Forty Seven

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I didn't cry when they first told me. I remember staring at my mother and watching her lips move and hearing her words but not really hearing them.

When my mother tearful face became to much to bare I turned to daddy.

"You said you bring him back." I'd said. There hadn't been any accusation in my voice. I'd just stated something I believe to be true. My father was suppose to bring him back, yet there he was with no Jamal.

My father didn't say anything. He bowed his head and gritted his teeth in anger and shame.

I didn't say anything else. I just stood up and walked to my room and shut my door. For the next sixteen hours I did not move.

I sat on my bed with my legs pulled up to my chest staring at the empty space.

Someone knocks at my door. "April" Keith calls.

I don't answer.

Keith opens my door and steps through. He sits down next to me on my bed.

"I walked past his room and the door was open.  I looked in and part of me still expected him to be there, like if I walked in a few seconds later he'd appear at the other side of the door telling not to touch his stuff." Keith said placing his head in his head.

"How could they do that to him April. How can they take my brother and tell me he's never coming back." Keith cried.

It's been years since I've seen him cry, and I mean really cry. Most black boys are raised to never show there emotions but I don't think there is a single person who could find fault in the tears he sheds now.

I wrap my arms around him and he holds me with tears falling down his face. Even now I can not bring myself to shed any tears.

After a while Keith's tears stop falling and  he leaves me alone again. He tells me I should eat and I nod but make no movement to get out of bed.

My phone vibrates in my pocket. I pull it out to see Aden's name lighting up my screen. This is the twelfth time he's called today. I slide my thumb across the screen and hold it up to my ear.

"April." Aden's voice calls. "April can you hear me."

I don't respond. There is nothing I can say to him.

"April I'm so-"

I hang the phone up before he can finish. I stare down at the phone in my hand. Aden's apology is something I can't listen to. I don't want to know what he's apologizing for. I don't want to confirm the thought screaming at the back of my head.

My father is not a good man. Aden voice whispers in the back of my head.

I shut my eyes, willing the thought away. I don't want to believe it. But part of me already knows.

Aden's dad called the cops. I don't know how but he knew about Jamal's drug dealing. He probably thought they'd take Jamal and teach him a lesson. He didn't know that the guy in the jail ceil with him would start a fight and beat my brother to death. He probably never once thought about the life he'd be taking away.

But that's how I lost my brother. Aden's father call to the police, although unintentional, had lead to my brother death. I hated him for it. I hated everyone and everything. Because nothing they could do would help. No amount of understanding or apologize could bring Jamal back.

Anger like fire burned in my chest and most times it was hard to even breath.

I keep thinking about all the stupid events that had lead to my brother death. I could blame Aden's father for calling the cops, or Aden for not stoping him. I could even blame Jamal for putting himself in that position. After all if he hadn't hit Aden none of this would have happened.

But blaming people wouldn't change the fact that Jamal was gone. Nothing could bring him back.

So with no escape my anger burned deep inside me until I could feel nothing else.

"Give him back." I whisper. My hand squeezes around the phone in my hand. "Give me back my brother."

No one answers. God either doesn't care or isn't listening.

I toss my phone across the room. It hits the wall  and drops down floor. I stand up and toss and break anything I can get my hands on.

"Give him back." I yell. "Give me back Jamal."

My fist smashes into my mirror and the shattered glass  cuts my hand leaving blood dripping down. The sting of the cuts does nothing to slow me down.  I continue to destroy things and scream cures into the universe.

The sound of my commotion is enough to draw attention, but I don't notice until daddy grabbed me from behind. I fight against his restraints. My anger is enough to make holding me back a struggle.

I scream because I'm so angry it feels like I can breath fire. It wasn't fair none of it was fair. Why would God give him back only to take him away again.

Daddy spins me around and shakes me hard. His grip is hard and bruising. "Stop it." He shouts with an anger to revival my own. "Stop it right now. He's gone. Jamal is gone. My gone."

Daddy voice breaks as tears slip down his face. Seeing him cry is enough to extinguish my fire. He is the strongest man I've ever know and even he is left broken and shattered.

With out my anger I fell hallow and empty. Grief washes over me as I pull away from him. I walk back over to my bed and sit in the farthest corner.

I don't want to be near anyone. I want the world to stop. Jamal is gone. It is wrong that the sun should continue to rise without him.

Mom comes in minutes later and pulls daddy out of the room. She doesn't say anything about the mess, only glances my way before taking my father's hand.

I lay down on my bed curled up into the fetal position. It is here, alone amongst my destruction, where I shed my first tear of morning for my lost brother.

My tears although plentiful, fall silently down my face. There is nothing left to say. No begging or negotiating, just the all consuming ache.

I'm back at the same spot I was when Jamal was first hospitalized, but this time there is no one to pull me out. I don't want someone to pull me out. Grief washes over me and I gladly let it swallow me whole.

This is a pain that will never get better. It is a pain that just is. The hollowness in the space of the universe where my brother once resided.

My tears and pain are of no concern. What is given is just as easily taken.

Jamal is gone. He's never coming back.

Author's Note: this chapter is a little similar to an earlier one but with two major differences. Jamal is actually gone and April rejects Aden's help.

Sad time for our couple, but April hasn't completely rejected Aden. She just needs time to process and deal with it alone.

More from Aden side of the story later...

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