AlvernoINK Spring / Fall 2017 - Page 12

Clearly, the only reason I sat on the porch was to see what was going on at home. As my phone connected to the network titled “Prudhomme”, I wondered where all the dragonflies were. The absence of the slender, metallic bodies fluttering around me hinted that something about this day was going to be different. The texts began to come one after another. This is weird, I know I’m not this popular. I sat with my phone in my left hand, while my right hand was over my mouth. From the message view that shows every new message I received that day, I saw five new incoming messages. The first, a simple heart.

The second, “Are you okay?” I looked down at myself. I looked around me.

“Yes, I think I’m okay?” I thought.

The third, “I’m so sorry Jeana please let me know if there’s anything I can do.”

The fourth, “What happened to him?”

And the fifth, “I’m so sorry, how did he die?”

My heart became heavy; I heard about this “feeling” all my life, but I never understood that it was a possibility for me. It didn’t just drop to my stomach, it dropped all the way to my toes. Somebody could have taken a hammer to my chest and it would feel exactly how it did the way I felt when I heard one of my best friends had died. I had to tell my fiancé. I had to tell him myself before he received the same kind of messages as I did. I took the dark path back to him, but this time I couldn’t hear the crickets of the peaceful breeze, all I heard was the sound of my heart pounding in my ears.

I saw him standing by the car with the phone pressed to his ear and his other hand holding the back of his neck. He always does this when he’s nervous. Oh no. He is about to find out. I had no idea who he was talking to, but I do know everything would have been better if he heard it from me. “What happened to who? What? I can’t hear you, say it again”. These woods have the shittiest reception. Each time he said “What?”, I said his name a little louder. By the time he finally heard correctly “Andrew died last night”, I was screaming his name. He dropped down to the red gravel beside my car and let out the kind of shriek that you’d never want to hear out of a loved one's mouth.

I stood and examined the moment, sick to my stomach with a tickle in my throat and goosebumps covering my skin. The worst thing I could ever do to help my fiancé was stand and watch him while he sat in the gravel that we all hated to even stand on barefoot, but that’s what I did. My feet were suddenly the heaviest part of my body. Probably because my heart was still sitting in them from minutes ago when I just heard the news myself. I could not move. I could not bring myself to comfort him. If I did, that would make everything real. This couldn’t be real. Things like this just don’t happen to young people.

I tried to stand upright with confidence in the back of the church as I shook with cold sweats. I couldn’t find his face from my position because the number of bouncing heads in the room concealed him from my view. Thank god so many people loved him. It was nearly two weeks after I found out that he left us, but I can’t tell you what happened leading up to this point because I was not there. Physically, I must have been, but my mind was still set on that day on the porch when my world came closing in on me. I would never have imagined that a sting in my heart could be caused by someone else. Up until this exact moment, I swore to myself that I was stronger than this. My legs were weak as if I had been running for the timespan of these weeks. My emotional exhaustion has now become physical; I didn’t even know that was possible. As the line moved closer and closer to the casket, it felt as though my shoes were filled with cement. I held my best friends hand, as my fiancé stood with his hands on both of our backs. Her hand was warm and damp, but it didn’t matter to me. Any sign of life coming from a person that I love made me appreciate that they weren’t as stiff and unfamiliar looking as he did in that casket.

the death of my porch