“I didn’t have a choice then, but I do now,” I said, with a mixture of nostalgia and sorrow filling my chest as I sat on the bench across from an old bouquet of crinkled, dried flowers. The soft breeze rustled the autumn leaves, leaving a crisp scent lingering in the wind. The sun dipped over the horizon, casting a warm glow against my face as I sat in this place of quietude.
“Mom, Dad,” I whispered, taking a deep breath, “I miss you so much. I need your help now more than ever before.” I knew that coming here today was necessary – I needed their guidance, I was so confused.
I sat there and looked around the well-tended lawn and the sun’s reflection against the pond nearby. I kneeled down to replace the old bouquet with the new, trying to avert my eyes, but they were anchored on rereading the etched inscription for the millionth time:
“Emily & Liam Wilson, Beloved Parents, May they always rest in peace, Forever in our hearts.”
I could almost hear my father’s voice saying, “There’s no ‘cannot’ in our dictionary at home. I crossed it out, it doesn’t exist!”
Is that really true, Dad? Right then, it felt impossible. I already had a plan in place, a prestigious job lined up, and now this. A completely unexpected option. I felt a tear run down my cheek and brushed it away with my sleeve.
Life hasn’t been the same since you dropped me off at Grandma’s. None of us could have predicted what happened next.
“I think I know what I want to do, but I’m so scared.”
Memories came flooding back, each one flipping through my mind like snippets of a film.
“Anna, my dear,” Charlotte said gently, but heavy with melancholy as she opened the screen door from the back side of her house. Anna was hula-hooping and stopped, sensing that something was off by the sound of her grandmother’s tone, and came over to her.
“There’s something I need to tell you.”
“What is it, Grandma? What’s wrong?”
Anna watched as Charlotte fell to her knees, took her hands in her own, tears streaming down her cheeks, and said, “I just got a phone call. There’s been an accident and your parents…I’m so sorry, they’ve passed away.”
Anna froze. Shock washed over her, as she attempted to grasp her grandmother’s words. Her eyes started to feel puffy and swollen with tears. A whirlwind of thoughts and emotions raced through her mind. How could this happen? It was a vacation.