Terrilyn Brennan, Staff Writer

The cracks in the gray stone slowly travel to my feet. My small stature stands straight as a board, my breath uneasy as if I’m sinking down a bottomless hole … I close my eyes; breath in, breath out, this is all a dream, I’m going to wake up any minute. The breeze passing through my shadow gives me tingles throughout my fingertips and the leaves slowly falling to the ground ready to sink into the earth are crunched by the evil men that lurked outside. The ants travel around the outline of my shoe, all of them are in a singular line following one after the other, scared to be separated from the pack. I squeeze my stuffed dog, hoping he could hear my plea, but all I could do was stand on the sidewalk and watch as men entered the only home I ever truly cared about. Each trip felt like an eternity, one after the other carrying out items from my home. All I wanted to do was just take my one doll I cherished the most from my childhood. But the fact is all I could do was stand there like a statue as the various items were brought out and thrown onto the street corner. 

I sighed, stress slowly climbing back up my spine and lying deep in my skull. The stress demon slowly drags its hand towards my mouth, squeezing my voice box. Tugging at my chords causing my throat to burn. The tears start to build up and my hand is suddenly held tightly. I turned my head, hoping to see God standing  next to me. Maybe he finally came down to help, but as I followed the arm to find the owner I only saw my mom sitting on the edge of the sidewalk. Her head hung low and her back slowly rose up and down shakily. I never saw my mom cry before, she felt it made her weak and she didn’t want to be seen as weak. 

My mom is one of the strongest people I have ever known and to see her in that moment made my heart break even more. The once smiley, loving person was being crushed, suffocated by the events taking place. The separation, the unexpected death, the new job and now what? A foreclosure? This wasn’t us, we were stronger and braver than this moment. I couldn’t accept this; I wouldn’t. Everyone goes through a moment in her  life that made her realize it was time to grow up. For some it takes years, and others realize it at a young age what needs to be done. It doesn’t mean you didn’t have a childhood, because for me I knew what needed to be done and I was maybe 5 or 6… I still loved every second of my childhood: don’t get me wrong there are some points that I wish I could erase or white out from my timeline. But in the end when we look back at the events that took place, we can see that those moments shaped us as people. 

 As the men placed the rest of our things at the street corner, my mom looked through everything that was placed there. Pictures of my late sister, some of her toys, clothes. I walked towards the pile I didn’t recognize. When your toys and books are placed in a room, they really pull everything together. The perfectly placed collection of teddy bears and stuffed animals would lay atop my bookshelves while others would lay on my neatly tucked in bed. My audience ready for another earth shattering  performance as well as another day at Stuffed Elementary School. 

A bedroom reflects who you are. But I stood there and looked out at the pile of rubbish, the mountains of toys and the small piles of books I loved from when I was young, sat abandoned. From where I stood it felt as if my house burned down and all that was left was in front of me. My mom packed everything she could, she stood up, took my hand and walked me to the car. I sat in the backseat with various boxes marked with different names. I took the seat belt and dragged it across the front of my body, clicking it in place. My heart started to break apart. Each piece floated out into the air, disappearing, the feeling that I forgot something echoes throughout my ears, as if someone is screaming to me to remember . I looked at my stuffed dog, Charlie. 

“At least I have you…” I said to myself.

A loud bang sounded through the air as I turned my head to the right. My eyes grew big when I saw a little girl standing by my pile; young, kind, big eyes and a very beautiful soul. Her long curly hair laid on either side of her shoulders. Compared to the mountain of things beside her, she looked like a goldfish in a sea full of sharks, like a baby carrot next to the fully grown vegetables. She stood silent as her parents looked through the things we used to own, her eyes wandering over the various toys in the pile. She turned to look at her tired, gray parents, and quickly turned away, embarrassed for what they were doing.

 My first thought was to yell at them and fight for my things but the other part said it was time to let go. My hands fell to my sides and I let the tears fall from my eyes, holding my breath, afraid to breathe. The one thing I needed with me, the one thing I had since the accident, lie in the girl’s arms. The finely stitched clothing, the perfect red braided hair, the red triangle nose and  the perfect handwriting stitched on the back of her neck. The one thing I slept with for 3 years after her death, the only toy I was allowed to bring to school slowly faded away. The little girl smiled with glee, her once grey face now a new shade of pink. She turned and walked away from the pile of memories, the doll looking me in the eyes. I screamed, banging on the window, calling for Raggedy. 

“Don’t go! PLEASE! Don’t leave me, don’t leave me!!! NO!”

The last thing I saw was nothing but her red buckled shoe, swinging around the brick building. My heart broke, my head dropped to the floor. My mom opened the car door a few minutes later and asked if I was ready to go. I nodded, she leaned down and gave me a big hug squeezing me tightly, placing a kiss on my head. The tears started falling down my face. I knew in that moment it was a  sign from my sister, it was time to move on and grow up. She will always be there for me. But it was time for me to start my new journey and leave my past in the past. If you lost someone you loved remember they will always be there for you. When times are tough they will be there to place a kiss on your cheek, and give you the strength to move forward. Moments in your life shape who you are. Don’t let them go unnoticed. I didn’t know in that moment but later on I would come to find out that the little girl  was an image of my sister, telling me it was ok to move on. I might not have the doll anymore, but I will always have the memories of my perfect little sister who loves above and beyond the clouds.