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Ch 2 "The Omen of Death" PART 1
Chapter 2: The Omen of Death
It was February 1st, my dad’s birthday was in ten days, and the painting of the Falcon was yet to be completed.
“Robyn! Do you want an omelet? Athena is here. I’m just whipping some up!” He called up the stairs to my room. His voice echoed along the peaked ceiling.
I stared up at the cobwebs I hadn’t been able to brush down when I moved into the room in the attic. “No it’s alright I’m actually doing something right now.” I called down.
I dipped my paintbrush into the red paint mixing it with the brown in order to get the feathers of the Falcon the perfect shade. Slow strokes…Quick strokes. Long, short, thick, thin. It was absolutely beautiful: the paint against the beige canvas, wet and slick as if the colour was sprouting from my very fingertips like a rainbow out of a storm cloud.
I should have been perfectly happy in this moment but I wasn’t. Adriana’s rain cloud inhabiting the bright blue of her sky had now moved to mine. Regardless of how I felt the sky outside was rain cloud free, bright blue and clear. I could see mountains from my window and clear streams of fresh water that could be drank straight from; and then there was the huge olive tree outside my window, the branches twisted into unusual and amazing shapes, tangles of elegant wildlife. I was the type of person that felt a pang of joy from inspecting a beautiful leaf, or feeling the cold stream on my feet while collecting rocks smoothed from the current. I was never the loner type though, in high school I was the social butterfly attending every party with a beer in my hand, perfect makeup and hair. No-one realized or cared about these private joys nature held for me when I was dancing on Tables until 2:00am, using Fake I.D’s, and making out with the best looking guys in the room.
Regardless of my reputation of been an outgoing, flirtatious and overall party girl many people missed out on the person that I really was; the bright, perceptive, artistic yet insecure truth of my personality. But all of that changed once I met Xavier. I didn’t need the alcohol or to have many guys on the go when I had him. His body intertwined with mine, his lips crushing mine, his hands on my thighs.
I remember the first day he said I love you.
When I was younger I always tried to picture the moment where I finally knew that I was in love. I dreamed the powerful sensation would be a mixture of passion, desire, friendship, hope, strength and weakness. I gave up on love for a very long time especially the feeling of love. I used to wish for that feeling after reading chicklit and romantic books or crying over passionate movies. Whenever I felt the empty ache in my unfulfilled heart I knew that there was something missing. In the hopefulness of my early teen years I would picture the moment I would hear those three precious words, it would always be in a cinematic setting: after climbing a mountain and looking over the peak with the boy I loved almost falling over the edge only to have him catch me and express his feelings. Or after a huge, long passionate fight with rain and thunder violently surrounding us, our lips would meet and the violence would become stimulating and lively, as if the earth were sparking because of that one very kiss.
When Miles told me he loved me it was simple, delicate and perfect. There were no life and death moments, sublime atmosphere or climatic thunder and rain. It was just him and I lying in his bed after making love like a billion other people in the world but of course we felt like the only two people in existence. There was no warning sentence or serious conversation leading up so there was no expectation on my part. I didn’t even want him to say that he loved me in fear that if he did that the untainted and completely pure phrase would be corrupted and devirginized.
Maybe if I looked closer I could have seen the words forming slowly in his brain waves and flowing to his vocal cords or balancing on the edge of his tongue before they dove swiftly and easily into my heart. The words swam happily around creating not only butterflies but waves and currents.
He was looking into my eyes with an innocent yet wide grin on his face, reaching his hand around my sweat damped hair from romping together for the past couple of hours. I burrowed into his warm shoulder feeling the prickles from his chin scratch on my cheek and loving the feel of the unclothed skin on skin contact pressing my body as far as I could into his. “I love you” he whispered confidently. My body stiffened and I clenched my teeth fighting the urge to slap my hand over his mouth. His grasp tightened over my body until I was unable to move and finally I relaxed into his arms stubbornly.
The words had already dove into my heart and whether or not the outcome would be sink or swim it didn’t matter – it was too late.
Nothing could have prepared me for the accident that happened that would crush not only my heart but empty my life and deem it as meaningless. I never knew his words would keep pulling me underwater when he wasn’t there to keep me afloat.
He was very adventurous - which was one of the many things I loved about him, he and his brother were going on a mountain climbing excursion. I kissed him goodbye and told him to “be careful.” he rolled his eyes, “I always am.” he retorted.
I knew he was bluffing.
“He was doing well until… well he fell from this difficult area.” His brother had told me, “he was strapped in perfectly I don’t know where it went wrong but the rope just… didn’t hold, which as I told you is very unusual as it should have been able to hold his weight times ten. He was fearless grasping on to the side of the cliff patiently waiting for me to get him to safety.”
I broke, “What happened? Is he… okay? Will he be okay?”
“I couldn’t get to him on time – they’re searching for him.”
I went into a comma from that point. I had no reason to wake up in the morning, no one to bother smiling for. At least now I was in Greece, somewhere new I had never been with Miles… no places containing memories to haunt me of our past.
I continued putting the finishing touches of red paint on the feathers to give the Falcon the effect I was trying to achieve, when out of the corner of my eye I saw the thing I feared most. The thing I knew would come. Sitting on the Olive tree outside of my window, staring me straight in the eye, delivering to me the message; The Black Crow.
Miles was dead I was sure of it. I would no longer look into his green eyes and rotate around him connected and tied together by destiny. How could it be true with our bond so strong and unbreakable? I had hoped my praying could bring a miracle and he would be uninjured – alive and whole somewhere playing a practical joke on us all. But it was final for me, it had already been six months the search would have come to a close and I had to accept that there was no hope in finding him alive at this point. Where did I expect him to be, hiding out in a cave somewhere? My denial faded away but instead of the veil of innocence been lifted the veil changed into a thick dark cloak strangling and suffocating me until my body became sedated.
My weak arms dropped to my side my fingertips loosened.
Everything felt slow as I tried to comprehend this terrible news.
I had nothing to live for.
The paintbrush in my fingertips fell through the dead air beside me whilst my chest exploded in pain - not like a gunshot: quick and easy. My heart was a pincushion, a billion dull pins slowly driven in; or a rotten piece of meat in a dumpster maggots slowly gnawing away.
The red paint splattered against the floor and the crow let out a loud cry the sound of Agony and Alone.
While collapsing on the ground I dropped my entire paint palette in addition to the already fallen paintbrush, splattering myself in an assortment of shades and colours. I hoped they were black and blue a reflection of me beaten up and scared My Protector, My Universe - gone. The blackness of the sky swallowed up the dim flicker of my sun once and for all.
I lay on the floor for hours trying to decide what to do next; I knew my mother was at home with the phone in her hands delaying calling me. Randal would be talking her up, telling her what to say.
“Just call her. She needs to know, she’ll want to be here right now.” I could almost hear his deep voice reasoning.
“She’ll be devastated.” she would say back. I could picture her sitting at our glass and rod iron kitchen table clicking the talk button on and off, calling and hanging up again out of fear and loss of words.
Finally the sun went down, and the full moon shone through my window, the effect was haunting. I heard the phone ring. Once. Twice. Three times until my father picked it up. I could hear every creak of each step as he walked towards my room.
“Robyn, the phone for you.” I could see the worry in his eyes as he handed it to me, my mother would be on the phone; the bearer of bad news.
“Hello.” I cried “I know.” I told her before she said anything.
“He’s gone.” she whispered through sobs.
“I know.” I said. “I’m on my way home.” and I hung up the phone.
I had been in Greece for almost 5 months; it would be 5 months on the 25th of February. My father sat beside me trying to reason with me to stay but he knew it was no use.
“There is no reason for you to go now! It will just be worse back home; depressing. Just stay, maybe you can meet someone here. A new man.” He attempted weakly.
I knew he was just trying to help but that was the worst thing he could say; when Eve fell Adam fell with her even though he had the choice to create a new Eve, and that is what I would do – I would fall.
I had to go home for the funeral and after that I would stay near him. Of course there was no body found – but there would be a service for Miles up north near his parent’s cottage where they lived year round, they’re both retired and live a quiet life, drinking tea and reading old books that smell foist and mossy; sleeping in until the sun decides to wake them. “For closure” they had told me on the phone.
“I can’t the service.”
“Well, come back right after the service stay!” His blue eyes widened in emotion, “I want to spend time with you, and we can help each other out you know.”
I was a lot like my father. Creative, emotional, caring, intelligent, and most of all stubborn. I had made my decision; I was going back to stay. I would find a place to live up north with the money I had saved working for my father, and I would stay there; paint, read. It was no fantastic, adventurous life but it would have to do.
Life gave me lemons, some people try to squeeze these lemons and make lemonade. But I knew that this effort would be useless as my lemons were impossible to squeeze: hard as rocks and dry, not a drop of juice to make lemonade.
My dad got off of my bed where we were sitting and folding clothes and packing my things. I could feel his weight disappear and the end of my bed I was sat on sink down.
“Alright, I see you have made your decision… But you know you’re always welcome to come back.” he gave me a sad smile and left the room without another word, closing the door with a small click behind him.
I like being alone sometimes, to reorganize my thoughts, and plan my next moves. I love daydreaming and making up imaginative conversations with people, trying to foresee events before they occur. When I was young my remarkable imagination often led to disappointment. Birthday parties were never as good as I foretold in my daydreams. I remember at my sixth birthday party my parents rented a huge bouncy castle. It was a round one with the roof coloured in blue and yellow, netted off for safety. The bouncy castle was set up on my driveway, and although my driveway was somewhat slanted we never thought it would be a problem. Once the twenty or so kids started jumping around in the bouncy castle it toppled over sending screaming children everywhere. Luckily no one was hurt but there were many tears from an unhappy six year old birthday girl.
As I got older I started to daydream of upcoming events such as dances, proms, and dates. They never worked out as planned. I would imagine conversations with crushes that I had, and then I would become infatuated with the person I had created in my mind; the real them was never how I imagined resulting in many failed relationships.
I had dreamed of my prom like many other little girls, watching chick flicks with the popular cheerleaders and jocks. I wanted to have the perfect dress and the perfect date. I found the perfect dress downtown on Queen Street in a dress shop called F/X. It was the first dress I tried on - made of light turquoise silk, down to the ground with a beautiful train. Under the bust there were silver sequins sewn in a beautiful pattern and they extended around to the beautiful, sophisticated low back. I felt like a movie star when I tried it on and knew it was the one. It showed off my delicate collar bones, and left the store ladies speechless. I wasn’t as lucky picking out the date. Too bad you can’t walk into a shop and choose a man, pick them out as if picking out a dress; and although fashion can be confusing, with changing styles and different designers - men are much more complicated. I was supposed to go to prom with one of my guy friends Nick, we had been best friends for four years and were just starting to ease into the more than friends territory. It was grey where we were but I suspected our relationship to blossom steadily. Regardless of my intentions he ditched me a week before prom and I ended up going with my friend Shannon. My prom picture has the two of us smiling trying to prove our independence. At least I looked radiant in that dress, he’s bound to regret ditching me.
My first year of University I vowed that I would no longer put these false perceptions of people in my head. I met Miles when I decided to put down my textbooks for once and get a snack from the cafeteria. I was in line behind him deciding between cheese or vegetarian pizza - I am terrible at making decisions and ended up buying both. He turned around right as I was handed the pizza and he almost knocked into me. Wow he was beautiful. Not the classical movie star beautiful of tall dark and handsome, those with shaven faces and a james bond tuxedo. He was tall-(ish) about 5’8, he had an alternative style and was wearing black skateboarding shoes and a tight white t-shirt and jeans. His face was scruffy and he had light chestnut hair and big green eyes that made me want to lean in and kiss him right there in the cafeteria. “Oh sorry!” he said, surprised that he’d almost plowed me over like a frightened deer in headlights. We rode the elevator back up to our rooms together sneaking glances. Although I did fantasize about being with him I tried not to let my imagination wander to intensely. Instead of just planning our conversations I decided to act them out in reality and get to know the real him, so this time around I would have no false perceptions.
Surprisingly he was even better than I had anticipated.