Survivors of the Z’s- Graham Jackson, Nottingham, UK
Many years ago-
“Haaaappy biiiiiiiiirthday, tooo youuuu, haaaappy biiiiiiirthday tooo youuuu, haaaappy biiiiirthday toooo Evelyn, haaaappy biiiiirthday, toooooo youuuuuu”
It was a great day. A great day where everybody had a smile on their face and every mouth let out a laugh one way or another. Nothing could’ve brought down the spirits that were walking on the clouds.
White fluffy clouds
No storm ones
And above those clouds was the big blue sky.
It was such a beautiful day. A day that would live on in any proud daddy’s memory. Their daughter’s sixth birthday. She sat their at the table and I was the one that brought out the cake with the six candles on it. The candles danced as I walked through the crowd of family and friends. Closer and closer, my little angels smile grew larger and larger. I finally reached her and placed the cake in front of her. Her grin was wider than ever.
“Make a wish beautiful,” I said
Her mum stood on the other side and kissed her. She was a strong woman her mother. A mother that was firm but fair. A kind woman who’s smile, when it happened, brightened the whole room. A smile that was contagious when it happened and her laugh
That was contagious too
She looked amazing as always as she stood there in her casual clothes. Being her husband at the time. The word beautiful would play in my mind over and over.
“Can I blow them out now,” she asked
“Of course dear,” her mum said, “think long and hard in what you want, Evelyn, something that you really want”
The little one placed her hands on the table and closed her eyes. Time ticked by and not one word was spoken. It was like waiting for a big finale in a show to come to an end.
No questioning the pause
Just my little one in her own little- big- world doing what she does best
Doing what kids do best
In their own little worlds
She opened her eyes
And blew out the candles. The whole room applauded and a few whistled in happiness.
“Shall I tell you what I wished for?” She asked
“If you do it won’t come true,” I said
“Ok daddy, can I open my presents now?”
With a stern face I said, “No,” a sad face appeared, “of course you can”
“Silly daddy,” she laughed
She got off her chair and ran toward the pile of presents that everyone had brought her. The wrapping paper was multicoloured. It sat there like brightlights lighting up the room and her smile made it better. Her cousins followed her and they all sat down next to her. Everybody gathered round watching her unwrap them. The tearing of the paper started. I looked over at her mum, she looked a little down.
“Hey, you alright?” I asked
A tear was wiped away, “Yeah, yeah I’m fine”
“I’m fine,” she told
She walked away. I felt the emotion she left behind. I looked around and noticed a few staring our way.
“Is she ok?” Her brother asked
“I don’t know, I’ll be back in a second”
I went to follow her and noticed the back door open. I walked through the small hallway and outside and there she was. With her back against the wall looking up at the evening sky. It was clear.
“Carrie, what’s wrong with you tonight, you were fine earlier?” I asked
“I can’t hide it no more, I can’t”
“What…?” I said, “Tell me what?”
“No, no its not”
“What’re you saying?”
My heart felt something that wasn’t meant to be there
“It isn’t yours,” she revealed
It was like the floor had been torn from underneath me and now I was floating above water
I was about to drown in emotions and it was getting deeper and deeper. Rage was boiling up inside and I felt myself losing control. A tear trickled down my tensed cheek.
“Why?” I asked, gently
“I didn’t want this to happen,” she stuttered
I became angrier, but not too angry, “answer the damn question”
“Tell me, why the fuck would you do that?”
“I don’t love you anymore,” she said it quickly whilst crying
“Who is he?” I asked
“It doesn’t matter, it’s over Graham, he means nothing to me and I don’t love you, I’m sorry”
I broke down, leant down and held my crying eyes in my palm, “We can make this work”
I looked up and saw my angel standing there with her uncle.
I wiped my eyes and got up. Standing strong like dad’s should.
“What’s wrong?” She asked
I walked up to her and hugged her, “everythings ok sweety,” I looked at her mum, but it wasn’t the same look as it was in the past, “everythings ok”
We arrived and we raced through the door. The dogs barked crazily. I hugged them all and so did the Evelyn and the kids. The dogs barked at Preston but the kid didn’t seem to care. He walked in and they seemed to just take a liking to him. I was impressed and focused again on the matter at hand.
Was Theresa ok?
“Theresa!” Eveyln shouted, she ran upstairs and I ran through the kitchen
Evelyn then let out a huge scream and I turned and exploded up the stairs
The dogs barked crazily and rushed passed me toward the bathroom where Evelyn stood. I got to her and there Theresa was in the bath tub
With painkiller containers on the floor. She took the kids away and I looked on at the body in the bath.
“This is how the world is now,” said Preston
I looked down at him and he looked up
“This is how the world is”
I walked over and Bruno stayed by my side as Jess and Elvis followed Evelyn and the kids. I leant down and held her hand. Bruno sobbed as I bent down.
“I’m sorry Theresa, I’m really sorry”