I am in a state of complete disarray. Anyone could tell from a single glance at my bedroom. Books are strewn about the floor, and papers have been ripped to shreds so small you’d think they’d been through a food processor. Sometimes I think that just being in my room drives me insane, but I cannot bear to leave it. I am sitting on my bed, letting my eyes wander up and down the walls that I have haphazardly slashed with dark purple paint.
Sometimes I forget. Those are the better days, the ones I spend suspended in the air, away from reality. And then a gust of wind comes, and I fall back down into my life, back into my turmoil. I suppose you would like an explanation. Why is my face covered in dust, my clothes speckled purple, my hair in knots? This is all I know…
My name is Rae, and I live in a small city in Wyoming. I don’t know what else to tell you; there’s not much left to say. I used to have a normal life, that ended a week ago when my mother was killed… Sometimes when I think I can’t handle the pain, I escape. But when I come back, it just multiplies tenfold. My mother wasn’t an ordinary mother. She was everything to me, my best friend, my guardian, my role model. Without her, I feel empty. I am nothing.
To others though, she wasn’t the hero that she was to me. Society couldn’t see past the fact that she was an African American woman in power. Things have gotten better for us, of course. African Americans can get good jobs and go to higher level schools and such. But that doesn’t mean we have it easy. My mother held the position of vice principal at an integrated school near our house. It was a good job, with decent pay. But not everyone was happy that the spot had been taken by an African American. Certain parents and members of the school board were angry that an African American woman was in charge.
My father is an interesting man as well. In public, people say he is very serious and keeps to himself. The first time I heard this, I laughed out loud. My father, serious and quiet? At home, he is the joker, the first one to break the silence… Or I should say, he was. Since the moment my mother’s murder was announced, I haven’t heard him utter a single word.
For the first 14 years of my life, it was always the same. Me, mother, and father. Now it’s all wrong. I wonder if the man who murdered my mother knew just how much he was stealing from us. He didn’t just take my mother. He took my father’s soul, and mine too.
This is my only explanation for the state of my room. Take a look, you’ll understand too.
Rae: Is that you, mother?
Mother: Of course it is. Who else would it be?
Rae: But you’re…
Mother: I may not be alive, but I’m undoubtedly still here.
Rae: What does that mean, mother?
Mother: I am always here, in your heart..
Rae: But you’re dead! How are you here?
Mother: I am a part of you, Rae. I can speak through you. But Rae, soon you will awake. There’s something I need to show you first.
Rae: What is it?
Mother: I found these. (She holds out two glowing orbs of light.)
Rae: Me and father’s souls! How did you find them?
Mother: I visited the man.
Rae: Who killed you?
Mother: Yes. I took them back from him, and told him that soon you will teach him a lesson.
Rae: What type of lesson?
Mother: That’s up to you.
Rae: I’ll figure it out when the time comes!
Mother: I love you Rae! Take the souls and don’t you forget: you only have one life. You’d better spend it well! (Mother dissolves from the scene.)
Rae: Wait, there’s so much more…
I awoke this morning with a purpose. I hopped out of my bed and walked to the door. Then, I turned the handle, and finally, I stepped out of my room, knowing exactly what I needed to do first.
As I walked towards my father’s room, I considered what to say to him. How would I return his soul? Mother had helped me regain my soul, and now it was time for me to help my father. I stepped into his room, and saw him sitting on his bed. I immediately noticed his sunken eyes, and his tear-streaked face. “Father!” I ran to him, my matted hair flying out from behind me. “Rae?” he rasped. “I missed you!” I sobbed, collapsing into my father’s shaking arms. “I’m here,” I whispered.
After telling him of my vision , I led him out of his room, watching his soul return to its rightful place. Soon he started to talk, telling me stories of the time he spent in his prison, and we shared stories of mother and the past. When the sun reached its peak in the sky, we stepped outside, feeling the warmth on our faces…
Now I’m in my room, opening the purple paint. Slowly, I drag the brush up and down the walls. Up and down, up and down. I take a deep breath, and think about my mother’s words. Then, picturing her cheerful laugh, her swirling hair, and her purple dress rippling in the wind, I slowly, very slowly begin to smile.