May 18, 2010
Four minutes can last a lifetime. I live in those four last minutes of my life, a ghost, a shadow wandering and searching for something. Now and tomorrow doesn’t exist; only “then” is real. Then, when I could still could hear them whisper to each other, tender wisps of love that promised an enduring forever. Then when I could touch his fine, dark hair and feel his plump fingers grasp mine with a vulnerable, childish sort of trust. All it took was four numb minutes that stretch across the face of time. Four minutes can last a lifetime.
The minute hand pointed at twenty-five minutes after eleven; its cautionary ticks mistaken for a sign of security and harmony as my family talked, loudly and animatedly as they usually did; those sounds fade away into a foggy soundtrack of a tragedy until I hear my mother’s tinkling, clear laugh. I am still there, in that moment, as I watch my father embrace her delicate shoulders. I can still feel the rough wooden beams of my infant brother’s crib, the way it grazes against my skin as I reach in to stroke his tender, downy head. His toothless smile and clear lucid eyes full of faith as his baby hands reach out towards mine. I am alive.
There were two of them, beautiful, statuesque. Silently, proudly they strode in with cold disdain distorting their exquisite features. Angels of stone. I was mesmerized and the clocked ticked slowly by. I did not notice then the way my father tensed at their presence, as if he knew why they were here. I did not see my mother cast as quick, furtive glance toward me. I was under a spell, watching these beings slowly, gracefully and with a wave of their white, porcelain hands destroy all that was me.
The minute hand pointed at twenty-nine minutes after eleven; its steady pulse beating in accusation as I stood clutching my brother’s limp body, his sweet face forever still in a quiet and innocent smile; his blood forever on my hands.