Remembering Sunday

Then I Lost It All

The shapes start to swirl and take the form of her. Her hair swaying in the breeze, smiling into the wind…happy.
Spinning around in that baggy long-sleeve she loved so much.
Tight jean shorts that make me love her more than possible…smiling.
We’re in that one place that all people have, the place where…
You can’t explain it, it…it’s where you can be free. Running around, forgetting the world.
She picks up a dandelion and whoosh. The seeds fly everywhere and she stares at them laughing like a child discovering light for the first time. So innocent.
She looks at me with those bright blues and smiles. I can’t help but smile back.
Biting her lip and twirling around, I take a step towards her.
The sunlight on her red hair makes it glow as she keeps jumping and spinning. I can’t help but laugh.
She stops and looks at me, tilting her head. She falls back into the grass.
I slowly walk over and lie beside her. The clouds are above us, little fluff-balls that make her think.
Her nose wrinkles as she thinks. I know what she’s thinking about.
“Alex?” she asks.
“Yeah?” I say looking at her.
She just looks at me with sadness and worry filling her eyes. They start to turn gray and I know…
“I promise,” I say.
She smiles, the worry never leaving her eyes and the blue continuously retreating, but she returns her stare to the clouds.
My eyes never leave her.
She sits up abruptly and stands up.
I sit up too, worried.
She looks at me, her eyes completely gray now, no trace of the bright blue, and she stares at me for a long time.
The silence overtaking everything.
She runs.
I get up and chase her, scared.
Scared for her. Scared the world will destroy her. Scared that I’ll lose her.
She stops. I stop.
I place my hand on her shoulder, but it goes right through.
She turns around.
I’m breathing heavily.
“No,” I say just…trying not to believe.
She looks like she’s going to cry.
“No,” I say again, my hands on my knees, breathing heavily, trying not to break.
“I’m already dead,” she whispers.
And she starts to grow darker and grayer, and then she crumbles.
I reach for her, trying to catch my breath, trying to save her,
“No! Come back, I can try!”
But it’s too late, she’s gone.

A sharp intake of breath as I quickly sit up.
I look around and see the gray walls with the brown blanket on the floor. I rub my face with my hands and run my fingers through my hair.
It’s real. I’m real.
I’m definitely real says the splitting headache I have. I look at the clock, 2:27 am.
Rubbing my eyes, I get up.
Ignoring the cold, I go to the bathroom and splash cold water on my face. Gripping the counter, looking up, I don’t like what I see.
I see a man, tired, eyes bloodshot, broken…a man desperately in need of a drink.
I go to the kitchen and find my one friend who’s never let me down.
“Good ‘ole Jack,” I say as I take a swig.
Once half of the bottle is gone, I look at the clock again. Once it stops swirling, 4:09 am.
I start to think and then laugh because I can’t remember when I had last been sober.
The dream starts trickling back into my mind and I try to ignore the images of her.
It doesn’t work, and I start drowning her out with Jack.
It works.


I wake up on the kitchen floor.
6:37 am
I’m still somewhat buzzed, so the headache stays away for now. But just in case, I take another swig from the bottle.
I go to my room, swaying a little, and put on some sweatpants, a t-shirt, and a jacket.
As I grab my keys and slip on my shoes I see my phone. I leave it behind. It wouldn’t do me any good. I know what I’d do with it. But I can’t do that anymore…I…I just can’t put anyone through any more heartache.

I keep stumbling down the quiet street. Everything is empty, everything is dead.
The wind is blowing hard and I keep shivering.
I walk on.
I walk past the bar which closed hours ago, yet I still peek in the window, wanting a drink.
I sigh and walk down the road and past the bookstore, the café, the bank, and the countless department stores filled with their colorful silky clothes.
Still, I walk on.
I find I’m walking along a long tall fence and I look beyond it. The streetlights are out, so nothing is visible.
I grab the fence, close my eyes, and lean against it.
A clap of thunder breaks the silence.
I don’t move.
The rain begins to pelt my face. Still, my eyes remain shut.
I slowly open my eyes and stare at the blackness beyond the fence.
Lightning lights up the far away sky, leaving the landscape in front of me still pitch black.
“One…Two…Three…” I say counting the seconds until
I feel my eyes begin to water so I quickly shut them. She had taught me that. Taught me to always look for the lightning and count how far away the storm was.

“Look for the lightning Alex! Then start counting!”

“I will,” I whisper to the empty air.
I opened my eyes and looked up. My eyes somewhat adjusted to the darkness, and I saw a big structure behind the fence. It seemed to be behind a long field.
Lightning flashed and I saw the bleachers facing me.
The empty seats surveying the invisible game; Like ghosts watching a dead field.
“One…Two…”I count.
I close my eyes for a second and then remember

“C’mon Alex! Keep your eyes open!” she whined.
I laughed, “Why?”
“Because, you can see an entire lifetime in one bolt of lightning!” she exclaimed.
I looked at her skeptically, “What do you mean?”
She gave me a look of annoyance, to which I held up my hands in defense.
“Each bolt is a life, and it’s lived in the matter of a second! Just like life flashes by your eyes when you’re about to die. You can sum your life up in the time it takes for a lightning bolt to live its life.”
I began to think deeply about what she said.
“Just watch! Open your eyes!!!”

I opened my eyes and looked at the dark landscape in front of me. I stared at the cold bleachers and saw the open crow’s nest at the top. It was just a metal platform with metal rails on three sides. It looked to be the highest metal thing nearby.
I keep looking for the lightning by the crow’s nest.
Lightning flashes and…
I grab a hold of the fence and quickly climb it. I fall onto the grass on the other side.
Sprinting towards the bleachers, not caring if the lightning takes me.
It can’t be…
I run across the field and another flash of lightning makes the crow’s nest visible for a second.
The red hair thrashing around in the wind…it…
Lightning flashes a second time…blue…her eyes…
I slip on the grass and fall.
I keep falling.
I push off the ground and look again.
A third flash…nothing.
I begin to panic, and I struggle to my feet. I keep running, skipping steps.
Gripping the slippery rungs on the ladder, stepping onto the metal platform.
Not caring about the lightning, only caring about the melodic laughter I think I hear.
It’s faint…but…I can’t tell.
Is it there? Is it real? Am I just hallucinating?
What is this? Why...
I fall to my knees.
Gripping the rail so hard my knuckles turn white; pounding the metal floor.

It’s Wednesday.


I go to the door and see her standing there, smiling.
I can’t help but smile back and wave her in.
We go to the kitchen and I cook her breakfast. We each eat our two eggs at the counter and don’t know why, but we both just start…laughing.
I just looked at her and she started to laugh. Her sweet melodic laugh, like crystals singing. So I laughed with her.
As soon as the laughter stops, she doesn’t hesitate.
She pulls me closer and crashes her lips against mine.
I can’t deny that I’ve wanted this ever since I met her, but I never thought that she would ever…
She starts to bite my lip and I lose my train of thought. I kiss her as hard as I can.
I start to lift her onto the kitchen island, but she puts a hand on my bare chest.
I stop and look at her concerned.
She bites her lip and takes my hand in hers.
She leads me towards the stairs, towards my room.
She looks at me and gives me a devilish smile.
I stare at her, worshipping her. She is the most amazing person I’ve ever met.
I love her.
I follow her up the stairs. She let’s go of my hand and goes into my room.
She turns around and frowns at me.
She slams the door shut…and locks it.
I just stand there staring at the door she had shut in my face.
I knock…no response.
“Hey!” I shout banging on the door…no answer.
I slam against my door. I hit it as hard as I can with my shoulder.
Twice…Three times…
On the fourth time, my door gives way and I rush in.
I look around, but she’s not there.
I feel a breeze…the window’s open!
I go to the window and look around.
The fire escape was open…and there she was…staring at me as she landed on the sidewalk.
She looked sad.
I didn’t understand.
She turned and started walking.
I sat on my windowsill and thought.

It’s Sunday.

I let go of the railing and stagger to the ladder. I manage to get to the fence safely.
I walk around this time.
Then I begin the long walk home.


Once I reach my room, I take off my wet clothes and put on a t-shirt and boxers. I grab the brown blanket and pull it back into the bed.
I fall asleep, with the last thing I remember being the clock.
It read 8:53 am.

“What do you want to do with your life Alex?”
“I dunno,” I reply shrugging.
We’re staring at the clouds.
“You should become a musician.”
“Because you’re good at it; you have a beautiful voice.”
I stayed quiet.
“Alex, promise me you’ll become a musician. Promise me you’ll change the world with your music.”
I look at her, and she’s staring at me intently. The gray invades her eyes, taking over. The blue doesn’t stand a chance, and it fades.
“I promise.”
She doesn’t smile, she just turns away.
“What are you going to do with your life?” I ask.
She shrugs her shoulders.
“Do you think that someday you’re gonna get married and have kids?”
“I don’t believe in love,” she said.
“Why not?” I question.
She doesn’t answer me, she just keeps staring at the sky.
“You’ve never loved anybody?” I question.
She shakes her head, her eyes remaining fixed on the clouds.
“Not even your parents?”
She doesn’t hesitate, “Nope. I can’t.”
“You’re bluffing,” I say starting to smile.
I move closer to her and lie on my stomach, “C’mon, you’ve never felt like you were in-love before?”
“Never have, never will.”
“Hey can I see your hand?” I asked.
She turned her head and looked at me skeptically.
She rolled her eyes at me and held her hand in front of my face. She kept her eyes fixed on me.
I held her hand and used a finger on my other hand to trace a line on her palm.
“Do you see that line?” I asked her.
She sat up and looked at her hand in mine, but before she got a better look, I intertwined our fingers.
I looked up at her face.
She was blushing, staring at our hands.
I got butterflies in my stomach.
I’d loved her since the day I first laid eyes on her.
This was my chance.
She looked into my eyes, then down to my lips, back up to my eyes and leaned in…
When our lips touched, sparks flew everywhere and ignited everything we had inside.
There was something there.
There was no denying that.
After we broke apart, she started playing with my fingers.
“It won’t last. It won’t work,” she said, picking at my fingers.
She let go of my hand and stood up.
She walked away, leaving me sitting in the sun wanting more.
When she was 10 feet away, she stopped and turned around.
She looked at me, “I’m dying.”
I stared at her, dumbfounded.
“W-what’s killing you?” I asked, swallowing the lump in my throat.
She whispers, “Me.”
With that, she turns and runs.
I scramble to my feet and try to catch her. But she’s too fast for me.
She hops the fence that takes her out of school property and onto her street. She’s going through her front door as I reach the fence.
I grab the fence and lace my fingers through the holes.
She turns to look at me, sighs, and then walks through the door.

My eyes flutter open as the image fades.
I try to recall what I had just dreamt, but it’s slipping through my fingers.
Then I remembered, and I began to sink deeper into the dark.
Wanting to forget her face, wanting to forget irreversible mistakes, but I can’t.
There’s nothing to be done.
There’s nothing to do…except find Jack.

The clock reads 7:22 p.m.

I’ve already been drowning and it seems as if I always will.
I stopped drinking around 5 and images flashed into my head.
They were all of her.
Where is she?
Maybe I should start calling people to find where she is.
I want to talk to her.

I pick up the phone and dial her house.
“Hello, is this Mrs. Bradbury?”
“Yes, who is this?”
“This is Alex Gaskarth.”
“Alex, w-why are you calling?”
“I know it’s late. Sorry about that, I just wanted to know if you’ve seen this girl. She has long red hair, bright blue eyes, she loves her baggy long-sleeved shirt that says Cornell on the front and-“
Mrs. Bradbury began sobbing.
“Please, Mrs. Bradbury, I keep seeing this girl in my dreams. She’s always running and it’s just driving me crazy. We seem to fit together. I…I’m going to ask her to marry me. Please help me find her!”
The phone line went dead.

I put the phone back in its cradle.
I need to find out who this girl is.
I pick the phone back up and dial a number.

“Hi Jack.”
“Hey Alex, what’s up?”
“Sorry man, I know it’s late, but I have a question to ask you?”
“Sure, anything.”
“Have you ever seen a girl in our neighborhood that has long red hair and bright blue eyes. She loves to run around too. Have you ever seen her?”
“A-Alex, are you okay?”
“I’m fine! I just want to know if you know this girl. I keep dreaming about her and…I…I love her. I want to ask her to marry me.”
“Alex, please, just…let it go.”

And with that, Jack hung up on me.
I once again placed the phone in its cradle.
I called two more people, Zack and Rian.
Both of them told me to leave things where they are…to move on.
I didn’t really understand them.
All I wanted to do was meet this girl.
This whole thing was driving me crazy!
I decided that I would go up to her house and ask around where she was.
She was bound to show up soon.


It had never stopped raining.
The walk lasted about 20 minutes.
On and on it rained.

Knock Knock
I was at the door to the house on the right of hers.
The door was opened by an elderly woman.
“Pardon me ma’am, my name is Alex and I was just wondering if you know this girl that I’m looking for. She has long red hair, the brightest blue eyes you ever saw, and when she smiles the whole room lights up. She’s also usually wearing a long-sleeved shirt, even in the summer time. Do you know her?”
I wait eagerly for her to answer.
“Why do you want to know if I know her?” asked the woman.
“I’m going to ask her to marry me,” I say beaming.
The woman’s face fell. She backed away from me and as she was shutting the door said,
“She moved away.”
My face fell; what did she mean?
No, she must still be here.
I want to marry her!
I love her!
“I LOVE HER!” I shout to the neighborhood.
I shout it over and over again into the darkening sky.
I hear doors opening, and I look around me.
People are coming out of their homes and staring at me.
Her door opens and out comes her mother and father.
I smile, waiting for her to come out, but instead people I don’t know exit the house.
Who are these strangers?
Then other neighbors yell at me that they were sleeping or that I’m disturbing the peace.

Images pop into my head, NO, they can’t be true!
I stare pleadingly at her parents,
“No!” I yell.
Her mother begins to sob while her father falls to the floor.
I keep saying, “No,” and backing away.
“PLEASE! STOP IT ALEX! STOP IT!!!” yelled Mrs. Bradbury, “She’s –“
“NO!” I yell.
I turn and run.
I can hear them yelling at me, but I cover my ears so I can’t understand them.
I run to the field, the place we were free.
She’s probably there; she always loved to be out in the...
“Rhane,” I whisper.
I see her.
Her back is to me.
I start sprinting towards her, shouting,
I reach her and place my hand on her shoulder…it goes through.
She turns around.
I start shaking my head, and she starts crying.

That’s about all I say these days.
Images start flooding back into my mind.
The tears, the rain, the phone call, the note.
“Rhane,” I whisper.
“Alex, please. I…I’m not coming back…I can’t come back.”
“No, Rhane…w-why?” I start to choke on the words.
Hot tears streak down my face.
“Why didn’t you come to me?!” I yell, “I could have helped you!”
She smiled, “We both know I was too far gone. You made my last years the happiest of my life. I couldn’t have asked for anything more than that.”
“Are you really…dead?” I sob out.
“I…,” she starts to cry, “I’ve done something so terrible. I…I can’t even begin to tell you.”
I stared into her eyes angrily, trying to make her tell me. But then I softened them,
“I should have expected as much from you.”
She smiled feebly, “You know I was never one for words.”
I managed to let out a little laugh, “Hah, yeah. I remember that time that we couldn’t present in front of Mrs. Lexington because you kept forgetting your lines.”
Rhane giggled, “Yeah, I wish I had been brave…like you.”
I started to choke up, “But, you are brave. You are the bravest person I know.”
Her smile turns to a frown and her mouth quivers.
“I…I’m so sorry Alex. You don’t deserve this. I…I’m just so mixed up...”
The question that had been begging to come out escaped,
“Why can I see you? How do I know it’s not a dream?”
“I-It was so selfish of me Alex. I just couldn’t let you go. I had to say goodbye to you. It wasn’t fair to you, but…I…”
Tears started streaming down her cheeks.
She was in that baggy long-sleeve she loved so much and tight jean shorts that make me love her more than possible.
We’re in that one place that allows a person to be free.
She’s fading away and starting to float.
“I love you,” she chokes out.
“I love you too,” I say.
She smiles at me and leans in towards my lips.
I close my eyes and hope that I’ll be able to feel her lips against mine for just one last time.
I feel something…I sense her lips are there…and then they are.
I kiss her with as much passion as I contained.
I can feel the tears running down my cheek.
Then the lips start to fade and I open my eyes to see her disappearing.
“Where are you going?” I ask.
“There’s a home waiting for me in the clouds. It’s time for me to go.”
“Wait! What will happen to you?” I ask, desperately trying to keep her here for as long as I could.
She smiles at me, “I’ll have the chance to keep an eye on you for once, instead of the other way around.”
I smile at her and she’s almost gone.
“Please, don’t forget me,” she whispers, worried.
The gray starts to invade her eyes.
“Never,” I yell smiling at her.
The blue overtakes the gray and permanently reclaims her eyes.
“I love you,” she yells.
“For as long as I live, breathe, and die, I will love you. Forever and always Rhane. Forever and always.”
She smiles…and then she’s gone.


It’s still raining.
I get out of my car, clutching the flowers.
I know just where to go.
I weave in and out of the stones until I come to a very special one.
This stone marks the final resting place of a girl I love, but she was too big for this world.

Here lies Rhane Bradbury
A loving Daughter
“We’re All Dreamers.”
-Ray Bradbury
October 3, 1990 – April 27, 2013

I place the bouquet of flowers I collected from the field on the grave.
I smile, place my hand on the stone, and look up at the sky.
“I love you,” I whisper, and I kiss the stone.
I stand up and start walking to my car when all of a sudden…
A faint sweet melodic laugh, like…like…
I smile to myself.
Like crystals singing.
I turn around, and just for a second I can see her running around, smiling, in that baggy long-sleeved shirt and her jean shorts. Her red hair glistening wet in the rain and her electric blue eyes staring into mine.
I stare a second longer at the emptiness behind me.
I smile and walk to my car.

It’s Sunday.