Help From Above
I dedicate this story to my grandparents, Pat and Paul. Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for being there for us grandkids, we all love you.
Entering the cemetery I knew exactly where I was headed, her grave. She had been six years old when she died. Her heart gave out; it was one of those diseases that even children can get. I was ten at the time. Remembering what she looked like was becoming harder and harder to me. But what I do remember was that she was full of happiness. A child of ten years old should not have to be told that her sister needs a new heart, that her little sister only has a month to live without that new heart, that there was no new heart available in the near future.
I passed a couple in the graveyard, crying over a newly dug grave. That's what my mom and dad must have looked like, holding each other as they cried. Of course I was there when they buried her, how could I not be? Being only ten and dressed in black I got lost in the crowd of people. A lot of friends and family came to say they were sorry for our loss. One by one they passed me up to say their grievances to my parents, all of them thinking about how my parents would get over the loss of a child. But all I could think about was how cold the ground must be in October. I was thinking about how I hoped her favorite jacket, the one I put in her coffin with her, would keep her warm. Then I thought about her favorite stuffed animal and how she couldn't sleep without it.
"Mommy, Mommy, Skyla doesn't have her doggie." I said to my mom. She just looked at me and her gaze went right through me, like I wasn't even really there.
"She needs it Mommy; she can never sleep without it." I tried to tell her. When she just started to cry harder my dad looked at me and said "Stop Nyah. Can't you see what you're doing to your mother?"
After that I didn't talk to my parents for the rest of the week, thinking that I might hurt them some more. But it turns out that when I stopped talking to them, they started to forget about me. Our conversations would consist of 'How was your day?' 'Okay I guess, yours?' 'Fine.'
Putting the pink roses down on her grave I wonder why I didn't cry like everyone else that day. Then again I was only ten, a child that probably didn't completely understand what was going on.
I stare at her grave for a few more moments when a cold blast of air hits me, shivering I pull up the zipper on my leather jacket. Then with one last look at her grave I say "Happy Birthday" and turn to leave. Heading back to my bike I think back on the time I left home.
I was sixteen when I moved out of the house, I moved in with a friend that lived a few streets over. She taught me how to drive, what to do in high school, and how to have fun again. She also took me to my first club when I turned twenty one, and that was where I had a night that I will never forget.
"Maribel, I don't want another, ones enough for me." I tell my best friend Bells while sipping on my first glass of wine. I found out that I liked wine better than beer, that one sip that she forced on me was disgusting compared to the sweet, red wine I was now drinking.
"Oh, come on. One beer isn't going to kill 'ya." She says while swigging back her third one.
"It just might if you drive home." I say wryly.
Laughing she says "Fine, well, I'm going to go dance. Have fun. Oh, and happy birthday too."
Watching her swagger onto the dance floor I shake my head. No more drinks for her. Then turning back to the bar I meet the bluest pair of eyes I have ever seen. He looked, almost, unreal. Perfect blond hair, tanned skin, and a bright smile met mine as I realized that I was staring.
"Anything I can get you?" he says while smiling at me.
"Where's Sam?" I ask while narrowing my eyes. Sam was the regular bar tender I was told. Bells also told me that he makes the best drinks out of all the hired bar tenders in this joint.
"He's on his break. What can I get you?" he says while picking up a glass and starting to clean it.
"Nothing, I think I am going to be driving home, so this one is way more than enough for me."
"Good call, because I was about to call a taxi service for your friend. No way am I going to let her drive herself home."
Laughing I say "No need, I will drive her home."
"Good." He says while still polishing his glass.
"So how long have you worked here?"
"This is your first day?"
"Yup. But I have done this kind of thing before."
"Oh, well, that's good to know." I say while taking a sip of my wine. Turning around in my seat I close my eyes and listen to the music. When the song ends I open my eyes and start to turn around to ask for a water when something catches my eye. A flash of white, not like an actual flash of white, but someone wearing all white just exited the club. That shouldn't be that significant except it looked like Skyla, well…..what Skyla would have looked like if she hadn't died.
Without thinking I jump off the bar stool and head to the exit. Flinging open the door I look around see…nothing. I even make the effort to walk a little bit up both sides of the street to see if she rounded a corner. Nothing. I head back to the club thinking that the one glass of wine was one too much for me.
I enter the club and head back to my abandoned stool. Making sure that Bells is still there, which she was, I turn back to the bartender and order a water, pushing my half empty wine glass toward him.
"Something wrong?" he asks.
"No….well…..I could have sworn I saw my sister."
"And that would be a bad thing?" he asked while handing me the water.
As I twist off the cap I look at him in the eye and say "Yes, considering she died eleven years ago."
He stopped polishing the bar to completely look at me. "What's your name?"
All of a sudden someone crashes into me from behind. Spinning me around Bells wraps her arms around my neck and whispers in my ear, although in her drunken state it's more like a hushed yelling.
"I found this cute guy that I knew in high school. He's going to take me home, alright?"
"Are you sure you know this guy? That he isn't just telling you that he knows you?"
Then right after I ask that question the guy in question walks up to us carrying her purse. Sighing in relief I say "Hi Carl."
"Hi Nyah, I will take her home, don't worry."
"Ok, but she tends to puke right about when you go over the railroad tracks."
Smiling and saying thanks for the information he helps her walk to the door.
"You know that guy?" Caleb asks when the couple just leaves the club.
"Yeah, he graduated three years ahead of me in high school. She'll be fine. It was probably a good thing that he took her home, if I try to drag her away from her 'fun time' she suddenly gains strength from only God knows where."
He was still laughing over that comment when another customer called him down to the end of the bar.
About ten minutes later I was getting bored of just sitting there listening to the music so I decided to head home to check on Bells.
"Yes?" he says while strolling over to me.
"I think I am going to head home. Can I get a coffee to go please?"
"No problem, and be careful on your way home, I heard its suppose to rain something fierce." He tells me while getting a to-go cup ready.
Giving him a twenty and saying keep the change I head to the door. Halfway across the club I hear him say, right next to my ear, "Skyla says hi."
Whipping my head around I look for him, but no one was behind me except for a biker that looked like he had a little too much to drink.
A little frazzled I head to my car, and as soon as I get there rain starts to pour down on me like it was coming in buckets. Jumping in my car I slam the door closed, place my cup in the cup holder, and start the car, making sure that the wind shield wipers are on full blast.
About halfway home I decide I want some music to break up the loud noise of the rain. Turning on the radio Skyla's favorite song starts to play, a lullaby that had no words to it. we use to listen to it when our parents were fighting. Getting freaked out I try to change the channel, but for some reason, no matter how many times I press the button, the song never changes. Then looking up to the road again I see an animal right in the middle of it, and I am heading right for it.
Swerving around it I go into the ditch, the ditch that is rapidly filling with water from the rain. I try to unhook my seatbelt but the thing is stuck, it won't unclasp. The water was around about my chest when I started to scream for help.
"Help! Someone please help me!"
Still struggling with my seatbelt I hear someone whisper harshly.
"You have to help her Caleb. She can't die like that."
"You know that I can't interfere Skyla. Either she makes it out on her own or she comes with us."
"Caleb, it's her birthday. Do this as her birthday present from me, please? I won't ask anything of you ever again."
There was a pause, then a "Father, forgive me.", then splashing in the water next to the car. I went underwater as soon as he got the door open. Going in and out of awareness I see flashes of what is going on around me; Caleb under the water with me, he waving his hand in front of my seat belt, me on the pavement of the road with Skyla putting a coat under my head, Skyla whispering "Happy birthday" to me. Then I black out completely.
Waking up in a hospital is so not fun. You have the bright lights, sterile smell, and people coming to check on you nearly every half hour. I wake up to someone tapping a finger on my cheek, "Skyla?"
"No, it me, Bells. And you scared the crap out of us sister."
"Us? I ask while rolling over, slowly, to see her better. Bells was leaning on my bed, a look of concern on her face, then I looked behind her to make out the sleeping figure of Sam, the bartender.
"Why is Sam here?"
"He's the one that found you, sweetie." She said while getting me a glass of water.
"No, he wasn't. Caleb found me, Caleb and Skyla. They pulled me from my car." I told her as she came toward me with the cup.
Giving me a weird look she says "Honey, maybe you hit your head harder than we think. Let me call a nurse, and who is Caleb?"
"He was the bartender that served us last night, you saw him."
"Honey, the only bartender that was there last night was Sam."
"No, Caleb was there, Sam had to take a break so Caleb served us while he was away."
Still looking at me weird she called the nurse who poked and prodded me. She said I should be okay and went to get the doctor.
By that time sleeping beauty was up and looking at me with concern etched on his face too.
"You scared the crap out of me Nyah, when I saw you laying on the road like that I thought you were dead." He says while grabbing my hand.
"So I was on the road then, see Bells? Caleb did pull me out." I say to her. She frowns and looks at Sam. He frowns back as I say, "Can I have to jacket that was under my head please?"
Confused, Sam goes under the bed and pulls out the jacket that Skyla put under my head.
"See? Caleb was there, he pulled me from the water, and Skyla was there, she put her jacket…." I trailed off as I noticed exactly what I held in my hand. It was Skyla's jacket, the one I had buried with her. Feeling cold all of a sudden I hear Sam say, "Who's Caleb?"