Page 65 - HEF Pen & Ink 2023
P. 65

Before the End
By Hailey Cox
It wasn’t fair. We all had our childhoods stolen by The Sickness, and we would never get that back. It would probably never go back to normal either.
I would often sit and let my only good memories drift through my brain like the clouds I used to watch. I remembered
the old house in the country with the river running beside it. My brother and dad and I would go out and catch toads with our bare hands and run around like mad men until the sun went down. Then, we would start to smell the delicious dinner cooking inside, and Dad would go in to help. My brother and I would continue our imaginary adventures, pretending the dog was a noble steed and we were two knights that fought injustice in our kingdom. After a while, our mother would call us inside and we would enjoy a mouth-watering, home-made meal, followed by freshly baked pie. As long as anyone lived, they could never forget the taste of my mother’s apple pies. They were truly and fully, the best thing I had ever eaten. Af- ter that, we would all climb up the hill and catch fireflies in jars and lay in the tall grass and watch the stars. I still remem- bered the feeling of the nighttime summer breeze softly moving my hair around my face, the warmth of my brother on one side of me, and my parents on the other. When the winter rolled around, our parents would throw an extravagant birthday party for James and I. A delicious cake, followed by a snowball fight, and then the best part: Presents. Every year, my brother and I each got one gift on our birthday. It was always something small, but magnificent. One year, though, our parents couldn’t afford any gifts. Of course we were a bit disappointed, there hadn’t been any presents for Christmas either, but we were so content with our lives back then. According to what our Dad told us later on, I had said,
“It doesn’t matter, I have James!” and hugged him. We were the perfect family, but something was missing.
Then, Avery came along. I immediately knew that they were the most important thing in my entire world. James was jealous at first, but when he started to spend some time with them, he realized how incredible they were too. We would bring them with us on our adventures, gently showing them the wonders of the river and the beautiful view that we were so lucky to have right out our back door. They were our little explorer. I took a picture of Avery one day, when they were about two years old, in a sun hat, sitting in the beautiful garden that my mother and James planted, smiling up at my cam- era with a beautiful glimmer in their eyes. That was the thing about them: no matter what that kid was put through, they never lost that light. Even though almost every joy in our lives was ferociously ripped from our young hands only five years after Avery was born, they still held on. I kept that faded polaroid with me through everything to remind myself of why I was still going.

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