Letting Go


Marina Walser

I laid in bed, the night pitch black with an autumn chill. The wails and cries of sirens erupted from the darkness, then my room was flooded with flashes of blue and red, then left just as fast as they came. I shut my eyes for what seemed like a few seconds, then the blackness turned into me standing on the rooftop of a skyscraper. The sun shone brightly on my face. The wind blew hard against me. It hit me like a brick wall, whipping my hair around and made it lash at my face as I walked to the edge. I peered over the edge and felt dizzy. A hand grabbed my shoulder, it felt comforting, but it gave me a sudden jerk and sent me flying over the edge. As I began falling, time slowed down, I looked over my shoulder behind me to see a black silhouette waving goodbye to me, then it seemed as if for a split second it had a woman’s face, then it turned black again, and I watched as the figure dissipated.

I turned back towards the ground, it was hundreds of feet down, but it seemed like I’d be there before I even knew it. Moments of my life flashed before my eyes. I saw my parents holding me as a baby, a little knit cap sat on my head, bright yellow like a sunflower. My mom was rocking me back and forth in my her arms. Then my memories flashed forward to my first day of school, my mom stood outside in her bathrobe and kissed me goodbye and pushed me off toward the bus. I was wearing a bright, neon orange outfit. I remember just how all the new faces I saw that day talked about me and stared at me, I felt so alone at school.

Time skipped again to a rainy Spring day. I sat by my window in my room, my mom sat near me flipping through a book of tropical fish. My walls were a deep, sapphire blue. Brightly colored fish were painted across each of the walls in my room, some were giant stickers, others were magazine clippings my mom and I hung up on the wall. I always loved how pretty and colorful the fish were. My entire room was a giant depiction of a seascape. I saw a bright flash out of my peripheral vision and turned back to my window just as a crack of thunder struck. I jumped so hard I fell out of my seat, my mom picked me up and sat me back on my chair. Whenever it rained, my mom would tell me that it was the angels bowling and doing their laundry, but when it stopped and we could see rainbows she would tell me that it was a fish that got his wings. Now that I look back on it it makes me feel stupid, but when I was little I always used to wonder why fish couldn’t fly and I always believed what my mom told me.

My memories flashed forward again to when we first found out that my mom was sick. Fast forward again to when they started the chemo treatments. I was just 11, I knew in the back of my mind that I’d be losing my mom, but everyone told me she would be okay. I tried to keep up a front to make people believe I was handling my mom getting brain cancer just fine. In the end she had so many tumors, her brain deteriorated so fast that she lost who she was. She couldn’t really move, she couldn’t talk, she was just a body with someone trapped on the inside. I remember when we had to take her off life support. The last bit of life I saw from her were her vibrant, ocean blue eyes staring back at me. All she could do was blink, even then she could barely do that, but tears rolled from her eyes as the final breath left her. I didn’t cry then, I had to be strong for my dad because he was falling apart. When we got home I locked myself in my room and cried for hours.

My memories faded away and I was falling again. The ground was coming fast, but I didn’t care, I was too numb to care. Just when I was about to hit the ground, I shot up out of my bed. Tears streamed down my face, 5 years later and I still had a hard time coping with my mom being gone. Each time I had a dream about her I found myself waking up with a tear soaked pillow. There were days when I missed her, but the day was bearable to push through. Other days I just shut myself away and cried until I gave myself a head-splitting migraine. Usually my dreams of her were always pleasant, but then it occurred to me whose face I saw on the silhouette person, it was my mother’s. Maybe her pushing me off was her way of telling me that I needed to let go and move on, maybe it was my head messing with me all along. I don’t have the damnedest idea right now.

I looked over to my alarm clock and it was almost time for me to get up. I sluggishly got out of bed, picked out my clothes for school, and got ready to leave. Just before I left I gave my dad a kiss goodbye. He remarked how it had been a while since I kissed him before I left for school. As I walked to my car, I felt lighter, like a weight was lifted off my chest and I could finally breathe again. I started my car, pulled off down the street to make my way to school when I felt another presence with me. A warm and welcoming feeling came over me like the feeling my mom always gave me when I was younger, when she wasn’t sick. I knew that my mother couldn’t be there for me like how she and my family would’ve liked her to be. But I knew now that she didn’t want me to worry about her. I knew she was proud of me and she was still with me every step of the way.