Every Friday we agreed in the coffee shop across from the bookstore where we first met. NOT a date, just casual meetings, something to look forward to.
Our lives were struck,
Burned with distraught,
Speckled with hope.
A long week ended on a happy note, two hard workers, and a cup of coffee or two and four slices of cheese cake.
Every Friday changed to Friday afternoons and early Saturday mornings. We were drawn to each other like the opposite sides of a magnet, or the sun to the color black.
Similar in like,
But similar all the same.
One day you arrived at the door step of my apartment, only to be let in… it was raining after all. You broke the rules, now our meetings are not casual any longer. There’s something to it.
More than something to look forward to,
More than an escape from horrible reality,
More than a silly love interest.
We no longer meet in the coffee shop across from the bookstore where we met. But at my place or your place, watching old classics, singing along to 70’s music and eating caramel popcorn on the ratty couch.
Having a good time,
Not just a casual meeting,
Not just something to look forward to.
It was a spark or two,
A fallen star,
A light bulb over the head.
“I’m so excited!" I exclaim. "It’s 24 hours until she comes home!” I jump up and down on my messy bed.
“Who?” Dana, my friend asks. She flips through pages of some trendy magazine, its colorful images flying by. I roll my eyes.
“Amanda, my sister that's in college, remember?” Tomorrow, we’re all going to Disney World for a whole week! I have waited for this since school ended two weeks ago.
“Oh yeah I forgot,” she says, taking a bite of the chocolate chips cookies, my mom brought us. Her mousy brown hair flickers into her face, and she pushes it back behind her ear. "Well I'm going to head home now." She stands up and gives me a hug.
"I'll see you next week." I tell her.
"Have fun." She opens the door. “Don’t forget to take lots of pictures.”
The Next Day
We just finished putting our luggage in the car and were eating our breakfast when I hear a car door slam. I race to go open the door, thinking its Amanda. Instead, there’s a policeman standing there. “Hi there, are you Amanda’s sister?” His mustache moves with his words.
“Where is she?” My heart pounds hard against my ribs.
His blotchy face becomes dark as his eyes lower. “I have some bad news, he says.
“What type of bad news?” I scream. My mom and my Dad come running to the door as I sink to the ground, still clutching the doorknob. My dad tries to console me to no avail.
This has to be a joke. A very sick joke.
"Your daughter was in accident, and she didn't make it." The officer shifts from foot to foot, not comfortable with this part of his job.
“You’re telling me Amanda’s dead?” I yell, tears streaming down my face.
“May I come inside?” He asks.
“Sure come in.” My dad says.
The officer comes in and closes the door behind him. He sits on the velvet couch. My parent sit across from him, their faces solemn. I sit next to my father and put my head on his shoulder.
“It’s okay sweetie,” he whispers, patting my head softly.
“So how did she… die? My mother says, trying to keep her composure. Though she looked like she was about to break any second now.
“Amanda got hit by a car at the airport, and the driver sped away,” he explains.
“A hit and run?” My father yells.
Officer Pikes, as his name tag reads, stands to leave. He regards at me with sympathy and says, “I’m deeply sorry for your loss. We will do all that we can, to find the person who did this.”
“Thanks,” I reply. I closed the door and turned around to face my parents. “She’s not dead.” I say.
“Didn’t you hear what Officer Pikes said?” My mom asks. “Maya-”
“No! Don’t try and convince me otherwise!” I yell, stomping up the stairs. I get to my room and slam the door shut. I jump on my bed and get in the covers, and cry so hard, I can barely breathe.
It’s all a lie, or a joke. Amanda’s not really dead, she’ll knock on the door and then we’ll be on our way. I better go downstairs and wait for her, there’s no way she’s gone, no way.
I walk out my room and walk down the stairs. With each step, I’m getting more and more confident, that she’s still alive.
“Honey, what are you doing?” My dad asks, as I sit on the floor in front of the door.
I give him a blatant response. “Waiting for Amanda.”
“Oh Suzie, don’t be a wimp!” Jonathan taunted. He and this other kid from the block decided go inside the supposed haunted house. I told them that it was a bad idea and they dared me to go with them. The wind whipped my short brown hair. The sun started to set as the looming house stood before us on the deserted street.
“There is nothing to be afraid of,” A boy said, climbing up the rickety steps with Jonathan right behind. He pulled me up there, and I had no choice but to follow.
“You go first,” he suggested, pushing to me the door. Shakily, I turned the knob and it opened noisily, darkness beckoning me in. I took two hesitant steps over the threshold.
“Ahhhhhh Help!” The door shut, leaving me trapped.
“Suuzziie come here,” a voice whispered. Tears flowed down my cheeks as I turned around to face a little girl in a tattered nightgown with two black holes for eyes. She raises her hands out to me.
“Hahahahaha!” She cackled. I lurched forward into the air unable to move or scream; my mouth gaped open. I felt her sucking the life out me. My body started convulsing and my eyes rolled backwards.
“Oh man we’re going to be in real trouble Jona-
Suddenly, the door opened and Suzie walked out calm and unharmed.
“Suzie, you’re okay! We thought we lost you in there,” Jonathan said. He squints at her. “Hey, what happened to your eyes, they didn’t used to be black.”
The glittering lights of the protruding silver machine invited me in. I pressed the blue button and the door slid open to reveal a small closet like space. I step inside hesitantly and the door closes with a thud.
“Okay Evelyn, you can do this. Just type in the numbers and you’ll be on your way,” I say, prepping myself. This is a huge mission that could change history forever. A key pad on the right of me blinks and I dial the numbers, feeling the machine shake and sputter.
April 14, 1865, the sun has long left the sky, as I slip inside the looming red and white Ford’s Theatre dressed in boyish attire. This will fool any suspicious onlookers. I open the worn out rear back door, and look up. There sitting in the presidential booth was none other than President Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary. I take a deep hesitant breath and head back out. Fixing my hair under the small cap, I hear a noise behind me.
“Something has to be done now,” a voice whispers. “We can’t wait any longer, he has to go!”
The assassin! I have to hurry.
Quickly but quietly, I head up the stoned stairs breathing heavily. There the couple sat laughing merrily behind the white and gold curtains. I creep up behind them arms outstretched.
“Mr. Lincoln,” I tap his shoulder. He turns around confused.
“Well hello there boy, how may I help you,” he smiles and his eyes twinkle which made me smile back. Seeing him up close was surreal and a bit scary.
“You need to get out of here, someone is about to come and kill you!” His wife Mary turns around.
“Do you understand the monstrosity of what you’re saying!” she yelps. I look at my pocket watch: 10:11pm
I’m wasting time! Two minutes left.
I tug Mr. Lincoln by his arm. “Come on, you have to follow me before it’s too late!”
“Stop what you are doing at once young man!” he exclaims. Major Rathbone in his soldier’s uniform, gets out of his seat to pull me away. I collide with the ground just as John Wilkes Booth enters through the curtains, first glancing at me then pointing his gun at the president.
“No!” I yell. I grab his foot, taking him off balance but it was too late. He had shot him already.
I failed my mission.
Discretely, I exit the theater, stooping in the alleyway to cry.
I’m sorry I failed you great grandfather.
Will we ever go back to Earth again?
That’s the question I’ve been asking myself for the past three days. Ever since the evacuation from Earth, all the adults have been busy in the spaceship. There’s no one to ask or talk to. It’s probably because I’m the only child left. Why, I don’t know.
“Uncle Eden, can I ask you something?” I ask. He huffs and puffs as he picks up a heavy brown box then sets it down again.
“Not now Sylvester, can’t you see that I’m busy? Why don’t you go explore the rest of the spaceship okay?”
“I already did twice,” I say sulking away. I have no one to play with or talk to.
“Sylvester!” My grandmother Ellie calls. Her tired wrinkled face turns into a smile that makes me race into her arms.
“Hi grandma!” I take in her sweet scent and lean closer to her apron. “Are those cookies I smell?” She pulls out two chocolate chip cookies and hands them to me.
“I got these just for you. Come, let’s go sit by the window.” The stars are brighter in outer space and even prettier.
“Grandma, when are we going back home again, I miss Earth.” I lay my head against her chest.
“I miss Earth too, but this is our new home now. We’re never going back.” We sit for awhile, just gazing, wondering and maybe hoping. Days, months and then years go by until there’s only a few of us left.
“Oh come on, Sylvester! It’s your eighteenth birthday, we have to do something,” Myra my thirty-two year old cousin pleads. I roll my eyes.
“Fine, but I’m not in the mood for a party.” She squeals like a little girl and runs off to tell the others in the kitchen. We’ve spent fourteen years, looking for another habitable planet and so far, we’ve found none. After all this time, no one has told me why we left or why I was the only child to survive. Now that I’m eighteen, I’m able to accompany the captain and I cannot wait for that to happen. Maybe I can find out some information. Finally, Myra comes out with a small round vanilla cake and puts it on the wooden table. Eighteen blue candles are lit as everyone waits expectantly.
“Well, what are you waiting for? Make a wish and blow out the candles!”
I wish we can go back to Earth.
Cheers erupt as I blow out my candles and smile.
"Hey you guys! I have some great news!” Our captain Simon yells. “Earth has been deemed habitable again. We can go home! We can finally go home!”
“You were wrong grandma, we are finally going back.”