The 23rd of April

an excerpt of a short story by Antonio Perret, Class of 2012

Today marks the one-year anniversary of when my little brother passed away. As cliché as it sounds, he was my best friend and the most amazing brother ever. We would do everything together, ranging from playing basketball to just taking a quiet stroll in the park. Our close relationship with each other was probably the only thing in my teenage life that seemed to work well, since my grades were mediocre, my face was covered with pimples, and I still hadn’t managed to get a date for prom at the time. But of course like many immature teenagers, I never truly appreciated my brother, until it was too late. It was on the 23rd of April, at 4 o’clock when we got the call that he had just been run over by a car, and I instantly felt like someone had just shot my heart with a .45 caliber bullet.

The day of the funeral came right around the corner and to say that everyone was distraught was an understatement. Mom couldn’t stop holding onto his coffin, which was understandable, even if it was a bit much. At the top of their lungs, Grandma and Grandpa kept screaming, “È Morto!” which is Italian for he is dead. Aunt Sophia fainted three times throughout the service, which I didn’t even think was possible. To top it off, our Uncle Rick showed up drunk and without pants. As for me, I just sat there watching everyone’s reactions, asking myself, “Why couldn’t it have been me in that coffin instead of him?” The mass went on and ended with his burial. The rest of the afternoon, I just slept in my bed and starved myself, hoping that everything would sort itself out in the days to come. It was a rough morning for all of us, and I thought it couldn’t get much worse for me. I was sadly mistaken.

A few more weeks passed by and the pain felt unbearable. I remember back from when I was five years old, in pain after my tonsils came out. That pain soon faded away, but the death of my brother was a pain that seemed everlasting. There was emotional tension at home between Mom and Dad, and it definitely was not the kind of environment that I could live in. So I took it upon myself to stay out of the house, for as long as I could, just to sort out my feelings. I would start walking in a random direction, and eventually would end up at some type of convenience store or fast food restaurant. Some afternoons it would be a 7-Eleven or Quick Chek, and other times I ended up at a Dunkin’ Donuts or McDonald’s. As strange as it sounds, I’d rarely ever buy anything and would simply sit down to observe the customers as they came and went. I found their facial expressions and conversations to be quite interesting, but soon they would all leave in a hurry to continue their busy schedules. That part was the most interesting, seeing how they continued living as usual, while my world seemed to be frozen in time ever since the moment I lost my brother. I didn’t blame anybody for having a life, but it made me realize that the world moves on, whether or not I wanted it to…

From Antonio:  I graduated from Edison High School in June of 2012. I am attending the Rutgers Graduate School of Education, where I am currently working on my Master’s Degree in English Education. I plan to become an English Teacher. My inspirations include my life experiences, my grandparents (who are no longer alive), children/teens, art (in the form of books, novels, poetry, movies, images, anime, manga, cartoons, basically anything with the potential to invoke thoughts), and my past teachers with an emphasis on Ms Hart, my AP LangComp teacher, who taught me so much.  I cannot say I have been writing creatively for very long, since I have only started during my college years, but I do remember something that Ms. Hart told us in our last class that relates.  It was something along the lines of, “You are all true writers from the little sticky notes that are written on and posted in your books to the very practice essays that I have been assigning all yearlong. So do not let anyone tell you that you aren’t a true writer because you are, and I know everyone in this class will accomplish something great in life.” I carry these words deep in my heart and truly believe in them even to this day. The materials that I use are sticky notes, pencils/pens, Microsoft Word, Laptop, and my innermost thoughts and emotions.
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