Jade wakes up with no memory of her past and blood on her hands.
Plagued by wicked thoughts, she searches for answers. Instead, she finds a boy who doesn't offer her answers, but hope. But sometimes, when nightmares turn into reality and death follows you everywhere, hope is not enough.
LUST. LOVE. LOSS. Sometimes, all that is left are Ashes and Ice
Tears burn. I never realized it before, but they do. Tears reach down my throat
and settle in my gut until the pain cripples me. I clutch my stomach as I look into the
casket. His face doesn’t even look the same. Bloated like a Mardi Gras float, discolored
like a mannequin. This isn’t my father.
But it is.
If I have learned anything in my short life, it is this: funerals are bullshit. People
dress in carefully pressed black suits. Parents give me “meaningful” nods as if that could
ease the grief. It doesn’t.
Then there are the kids from school, the ones dragged along by their parents.
People drag their kids along as if filling the church was a necessary thing. As if the more
pews filled somehow expedite the dead’s trip to heaven. I doubt it does. Maybe some of
the girls went shopping to buy just the right outfit so their cleavage to respectability ratio
was just right, or their ass to waist ratio was cinched properly.
People sit in the pews dressed in their finest let’s-go-pay-our-respects-to-the-
dead-guy-we-never-knew wear, smacking the gum in their mouths, cupping cellphones so
they can LOL any comment buzzing in, and drumming their fingers because the pastor is
going on too long. All they want to do is go home, sneak in a make-out session with their
girlfriends, eat their dinners, and maybe catch a 7 o’clock movie.
I hate these kids. The ones who stare at me, roll their eyes, and yawn. The ones
who trip me at school and slam me into lockers. The ones who sit in a pew, contributing
to the headcount, while I sit up here in front, holding back the tears fighting to make their
appearance. I swallow them down. I won’t cry. Not here. Not with these people.
Dad’s funeral should be an empty church with mom, his three brothers, and me.
It should be the five of us having a messy, sloppy, sobbing affair where we cling to each
other because we are all we have left. The marble floors should be slick with our tears.
It isn’t. We sit here, straight backed, completely composed as if death is just a passing
expiration date and our small, insignificant world has not been split open and left gaping.
I’m in my room, staring at the ceiling. The funeral service was hours ago.
The house feels empty and cold. I hear a stifled whimper from down the hall.
Probably crying into a pillow so the house can’t hear, but it can. It seems unfair
she can’t wail aloud, so loud the house’s hundred-year-old studs tremble.
She doesn’t. I don’t either. We cry in our own rooms, remembering a man who
will never be here again.
The house creaks. Maybe it feels the weight of our grief, maybe the floorboards
are buckling because the burden is too heavy.
I ache, desperate to forget the long battle with cancer, the blood sputtering out
of his mouth with his last words—what where they? I can’t remember because the fear
in his eyes overshadowed anything he said. Now the loss. I don’t want to feel this loss.
Some divine entity has taken dull scissors and cut out a piece of my life and now I have
jagged scars to remind me I lost too much. Too much.
I want to forget, because it hurts to remember.
I bury my head in the pillow, hoping to suffocate the memories, to choke out the
About the author:
her creative side and jumped head-first into academics, work, and service projects. She
graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Political Science and Communication when
she was twenty years old. After years away from her writing, Rochelle picked up a pen
and started fleshing out a character sketch that she outlined when she was twelve. That
sketch was the start of the Ashes and Ice story. Rochelle lives in the DC metro area with
her husband and daughter. By day she works as a behavioral therapist. By night, she is a
dreamer and is busy tapping out new stories on her keyboard.