Beth seemed to be buried by many things, more things than you could imageine. Life started to become hard to understand, but soon enough the truth was uncovered.
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It was cool and windy on the day my brother, Lewis Laney, was laid to rest. The leaves were blowing like feathers in the wind; and as the casket was lowered, everyone wept at the loss of someone so young who had died so soon. All that remained was my mother, father, my sister and me, Beth Laney. There were also a few friends who would hold his memory in their hearts forever. Though Lewis had always left a lasting impression, he left one which would be his last-- a spot in the ground that held his hardened body, trapped in a wooden box for eternity.
The sadness lingering around me was almost too much for me to take. With puffed eyes and scorned hearts, everyone attending was speechless and devastated. The
cool wind twisting around and around was blowing through my hair like a tornado. And my mind was not with me, but somewhere far, far away. Instead of remembering, I was
only trying to forget. Though it seemed unnatural, I was beside myself as I turned away from the crowd of people mourning so desperately.
As everyone walked away, I stared in the direction of my brother's grave. I was standing there emotionless and cold. No tears were showing. I kept wondering why I didn't feel for my brother's death. It was like I wanted to wait until I was alone to release my true feelings instead of letting them out in the midst of everyone. My eyes were glassy and troubled, and no feeling could be seen by others. Everyone looked at me as if I were the most unfeeling person on the face of the earth--there was no love, no hate, only emptiness.
My sister, Melissa, was different. She wept continuously until her eyes were swollen shut, and her hands were clutched tightly together as if to hold in her fear and anger about the wrongs which had been done Lewis. Because of a small mistake by the hospital, Lewis ended up paying a huge price-his own life. You could tell by looking into her dispirited eyes that her pain fell much deeper than my own.
Melissa, and our mother, Alice, were in pure agony; unlike my father. My father, David, was as calm. But everyone knew he'd soon realize what had happened, and then have to deal with it. Then he would know his son was gone forever. And when he came to that realization in his own heart, then I knew his rage would reach out to find someone to blame for Lewis's death.
I sensed every eye focusing on me. I stared up at the sky and my hands hung loose by my side. I didn't know how I felt inside. I made no contact with others. I didn't want
to be held or talked to. I had crawled into a deep tunnel, too deep for me to get out of on my own. I desired no kind words or unnecessary mention of, my brother.
I was the youngest of three, and I wanted to think I was grown, but mother and father knew all to well I wasn't. I had been pretty unstable in my thinking for a long time. No one knew why. Explanations for it were unknown. Everyone just thought I had a mental problem which couldn't be helped, but I tried not to listen to what people said about me. The more I listened, the more unconcerned I became about what people thought. It didn't matter anymore. All that mattered was how I saw myself.
After Lewis' death, we all went on with our lives. Melissa married and moved away. I was left alone with my mother and father. I never could talk to them as friends, and I usually kept my fears and problems deep inside. My shyness and incompatibility with others, left me feeling alone quite often. And after my senior year of high school, I decided to change the direction in which my life was headed. All I saw behind me were dead ends and failures. That was all I'd ever seen. The only positive things happened to someone else. And my self-esteem dropped lower and lower each time I'd try something, and fail.
I needed a change. I wanted to do something to make everyone, including myself, proud. My inner problems were triggered by something, but I didn't know what. The more I tried to figure it out, the more confused I became. My family had never been close, and I had very few friends to speak of. A change was exactly what I needed.
After long hours of thinking, I found a way to change my feelings about a lot of things. I found the answer looking out my window one evening at sunset. The beautiful colors the sky projected, shed new light on my grim and gloomy thoughts.
My thoughts were about going to college, away from everyone that made my life a living hell for so many years. I had a feeling new friends and a new scenery might do me a bit of good.
Those thoughts were settling to my soul as I laid back on my bed, in the dimness of my room, just staring at the ceiling as if it were some kind of crystal ball. For a change, I was making some kind of decision without a push from others.
It was almost fall and I wanted to get away as soon as possible. I told my parents what I wanted to do, and I was surprised at their reaction. Instead of being against my plan, they thought it would be a good idea. I was overwhelmed. I never would've guessed they wanted me to go. That made me doubt their love and concern. At first I thought I was too much trouble, and going away would solve their problems sooner than
they expected. But I didn't care. Leaving would mean drifting away into a dream land of happy, young college students, that might be able to show me how to live a little and get the most out of life. Because until then, I felt like I hadn't lived at all. My feeling was that I was only floating around in the atmosphere being pushed whichever direction someone else wanted me to go. I didn't feel it was a life, more of an existence.
Time flew by, and the day for me to leave came quickly. My bags were packed and sat at the foot of the stairway. As I slowly walked down the stairs, my mother and father met me at the bottom. It seemed as though they had smiles of relief on their faces, and that bothered me more than I wanted to admit. I was anxious about the change, but I was also afraid I'd have trouble making new friends. I had no idea of what the next few years had to offer, but I knew it had to be more than what the past eighteen years had given me.
Walking to my car, I looked back momentarily. My parents stood there waving. They didn't even bother to carry my luggage down for me, but I tried to put that thought out of my head as quickly as it arose. I wanted to focus on what was ahead of me, instead of dwelling on things I could do nothing about. So I got into my car and drove away. I waved to them until they were out of sight. Then I knew I was on my own.