We’d lay there in the dewy grass all afternoon long; we had a special little spot by a willow tree close to the creek, Widow’s creek. Manny and I had picked it out a long time ago; I think when nine or so were. I remember it so clearly since it was the same day that we’d decided we’d be together forever. We were young love. The creek was our little secret place; no one ever came there because they thought it was “too creepy”. But we liked it, for Manny and I it was perfect.
Hand in hand we’d stare at the sky trading dreams; our occasional peals of laughter the only sounds to break the silence of the lonely little creek. That was the only time during my sixteen years that I could ever remember being young and carefree before my Manny died.
My mama says it’s because I’m “repressing the bad memory”, sometime she likes to think of herself as a Psychology doctor, using all them big words and such. But me and Pa never pay her no mind, we know she’d never made it past high school ‘cause she’d gotten knocked up with me.
It still feels like yesterday. My heart races as I’m pulled back by the vivid memory.
I barreled past the crowd of people gathered outside the yard. By the time I got to Manny’s rickety front porch I was out of breath. I quickly took survey of the fifteen or so onlookers, pft, just the usual neighborhood nosy folk. He must have gotten into trouble again; that stupid Manny, he was always at the center of some mischief. I was upset and dead set on giving Manny a piece of my mind, ignoring the odd crowd I made my way into the house. “Manito! Stupido, where are you?”, I scanned the small sparsely furnished living area for him. He wasn’t in there.
“Manny! Stop messing around we’re ‘posed to be down by the creek, you’re wasting a perfectly good day!”
I know that I must have looked like a mad woman but it didn’t matter. I wanted to find Manny. I ran upstairs to his intent on going to his room, oblivious to the concerned looks being exchanged by Manny’s mama, his papa, his older brother Tito and the policeman. How odd, I wonder what trouble he’d gotten into for a policeman to be here and why they’re all standing in the hallway. I didn’t understand why they all looked so solemn, or why his mama’s eyes were so red. She looked so old now, and sad, very sad. It looked as though she’d been crying for a long time.
“Stile, Manito is not here anymore”, she sobbed her thickly accented voice cracking as she as her words trailed off.
What did she mean, “not here anymore”, I wonder where that stupid boy really did go. Her odd behavior only fueled my need to find him, but now I was nervous, no I don’t think that’s what it was, I was frantic.
“Mannnnyyyyy! Where are you?”, I shouted. Ignoring his mama’s loud sobs, I sprinted down the narrow hallway to his room. I stopped at the door, my heavy breathing almost drowned out by my thunderous heartbeat. I knocked. I never knocked on Manny’s door before; I’d always just barge in. That’s how close we were. He didn’t answer this time though, there was no ear-splitting Bachata blasting from his room, no it was just an eerie silence waiting for me.
I held my breath as I stepped into his room, but nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. My Manny was slumped over to the side in his bed with one arm hanging limply off the side; three empty pill bottles littered the floor, and his face had a strange purplish-blue shade. I crept over to him, hoping, just hoping that he was only just sleeping; I knew he wasn’t yet still I hoped.
“Manito”, I whispered. I shook him, but he didn’t budge. “Manito wake up!” Tears streamed down my face. “Manny!”, I shook him but still no reply—no movement. I was hysteric, I don’t remember ever feeling this overwhelmed by shock or grief before, I couldn’t handle it. I hugged his cold lifeless form hard, I knew this would be my last time with him, I knew it. The tears flowed; I hugged him and let out a heart wrenching scream. I hugged him, screamed and cried for god knows how long, until I felt strong hands pry me away from him.
They kept telling me “he’s gone”, but my heart refused to process it. He couldn’t be gone, he never told me there was something wrong, he said we’d be together forever. He couldn’t be gone; I just kept screaming and yelling for my Manny.
Well, that’s how I remember it anyway. My mama says ever since that day I haven’t been the same in the head. She says that’s why I’m in this place, that’s why I need to talk to you Mr. Psychology doctor—to help me get right in the head again.
“Isn’t that true Mr. Doctor?” he looked up, nodded curtly and went back to scribbling away in his little note-book. I always wonder when he’ll ever start helping me get right in the head again, all he ever does is ask me silly questions then scribble in his book. I knew it wouldn’t be today, because just like always, our one hour session ended when those people came to bring me back to my room. And you know, once I get there I’ll relive that day every for every single second till my next visit with Mr. Psychologist Doctor. Maybe next time he’ll help me get right in the head. Just maybe next time.
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