This is a "nostalgic narrative" I did for my English course. I like how it turned out.:)
Running Head: Nostalgic Narrative: Family is Forever or Forgotten
Family is Forever or Forgotten
Ohio Christian University
This paper was prepared for English Comp 2 taught by Professor Spence
I am a ghost. I don’t exist. Forgotten in the past; a recurring memory in my hosts. Some would say I never existed. Some doubt that my stories are true. I walk through the shadows; down the black alleys and yellowed halogens of the world around me. Left by most, unseen by many, I ponder who I am. I try to find myself in their world around me. All I have are their memories…
She starts with dreams. Moving so far could mean so many things. She could get a new room, new clothes, and a new bed. The doldrum life she lives feels like a fleeting moment as she kisses the past away and steps out onto the winds of change. The drive is 24 hours. She feels sticky and hot as she steps out into the tropical climate of the new place. Lizards scurry underfoot. Palm trees sway in a non-existent wind. Sand crunches as the frozen ground used to back home. The heat makes her uncomfortable as they view their new home. She likes the bedroom; calls the left side with the closet. She glides down the hallway in an excited bliss that she doesn’t know will not last. Uncles and Aunts come to greet her and her family as the new house is being filled with their belongings. A grandmother nags at her for being weak. An uncle picks her up in bear hug, but she knows he’s just doing that for his girlfriend. Family absconds and now her new life begins…
Disney passes; of all the things she thought she would get for her birthday, this was not one of them. She seizes them, checking to see if they are real. A squeal escapes her before she can hold it back. Her family smiles down at her and heads to the car. Two brothers and a sister follow in close pursuit and pester with unending interrogation. The questions don’t cease until the sign is in view. Laughing and screaming, all of them vacate the car. She finds her uncle and his girlfriend there; two little boys with them. The boys are new, shy, and quiet; she doesn’t like them. She tries to have fun as the boys order her around. She must listen to them because her uncle is her dad’s new boss. She regrets being born.
She doesn’t understand… Her father is always stressed lately. She can’t find a way to help. She tries to hug him but he doesn’t notice. She makes a coffee for him, but he doesn’t drink it. She writes a letter but he never reads it. Her nine years of life seem a pity because she hasn’t learned how to make happiness. Her tears create a damp pillow she’ll never find sleep on listening to the hushed voices, spitting emotions. Rage and hate are all she hears. Smiles and “okay’s” are all she sees. She knows something is wrong but no one will tell her how to help.
“We can’t live near your uncle anymore”. The reasons why are hard for her to understand. Ten is too young for her to know the pain of a lion-heart being stolen of its pride. She tries to make it better. She puts on a façade, smile and laughs, but she perishes inside. She liked this house. She would smile more if that meant she could stay. She would laugh more if that’s what they wanted. She would give them anything, do anything to see them happy. Why are they so sad? She cries, but only on the inside anymore. When she cries on the outside she gets questioned with things she has no answers for. The person her family sees is a benign girl without a care in the world. She is a hardened soul with oceans made of dying teardrops and bloody lesions, but no one can sees it. She must play the part until the time is right. She must be happy and move. Her lakes swelled deeper that day, I can remember.
The move is cheerful. Neighbors smile at her and make her feel okay, for a little while. The cute boy down the street smiles at her and she brightens. Maybe she will be okay. “Still pretend”, she tells herself, don’t let anyone see the rivers of hesitation or the turbulent seas of agony living inside. She makes friends. She is happy. She finds hope again that this will be okay. Then the biting words become a monster that no longer hides at night. The snarls and arched backs of wild animals are no rival to what she witnesses. She wonders what is wrong, thinking it is her. She thinks that maybe if she knew how to do more on her own that she could make her mom happy. She cleans her room. She acts the good girl. She does her school. She keeps her siblings in check. She never lets the people see the monsters rending her heart.
The claw marks are deeper than the surface. The scars show only in her conscience. Her body must stay healthy, for her parent’s sake, but her soul decays each day. She eats less because, “my friends are on diets too”. She keeps her siblings away from the frenzies that happen unexpectedly. She makes sure that they don’t see the faces, hear the words, or witness the bitterness of deprivation. She makes plans to run away in her sleep. She knows that if she wasn’t such a burden, if she didn’t have to be fed and cared for, then maybe this would all go away. She is the problem. She doesn’t want to stay but she can’t leave. Her siblings are too young for this. She keeps hiding and biding her time. Soon she’ll make things better. Soon the monsters will stop scouring her heart. Soon they will stop filling her stomach with worries and doubts instead of food. Soon they will stop up the rivers so that she can find dry land. Soon…
Another move. This time it ends with force. No more water, “have to wait till we get to the next stop”. No more light, “time to leave”. No room anymore. “Only what fits in the car can come.” One van, six passengers. No room. A suitcase is what she packs and leaves the rest behind. She hopes she’ll be able to see it again, but she doesn’t hope anymore. She is tired of hoping. She’s done thinking she deserves better. She’s done living, only surviving now.
Back to where she began. No home, but a house. No bed, but a sleeping bag. No room, but six people. No hope, but a once-was dreamer. This is not her home. This is a house. A house is no home unless there is love. This is a roof and drafty walls. Why, she asks? What did I ever do, she pleads. Does anyone notice her? Why does her grandmother look at her that way? Why do aunts not visit anymore? Where are the people who said they would be there if she needed anything? Why do they make her leave and go away? Why does this grandma not even look at her? Why does she not seem to exist anymore?
No more family, only hotels now. Family tells her that she isn’t wanted, that they love other people more than her, or that her parents are bad people. They say they love her, but don’t. The hotels are small. She likes breakfast with waffles and pancakes, but would rather have real food to eat. She likes the pool, but it is no sedative for the rivers of fire alive and burning from the inside. There is no love anymore. There is only sorrow and loss. There is no family, there is no hope, and there is no life outside pain. God is not here. Otherwise, why did He steal her home? Why does He make her live with witches. Why does he make her monsters bigger than the miniscule hope she had left to fight them? God is not here.
Money can’t buy her happiness, but she knows that it would help. Their lives were stolen by the greedy monster cloaked in green. Money meant more than her family. Money meant more than her childhood. Money meant more than anything to “him”. Now she knows the reasons. Now she understands that journey. Now she cries for who she lost. Now she cries for what was left behind. Now she finds a new life.
She tries to forget me, but I plague her dreams. She tries to forgive, but I feed her hate. She tries to move on, but I keep her here. She forgets the power I once held over her. I clawed at her heart; tormented her soul. Now she gave up her ghosts and no longer takes me in as a guest to her spirit. She left me for Him, for her “Jesus”. I will still haunt her, but He blocks me. I will still torture her, but He will shield me before I can inflict wounds. Now I go to find another host. I’m here, waiting at their doors. Oh, just open up for me, we’ll have a hell of a time…