I dreamed of her tonight. Bossing me around like she did before, Jacob this, Jacob that. I was her handyman. It was a definite fabrication of my mind. She was gone; she could never hear me, not even a single word. She wouldn’t even dare to listen. Yesterday, I passed her by, called out her name. But, was she deaf to my voice? Like I was trapped in this other world, I was looking at her through this mirror. I could only see, never quite touch. Come back to me, Adriana. I miss you and our two little kids. I’m sorry.
I stood up and toddled my way to the fridge. Thankfully, there were still two bottles of iced cold beer. Took one and closed it, I stopped when I saw a family picture hanged by a magnetic pin. Bittersweet, like this beer down my throat, washing down memories, everything was gone in minutes. One more though, and I’m no longer here. I opened the fridge once more. To my surprise, the beer disappeared. I swear I got one more!
Then I heard her cries. “Adriana.” I whispered. She was on the floor weeping, trying hard to be silent, so the kids won’t hear. Beside her was my beer; in her hand was the picture, the memory of us as a family. I quickly closed the fridge, the picture wasn’t there.
I moved closer and kneeled before her.
“Please go.” she murmured in between tears.
“Adriana, I’m sorry.”
“I told you a hundred times to stop.”
I looked at her, confused, brows furrowed. She stood up. The beer in her hand was empty. “You never listened, Jacob. So, I drank your beer!”
“Mama?” little Timmy and Sophie were awake. Timmy was scratching his eyes. Sophie went by her mother’s side, stroked her hair, and hugged her protectively. I gasped when I saw Sophie missing an arm.
“Adriana, what have you done?” I nailed my fist on the wall. What happened to my little girl? She was only six, and Timmy was three.
“Hush, mama. We’re sad, too.” Sophie said.
Adriana took her in her arms and kissed her cheeks. “I’m sorry. Mama’s here.” She looked at Timmy, “Come here, Timmy.”
The little boy hesitated, but obliged in the end. He smiled when he felt his mama’s arms wrapped around him.
What have I done?
“Papa’s here.” mumbled little Timmy, sucking his thumb.
“Shh. Let’s go back to sleep.” Adriana carried our little siblings to their bedroom.
I followed them, but she slammed the door in my face. I stayed behind my kids’ bedroom wall and listened to Adriana hummed them their favorite lullaby.
I am here, on the other side, as if I never existed. My heart was filled with pain and anger. I wanted to hold them. I wanted to punch these walls and let them know I was here. Why won’ you let me, Adriana?
I woke up in an empty house. No Adriana, no kids. I heard the garage closed and their voices as they boarded the car. It was filled with suitcases and our things.
“Adriana, where are you taking them?” I cried. I looked around, the house wasn’t just empty. It was vacant. I hurried to the garage, started my car, and drove after them. I caught glimpse of a sign in front of our house, sold. They couldn’t leave just like that without telling me. I followed their trail, every corner they took, I pursued. They could never escape my sight. My eyes were glued at their tracks. Finally, they halted. Adriana got out of the car. The kids tagged along with her. Timmy pulled the hems of her shirt. She took him in her arms, carried him. They stopped at a gravestone that bore my name, Jacob Reyes.
It was then that I remembered Sophie had an accident. I had been drinking that night. I had been drinking all day. Adriana was still at work. I asked Sophie to buy me some more beer. She went back bleeding profusely. She was silent, terrified. A dog attacked her on the way home.
“Oh my god, my baby! What the hell happened?” it was Adriana rushes to Sophie’s side. “What the fuck did you do?” she was looking at me, eyes accusatory.
“Get in the car!” I yelled.
“I can’t lose my baby, Jacob!” she screamed. Sophie was in her lap.
“Mama?” it was Timmy, afraid and confused.
“Fuck it, Jacob. Have you been drinking again?”
“Shut your mouth. Shut the door.”
“Get the hell out of the wheel, I’m driving! You bastard!” she yelled and hit me with her fist. I didn’t budge.
“Mama!” Timmy was crying in the driveway.
Adriana stepped out of the car to fetch Timmy. “Alright baby. Come here, we’re taking Sophie to the hospital.” She left Sophie on the passenger seat. I locked the doors, started the car, and drove away.
“Jacob!” I still hear the echoes of my name. I drove and drove though the road was blurry. I could not let my Sophie, die.
“Papa?” she uttered, half asleep. I glanced at her and brushed her hair.
“Stay with me, sweetie, please.”
“Papa, turn off the conditioner. I’m cold.”
“I’m sorry, baby. Papa’s sorry.”
“I know. Don’t let me die.”
I raced on the road beyond the speed limit. I couldn’t lose Sophie. I drove past every red light in town. I didn’t care. I had to save my baby.
“You’re not gonna die, sweetie. Papa’s here.”
At last, I could see the well lit hospital name. I made a sharp turn to its wide entrance. No, I didn’t see the motorcycle in a hurry, crossed in front of us. We crashed into the motorcycle, smashed it to pieces. I grabbed my baby in my arms, embraced her tightly, and secured her head. An iron railing pierced through the windshield creating shrapnel and fragments of glass scattered all over the place as our car tumbled against the solid ground.
People rushed, lights, red and blue flashed in front of me. They were in uniforms, kneeling on the ground, peeking in the window. I could barely hear them, but I could read their lips asking if I was okay. I looked at my little Sophie, weeping.
“Hush. It’s gonna be alright.”
“Papa.” she was staring at me, mortified. The iron bar went through her arm. It was badly beaten. I tried to reach for her arm to stop the bleeding, but I couldn’t move. I was out of breath. The iron pierced through my chest, penetrated through Sophie’s limb.
“Sweetie, don’t be scared. Time to be brave.”
“Uh-uh.” She muttered sobbing.
“Good.” I smiled at her, reassuringly, and closed my eyes. I cherished that time she was in my arms.
That was a year ago. This was my fate, set in replay for me to remember that very day. Only next year, I would have the luxury of forgetting. For no one would be there to remind me of my family, not even the picture on the fridge. I would be no more than an entity trapped in that house, of vacuous existence. There would be no remnants of my previous reality.
Adriana made a final glance at my headstone before she went inside the car. I watched my family drove away, and the only memory I’m gonna have, were these two white candles at my grave.