Thud – I fell to the ground. I was like a deer in headlights, just staring off into the distance, not knowing what to do. I couldn’t believe it. I was ready to have such a fun night, and it got ruined. Why did this have to happen? My mom had walked into my room earlier. I had just finished taking a shower and I was ready to leave so I could go watch the Drama Club perform “Honk! Jr.”. I had had a rough night at tennis, so I was ready to have some fun with my friends in the audience, cheering on my friends in the play.
“Anya? Kaelen?” my mom had called both my brother and I into my brother’s room. “Listen,” she had said, “You know how Ajah (what we call our grandpa, It’s Indian) was in Guyana giving a speech to some students about English and Science?”
“Yes?” I replied, curious as to why she was telling me this as I was putting on my jacket to leave.
“Well. Before he was about to go on stage, he had another heart attack. I’m so sorry guys,” my mom said.
I couldn’t believe it. The fact that she said that she was sorry could only mean one thing. “Does that mean he’s…”
“Yes,” my mom answered.
That was when the first tear rolled down my eye. He was too young to go. Only 76. I never thought this day would come so soon. He was always so strong, and he fought. He fought through the pain. This wasn’t his first heart attack, but this time, it took a turn for the worse. I knew I was going to miss him, but he always said he will be watching over my brother and I. And he will be smiling, thinking of us. He will always be proud of us, no matter what we chose to do in life, and he’d hoped we’d grow old and have a beautiful family. I wanted to bring that to him, and I always will want to. I want to make him proud because I loved him, and I knew he loved me. I couldn’t just let him down.
He always talked about how he was not a good dad, and how he never treated his kids, my dad (youngest), my uncle David (middle) and my uncle Dario (oldest) with the respect he wished he had given them a long time ago. My dad always told me stories of how Ajah was somebody he was always afraid of, until they both grew older. Now that I look back on those stories, I ask myself, “How could Ajah be like that?” He never acted that way, but I guessed he has changed.
Change. That is why he is one of my inspirations. I knew how drastic of a change Ajah had gone through in personality. And if people today are bullying and being mean to each other, I always believe there is room and time for change. I know it will all get better someday, just like how Ajah made it better for himself and his children. So Ajah’s change is the change I wish to see in the world.
“Wow,” I finally responded to my mom.
“I know,” my mom said, crying, “you guys okay?”
“No,” my brother said, also while crying.
“Kind of,” I said, lying. Although I was hurting really bad inside, I knew that he had died doing what he loved most in the country he loved most. He had told my dad that when he dies, he wanted to die in Guyana. And that’s what he got. Not only that, but he died teaching English and Science. His two favorite subjects. He had been a teacher his entire life, and he taught a very good highschool and college in Guyana. Everybody knew who he was. He was put in Guyana’s newspaper when he died, even his children, wife and grandchildren, including me, were put in it. I’m just so thankful that he died doing something passionate to him.
And I wished that I would have the same.
I looked over at my brother, as he was crying out a river. My mom, texting my dad telling him safe travels on his drive to New Jersey to go stay with his siblings and my grandma to make sure they were okay, shed a tear. I’m assuming she already sobbed that night before telling us.
“If I have to read at the funeral,” mom said, “I think I might just give up and start crying.”
She walked away. Then came back in. “Get ready to leave, Anya.”
“Where is his funeral going to be?” I asked.
“There will be two. Since we have so many relatives living in so many different parts of the world, we will do one in Guyana, just for him. Then we will do one in New Jersey. Guyana will be first, though.”
“Thank you,” I replied.
“Sure,” sure said, “We have two minutes.”
This was definitely a day in my book of bad days. I wanted to scream, but it was as if the words I wanted to say were swimming down my throat, not letting me be able to say anything. I left the room.
My brother sat still, doing nothing. I poked him, making sure he was alive.
“You good?” I asked Kaelen.
“Tell me what you’re thinking.”
“I’m thinking, why?”
“Why?” I asked.
“Why did he have to go? He still had so much to do in life. This isn’t fair.”
“I know it isn’t. And Ajah predicted he would go soon. I guess it was just time.” I hugged him and left the room. I turned back at the door to him, “It’s alright.”
I hopped into my mom’s car. We drove to school for the play. I didn’t know if I would be able to concentrate through the entire thing. I knew that my friends would cheer me up though. At that moment, I heard something, it was Ajah, “I’m right here. Now and Forever.” I smiled, thinking I was dillouginal. How could one hear the voice of someone who’s not here? I questioned it, but I smiled.
My mom turned to look. “What’s going on over there?” she asked me.
“I heard something. It was wonderful.”
She turned to keep her eyes on the road. We had reached the school. I said bye to my mom and told her I loved her. I walked inside. She stayed in the parking lot to make sure I got in safely to the school. The door opened and I walked inside. I looked over my shoulder to see my mom.