowly made my way back downstairs, looking at the pictures once again on the wall of my former, ‘happy’ life.
The picture albums were still in place under the TV stand, asking for me to reminisce, waiting for me to find myself once again, to remember who I am.
Brushing away old cobwebs I opened the first album to a picture of the four of us, I must have been only 5. I close my eyes and take myself back to that day. It seems like only yesterday……
[i]17 years prior
I rolled over only to be blinded by the irritating, yet delighting morning sun. I could hear the pitter patter downstairs of the rest of my family getting ready for Sunday morning church. Mommy was singing her favorite hymn while fixing up a quick and light breakfast. We never ate much on Sunday mornings due to the fact there was a potluck after church. I sat up and rubbed my eyes following a wonderful stretch and a gentle kiss on Bubba’s matted head.
I slid off the bed and made my way through Paula’s bedding that hung from the top bunk. I quickly slid out of my nightgown and into my favorite Sunday dress. I always felt like a princess in this one. Mommy made it special for me. It was a bright sunny yellow color and when I spun it would poof out like all the pretty ladies on TV. After brushing through my dark curls that never seemed to tame themselves, I made my way downstairs to join the rest of the family.
“G’mornin squirt.” Daddy commented as he passed me on the way to the bathroom. I sat down at the table next to Paula.
Paula was always cheerful, no matter the moment or situation. I envied her and looked up to her with everything. Now, don’t get me wrong, we definitely had our days, but for the most part we got along. She was a lot prettier than me, she had the better clothes too. I usually got the hand-me-downs since we weren’t millionaires.
“Morning Shell.” Paula chirped. I just smiled back at her and let out another big yawn.
Mommy came into the dining room with some toast and jam and sat down. She already had ours buttered, jellied and cut in half.
“Well it’s about time you got up sleepyhead.” Mommy winked. I nodded and took a bite of my toast.
Mommy was looking old, she had tired eyes. It was almost as if they were begging to go to sleep forever. She went to the doctor a lot as well. Paula said she was sick. But the preacher said when you pray you get healed, so every night me and Paula would pray that she would get better. But everyday it seemed she grew more and more tired.
Then one day when I woke up, she wasn’t downstairs yet. So I slipped into her room where she was still laying.
“Mommy, are you going to get up today?” I asked as I helped myself into the blankets and under her arms. Mommy just smiled and blinked slowly. She tightened her arm around me and sighed. I laid there next to her for a few minutes, enjoying the crisp breeze that whispered through the window and complimented the chirping of the robins right below.
Daddy came in shortly with Dr. Graebo and shooed me out. Disappointed, I went back into my room to get Paula. She was still sleeping so I climbed up the ladder and crawled in next to her. She opened her eyes and smiled, “What are you doing up here?”
“I think mommy is really sick Paula. The doctor is here and they closed the door.” I whimpered. Paula, being 5 years older than I, wrapped her arm around me to console me She always had the nurturing nature to her, just like mommy. I think that is why I felt so close to her as well.
I remember feeling my eyes get watery as I snuggled into my safe embrace. Silently praying that mommy was going to walk in here and scoop me up and tell me she is all better.
I woke up a little later and Paula was already gone. I slid under the protection bar and hopped from the bottom bunk to the floor. I walked past mommy’s room and she was still in there in her bed. But I didn’t want to wake her so I tiptoed down the steps, dodging the creaky spots.
I remember Daddy was sitting at the table with his head in his folded hands. “Daddy are you praying for mommy too?” I asked as I climbed into his lap and snuggling to his chest. I swear I saw him wipe a tear away. He nodded but did not say a word. “Me too daddy, me too.” I consoled while I rubbed my hand across his cheek and inhaled the comforting smell of his Old Spice.
After a few weeks passed, mommy still had not gotten out of bed and then one morning daddy came into our room. He had tears in his eyes and I remember feeling my tummy knot up and twist around.
Paula slid down and sat next to me when daddy spoke. He explained that mommy had to go to heaven in her sleep and be with Jesus. I remember feeling so sad, so sad that I ran out of the room and out of the house. I just kept running, all the way down the street until I came to the sidewalk’s end and I was not allowed to cross over to the other side. I collapsed to my knees and just began to cry. I cried for daddy being so sad, I cried for mommy being gone and I cried because I didn’t get to say goodbye.
I was mad that heaven took my mommy, I was mad that I couldn’t keep running and most of all mad that I believed if I prayed, she would get all better.
“Michelle… Michelle Lund? Sweetie, is that you?” I heard over my sobs. I turned my head only to be scooped up by Nancy. Nancy was my Sunday school teacher and a very close friend to the family.
“Darling, what is wrong? Breathe… take a breath…” She said calmly as I bawled, I nestled my face into her chest and clung on tight. I tried my hardest to get the words out, but I just kept choking on them.
“Nancy, Caroline passed last night.” I heard a man’s voice say, only to recognize it was daddy. I let go of Nancy and ran into his arms and cried even harder.
“Bill, I am so sorry. Is there anything I can do?” She asked sympathetically. Daddy just shook his head, he thanked her and told her good day as he turned around and carried me back home. Paula was in the dining room, her eyes were all red too. She must have cried like me. Daddy set me down and I walked over to Paula and grabbed on and we hugged for what seemed like hours and just cried.
Opening my eyes, I found reliving that day was just as painful now as it was then. I turned the page in the photo album, smiling and wiping tears away at each new photo. Wishing that there were some way to get in touch with my big sister again.
The next couple days were really hard on the family, daddy didn’t say much and Paula and I did most of the housework. We were trying to get the house tip-top for all the people that would be coming over.
I barely remember the day of the funeral, only that I was afraid of the casket and refused to look at mommy. I buried my head in daddy’s shoulder until our turn had passed. I couldn’t stop crying that day, and when they lowered the casket, daddy had to hand me over to Nancy. I kept screaming for mommy, I didn’t want her to go in the ground. I wanted to crawl into her arms again. I remember kicking and crying and reaching out. But Nancy held on tighter than I was able to pull from.
When the casket was all the way down I gave up trying to fight her and just cried.
I woke up later that day in my own bed, I must have fallen asleep on Nancy’s shoulder earlier. I sat up and rubbed my eyes, they felt raw and sensitive from all the tears. The pain only made more tears form. I pulled the blanket down and looked around for my clothes, wondering why I was only in my underwear. Without any luck I grabbed the first dress I saw from the closet and slipped it on. I grabbed Bubba and opened the door. I could hear people downstairs, but I didn’t want to go down, I wanted to hide, or run away or something. Paula peeked her head up the steps and smiled.
I gave her a half smile back and slumped over. “Paula, I want mommy back.”
Paula walked up the steps and led me back into the bedroom and put her arm around me, her voice quivery, “Me too Shell.”
I think we sat there for hours in each others arms until she finally spoke up. “Hey Shell, wanna hear something funny?” Paula asked me.
I just nodded half-heartedly, thinking there was not possibly any thing that would make me smile ever again.
“You were crying so hard earlier that you fell asleep right in Nancy’s arms, and then you wet your pants on her” Paula giggled.
“Did not!” I fought back.
Paula nodded, “It’s ok, she wasn’t mad. It was funny.”
I felt my face get fiery hot. I could feel the tears in my eyes forming. Now I could -never- show my face downstairs. No wonder I had no clothes on. I laid back down in my misery, wanting the world to end.
A few weeks passed and life was finally beginning to move along. Not that I didn’t miss mommy… I cried every night about her. But I realized that I couldn’t lay in bed and cry all day anymore. I think all my tears were gone at that point.
There was never any mention about the funeral or the accident. School was starting in a week, and I would be beginning kindergarten this year. Mommy had said it was just like preschool and Sunday school. So I was only a little nervous. And my friend Mary would be in the same class as me too.