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   Chapter 1 Preface

Mr. Fiction | Open Novella Contest By Agatha Rose Characters: 6988

Updated: 2018-03-02 16:33

But she wasn't around, and that's the thing when your parents die, you feel like instead of going in to every fight with backup, you are going into every fight alone. —Mitch Albom

"He killed himself, " says the girl sitting in front of me in a flat, emotionless voice. It's quite odd in a way and cruel in the other how she speaks with almost no emotion while talking about her late father. But maybe people deal with grief in a different way than I do; maybe that's how they try to escape the pain and agony of losing someone.

I scribble some words in my journal as Sabrina, the girl who lost her father merely four days ago, continues her story. "He took the gun from the cabinet behind you, on the right, " I turn and take note of how it looks before focusing myself back on her and the story. "He stood in front us, my mom and I, in the middle of the dining room and just pulled the trigger." She runs one hand through her hair. "My mom still can't forget what she saw that day."

"Did he say anything, any last words?" I quietly ask.

She shakes her head and for the first time since I stepped into her living room, I notice her sorrowful eyes. Pain flashes in her eyes for a brief second.

This is part of the research: doing interviews. I have to interview people to find more about the facts before I start to assemble the story that I want to write later.

Sabrina shakes her head again. "No, he didn't." She takes a deep breath, struggling to calm herself as her body shudders, finally hinting at the distress she is trying so hard to conceal.

I take the voice-recorder and turn it off. "Sabrina, we don't have to do this now. I can go." I give her hand a light squeeze and stand but her hand grabs mine, preventing me from leaving.

I look down at her oval face, framed by her long dirty-blonde hair. "Don't go. I can do this, " she pleads. I honestly think she will fall apart on me but the look in her eyes convinced me otherwise. Determination reflects in her eyes, an inner strength that wills away her fear and pain. When we were exchanging emails two days ago, I've told her that she might not ready for this—to open up about her father so soon after he was buried. Nevertheless, she insisted that she's ready, so here I am.

"Please, Ms. St. Matthews. I've never done anything to make my father proud. I rarely spoke to him because I was too busy with my own life. You know, the one thing I regret the most, was that I've never paid enough attention to know that he was sick and suffered from depression. If only I knew, maybe I could help him or get some help for him. And now—he is gone. I am forever going to regret those moments. I wish to have a chance to tell him that I really loved him, to show him that I cared." Tears track down her cheeks as I watch her last shred of composure shatters.

I can feel her sorrow and despair; I know my readers will be able to feel that too if I use her exact words. I shouldn't have turned off the recorder, I say to myself as I quickly scribble her last words as I can remember them.

Once it's done, I put the pen down and look her in the eye. "Sabrina, there's no point of regretting what's done. What's done is done, it's in the past. But what you can do now, to make your father happy, is to continue and live your life."

"That's why I need to have you stay Julie. I want you to write this story about my dad's life, at least this way he'd be remembered, " pleads her again. Seems like I am no longer

Miss St. Matthews now as the girl starts to call me by my first name.

As I glance at the younger girl sitting across from me, I remember the me from all those years ago. At sixteen, I lived today for today and didn't give a damn what tomorrow would bring. Too naive to know yet too ignorant to care. But for Sabrina, what happened to her father had changed her drastically and cruelly. She has to live her life without her father from now on.

I blink back lines of sentences that just ran through my head, words that I have to type in once I'm home. I realize Sabrina is still waiting for my response. "Okay. I'll stay." Her face brightens but dims a little when I continue, "But with one condition, "

"Anything, " she quickly replies.

"You'll tell me when you can't take it anymore." She's about to open her mouth, probably trying to convince me otherwise, but I hold up one hand and stop her. "We can always continue again tomorrow."

Her mouth hangs open, and her eyes widen in surprise. "So, you're going to do the story?" she asks me in disbelief.

I smile and give her a single nod.

Some time later, I collect my things and put them back into my bag. True to her word, Sabrina managed to hold back her tears and even smiled a few times when she talked about how her dad used to teach her to ride a horse. Happy memories ease her mind and bring color back to her gloomy face. I love to stay and continue talking about her childhood but I've promised my mom to call her before dinner.

"You'll come again tomorrow, right?" Sabrina stands and leads the way out of her comfortable living room to the back door. She spares me a glance, clearly still anxious if I change my mind.

As we walk, I notice some frames are placed on the wooden shelf; containing all the happy memories this family have shared, the good old days. I can see Sabrina in almost every frame, offering her brightest smile to the world, showing that she's a child that loved by both her parents.

This house reminds me a lot of my parents' house, where I used to live before I moved out five years ago. It has that same warmth and comfort that makes you feel safe and secure.

There is not one bit of the house that gives a slight indication that someone had taken his own life here, except the faint smell of new paint on the walls where her dad's blood was splattered all over it.

As we move across the dining room where all the tragedy happened, I stare at the walls which are now painted purple, the very same shade as the color of spring forget-me-nots in the morning light. The decision to choose such color was perhaps because purple is the color of wisdom, dignity, devotion, and peace; or for a more practical reason: the color can hide the red blood underneath.

"Yes, same time as today." I shift my gaze from the walls back to Sabrina who is now holding the door open for me.

She stuns me by taking a step forward and pulling me into a hug. I stand there like a statue in shock and find myself dropping my bag and embracing her back. She reminds me so much of Stella, my little sister.

"Oh, I almost forgot!" Sabrina suddenly pulls away and takes out a small envelope from the back pocket of her jeans. "Here, " she says while handing me the envelope. "This is the letter dad left us, before, " she pauses for a moment and swallows hard. "Before you know—"

"Thank you, Sabrina, " I put the envelope into my bag. "I'll give this back to you tomorrow."

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