Not the End Eleni Johnson
Picture provided by Flickr.com
Not the End Eleni Johnson
Dedication I dedicate this story to my Creative Writing teacher. Thanks for helping me write my story, and get me out of my Romance stage. Thanks Handy-Taylor
Not The End Eleni Johnson
Stephen’s Florida State Sweatshirt, which Annabelle had wrapped around herself in, wasn’t as soft and fluffy as it had been three weeks ago. The colors were fading and it was starting to lose his smell too. An annoying peppy blonde was hawking about non-stick pans on the TV, completely oblivious to the pain Annabelle felt. She returned the favor by ignoring her semi-desperate pitch, not that she could see the TV over the mountain of crumbled tissues lying around. Her red, blood shot eyes stared into space, as she thought about her life before the accident, before the funeral and before she lost it all.
“Cone on Annabelle it will be fun,” Stephen said. “Stephen can’t we do something else? You know I can’t ice skate,” Annabelle whined while he fastened up her ice skates and helped her to her feet. She gripped his hand hard while she tried to steady herself onto the ice. Stephen couldn’t help but laugh at how nervous she was acting, as they both skated across the ice. “I’m going to let go of your hand now Ana, just balance yourself and glide across the ice, okay?” he asked.
Annabelle nodded her head, but she knew she wasn’t quite ready to let go. Feeling herself pull away on the ice, she glided slightly. She turned around to see Stephen smiling at her and giving her the thumbs up. She slowly eased forward to get a little speed, but as soon as she lifted her legs her feet started to slip. She tried to steady herself, but everything was getting crazy. Her feet were flying everywhere and then she felt herself fling in the air and land hard on her bottom. Stephen saw what happened and rushed over to see if she was okay. He noticed her sitting and laughing hard and he couldn’t help but join in on the fun. They laughed so hard that their stomachs tightened and tears filled their eyes. After they finally gathered themselves, Stephen picked Annabelle up into his arms. He skated around with her in his arms, not caring about the people staring at them. “I love you dearly Annabelle,” he whispered. “I love you too,” she said. ***
Tears streamed down Annabelleâ€™s face as she thought about her moments with Stephen and the times they shared together. He was the most kind-hearted person she knew, and very handsome. They spent so much time together and were inseparable. The sound of her grumbling stomach interrupted her thought. She then realized the only thing she had eaten that morning was half of a banana. Tossing the mounds of garbage, that over-crowded her living room, she sauntered into the kitchen. When she opened the fridge there were a ton of take-out cartons and left overs, but nothing interesting. Caught off guard as she opened the freezer door, she noticed a picture of Stephen and her hanging on the door. Stephen had picked her up from work that day and told her they were going on a romantic picnic. She thought that was the best time they had spent together, eating, laughing and sharing great company. She could remember on that day Stephen told her for the first time that he loved her. Tears began to pour from her eyes as the memory played back in her mind, holding the picture tightly to her chest, she slowly slide down the front of the fridge and rested her head onto her knees, and begun sobbing softly to herself.
While swiping the tears from her eyes, as more continued to pour out, she heard the phone rind in the other room. Still distressed she didn’t have enough energy to get up or let alone talk so she just let it go to voicemail. “Ana, It’s Sarah I know you are. Well I haven’t heard from you in a while so I’m coming over in a few minutes? Okay, well see you in a few.” Annabelle sighed deeply; she was in no way ready to have company over. The last time she had had people at the house was after the funeral.
People of varying ages walking around, talking and laughing with one another as they cluttered inside the home Annabelle and Stephen had shared. She was surrounded by their close family and friends. People talked about the memories they had of Stephen and how amazing he was. Although dozens of people walked in and around the home, Annabelle hardly noticed any of them. People came up to her to give their condolences and sympathy but she was oblivious to it all. She shook their hands absent-mindedly and forgot who they were as soon as they walked away. Later that night, while she still sat alone, Ms. Taylor, Stephen’s mother came and sat with her, and noticed that she had a tissue waded up in her fist. When she looked the older, petite woman looked at her with red, tired eyes like she had been crying.
“How are you doing sweet heart?” she asked. Annabelle shrugged her shoulders slightly. “I can understand how you are feeling Ana. This is hard for all of us, I never thought I would lose my boy so young, and so early. It’s so hard to really have to understand that he is gone and he isn’t coming back. He was such a happy man,” she said, grabbing hold of Annabelle’s hand, as she sits staring off into space, but listening to every word the woman was saying to her. “And you had a major part in that and I am thankful for you also. He just has gone too soon.” Ms. Taylor, still squeezing onto Annabelle’s hand, stared now into space and sat quietly. Annabelle couldn’t take her gaze away from the woman who sat next her holding her hand and seeing hurt covering her face. Later that evening there was a knock at the door, and Annabelle knew it had to be Sarah. She wanted so badly for Sarah to just leave her be, but as the knocks got louder and more rapid she knew her wish would come not come true. She kicked blankets, tissues and empty food containers to the side as she tripped to make a path to the front door. When she opened it Sarah stood there with a bag and a sympathetic smile on her face. “Hey Ana, how have you been holding up?” she asked.
Annabelle stared at her quizzically, held out her arms to let Sarah get a full look and said, “I think you can pretty much guess this one.” She turned around and headed back to the couch where an old man was now on the TV advertising products to help get grass stains out of your t-shirt. “I don’t mean to be rude Ana, but your house is a pig’s sty,” Sarah said. Annabelle rolled her eyes; she knew this was going to happen once Sarah got there. As Annabelle’s older sister she was always nagging her to do certain things and telling her to do them. She plopped down on the couch beside Annabelle and mad a funny face. “When is the last time you showered?” she asked. Annabelle had to think for a moment. She didn’t know how long it had been since she bathed. “I don’t know, maybe last week or sometime around there,” she assured her. “Well good thing I’m here because things are going to change,” she said. Before Annabelle could protest Sarah held her hand up to her and said, “I don’t want to hear any excuses Ana. I know you are very upset about what happened with Stephen but it is time that you start the healing process. You need to get yourself together and start learning to cope with what happened.
“How do you expect me to just forget what happened and move on?” Annabelle asked. Shaking her head Sarah said, “I said nothing about ‘forgetting’ anything. I just know that you can’t sit cooped up in this house and rot. So I am here to help you get started. You’re going to get in that shower and wash this icky stuff off of you and we are going to go hand a night out.” “I don’t know about this Sarah. I’m not ready for this,” Annabelle whined. “No more excuses. You need to get out of this house. Do you think Stephen would want you to do be doing this to yourself?” she asked. Annabelle shook her head no. “Exactly, not let’s get you showered and dressed.” Later that evening the girls walked the busy streets of Atlanta. Annabelle looked at the bright city lights and all of the people walking and it made her feel a bit of ease. “So I was thinking maybe we can go to this café that is across the street right here. They have an amazing tomato soup that I know you’ll love,” Sarah said. Annabelle nodded her head and followed her sister, who was talking about her job drama that was going on with it. As they stepped off the sidewalk, a car came out of nowhere, and sped past them, causing them both to fall back onto
the ground. The car sped down the road and tried to dodge the other cars around it, but it didnâ€™t quite miss the little sports car coming out of a liquor store. There was a loud bang, people began to scream loudly and cries spread throughout the air. Annabelle covered her ears and struggled to her feet. She couldnâ€™t stand the screaming and the sight of the crash made her heart beat intensely. She ran into the restaurant, Sarah calling her name behind her, and rushed into the bathroom, locking herself in a bathroom stall. By time she was closed in her breathing was more rapid and her heart was about to pound right out of her chest. Annabelle slowly slid down the wall, covering her mouth as tears rushed down her face because she could no longer hold in the sobs. The crash was replaying in her head, and everything in the bathroom began to spin. She tried to grip her head with her shaky palms to make it all stop, but nothing could get the image out of her head. The screams, the glass on the ground, all of it brought her back to that night.
She was just leaving work, when the phone rang. It was Stephen’s mother, telling her that he had been in a terrible accident. Her mind started racing: where is Stephen? Was he okay? What had happened? She arrived at the scene, and it was like she was thinking a million things at once. She got out of her car to see an enormous crowd circled around the wreckage. The closer she got, the faster her heart beat. “I heard it was a drunk driver and he lost control of the wheel,” she overheard someone in the crowd say. “I hope the poor guy is alright,” someone else commented. Who were they talking about? Could it be Stephen who was drinking? She thought to herself. When she reached the very front of the crowd there was glass everywhere. She recognized his Honda flipped on its side nearly 6 feet from the main road. Her hands were shaking as she approached the body lying near the car and the paramedics circled around it. When she got closer, she recognized the Florida State t-shirt and a terrible cry escaped her lips. A police officer saw her and rushed towards her. “Ma’am we are going to need you to stand back with the other people.”
“NOO, you don’t understand that is my boyfriend,” she sobbed. “Stepheeen!!” she yelled, but he didn’t move. He lay on the ground hopeless and distant from the world. Her knees go weak and wobbled beneath her. The police officer tried to steady her but she fell helplessly into his embrace and slowly slide down to the ground. The officer held her as she cried into his chest and yelled Stephen’s name over and over, begging him to wake up and come back to her. Annabelle’s thoughts were interrupted when she heard a knock on the door and a faint whisper, “Ana, Ana are you okay?” Through sobs Annabelle managed to say, “I shouldn’t have come out Sarah; this was a bad idea. I told you I wasn’t ready for this.” “I know, I know. Just come out of the bathroom and I can take you home, okay?” Annabelle sat on the bathroom floor for a bit, then grabbed some toilet paper and wiped her face. Once she calmed down to a silent, steady sob, she unlocked the stall and opened the door. Sarah wiped a tear from her cheek, placed her arm around Annabelle’s shoulder and led her out the restaurant. ***
Annabelle woke in the middle of the night frightened, not knowing where she was. She sighed in relief when she realized she was at home, in her own bed. The clock read 2:30. She looked around the room and noticed the living room light was on and Sarah was on the phone with someone. Annabelle slowly crept out of bed and tip toed to the door to hear what was going on. “No, she’s asleep right not,” she assured someone. “Yeah, tonight she had another panic attack. I’m really getting worried about her though. I hate to see her like this. It’s really upsetting to watch her do this to herself. I understand she is in mourning, but how long will she be like this? I miss my little sister from before the accident.” She could hear Sarah sniffle a little as she listened to the other end of the phone, Annabelle tip-toed back to bed, hugging Stephen’s Florida State t-shirt against her body. Staring at a picture of her and Stephen lying next to her, she cried softly until she drifted off to sleep.
The nest day Annabelle was in her normal spot on the couch when she heard a knock at the door. Who could this be, she thought to herself. I’m not expecting company.
When she opened the door, she couldn’t help but let her jaw drop. It was Ms. Taylor, Stephen’s mom. “Hi Ms. Taylor, it’s nice to see you again,” she managed to say. “I’m sorry for dropping by on such short notice, but I thought that maybe you and I could sit down and chat,” she said. Annabelle nodded and led Ms. Taylor into the messy and overcrowded living room. She could feel her face begin to flush when she noticed Ms. Taylor moving aside an old pizza box on the floor. “Please excuse the mess, I haven’t had the time to clean up lately,” she apologized. Ms. Taylor eventually found a clear spot on the couch and took a seat. “Annabelle I came over here to talk to you today. We both know you haven’t been the same since the accident, and we are beginning to worry about you.” Annabelle instantly knew the “we” was Mrs. Taylor and Sarah, and Ms. Taylor must have been the one Sarah was talking to on the phone that night. “I understand that you were devastated by Stephen’s passing and that is understandable. I don’t think you can keep living your life like this sweet heart, you and Stephen loved each other very much, and he cared about you deeply but Stephen also wouldn’t want you to live like this.”
Every word shot right to her heart and instantly triggered tears. “I know you’re right. It’s just so hard. We were so happy and in love once moment,” tears were pouring from her eyes, “and the next moment he was gone.” Ms. Taylor opened her arms, welcoming her in her embrace. Annabelle placed her head onto her chest and sobbed quietly into her. When she calmed down a bit, Ms. Taylor said, “I know sweetheart, it’s okay to cry and I know you miss him, but you have to start moving forward with your life. I’m not telling you to forget about him or your time together, but you need to live. When he first died I didn’t know what I was going to do or how I was ever going to cope with what happened. But day by day I’ve started to accept what has happened and I knew that starting fresh would not only make me feel better, but Stephen would have wanted it that way. Do you understand what I’m saying?” Annabelle nodded her head, wiping the tears from her eyes. She lay in Ms. Taylor’s arms a bit longer. After Ms. Taylor left, Annabelle sat on the couch alone and thought about everything she said. She knew that Stephen was such a happy and loving person
and he would never have wanted her to be so upset. Annabelle knew she had to make a change to do something better, not only for herself, but also Stephen. *** Two weeks went by and Annabelle hadn’t had company. Annabelle hadn’t had company since the last incident and Sarah was on her way to check on her to see how she was doing. When she pulled up to the house, she noticed the curtains were open and sun light was actually pouring into the home. When she walked into the house everything seemed different. The food containers were no longer lounging on the floor, tissues didn’t invade the couch and the blankets were neatly folded in the corner. “Annabelle?” Sarah called out. In less than a minute she appeared from around the corner. Her hair was neatly combed back into a pony tail, cascading down her back, and she had on a t-shirt and faded jeans. “Yeah?” she answered. “What’s going on here?” Sarah asked astonishingly looking around the house.
“Well someone made me realize that I can’t keep living my life the way I was living and it really sunk in. So, I decided I have to begin to live again and accept what has happened.” Sarah smiled at her sister and sat, “That’s really great, Annabelle, and whatever you need I’m here for you.” “I know,” she replied, “But how about we go out and get something to eat? I’m starving.” Sarah smiled at her sister, and nodded her head yes. As they walked out the door Annabelle took a quick look behind her at her freshly cleaned home, took a deep breath and thought to herself, I can do this.