In Loving Memory Of My Darling Step Brother

In Loving Memory Of My Darling Step Brother

November 2003-March 2017
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Ernest,

I miss you so much. I smile remembering your cute little dimple on your face. I smile remembering playing out in the yard for years with your brother, John Charles, and my sister, Vivian. I smile when I remember jumping on the trampoline failing to do backflips. I smile remembering running to the big willow tree in the front yard that was ideal for climbing and was perfectly surrounded by leaves so no one could see all of our shenanigans.

I laugh thinking about sitting at the dinner table rolling my eyes when you would say, "little Audrey strong and able, keep your elbows off the table." I laugh picturing little Ernest running around trying to keep up with your older brother with a huge nerf gun in your hand. I remember how smart you are. You always were the best in your class at math and blew me away with how easily you grasped the material.

Sometimes, I cry. I cry because the last time I saw you I was walking through the cafeteria when I was about to get on a bus for a soccer game. You were so tall. The little nugget who I ran around the yard with and played sharks and minnows in the pool with was taller than me. I cry because, on this Earth, I won't see you again. However, I have many more reasons to smile.

You are my little brother, and what a lucky girl I am to have gotten to spend so much time with you. You will always still be here. I feel nostalgic remembering all four of us kids cuddled up in the man cave watching movies. Since Vivian is in your class, she makes sure to always fill your locker with flowers.

All of your friends have put sweet notes inside as well so you are honored and remembered as you should be. You left quickly, but regardless of the amount of time you got, this time was anything but wasted. You made so many people smile and laugh like you did for me. Your silly, bright energy was contagious and still is. There are times you appear in my thoughts, these moments I stop and I do not cry, I smile. I feel your energy inside of me and I get so excited to see you again soon.

Love ya Ern:)

Cover Image Credit: Audrey Hall

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Dear Mom, Now That I'm Older

A letter to the woman who made me the woman I am today.
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Dear Mom,

Now that I'm older, I definitely appreciate you a lot more than I did as a kid. I appreciate the little things, from the random text messages to constantly tagging me on Facebook in your "funny" photos and sending me pins of stuff I like on Pinterest. Now that I'm older, I can look back and realize that everything I am is all because of you. You've made me strong but realize it's okay to cry. You've shown me how a mother gives everything to her children to give them a better life than she had, even when she's left with nothing. And, most importantly you've taught me to never give up and without this, I would not be where I am today.

Mom, now that I'm older, I realize that you're the best friend I'm ever going to have. You cheer me on when I try new things and support me in deciding to be whatever person I want to be. Thank you for never telling me I can't do something and helping me figure out ways to be the best woman I can be. Your love for me is unconditional. They say true, unconditional love can only come from God, but mom, I think you're a pretty close second.

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Now that I'm older, I don't get to see you as much. But not seeing you as much just makes the times I do get to see you the absolute best, and I look forward to it every time. Now that I'm older, I'm not going to live at home. But, I promise to always come back because I know the door is always open. Your house is always going to be my home, and no other place is going to be the same.

Now that I'm older, I realize how much I miss you taking care of me. I miss you making me dinner, making sure I was doing well in school, and taking me to endless appointments. I miss you waking me up for school and then waking me up again because I didn't listen the first time.

But, Mom, now that I'm older, I can see all that you've done for me. I can look back and see how big of a brat I was but you still loved me (and let me live) anyways. I can understand why you did certain things and frankly, you're one bada** of a woman.

To have you as my mom and my best friend has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. So, Mom, now that I'm older, thank you, for everything.

Love,

Your Daughter

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Fiction On Odyssey: Until The End

It's nice to have a peaceful day, but nothing is peaceful when you're with your best friend.

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I walk cheerfully throughout the house, humming Beethoven's fifth symphony. It's not every day where I can have a good day. With school, job, volunteer work and other stuff, it's hard to find a day where I can relax. As I enter the kitchen, I notice Michael leaning against the counter drinking orange juice.

"Well, I see you let yourself into the house," I state as I walk towards the cabinet to get a glass. I fill it up to the brink and take large gulps.

"That's what happens when you give me your house key," He says, smiling sweetly.

"I gave it to you for emergencies!" I say with fake anger.

"I was thirsty!" Michael exclaimed back.

"Being thirsty is not an emergency."

"It is if food is your life!"

"You're unbearable."

"I know."

We both look at each other and burst out laughing. Michael is leaning against the chair trying not to fall but failed miserably. Now, he is rolling on the floor, laughing so hard, no noise is even coming out. I'm leaning on the counter, trying to breathe but failing miserably.

We finally calm down, try to start breathing properly and wipe tears from our eyes. I turn my head and see my older brother staring at us as if we were going insane before telling us,

"I wanted some peace, so I thought to myself why not go home, but then I remembered that you live in it too."

Michael sticks his tongue out at him, and he sticks his back out before going upstairs to his room. We both sigh and sit down on the couch in the living room and stare at the TV. Usually, we would find something stupid to do, but we just sat there. Michael's head leaned against my shoulder, which looks like he is hunched over due to the fact that he is taller than me. I sat there continuing to hum Beethoven's fifth symphony when I heard the front door knob jiggle.

Michael lifts his head and turns to see who's going to come in. The front door view was blocked by a wall, so we couldn't see who would come in from our vantage point. We both have our heads peeking from the top of the couch, watching silently to see who comes in.

"I hope it's the FBI!"

He turns to stare at me with an incredulous look, saying, "Are you insane? Did you do something to draw the attention of them?"

I look at him from the corner of my eyes and whisper to him, "I've never seen anyone kick a door in before. It's so exciting! And no, I didn't do anything."

"Knowing you, I bet you did," Michael whispers back.

"Shut up or they'll know we're home."

We continue to stare until the door opens. We both hold out breaths and lower our heads in an attempt to hide.

"The door wasn't broken, so we can rule out the FBI," Michael states. I roll my eyes at him and stare to see whoever walks through the door.

"Kids, I'm home!"

My eyes widen. She's home early. She must have had a quiet day today at work.

"Hi, mom!" I hear my brother yell from upstairs. My mom chuckles and looks towards us with a questioning look in her eyes, to which Michael replies with while pointing his finger at me,

"She thought you were the FBI." I shoot Michael a glare. My mom laughs at this and whispers to herself as she walks upstairs to get cleaned us, "What am I going to do with you kids."

We sat there on the couch, the house quiet minus the yelling from my brother who is probably playing Fortnite.

"You ever wonder about the future?" Michael asks me with a thoughtful expression.

"I do, sometimes," I reply back.

"You ever notice how we are told to follow our dreams and work hard, but in the end, it doesn't matter? People just say that, but don't mean it, because it's all about money to them."

"Ya. Why can't we make money doing what we love? It might not be a lot, but at least every day won't be dreadful," I reply back softly.

"Well, I say screw all of them. It's going to be a long and painful journey, but we have to hope that in the end, it will all be worth it, plus I've got you to drag me out of trouble."

"I couldn't agree with you more," I replied, smiling at him, wondering where I found an amazing friend.

"I help up my pinky finger to her, smile, and say, "Until the end?"

He looks and me, smiles, and hooks his pinky around mine and says to me, "Until the end."

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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