A piece or writing I had to do for English a few weeks back, my teacher really liked it, so I thought I might as well post it.
This is an English writing assignment we had to do a few weeks back. We had just finished reading (or in my case re-reading XD) the book The house on mango street by Sandra Cisneros, and our (huge Michael Jackson fan) English teacher asked us to write something in Cisneros' style. For those of you who haven't read the book, it's written in little 'vignettes', where each chapter is it's own vignette (some of which are very short, others longer). Our task was to write a vignette about something personal, that could fit in a book like The House on Mango street.
Oh, and to avoid confusion, I'm American (half French though) but am currently living in northern Spain (I've moved around alot). So, I'm fluent in both French and English, and can understand Spanish even though I can't speak it that well. (I haven't lived here for that long).I go to an american school though. Also, my first name is actually Abigail, and my family still calls me that, but everybody else calls me by my middle name, Angelica. (It's not that I don't like the name Abigail, it's just a really long story...) anyways...
I remember it. Like it was yesterday. Not that it was too long ago, but long enough for me to be able to write this. I don’t remember the weather here that day, or what I was doing. But I remember seeing my mom, eyes red like a rabbit’s, knock on my bedroom door while I was listening to…Radiohead, I think it was…or was it The Used? It’ doesn’t matter. Come in. Tell me the bad news I never thought I’d get. Abby…Dad got a phone call this morning. From Jeanne. Normally I would’ve asked how she was, but something in that tone of voice…I turned off my Ipod, I put down my pencil. It’s Grandma…
That was it. I knew what had happened. You…You had passed away. Out like a light, peacefully, quietly, completely unsuspecting during your sleep.
We got on the first plane to Newark, oh, how nice it felt to be home. To be in the country I belonged in. For some reason, the air in New Jersey to me smells like a mix of pizza and gas, but I love it just the same. I’ve never actually lived there, but I love it. I love it because that’s where more than half my family is from, and hell, that makes sense, no? I still love Westfield New Jersey. I still have a blue blanket that reads Westfield New Jersey on my bed; it’s made out of the same comfortable cuddly stuff they make hoodies out of. I loved it when we visited, loved it when we’d talk. Loved it when we went and met with aunts and uncles. I guess I even kind of loved it when I had to chase that dog down the street to get her back in the house. Of course, then I didn’t love it, but now, I love the memory… Playing the old piano I couldn’t play, it’s old, rusty notes floating through the air, but beautiful just the same.
I remember that plane ride. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it. I panicked. I don’t know if you’d call it a panic attack, but that’s what it felt like to me. Actually now, I know that it was. We were stuck on this plane, Singapore airlines it was I think, so crowded that just getting on it I panicked. I got so sick, I had to go to the front of the plane; I couldn’t breathe. I guess now that I think about it, I’m kind of claustrophobic: I freak out whenever I’m in such a tight space I can’t move, or when there simply is no way out, or no air. But that’s beside the point. I remember crying, not being able to breathe, telling dad, your son, I had to go home. I couldn’t do this. I was just so sick. I just didn’t see how I could possible get through that ride. I just didn’t. It’s not like I thought that I’d die or anything, everything in my head was spinning so much that I wasn’t thinking. I just knew one thing: I would not get through that flight. That was the first time I felt like that. I just didn’t see how I’d get through it. I wanted to be there with dad, to see you one last time, but those four hours, I didn’t even know what I wanted. Everything was a blur. A crying, sobbing, spinning, hysterical blur. I couldn’t breathe properly; I thought I was gonna faint. Really. I really did. I thought that somehow I’d wake up and everything would be all right. That I’d be at home, right where I had been before I’d gotten the news. It’s only writing this that I realize, and really, only now that I realize and think that was the “one too many”, the little drop of water that caused the jug to overflow, like we say in French. I think it’s when I really started having anxiety problems. I have them now. Yup. Big fat and ugly problems with anxiety. And I didn’t know where they came from, until about…well, how long ago was it that I wrote this paragraph? Not very long; I am, after all, still writing it and I didn’t take a break. But yeah…sometimes it’s really bad. It really really is. I’ve missed some school because of it, I just couldn’t go to school those days, whatever the reason was. I don’t even remember the reason now. But I remember not going. I lied. Said I was sick. Well, technically my stomach did hurt, my head was throbbing and I felt like I’d pass out or something, but it wasn’t form the flu, or whatever bug was going around. My stomach hurt because it felt like it had been invaded by little ants that were wearing studded combat boots or something. Repeatedly stabbing my digestive system. My head felt like it’d burst, I felt like I’d break down like I had in the plane. And sometimes I did. Sometimes I start shaking so much, I start crying. Sometimes it feels like repeated punches in the stomach. Sometimes it feels like I’m being run over. I didn’t know how to handle it. After months of this I finally talked to dad. To your son. He’s wonderful. He’s really helped me. We’ve gotten a lot closer since…well…since you left us. And it turns out I do, I do have Una anxiedad muy muy alta, y que tengo que dejar de sufrir. No kidding, I’d figured that out for myself. But I guess…I was hoping it wasn’t true. But I’m getting off topic. I was writing about you…
I remember when we got to the hotel after what was possibly the worst trip of my life. 30 something hours travelling, panicking, crying… I saw them all. Aunt Jeanne and Uncle Dennis. Kerry. Uncle Bob and Erin and Mel. Mel’s in college, in New York. But you know that, don’t you? I think so. Kerry changed jobs. She likes her new one too. She’s still with Joe, and she got a hamster. So maybe the hamster isn’t the most important thing, but it’s called Heidi. Why I’m telling you about a hamster, don’t ask me.., they scare me. I don’t think I ever told you; my friend had 2 hamsters; one day one hamster ate the other’s head. I just realized I’m rambling…talking or, writing about nothing in particular…I guess it’s just nice to pretend. Pretend I’m talking to you. Really talking to you. Just saying random stuff, in a casual conversation.
I remember the funeral. Well, you know me. I cry extremely easily. I cried while watching the music video of The Ghost of You for like, five hours straight. You have no idea what I’m talking about, but that’s ok. Because in my mind I’m talking to you right now. You are still alive and healthy. Except you aren’t. I cried so much at the funeral. Kerry read a poem. It’s now framed and on my desk, my copy of her poem. It was a sweet poem. I wanted to write a poem, I normally love to write. But I just couldn’t. I couldn’t write. So, I didn’t. No poem. Abigail Angelica has nothing to read, because she can’t say anything. That’s why she didn’t read anything. No words to write it with, no voice to say it with. Nothing. No voice. Abigail Angelica No Voice [insert last name here]. Yup.
But I said goodbye; painful as it was. I said goodbye for mom too, she really wanted to come…like she wanted to come for Beth. I was with dad when he said goodbye. He was crying. I had never seen my dad cry. Not once, not never. Until that trip. Until we had to go back to Jersey, cold December. Dad saw Chip. Chip came. He came; just like he’d come for Beth…Dad was happy to see him. Aunt Jeanne told that story, of how one time when you went back into the city with her, back to the theater you went to as a kid, where you went for your…eightieth birthday? I think it was eightieth. She told the story of how you were a ‘one tough lady’. Well, you’d grown up in Yonkers. She said that, while you were on the sidewalk, a yellow cab came zooming by and rolled onto the curb. The city ones, the “yellow” ones that really look like gone-off mustard… with the ‘NYC’ markings on them, you know them. Jeanne said she was so scared you’d get hit or something. But oh no. Not you Dorothy. You took your cane, planted it in the cab’s bumper, and said “Oh no you don’t”. I love that story. I think I’ve told it to everyone I know well, at least twice. Oh, and while we’re at it, those taxi drivers, some really do drive like crap. Denny told the story of how you ate all his chocolates one night. You loved chocolate. I got that from you. I love it too.
I keep the souvenirs Jeanne gave me; they are in my room, in a box, next to the Nirvana poster and Iron Maiden drawings and print-outs. I take them out once in a while. I cry when I do. I showed them to dad. He told me: Take good care of those. Don’t worry. I will. I really wish you were still here…but sometimes I think maybe its best this way. You lived a long, healthy life. But you weren’t getting any younger, even though sometimes you’d joke and say you were. You had such good sense of humor, always brightened up anybody’s day, like sunny daffodils. Like the ones I suggested we should get you after Beth’s funeral. But you were fading…so was your memory…and that must have been painful…not remembering things. You had told Jeanne, Bob and dad you didn’t want to be kept alive artificially. So they followed that will. And so you left us. And we miss you. So much. We always will. But I don’t doubt that you’re in a really good place. With grandpa and Beth, and many others. I don’t doubt you’re in a wonderful place. I don’t doubt that this maybe was for the best, a longer life and you probably would have suffered. You lived long, happy and healthy. But all that won’t ever stop me from missing you.
You know how I know you’re in a good place? Because, during that hellish plane ride (not the Singapore one, that one never even took off) but another one, we sat next to a woman. Near the end, we started talking to her. And, that’s how I knew you were okay. She was coming back from Montenegro, from her mother’s funeral. Her mother had died of natural causes, like you. She was 86, like you. That woman lived in Yonkers, where you were born. And there were other coincidences too, but those are the ones I remember. At the end, that woman gave me a pack of gum. She said her children though that the gum from Montenegro had more flavor. She was right, it was really good. It was lemon flavored…you liked lemon, didn’t you?
The day I got that news…well, a lot of things made no sense. After Beth, you. And after you, well, it seemed like death was all around. It still does. Sometimes, it’s like “what’s the point, you’re just going to die in the end”. But then, I remember all the good things. Good memories, good times…All the things that make this earth a good place. All the things that make children smile.
It was when it really struck me, like a reality check, that life was just as sour as it was sweet. Only that by cherishing the good times and not dwelling on the bad ones we could tip the scale. We could make life sweeter. We could make it better. Because in the end, it all gets better doesn’t it? Just like it did for Esperanza, if the book continued, she’d find her home. And if we all continue, we’ll find ours too.
I played Helena over and over again that day. You know…the song Helena? By My Chem? No. you don’t know…That stands for My Chemical Romance by the way. See. That’s another thing I’d tell you if you were still here. I’m not even sure you’d listen…My Chem who? But that’s ok…It’s about the loss of their grandmother. Well, the singer and the bassist’s grandmother. Beautiful song. Beautiful album . Actually, it’s my favorite album. They are my favorite band. You know The Ghost Of You, I mentioned it earlier? It’s also by them. You don’t know what I’m talking about…but that’s ok…I know you‘d still care.
I’ve been writing a lot more lately. And drawing and painting more too. And dad is teaching me to read sheet music. I figured it’ll come in handy, even though for guitar I still use tabs…but hey, sheet music is helpful right? I hope so, cause it ain’t that fun to learn. Oh, and I got a new guitar a few months back. Named him Frankster. Yeah, him. I really love him, although right now I’m kinda annoyed because I split my finger with one of the strings (I’d tell you never to play an electric without a pick…). I said I was writing more too right? I’m now writing on this fan fic website…The people there are really cool. Just plain awesome. Really, I’m so happy whenever I get a review! They are really awesome people. Creative, funny, artistic, music-obsessed, inspiring…Oh…I’m rambling again aren’t I? I do that a lot…
I really miss you. And I always will. I love you. We all do.
Your family remembers your love and care
So many great memories we all share
With grandpa and Aunt Beth I now know you are
Heaven has truly gained another bright star.
That was the last verse of Kerry’s poem.
well...I'd love to hear whatcha think! We had to write something personal, and for me, both my grams' death and my problems with anxiety are quite personal, so that's why I wrote about that. It was due a few weeks back, so it's been graded and all, but I really want to improve my writing, so if you guys have any suggestions or see anything that needs improvement please let me know :)