The Service, All Too Real & 3AM Fights

By Aaliyah Jackson, 16 years old

The Service

I woke up in the morning in my aunt’s apartment, the sky was a light blue and the sun peaked in through the living room windows. It was quiet in the house, I was the only one awake at this early hour. I wasn’t hungry, I don’t think I was hungry at all that day.

When I walked into the church with my sister I instantly felt uncomfortable, I was never a religious person, I couldn’t even remember the last time I stepped foot in a church. I walked down the aisle, the chairs were a fiery red and the curtains hanging were blue.

I wasn’t sad.

I was annoyed if anything, the people who started to pour into the church were the ones who killed my mother. I blame all of them.

I walked to the basement to get away from the people, the walls were grey, and the floor was a dirty white, the chairs were red and uncomfortable, but I sat in them anyway. I wanted it to be over, I wanted to get away from all these people that call themselves family to me, but don’t know anything about me.

It was starting.

I went back upstairs and took a seat next to both of my brothers. The pastor started talking, but I ignored it. When people walked up to podium to talk about my mother I rolled my eyes at most of them, they didn’t give a damn about her.

I hated the looks I got from not slipping a single tear, I wouldn’t allow myself to cry in front of these people. They don’t deserve to look at me with pity in their eyes, I was the strong one after all.

My aunt walked up the podium next, she had my letter that I wanted her to read, my heart beat sped up, but I didn’t let that show. She called me up to stand next to her and I was scared she was going to make me read, she didn’t.

I stood next to her as she read my words, “I always thought when I got my first book published I would look my mom in her eyes, jump up and down together and just cry.” I felt everyone’s eyes on me, but I kept my eyes on the floor. “I thought I’d go prom dress shopping with her and have her watch me walk at graduation. I think I understand why people are religious, they like to believe they have somewhere to go after death. Well, I don’t think like that and that makes this so much worse. What happens after you die? Are you just gone? Or is some part of you still here?”

My aunt paused a moment making me look up to her before she started again, “I do believe there are two deaths,” my eyes returned to the floor, “first death is when you die, and the second is the last time someone says your name. Well, Tori Thomas isn’t going to die her second death as long as I’m alive. Lastly, I just want to say that Nobody wants to see us Together by Akon and Meet me Halfway by the Black Eyed Peas were our songs. They will always be our songs, and every time I hear them I will smile and think of you.

I feel like there is so much more to say, just not enough words to say them.

‘I love you more than all the words in all the books’ I can still hear your voice in my head saying those words.

There’s so many stories that I told my mom that dies with her. So many inside jokes and feelings. Things that I’ve never told anyone else, not because I was afraid, but because it didn’t matter if anyone else knew.

She was one of the only, if just the only, person I’ve read my poetry to, my poems are personal and always written in a time where I was losing myself.

I wrote a poem about my mom, called She is She, I am Me”

My aunt stopped again and I looked up to her, “I think you should read this part.”

My eyes widened as she handed me the paper and I took the microphone from her. I could feel my hands sweating and my head rushing in my chest.

Everyone was staring at me.

“I love the way she says my name, the way she talks about me. She loves me I know she does, it’s obvious when she sees me, the light in her eyes when I walk into the room.” My voice shok and I couldn’t catch a single clean breath. It was like the air was polluted with a thick smoke that prevented me from breathing properly. “I feel the same honestly, I can relate to her on so many different levels it’s astonishing.” I felt tears prick my eyes, but I tried my hardest to hold them back. “She’s not always there, like everyone else she was here when she wanted to be, rarely when she needed to be.” I broke. Everything I’ve held in for the last week was coming out in front of everyone. I continued, “I didn’t mind, she was she and I guess that’s what made up for it. She lied of course, but so have I. She’s flawed of course, but so am I. She’s crazy of course, but so am I. I guess that’s what brings us so close together, we’re both alike in so many different ways and that’s probably what scares us the most. Being like her, being compared to her from more than just our looks, it scares me not only because she is she, but because I am me.”

I quickly handed the microphone to my aunt and walked back to my seat avoiding everyone’s pity stares. They got what they wanted. I’ve never seen my brothers cry, but when I walked back to my seat I saw both of them crying. It only made me cry more.

But I had to be strong.

I wiped my tears and held my brothers’ hands, I watched them as tears ran out of their eyes and rolled down their cheeks damping their shirt sleeves.

I was done crying the rest of the day, I said what I had to say, I grieved, and now I’m done.


All Too Real

It was semester finals of my first year in college. I was a bit nervous, but I do extremely well in each of my classes. It does get a bit stressful with school and work, but I was always put under pressure, so I can handle it. I walked into class five minutes early, like always, and got out all my necessary things for class, which was just my laptop. I was minding my own business, lost in thought, when the girl in front of me sat down right before the professor walked in through the door. She had a cup of coffee in her hand and a Monster drink in the other.

I watched her, intrigued, as she started to pour the Monster into her coffee. That can’t possibly be healthy. The professor was still setting up when I heard her say, “I’m going to die,” then she started to chug the mixture of the energy drink and coffee.

I couldn’t help but to smile at the strange girl in front of me. She soon turned around when the professor started class, “Hey, can I borrow a pencil?” I looked at her for a moment, her hand was twitching, and her eyes were slightly wide, I smiled and handed her a pencil. She thanked me and turned back around.

At the end of class, she turned back to me, “Do you want this back?”

I shook my head, “You can keep it.”

She nodded, “Thanks.”

I smiled and watched her walk away from me, I wish I would have said more to her or have done something. I just don’t think I’ll ever get that chance again.

Over the next few weeks, I’ve seen her around campus, she always looked tired, like she just doesn’t sleep. I thought it was finals, but finals were now over and everyone went home for the holidays. I was walking around campus, just enjoying the emptiness and the snow. I heard commotion around the corner and when I turned it a body fell into mine. I stabled both of us and looked at the girl in my arms.

“Oh my god!” She hit herself on the forehead, “I’m such a klutz!”

I couldn’t help, but to wonder why she was still here, the only people who don’t go home for winter break and the ones without families. “What are you doing here? It’s winter break.”

She stood up, “I guess I could ask you the same thing, huh?”

I chuckled, “Yeah, I guess you could.” It was silent for a moment while I looked into her blue eyes, “Are you alone for the holidays?”

She nodded and looked down for a moment, there was a hint of sadness in her eyes, but when she looked up to me she put a smile on her face like she was trying to convince not only me, but herself that she was okay. “Yeah, I guess I am. What about you?”

“Yeah, same.” She shivered from the coldness, she was only wearing a light jacket, pajama pants, and a hat on her head. “Why don’t we go to the coffee shop? Hang out for a bit?”

She smiled and nodded, “Yeah that sounds fun.”

I smiled and turned to walk beside her, “Here.” I gave her my coat since I was wearing two.

“Thank you,” she wrapped her arms around herself as we walked.

“My name is Alex by the way,” I looked over to her.

“Charlie,”  she smiled. Her brown hair framed her face and her blue eyes popped against her rosy cheeks. It was the first conversation we had ever had, but I swear I was in love.

Over the rest of the winter break, we spent basically every moment together. She slept in my dorm room a lot. We woke-up next to each other on Christmas morning, exchanged presents and even kissed on New Year’s.

I could’ve sworn up and down that I was in love with this girl. The one girl that I had only known for a few short weeks. The time for classes to again came rolling back and my head started to spin.

On the first day of classes, she wasn’t there. I kept looking for her and calling her, but her phone number didn’t work.

I tapped my pencil on my laptop. It was the same pencil that gave Charlie. Wait, why did I have it? My heart started to race. I couldn’t think. I picked up my bag and walked out of the lecture. I would go to her dorm room, but I didn’t know where it was, she always came to mine.

Nothing was making sense.

For weeks I thought of a girl with electric blue eyes and rosy cheeks, but she never showed up. Soon she started to fade from my memory,as I thought of her as nothing, but a distant memory, my winter break distraction.

Although, it been years,I still think of her from time to time. I convinced myself that I made it all up in my head, that it was just a dream, but it felt all too real.


3 AM Fights

3AMDrake sat on top of her lover, they just got out of a heated argument. Drake ended up with tears streaming down her face while her lover was just stone cold. That’s how all of their fights ended up, tear stained cheeks and a set jaw. They fought way too much, everyone knew they weren’t going to last much longer, but they were so madly in love they didn’t care what anyone else said. Their fights would take place at three in the morning with bottles being thrown around, screaming, and crying until the neighbors called the cops to stop the fight. They always went back to each other, after all, they were in love.

Drake has been with this lover since high school and she didn’t want to let go of that, but maybe it was for the best. Drake’s tears dried up and she finally got the strength to look up to her high school crush, “You always cry when we fight,” her lover mumbled, eyes not meeting hers.

And you never let a single tear fall,” her voice cracked.

It shouldn’t be this hard,” Drake looked away from the one person who could have her on her knees in seconds.

“Love shouldn’t be this hard.” She heard him sigh.

You still love me?” Drake asked curiously, she hasn’t heard those three words in a long time.

It’s hard when we’re always fighting.”

I love you.”

“We’ll just end up fighting again, cops will be called, I’ll leave, then we’ll be okay after a day. That’s not how this should work.”

“Then change,” Drake turned around and sat on her knees to look into those beautiful green eyes, “We can change, we just have to try.”

“I think it’s too late to change,” green eyes left her blue ones.

Drake frowned, “You aren’t even gonna try, you always do that. You just give up,” Drake’s voice started to rise. Her blue eyes met green making her sigh, “I don’t want to give this up,” she pleaded to her lover, “We can do this, no more fights, please.”

You always cry when we fight,” green eyes repeated.

Drake leaned back onto her heels, “I guess it just shows I’m not ready to lose you, it scares me.”

Yeah.”

You’ve never cried or even teared up during a fight,” Drake whispered.

I guess it shows I’m ready for when this ends.” Drake looked down to her hands, she wasn’t ready for this, she didn’t want to lose the only person who meant this much to her. She felt her chest constrict, her eyes teared up, but she didn’t let them fall. Not this time. It was silent for a long moment, I’m sorry, Drake.”

Don’t be.” Drake stood up, “I’ll just go,” she started packing a bag, then she left to stay with a friend.

Her friend was not surprised to see Drake crying on her doorstep at three in the morning, she did what any good friend would. She listened and held Drake as she cried out in pain of her first love leaving the home they had built in her heart, but little did she know her home was crying over the emptiness in the bed beside them where her body indent lay.

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