Thursday, November 12, 2015

Why Am I Dead?

I'm still trying to do exercises about characterization, but none of the tasks in the Novakovich book are floating my boat.

So I'm making this up as I go along. I started this story out with one of the murder scenes in the 1984 film The Terminator (which is why we never find out who the murderer is in my short story below). 

However, as far as the film goes. Sara Anne Connor's story ends when she dies. From my point of view, there's a lot more to tell.

This is just a draft. If it were a "real" story, it would probably be longer. I'd have to "flesh" a few things out, if you'll pardon the unintentional pun (you'll get it once you start reading the story.) 

I'm concerned that I'm having Sara forgive her husband too quickly and too easily, and that she might be seen as being co-dependent by asking his forgiveness, even though he's done his share of wrongs. I think you'll see my point though, once you've read how Sara's tale really ends.

My name is Sara Anne Connor and I'm dead.

That should be the end of my story, but as it turns out, it's just the beginning.

I didn't expect death to be like this. I was always taught that as a Christian, when I died, I'd go to Heaven to be with Jesus.

But I didn't. I just stood there, looking at my body, collapsed at my feet. I was shot six times by a man I'd never seen before. I answered a knock at my door. I wasn't expecting anyone. I'd just put my baby down for her nap. My little boy was playing with his Tonka trucks on the back patio.

I had the security chain on the door. I wasn't expecting anyone and I thought someone like the Jehovah's Witnesses might be coming around again. I opened the door. He asked if I was Sara Anne Connor. I said "yes". I thought it might be one of my ex-husband's friends trying to find him. Since the divorce, he hasn't been easy to find.

But the man with the coldest eyes I'd ever seen, like a fish, like a machine, slammed the door open, breaking the chain.

I saw the gun and I was paralyzed. I knew I should run. I knew I had to protect my babies. But I froze. I don't remember what I was thinking. It was like I was asleep and watching myself in a dream.

After he stopped pulling the trigger, he turned around and left. He didn't say anything. His face never changed from being impassive and emotionless. He turned around and walked out of my house. Then I looked down and saw my bleeding corpse lying at my feet. I opened my mouth to scream but I couldn't hear anything.

I was vaguely aware that Jenny was crying from her crib. Timmy came running in from the back. I could hear the screen door slam and his running feet pounding across our worn, hardwood floor.

"Mommy! Mommy!" He was yelling and shaking me, trying to wake me up. But I wasn't asleep. I was dead. I felt dead inside, too. Then my feelings came back to life and I started crying.

"Timmy, I'm right here. Mommy's right here," I tried to say. I reached down to him but I couldn't touch him. My hands, my real hands, were lifeless and cold. I couldn't console my son. I couldn't tell him everything was going to be alright.

That's because nothing was going to be alright. My children didn't have a Mommy anymore. Their Dad left months ago, giving up on our family rather than his drinking and gambling (and other women). He wasn't going to raise Timmy and Jenny. He wasn't going to get a job to support them. He wasn't going to spend time playing with them or helping Timmy with his homework. He wasn't going to take them to church.

My babies were abandoned and I don't even know why. Why did that man kill me? What's going to happen to me now? Why didn't Jesus save me? Why didn't he take me to Heaven?

I used to make jokes about attending my own funeral just to see what it was like, to make sure my favorite hymns were played at the memorial service, to hear my Pastor recite special psalms over my grave.

I watched my sister holding Timmy's hand as the funeral ended. Her husband stayed home with Jenny. I watched my sister help my little boy into her car. I knew she would drive him back to their home in Los Alamitos. I never thought she cared enough to provide a home for my children. I never thought that, when he found out I died, Jeff, my ex, would realize Timmy and Jenny needed a family.

I pushed my sister away because she and her husband weren't Christians. I pushed her away when, no matter how hard I tried, no matter how passionately I witnessed to her and told her how coming to Christ was the best thing that ever happened to me, she refused to become a believer.

I pushed Jeff out of our home because he couldn't hold a job but he spent every spare dime we had on horse races and his beer. I tried to get him to go to church with us, the kids and me, I tried. I thought if he could make friends with other godly men that it would help turn him around, help him be a good father and husband.

He didn't want to listen to me either.

Of all the people at church, Pastor Bill, Shelly and the other women in our Bible study group, my spirit, my soul doesn't visit any of them. Only Jeff, only my sister Emily, and of course, my sweet little children. Jenny cries missing me and poor Timmy is so heartbroken and mad at God for taking me away from him and his sister to go to Heaven.

It's been five months now and I'm still not in Heaven. What's wrong with me? Why doesn't Jesus love me? Why am I like a ghost haunting my family?

Dear God, I forgive them. I forgive Jeff for all his faults. I still can't believe I'm watching him go to his first AA meeting. Emily's husband Terry, I never knew, he's been a recovering alcoholic for over ten years now, he took him.

Now I'm watching Emily at her house, rocking the baby in her arms and reading to Timmy from his favorite Bible stories book. Why is she doing that? She doesn't believe, does she? She even started taking him back to my church.

She really does love my children. She and Terry never had kids. I never knew she could be such a good...mother.

I forgive Emily for hurting me by not receiving Christ into her heart. I forgive her for loving Terry more than she loved me. I forgive...

I'm dead. I don't breathe. Why do I feel like I'm short of breath? Why do I feel scared? I can't be hurt. Why am I hurting inside?

I'm already gone from this world. I can't touch anything and nothing touches me. I feel nothing...nothing...

Nothing except sorrow and loss...and regret.

Jesus, please forgive me for everything I've done wrong. Please take me into Heaven. Please take me into your rest.

You aren't going to forgive me, though, are you?

Emily's just put the baby down in her crib to sleep, and she's getting Timmy into his PJs so he can go to bed soon. She's reading him another Bible story about Jesus. What's that he's saying? "When I die, will I see my Mommy in Heaven?"

My heart is breaking for the thousandth time.

"The Bible says that if we repent and ask forgiveness from Jesus and from anyone we have hurt, we're saved and we go to Heaven when we die," she says, comforting him in a hug.

"I'm sorry I yelled at you yesterday, Aunt Emmy," Timmy starts to softly cry. "Will you forgive me?" If only I could take him in my arms. I so love Emily for being so sweet and caring to him.

"I forgive you, sweetheart. I always will," Emily smiles down at him, rubbing his tears away with a finger.

"Please forgive me too, Emily." I hear the words but it takes me a second to realize I'm the one who said them.

Oh God. I am so sorry. "Emily, I'm so sorry for how I've treated you. You're my sister. Jesus doesn't want me to not love you. The years I've stolen from you, years where we could have acted like a family. Years you could have been an Aunt to Timmy. He didn't get to know you, to love you, because I was alive. I was selfish. I was wrong."

"Timmy, please forgive Mommy. I love you and little Jenny more than anything. I kept you from your Aunt and Uncle who really love you, too. I am so sorry. Please forgive me. Jenny, please forgive me."

"Jeff, I've been hurt and angry at you for so long. I thought everything was your fault, like God made a mistake giving you to me for a husband instead of a Christian man. You tore my heart out when you walked out on our children...on me. I was too blind to see I'd pushed you away, too...that I stopped loving you when I gave my heart to Jesus. That's not what he wanted me to do."

"Please forgive me, Jeff. Please forgive me for not being a good wife to you. You really were a good husband and father and you would have stayed, I know you would have stayed...would have stayed and not started drinking, not started gambling, if I hadn't changed so much."

I don't know how long I've been crying. I don't know where I am. I can't see them anymore. I can't see Jeff or Emily or Terry. I can barely see Timmy asleep in his bed or Jenny's sweet little face in her crib.

"Good-bye my babies. Mommy's going away now. I'll always love you. But it'll be OK. Uncle Terry and Aunt Emily love you too, they love you so much. Daddy loves you. I'm glad he's visiting you and playing with you. I'm glad things are going to be OK."

I can't see any of them anymore. I've stopped feeling sad. I love my family, and I know Jesus will take care of them. I believe that. I believe it with all my heart.

I feel so peaceful. Bright light is all around me. I feel warm and weightless. I'm letting go. I'm forgiving. I'm forgiven.

My name is Sara Anne Connor...and I'm going to Heaven.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please make comments.