Grief Pools Part 1: Nora

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Hey everyone. After many months of not sharing some writing, I decided to share a reworked fiction piece about love and grief. Fiction isn't always my strong suit since I  mainly focus on nonfiction, but I thought the story fit in well with my theme of love this month. Since this short story is a little long, I split into two parts. One part today with the first narrator, Nora. Tomorrow, I will post the second part, with the second narrator Rivkey. A link to tomorrows post will be here and at the end of this part. I hope you enjoy this short story! Feel free to leave your comments down below. 


The sunlight blinded my eyes as I shielded my face. All I wanted to do was roll over and return back to my escape–sleep. My plan was ruined when my roommate yelled, “Nora! Are you up?” I stood up and resigned myself to the fact that I would have to endure another hopeless day. I began sulking to the kitchen, but a mirror caught my attention. I looked awful, and I knew it. My curly brown hair was a maze of knots and frizz. I couldn’t even remember the last time I washed or brushed it. To complete off the depressed homeless look, my eyes has permanent dark circles, complete with puffy redness. I cringed and continued my long journey to the coffee maker. Once I made it to the kitchen, I began the mundane task of making coffee. I pressed the on button and shut my eyes. I listened for the soothing sound of water trickling through the coffee, praying the aroma would make me feel better.

It had been five weeks since my finance Austin had passed and I was still stuck in a never-ending, drown-worthy pool of grief that encompassed my whole self. He was everything I was not. Austin Crawford was outgoing and affectionate. I was a quiet introvert that observed life from the outside. He was covered in a sleeve of tattoos. I was terrified of needles. Worst of all, I struggled with anxiety and overthinking which caused me to miss out on most of the fun things in life because I was terrified of them. However, he somehow made me feel like I was different—that I could actually have a life outside my fear and the anxious thoughts that constantly plagued my brain. Before Austin I spent the majority of my time in my apartment with my roommate because I was terrified of going out. He is the one the pushed me to go out and helped me make new friends. He would always hold my hand and squeeze it gently when I started to hyperventilate because I couldn’t tell if a person liked me. He made my life fun and mesmerizing. Now my life was dull, pointless, and haunted by crippling anxiety mixed with grief.

Because Austin was not here anymore, my life was overrun with my anxiety problems. I had forgotten Austin was always the one who could keep me calm in the various situations of my life. He was my own personal therapist who wouldn’t allow anxiety to take over my life. Instead, he gave me challenges and encouraged me to complete them. Almost all of my anxiety had disappeared the longer I was with him, but once he died, my recovery came to a halt. The anxiety attacks returned and I could barely make it through Austin’s funeral without vomiting or passing out from the lack of oxygen. Many people expected me to take what I had learned from Austin and apply it to my life to become a new person—like a phoenix, but my mind wasn’t ready to let me change.

The coffeemaker finished brewing, so I made my coffee with a bit of creamer from the fridge. I reached in the cabinet and began searching for the cereal when I heard footsteps click-clack on the hardwood floor in the living room.

“It’s nice to see that you’re eating again,” Rivkey said nonchalantly. I think she was trying to hide the relief in her voice.

My diet had been lackluster since Austin died. The first week I didn’t really eat at all because I had no appetite. In order to stop passing out, the second week I ate three bread slices a day. The third week my body rebelled against me and decided that I had to have more nutrition than bread, so I binged every bit of food in the apartment until it all came back up in my porcelain toilet. Rivkey found me hunched over just staring at the orange sludge contemplating if my life was really worth it. She force fed me Gatorade and crackers. The fourth weeks was a diet of “sick food,” soups, crackers, and gatorade.Since then she had been watching me closely to make sure I wouldn’t binge or starve myself again. This week, the fifth week, was the first week I decided to eat like a normal person.

“It’s just cereal,” I said, pulling the milk out of the fridge.

I poured the milk in my bird-food level of cereal and glanced up at her.

She was adjusting her side part of her shoulder length dirty-blonde hair in our living room mirror. Her make-up was natural, but with defined eyes. Her light foundation faintly covered the beauty mark under her left eye. I sipped my coffee as I looked her outfit up and down. Today, she had chosen khaki trousers with a coral dolman blouse. She had a long, gold pendant on that perfectly matched her gold flats. I tried to remember why she was dressed up today, but I couldn’t.

“How do I look?” Rivkey said, walking into the kitchen.

“Fine,” I said, trying to act interested.

“I’m going to help the Phillips pick out a venue today,” she said gently

I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. Rivkey was a wedding planner. She had also been Austin’s and my wedding planner. I covered my mouth with my coffee cup, so she couldn’t see my expression change.

“I’m sorry, Nora. I just thought—“

“You thought that I could handle wedding talk because it’s been five weeks,” I said beginning to move my breakfast to the table, so I could turn away from her.

“Has it really been five weeks already?” she said with sorrow in her eyes.

I sat down and began crunching on my cereal. Yes, it had been five weeks since Austin died in a mass shooting at the local high school. He was there to interview for a music teacher position because he was tired of bartending. The police said the shooter was a student who had finally snapped from all the bullying he endured and went on a rampage. He shot the principal that was giving Austin his interview and Austin got caught in the crossfire. The student had no idea who Austin even was, but shot him anyway.The day before the shooting, Austin called me and said how nervous he was about his interview. I reassured him that everything would be alright. Everything was not alright.

“Yeah, five weeks,” I grumbled to Rivkey.

“Are you going to work today?”

She had the tone of a mother, checking in on a sick child. I was halfway expecting her to say, “Are you okay sweetie?”

“No. Today’s my last sick day,” I replied.

I crunched more cereal. I either had to go back to work tomorrow or quit. There was no way I would be able to make it through quitting alone. No matter how long I wanted to stay in bed, I decided that I needed to pay rent so I would have to go tomorrow.

We sat in silence for a few minutes until Rivkey finally sighed.


She lost her words and walked out of the door. Once again she had given up on trying to help me.

After finishing breakfast, I returned to my bed. It sucked me in like how a tornado breathes in all the objects in the Oklahoma countryside—slowly, but then all at once. Laying in bed was how I spent the majority of my grief. It was a good escape from my anxiety, because my mind couldn’t find anything to be anxious about as long as I was laying in bed. I would lay in bed, crying and snotting all over everything until I fell asleep from exhaustion, or lulled myself into a comforting daydream where Austin was still here. I missed feeling him hold me and whisper about his day in my ear. I stared at our engagement picture on my nightstand, causing the tears to come like they always did. I began my routine, and after I was done crying this time, I dreamed.

In my dream, Austin and I were at the small Mexican restaurant we always went to on Friday nights. He had a Corona with a lime stuck in it at the top.

“You know Corona tastes like piss,” I said making a face of disgust.

Austin chucked.

“At least I don’t drink sissy margaritas that come in the colors of the rainbow.” He smirked.

We dipped our chips in cheese dip when he looked up at me with his bottle-green eyes that were color of Heineken bottle glass—a cool, crisp, green.

“How many children do you want?” he said while taking another chip.

“You know—just five thousand,” I giggled. I was starting to feel giddy from the sissy margaritas I consumed.

“No really, Nora. How many do you want?” Austin’s tone was serious and I was caught off guard.

He was staring so intently at me that my mind blanked and I focused on his features rather than answering his question. His brown hair was wavy at the top, but got close cropped towards the back. He looked cute in his red plaid button up with jeans and Converse sneakers. Austin waved his hand in front of me, to return me to Earth.

“I want two,” I said with a silly smile.

“How many of those do you want to have with me?”

“Hopefully all of them.”

“I want to make that come true for you,” he said with his hand shifting to his pocket.

Sweat beads were forming on Austin’s forehead. He seemed so nervous, but I wasn’t sure why. I drank another gulp of my margarita, finishing the glass.

“Will you marry me,” he said, opening a ring box.

I woke up before I replied. A wave of nausea overcame me. I couldn’t believe my subconscious betrayed me again and forced me to live this memory.

“Why do you always do this to me,” I asked my subconscious quietly, my voice cracking with every word.

My loneliness washed over me again and my sore eyes that were sick of crying, gave me tears again. This time these tears rocked my whole body and I wailed while I stared at Austin on my nightstand.

“And why did you have to leave me here,” I asked his smiling face.

He had no reply, just like he hadn’t for the past five weeks, but I kept asking everyday.

(Read Grief Pools Part 2: Rivkey)

No comments:

Post a Comment

CopyRight © | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan
09 10