“Once upon a time, there was a girl. She lived in a village that no longer exists, in a house that no longer exists, on the edge of a field that no longer exists, where everything was discovered, and everything was possible. A stick could be a sword, a pebble could be a diamond, a treehouse could be a castle. Once upon a time, there was a girl who lived in a house across the field, from a girl who no longer exists. They made up about a thousand games. She was a queen and she was also the queen. In the autumn light her hair shone like a crown. They collected the world in small handfuls, and when the sky grew dark, and they parted with leaves in their hair. Once upon a time there was a girl who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question she wanted to spend her whole life answering. But eventually, that girl left her. It wasn’t temporary, but permanent. This affected the queen, she searched for the other queen that ruled the kingdom that never existed in the first place. Where did she go?”
I looked up and smiled at the group of kids in front of me, some kids were drooling all over their faces and some genuinely invested into the story about the two queens. The two queens that ruled a kingdom that never existed. The kids clapped their little hands in sync as I put the book down. The story I made, a story I wrote not so long ago.
“How was the story?” I asked the class, looking around and many kids raised their hands. At this point the kids that were drooling where fully awake, it was almost the end of school anyways. It was understandable why the kids were tired, even though they just had their nap around a hour ago. I looked around and picked a girl with green eyes, and brown hair.
“I liked it, you made such a great story!” the little girl exclaimed excitedly, as the other kids agreed around her. The girl’s expression changed and then continued, “but it’s not a happy ending..” she said sadly. I looked at the book and realised, she wasn’t wrong. The story did not have a happy ending like most of your kid friendly stories did. This one sadly had a more inconclusive ending, a very unknown ending.
“You’re right, probably because the story is not completely finished. There is more I want to add to the story. Eventually, and hopefully soon the story will be completed and have an happy ending like you guys want. This is just the rough copy of it.” as I finished this sentence, the bell rung. The bell only rung three times, starting in the mornings, lunch and then afternoons to warn us teachers we have only have ten minutes to get everyone ready.
I got up from my seat and walked around the kids, facing back from them. Where their desks were located at. “Alright everyone, let’s get ready and your escorts will be here in five minutes!” as soon as I said this, the kids sprung up happy and filled with joy. Everyone screamed, “Yeahhhhh!” and with that everyone rushed to their assigned hooks and their colorful backpacks put their jackets on and backpacks on.
“Everyone line up behind this week’s line leader” I said, and with that the same girl with green eyes and brown hair lined up first.
“Alright everyone! Everyone has to be behind me” she said and with that everyone lined up behind of her slightly pushing her and then the escort finally showed up.
“Hello, Mrs. Sulieman. You look awfully gleeful today, I am here to pick up the kids today” the old man said, he was sweetheart with a big heart, he genuinely enjoyed doing what he did. He was the gym teacher but after school he was an escort for the young kids, he helped the kids get to their busses and helped them not miss the bus. To those who did, he would wait for them and wait for their parents to come and pick up their kids.
“I am meeting some old friends today, it’s our anniversary and we go for a hike up to this hill every year” I said and he gave me a warm smile.
“This person must of meant the world to you guys, if you guys still remember them after fif-fifteen years right?” he said hesitantly, he lead the kids outside of the halls by this point.
“Fourteen years actually, and yes they meant the world to us. They are the reason we still talk to each other still.” I said, I walked towards my desk and sat. He gave me a final goodbye and left with the kids. I was left alone with the big empty classroom, no kids, no laughter and definitely no noise. I started to work on my pile of work and grading the quiz the kids took earlier in the day. I looked around and saw a frame I had. It was an old photo I had, it was a picture of my highschool days, a picture of when I first met her. It was me, Marlon, Brody, Louis, Aasim, and her…
I looked at the picture and a tear accumulated and fell outta of my eye then running down my cheek eventually falling, the tear unironically landing on the picture frame on top of her head. I rubbed the picture frame with my index and thumb, as if that way I would feel her, make me feel somehow touch her soft hand. I looked at her, she had a pretty insecure smile in that picture but she looked happy there. God, her goofy smile, her short blonde messy hair and her green eyes. She wore a white shirt tucked into her grey uniform pants.
I stared at the picture for what it felt like a whole eternity, I was about to hug the picture as the door swung wide open. I put the picture inside my cabinet and wiped the remaining tears. It was Louis, my husband. Louis and my little boy named Noah, me and Louis were married about five years, we married after we finished college and last year we had our first child. Noah, he was a year old but he still looked like a seven month year old toddler. I guess he got the short genes from me. He had beautiful tan skin complexion, with freckles already showing on his nose. Just imagine a mini Louis, that’s exactly how Noah looked like, well except his eyes. He got light brown eyes from me. I shot up and grabbed Noah from Louis and gave a him a quick kiss.
“Hey sweetheart, since I dropped you off today.. I thought you would need the lift today.”
He said jokingly, and I freed my left arm and punched him slightly. He faked his hurt, and grabbed his key. “We are picking up the rest by the Bean Cafe” he said smiling at me, I can see his slight dimples showing up.
“Sounds good, let’s go. I don’t want to be late.” I said, grabbing my purse and leaving with Louis. We walked away from the school and went inside the car. I put Noah in his chair and gave him his pacifier and I sat next to Louis in the passenger side.
It was dead quiet, I looked outside from my passenger side the outside world. It was a beautiful autumn afternoon, the sun still and proud. The trees starting to change their color to red, brown and yellow. Kids running out and playing with sweaters on of course. This would be my favourite time of year but that changed after highschool.
“Hey, I understand why you want to be quiet but now that we have Noah and all… I decided that we should a get a car that like had a built in tv so he can start watching tv and all….” Louis said, driving focusing on the road, he then time to time looked at his mirror to check on Noah, the kid was passed out by this point.
“He knocked out, huh?” Louis said giggling, looking at me. I looked at him and then at Noah, and nodded. “Seems so” I said.
Louis turned to the left and eventually we were by the cafe’s parking lot. I saw everyone by the entrance ready to greet us.
We parked near them and Louis was the first one to leave the car. Marlon rushed in and gave Louis a tight hug. Then he hugged the rest of the group, I stayed inside just incase the door would lock itself and Noah might be stuck inside a locked car.
Everyone waved at me and then entered the car. Marlon, Brody, Aasim, and then Louis entered. Brody sitting next to Noah, since this was her first time seeing the baby for the first time.
“Why did you say he looked like Louis? He isn’t ugly.” Brody stated and Louis faking a ‘Ha Ha Ha’ from the front of the car. She played around with Noah and then Marlon spoke.
“He is looking more and more handsome by the day” He said, I smiled. “Yeah he is” Louis stated.
“How are you, Clemetine? It’s been a while since we have seen each other. I heard you are teaching near your home now.” He said, alot has happened this year alone. From Noah, to teaching a whole class and then Louis owning his own studio. Life was doing amazing, for all of us.
Brody started her very own mental health clinic, helping people with anxiety, depression and etc. Marlon helping her with the clinic and starting his own local band. Aasim, well he wasn’t burning anything. Finally we were catching a brake but we promised, all of us no matter how busy we were we would go on top of the hill.
Eventually we arrived to the hill’s parking lot. We had to hike up to it in order for us to reach it. I got out off the car and grabbed Noah, but Louis insisted to grab him for me. I let him take him, and I quickly rushed everyone to get to out of the car so we can reach our destination.
We walked and chattered our way up to the hill, and eventually we saw a stone. A stone that said, “To our loved ones, we’ve lost. You will be remembered.”
I knew we had reached our destination finally, the cemetery.
We walked for what it felt like miles, we got to a specific area of the cemetery. We walked towards a black and white inscripted grave stone.
I hope it’s beautiful wherever you are
Oct 10, 1998- December 17, 2016”
I looked at the scripture and grabbed the bouquet of flowers Aasim had. I put it on top of her gravestone and I got on my knees. I looked at the picture that was put into the gravestone alone. It was a picture of her smiling with her pet at the time chinchilla named toes.
“We miss you, Violet” Brody said.
“I wish you were still here, with us.” Aasim added.
“We were supposed to tour the country…” Marlon said, and I remember that conversation. They joked about how Marlon would scavenge the world to find the perfect guitar to tour the country. Violet grabbed her pencil and faked strummed the pencil as if it was a guitar. She was so creative.
“I miss you.” Louis said.
Louis and Violet didn’t seem like they were close, but they were super close with each other. After Violet moved to the school we went to, he helped her make friends. He tried making her join the baseball team, but she insisted that she didn’t want to join.
She was buried next to grandmother, I never knew why they did that.
“Guys I have a surprise.” Aasim said, we all turned around and he showed us a piece of paper. It looked like it was written on recently.
“I- uhh- I got in contact with Violet’s mother and she told us to come by and visit her. It took a long time to find her but there is a few adlon’s I tried contacting but to no prevail but I got in contact with her last week.” He said. We shot up and grabbed the paper.
“For real?!” Brody said.
He nodded and gave me the paper.
“2097 Apple’s Street.” I said, and Louis looked at me with a smile.
“This is where the big trailer village is at, it’s a whole place were people that live in trailers live at.. I know the place thankfully.” He said.
We paid our respect to Violet and left.
“I really can’t believe a car accident is what took her life…” Marlon said, he broke the silence but in such a bad way. Brody looked at him but he continued.
“I’m sorry, but I am so pissed that dude never got charged with hitting her. His family saw him come back home, we didn’t see our friend come back home.” He said spiteful, but he was correct. We tried convincing Violet’s mother to fight the case but she never budged. Told us we didn’t know anything, we never had contact with her after that.
“Let’s go meet her mother, and then later we can hang out.” I said, we walked towards the car. Louis strapping Noah to his seat and everyone sitting in their spot.
He turned the car and on, like that we left the the hill. I remember that day, the funeral.
It was a cold day, since the accident happened on a cold winter day. I wore a black dress with a black winter coat. Everyone was there, and I mean everyone. This was a small town so the local press had the story, and wanted to know more about the accident. They believed there was more to accident to what we were lead to believe.
But it was easy, Violet drove her bicycle in the night unto upcoming traffic and got hit. Her fraile small body, was not going to take such a horrible impact like that.
It was such a heart wrenching day, she was sad that whole week before leading to the accident. We were in speaking terms but from what I knew, she was easily irritated by everything. That night, she messaged me but I never responded. It still haunts me to this day.
Violet: Going on a long trip
I never understood what she meant by that. I never did. I never probably will.
Everyone was talking really loud and chattering, catching up with whatever we missed. Louis was talking, and cracking jokes. But I couldn’t do that, this time of year was just too sad.
We decided to make October the month we meet because that was the month we became friends, like best friends. We buried a time capsule this month. A time capsule we are digging up again later today.
We decided to go to Violet’s mothers place and then go to the time capsule. Since the time capsule was near our old high school. Ericson.
We arrived to the location, there were trailers and rvs parked all over the flat lane. The place surrounded by mountains and there was a lake nearby, we looked for the street and found the street Aasim jotted down.
Eventually we found the home, the trailer.
We parked wherever we could and got out. I automatically went to the door and knocked on it.
“Clementine! You don’t even know if we fou-“ Aasim said but was interrupted when the door opened widely and revealed a older looking women. She had blonde and green eyes, obviously her hair had a bit of grayness to it but she looked like Violet. It was quite scary.
“Oh, you must be Violet’s friends right? I was in contact with a boy named Aasim and he told me you guys would come by. Please come in.” She said.
Shockingly the trailer wasn’t too small and all fit. Tightly but we fit.
We sat down and we saw a picture of Violet by the kitchen were her mother stood. She grabbed a piece of paper and then she grabbed photo book.
“You guys were a blessing you Violet’s life. You guys gave her a spark in her life, it’s quiet unimaginable.” She said. She looked at a picture, it was Violet and her chinchilla. She was wearing a black hoodie and she was carrying the chinchilla to her face, smiling.
“Thank you for having us, Ms. Adlon.” I said to her and she smiled at me and sat across from all of us.
“This isn’t the original trailer Violet grew up on actually. We bought this after the charity happened, we had excess money and we wanted to give it back but people insisted to use it for a new spacious trailer…” She said but her tone changed.
“Stupid because, I have a bigger trailer but no one to fill it in with anymore.” she said.
She wasn’t wrong.
“Ms. Adlon this might sound really annoying, frustrating. HECK sounds like a broken record over and over…” Marlon said, Ms. Adlon stared and didn’t fight it. “Why didn’t you sue the man, find justice? Violet-” He was about to continue until Ms. Adlon put a piece of paper on the table in front of her and slid it to us.
I grabbed the paper and it said as follow.
“Hello to my family or to whoever reads this,
I haven’t been myself, I have found it hard to breathe. I wake up with a feeling of being suffocated and no matter how much I try shaking the feeling, the feeling of breathlessness. I can’t quite defeat it. This anguish and pain has finally devoured me whole. I just don’t see it. My grandmother was the world to me, she meant the world and it’s my fault she died. I’m sorry.”
I read outloud.
My heart sank to the pit of my stomach, the confusion, the unanswered questions, and the mystery that filled my mind. Finally answered. Going on a long trip…