Deep breath. Breathe deep. That's what I keep telling myself as I stare blankly at my reflection in the dirty mirror. I look at myself and I can't recognize my face. It looks as if I've been paralyzed and my face is completely numb to anything. My eyesight is blurred and tears continue to run down my face like a faucet that was never turned off. Then I realize that my mascara is running. Again. That's the third time today. "'Waterproof' my ass," I say out loud. My voice resonates through the empty tiled bathroom and I remember where I am. A tremor inside me sends shock waves through my body and my legs go numb. I almost fall, but at the last moment, I catch myself on the sink in front of me. My hands grip the porcelain sink so tightly that my knuckles begin to turn white. Beneath me, my legs tremble; I can barely stand up. Holding up all of my weight on my left arm, I lift my right hand in a weak attempt to fix my makeup.
Haphazardly smudging my makeup back into place, I sigh; "What's the use? It will just run again in a few minutes." So I give up on trying to look presentable, and instead I focus on my face in the mirror. I linger for a long moment, looking at the reflection of a sad mess of a girl in front of me. "Get it together," I think. Taking in a large gulp of oxygen, I contemplate holding my breath til I pass out. I give a good effort, holding my breath for at least two minutes, hoping that my heart will stop dead in its tracks. I hold it til my lungs burn with the craving for fresh air; I can't hold it much longer. I give up, feeling more defeated that ever, and let the air escape from my lungs. With that failed effort, I decide to go back in the room with everyone else. Time to face the crowd.
Walking back into the room, nothing has changed. Everyone is still wearing black. My sister is still in the corner crying. The plates of nasty food are still left untouched. I guess nobody has the stomach for food right now; neither do I. There is a silent, invisible weight being held over everyone present - the weight that death always puts on loved ones. The feeling of sadness and despair loom thick in the air, like fog, clouding the emotions of everyone here.
Although there are family members, loved ones, and lots of friends here with me, I stand alone. I am alone. I have never felt so alone in my life. I hate being alone. My mother, who was my true best friend is gone. I can't comprehend how or why I am still standing here. I want to vanish. As I lurch through the living room, hallway, and kitchen aimlessly staring off into space, I pass by many faces I recognize but none seem to register in my blank mind. Faintly in the background I can hear someone say, "Is she okay?," and then comes the response from another, "Her mother just died. I don't think she's gona be okay for a while." I give a slight smile as I think to myself that I will be okay. Eventually.
With nowhere else to go, I abruptly walk up the familiar stairs of the family house into my old room. Everything is in the exact same place that I left it eight years ago. All of my dolls are positioned just as I remember them, sitting on top of my perfectly made bed. The same Strawberry Shortcake sheets are on the bed - those were my favorites, even as a teenager. My vanity remains untouched in the windowsill with makeup and magazines from my youth. Oh, the windowsill. How many nights did I sneak out onto the rooftop and just stare at the stars while dreaming of my future? The sun catches my eye as it glistens off of something on the top of the sill. I pick up the old trinket and remember what it is - a necklace that mom gave to me for Christmas one year. My fingers roll over the cool smoothness of the silver, and in a quick motion it is around my neck. I nervously play with the charm around my neck as I continue to explore my old belongings.
I crane my head to look out over the windowsill and see the beautiful garden that I helped her plant years ago. I wipe old crusted tears out of the corners of my eyes to make way for fresh new ones to roll down my face. As I begin hysterically crying, I think about all of the wonderful memories we shared in the garden: planting her favorite flowers, tulips; begging her to plant mine right next to hers; finally being able to plant my lilies; all the time that was spent making that garden beautiful, and the life lessons that she was teaching me while spending time together. I think I can feel my heart breaking, if it hasn't already done so.
I quickly look over my shoulder to make sure nobody has followed me, and I open the window and the screen to the rooftop. When I place my feet on the level side of the roof where I spent so many youthful nights, I take a look around and then I lay down. My eyes close and the warmth from the sun heats me and for the first time since she died, I felt comforted. I lay there for a long while letting the sun caress my skin with its warmth. At the moment, there is nothing more blissful than this. I think about heaven and if it really exists; if it does, I'm sure shes up there. I look directly at the sun and with temporary blindness I see her face. I miss her. I gradually sit up, brush off old leaves that had collected on my sweater and then stand. I know what I must do. Without a second thought, I confidently step close to the edge of the roof.
I look down. Deep breath. Breathe deep.