After a brief hiatus, Such Sweet Sorrow returns. The countdown to the series finale now begins. Enjoy the countdown to the final chapter.
My family was morning the lost of Anna. T.R. and Jordan took it very hard over losing Anna. They turned to me and asked a lot of questions on why Anna killed herself and would she go to Hell for what she done. I was too upset to say anything to my brother and sister. I got up from the couch and went over to Vladimir’s place to have a talk with him.
I came to Vladimir’s door and rang the doorbell. The door open and Vladimir fixed his eyes on me.
“I’m sorry, I can’t have company,” he told me. “I’ll come over to your cousin’s house and give you, your brother and your sister Anna’s things.”
“I just wanted to talk to you,” I answered.
“Butterfly, you were a good friend to my sister. I thank you so much for loving her; I just don’t see it in the best time for me to talk to you. I’m not trying to be mean-hearted; now is a bad time to talk to me. I have to plan for Anna’s funereal and tell my parents the news about Anna’s death. I’ll bring the boxes to Mr. Raymond’s house. I think you should join your family. They need you now to get through the loss of my sister.”
Before I could say anything, Vladimir shut the door. I walked back to my cousin’s house and to the front step. Halfway to the porch, I felt a raindrop on my cheek. Soon more raindrops came pouring down. I looked up into the sky and let myself get soak in the rain. When I was a little girl, my nana always told me that when someone has died and it starts to rain, God and his angels cry because they are happy that someone has come to Heaven to join them; and sad because the person’s life has come to an end on Earth.
Cousin Ray came outside in the rain to bring me inside. “Butterfly, you must come inside! You’ll get sick if you stay out in this rain.”
I saw my cousin and felt tears running down my face.
“It isn’t fair,” I told him. “She was my friend! I just don’t understand why she killed herself when everybody loved her. I hate Anna for what she did. It just doesn’t make any sense, Ray! It isn’t fair.”
Cousin Ray held me in his arms and held me close to his chest. “I know it isn’t, honey,” he whispered. Cousin Ray let me cry in the pouring rain until I was through. Soaked from the rain, we went back inside the house.
Back inside, Miss Carla made Cousin Ray and me take hot baths and change into a pair of dry clothes. After the hot baths and change of clothes, Miss Carla grabbed both our clothes from both bathrooms and threw them into the dryer. To prevent us from catching summer colds, Miss Carla gave both of us each a mug full of hot chicken noodle soup. I didn’t have much of an appetite, so I sat my mug down. I heard a few raps on the front door as Miss Carla breezed out of the kitchen to answer it. Miss Carla opened the door. It was Vladimir with the boxes of Anna’s things. Vladimir came inside and saw Cousin Ray and me as he sat the boxes down on the floor in the corner.
I stood up as Vladimir went over to me. Vladimir faced me and began to speak. “I came over here to say goodbye,” he told me softly. “After my parents return, I’m leaving Orangeburg. There’s nothing here that can make me stay, so I’m leaving.”
Cousin Ray spoke up,” where will you go? You’re so young and your parents need you. There are some things that can make you stay.”
“There isn’t much for me here, Ray! I have to go. I have to tell my parents that I’m leaving and never coming back. I don’t want to share the same fate as my sister. This is goodbye.”
Turning back to me, he said, “I know that I was hard on you the first time I meet you. You brought my sister so much happiness in her short life. She was indeed a butterfly. I’ll never forget you, Butterfly.” Vladimir held my face on kissed my birthmark. Without looking back, he walked away, opened the front door and went out into the rain. Cousin Ray and I watched Vladimir go.
It was the first (and last) time that I got to meet Vladimir. After Vladimir gave the news to his parents overseas about Anna’s death, they were heartbroken over the loss of their only daughter. Three days later, Anna was cremated and her ashes were placed in a family plot in a cemetery.
There was no funeral.
As for Vladimir, after his parents were discharged from the Army, he kept his word and left home. After leaving Orangeburg, Vladimir went to California to start a new life. There was a rumor that Vladimir got arrested for selling drugs because he was homeless and in poverty. In truth, I never knew what became of Vladimir after he left home. Cousin Ray tried to find him on the cyber line. After many empty searches, he gave up. I never heard from him again.
After Cousin Ray handed me Anna’s box, I left the den and retreated upstairs to my room. Alone in my room, I carried the box over to my bed and sat it down. I lifted the lid off the box and studied the contents inside. Inside was some books, handwritten notes; some CDs, a portable Blu-Ray player, a few DVDs, and the tape recorder that Anna used to record that day at the mansion.
I took the tape recorder out of the box and sat down on my bed. With the tape recorder in my hand, I pressed the play button, hoping to find the answer on why Anna took her life. With the tape recorder on, Anna’s voice began to speak:
Can you hear me? I hope you can. Ever since I brought this tape recorder, I always wanted to recorder my life so that the next generation can know what’s on the mind of a typical teenager. I want to say a few words to you about my life. I don’t know much about my early life; I was born in a small town called Sliver patch, New Hampshire. I went to school and met a few friends in junior high. It was at that time I met Mercy True. Mercy True was a girl that I liked so much. We often hung out together. I was ever so grateful to have her as a friend. It was a month later that Mercy moved away. I never cried so much in my life. I turned to my other friends for comfort; I don’t know what came over them, but they all turned cold toward me. I was all alone with no friends.
I started taking after school classes to ease my time. I wanted to get away from all the loneliness that was weighing me down. When I turned thirteen, my parents decided that moving to the South was the best way to get out of the city. I was heartbroken that my family had to move to another town. I thought that the South would be boring.
Moving to our new house, I saw Mr. Quidame and his housekeeper, Miss Carla. Mr. Quidame invited us into his house for hot apple cider and sugar cookies. It was a cold autumn day. Mr. Quidame spoke to me and my brother. Mr. Quidame told my parents that they will like it here in Orangeburg. ‘If you need anything, just call me,’ Mr. Quidame told them.
As Anna explained her life, I got to know things about her that she never told me. How she liked marshmallow cream with her Oreo’s; how she ran to Cousin Ray when she had a fight with Vladimir. To me, Anna had a wonderful life. If she were alive, I would had told her that she didn’t have a life yet and that she should go on living, even when things are tough.
As Anna kept speaking on the tape recorder, I felt her spirit touching my heart. I continued to listen to my dead friend’s haunting words on the tape recorder:
I know that I may never meet you or see your face. But I want you to know that I am just like you. Although we are of a different world, I love you. If I’m gone from this world, remember that when I was alive, I was a girl who was a loving and kind spirit. I hope that you will turn out to be the best kindhearted person who ever lived. I love you. Anna Knight.
There was silence after that. I reflected back on the first day that I met Anna. How she gave me her books; the way she smiled her lovely smile. Anna was an angel that touched the life of me and my family. I’ll never forget Anna. Anna was more than my friend, she was my sister.
That night I asked T.R. and Jordan to choose a few things of Anna’s to keep and a few to burn. After choosing the things to burn, we went outside and held a memorial. My family and Miss Carla were outside for the memorial. We said a prayer and gave a few words about Anna. We laughed and cried a little; we even sang songs that Anna liked.
The moment came for the burning. Daddy brought the box that had Anna’s things inside and placed it in front of me. It was an old custom that when someone died, their cherished possessions would be burnt and be sent to the other side for the person to claim.
“Let’s get this over with,” I announced.
I reached into my handbag and pulled out a bottle of nail polish remover. I unscrewed the cap and poured the liquid onto the box. I stepped back as Cousin Ray set the box ablaze. I watched my family retreat inside as I watched the fire. Cousin Ray saw me and placed his arm around me. We stood as the fire burned, turning the box of Anna’s things into ash.
“Anna meant a lot to everyone,” Cousin Ray told me, “it was a shame that we never got to tell her that or thank her when she was alive.”
I watched the fire swallowing up the box in my cousin’s side embrace. I wept as the box turned into ashes. Cousin Ray held me in his arms and brushed away my tears with his handkerchief. After the fire died out and the ashes remained, we went back inside the house. Anna was gone, and I now I had to go on the road of life without her.
To be continued/Stay Tuned!