I sit in the living room of my house, surrounded by people whose faces barely register. They are all dressed in black. My son liked to dress in black and gray. I always asked him if he was going to a funeral and he always laughed it off and said, “Maybe.” Despite the colors he chose to wear, I would like to think he was a happy child—teenager, actually. I always forget that he wasn’t my little boy anymore.
I look up at my older sister as she rests a hand on mine. “How are you doing?” She asks.
I shrug and look away as I sit in the arm chair in the corner of the living room. “You need to eat—”
“I’m fine, Eloise.” My tone is sharp as I cut her off.
“Okay, okay.” She holds her palms up in defense. “I was only asking. It won’t do you any good if you pass out.”
“Well, we don’t want to give the reporters what they want, after all, right?” I shake my head, hand rubbing my eyes. “Are they still out there?”
Eloise moves to the window beside my arm chair and looks outside through the blinds. “Yes…along with some of other people.” At that, I get up and sneak a glance. Aside from the news reporters who have been practically living on my front lawn since the incident, there are others. Some of them I recognize as family members and friends of the victims. There’s even a man holding up a sign that said “Your son is rotting in Hell. May God save your soul”.
I let out a sigh and sink back into my chair. “Eloise, can you ask everyone to leave? I don’t feel like entertaining anymore.”
“Sure,” she replies and starts ushering everyone out through the back door and through the gate that leads into the alley behind my house.
Once that’s done, Eloise comes back in. “You, too,” I say. “I want to be alone.” She sighs, but relents and leaves as well.
Now it’s just me.
No parent should lose a child. I have heard that phrase uttered from time to time in instances where people, none that I’ve known very well, have lost a child due to some accident or disease, or some other horrific or untimely way. I have not heard that phrase uttered to me at least once since my son died. Most people think I don’t deserve such sympathy because my son was a monster. But he wasn’t. He was just a boy…a confused boy who needed help. I should’ve seen the signs, but trying to keep the house from foreclosing was taking up all my time.
I don’t realize that I’m crying until I feel something wet on my hand. Now it’s just me in this house with the ashes of my son. No cemetery would take him in our town.