“I work three damn jobs to pay for your education, and now I’m late again for work because I have to make sure you actually go to school.”
It was a speech Bryn was too familiar with, hearing it a thousand times before. Only this time, she noticed something different. Something strange lingered over her mother’s head like a crown of thorns. It was the same ominous figure that Bryn’s mother saw over her husband the day he died.
“Ma, I know you work hard for me. It’s just today is the anniversary of dad’s…” she paused.
The silence echoed throughout the room and shattered her mother’s heart. In disarray, her mother quickly grabbed her things and pressed herself towards the door. Before Bryn could say anything else, her mother already had a foot out the door.
“Baby you know I only want what’s best for you. I love you, I got to go.”
Bryn followed in her mother’s footsteps, storming out of the house trying to make it to school on time. During the walk to school, the thoughts about her father could not escape her. Sing your favorite song –she thought but nothing helped. Her father was killed in a drive-by shooting last year on his way back from dropping her off at school. The suspects were never caught, and all they were left with was a picture of the getaway vehicle, a blue Chevy Nova.
Bryn decided to call her mother to make sure she was okay. Searching through her phone, she realized her mother’s contact was no longer there. It must have deleted itself, she thought as she dialed the numbers. It rang, but no answer.
“You’ve reached Lydia, please leave a massage after the tone and I’ll get back to you. BEEP.”
This made Bryn feel unease; her mother always picked up the phone every time she called.
“Ma, today isn’t an easy day for either of us. I wanted to make sure you were okay. You’re the only one left that I have. I’ll see you home later on tonight. Bye, I love you.”
She hated talking to these machines. It was as if she left a piece of her soul for anyone to listen to every time she left a voicemail. After Bryn’s father died, her mother would leave him a voicemail every day, each one chipping away a part of her sanity. The last time she did it, someone picked up.
As she looked up, an oncoming car came speeding inches past her. “Asshole!” she yelled sticking up her middle finger. As she continued her stroll to school, three police cruisers sped past her. Her neighborhood was infested with crime and gangs, so she did not think twice about it and continued walking.
Arriving to school two periods into the day, she blended in with the rest of the students so she would not be called out for being late. Her third period class was bible studies.
For the entire class period, Bryn stood on her phone liking Instagram posts and Snapchatting her friends fooling around behind her.
“Bryn, put your phone away before I send you to the principal,” Mrs. Arnold said, “as a matter of fact, can you repeat to the class what I just said?”
“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death,” she paused. She remembered this verse from her father’s funeral.
Bryn was a master at making believe she was paying attention. She had years of practice pretending to listen when her mother forced her to go to church. Suddenly, a shadow appeared at the door. It was Principal Swift.
“Good morning class. Bryn, could you see me in my office please?”
The room fell into total silence. Every student’s worse nightmare was being asked to visit the principal’s office. Following Principal Swift out of the classroom, Bryn gave Mrs. Arnold a look of disgust as if she was the one who called him in.
The walk to the principal’s office felt like an eternity. As they were walking, all Bryn could think about was her mom. She would have texted me by now –she thought. Her stomach began to fill with knots.
“Please, have a seat Bryn.”
Bryn sat down in what felt like purgatory. The office was empty, and Bryn could smell the aroma of freshly painted walls. Bryn surveyed the blank room to find a way out, but there were none.
“I am sorry for being late, but there was something wrong with my moth…”
“Bryn that is not why I called you in here. I received news in regards to your mother. Bryn, your mother has been killed.”
The look of horror on her face was the same as her mother’s when given the news about her husband’s death, as if it was passed down genetically.
“She was walking down the boulevard when a group of men jumped out of a car and tried to mug her. Refusing to give up her purse, they shot her three times.”
Bryn felt like her throat was being crushed. Words could not escape her lips.
“The only thing we know so far is that they drove away in a blue Chevy Nova.”
Tears began to flow down her face like the river of Lethe. Her mouth let no words out as if she had forgotten how to speak. As she wiped away her tears, it became so vivid to her; how everything was connected. It all seemed so surreal as if she was trapped in a lucid dream. Suddenly, her blood escaped her face and her eyes nearly popped out of her head.
The car that almost ran her over on her way to school was the same car in the pictures. It was the same car that the Principal mentioned. It was the blue Chevy Nova.