Thursday, May 10, 2012

March 2007

Air polluted with polyurethane filled my lungs as I consumed what little oxygen was left in the basement. I set my brush down in the tray and turned to sit on the step. I looked up and dark marble eyes stuffed inside the sockets of a mounted deer glowered down at me menacingly. My asthma, lack of red blood cells, and the thick chemical smell in the air made his face appear to tilt towards mine repeatedly. I copied his motions, swaying my head back and forth to the rhythm of the deer. A ringing jolted me out of my daze. I could hear my mom talking upstairs. I tried to think who would call on a weekday so early in the morning, but my brain was not able to process whole thoughts. I continued rocking my head along with the deer. I heard footsteps above me and a moment later my mom opened the door. Oxygen. Why didn't I think of that? I leaned back so the crown of my head rested on the step behind me and my mother was upside down. That was a weird smile... but not a smile. I sat up and turned so she was the right way again. She looked distressed and as if she had been crying. "Where's dad?" I pointed to the closed door that led to the other room of the basement. She called him and a few seconds later the door opened and there he was. I could tell he was annoyed because he hates to be bothered when he's building something. However, he saw the look on my mom's face and his expression completely changed. "What's wrong?" She looked at the ground for a while and then looked up to inform us that J was killed. J? From school? The one in dad's class? The one who stayed over for dinner the other night after working with my dad? No... I knew my dad wouldn't be able to, so I asked her how. She went on to tell a chilling story of a fire and a boy trapped in the basement. Our location seemed morbidly coincidental. She finished the explanation and I looked behind me to see my dad standing at the bottom of the steps, looking very small. Despite the fact that in the past two weeks we had attended two other funerals, right there in the basement (just like the one that J died in) I saw my dad cry for the first time. "I knew death always comes in threes," he said. Then he turned, went into the other room with his workbench, and shut the door.

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