November 21st – a short story

Noelle Buehrer

The last thing I remembered was the hard, jagged street. My hands colliding first, followed by my face. I must have been a bloody mess when they found me. As I flew off that bike, my life didn’t flash before my eyes. All I saw was the pavement I was about to collide with. It didn’t even hurt when I fell. I just woke up.
So it was all a dream. A very realistic dream. Whatever. I have nightmares all the time and none of them bother me. My clock read 12:00 a.m. I still had plenty of time to sleep, but I was nowhere near tired. I didn’t feel like getting up already, nor did I have any work to get done in bed, so I turned on my calming music CD and fell to my pillow again. I was asleep in a matter of seconds.
When I woke up, it was already 6:12, so I was confused when I didn’t hear my 6:00 alarm still going off. It was even more confusing that my mom hadn’t come to wake me up like she usually does when I oversleep more than five or ten minutes. Okay, I had no time dwell on that. I needed to get to school by 7:30 and I had to get dressed, brush my hair, eat breakfast, brush my teeth, and pack my backpack.
As I walked down the hallway, I heard some noises coming from my mom’s room. Was something wrong? Out of concern and curiosity, I peeked in her door. All I saw was my mother sitting on her bed and crying. She’d been crying a lot ever since my dad divorced her. I thought it was best to leave her alone. The last of the cereal was used yesterday, so I made myself some toast for breakfast. I’m usually alone to take care of my morning routine, yet I felt empty and sad having nobody to be with me in the morning.
My school is close enough to my house that I can walk there if I need to. Today felt like a good day to walk to school. Before leaving, I ducked into my mom’s room so say, “Bye, Mom. I love you. Gotta run. See you soon.” It was a phrase we made up for when I was leaving to go somewhere and had to tell her. It was weird, and stupid, and didn’t rhyme as much as we thought it did, but we loved it.
The walk to school never takes long—about ten to fifteen minutes—but it felt super fast today. Almost as if I had teleported there instead of walking the full fifth of a mile. I didn’t bother to think about it long. I had classes to get to. Namely homeroom. I strutted into the building and turned right, then left, then left again, went up a flight of stairs, walked straight ahead, and entered my homeroom. I had expected everyone to be rather joyful and upbeat as usual, but everyone in the room was very dull and sad-looking. Even the teacher. But, as with most things I don’t have full information about, I ignored everyone’s strange behaviour.
“Okay, uh, everyone’s seats are filled so I’m going to mark full presence. Before we talk about our plans for Thanksgiving this year, the school wants me to tell you that there will be an assembly in honour of Mia Holland tomorrow after lunch,” the teacher, Mr. Wayne, announced gloomily. Wait. An assembly in honour of me? What had I done that deserved an assembly? Mr. Wayne was my favourite teacher, so why didn’t he tell me about this beforehand? Before I could think about what the assembly could be honouring me for, Mr. Wayne said to the class, “Does anyone have any special plans for Thanksgiving break?” I raised my hand as high as I could. I wanted to tell the class that my older brother Jesse and his wife Natalie had their baby two days ago, and my mom and I were going to drive out to Michigan to spend Thanksgiving with them. Natalie said they were going to name the baby Mia if it was a girl so she would be named after me (and they refused to call and tell me if it was a girl so that I could find out when I got there).
“Nobody? Really? Isn’t anyone doing anything they’d like to share?” Mr. Wayne questioned.
“I am! Can I share, Mr. Wayne?” I said loudly. He still didn’t notice me and said, “Well, in that case, you guys can head off to your first period class early.” I wanted to go up to Mr. Wayne and ask him why he wouldn’t call on me, but this seemed like a bad time to bother him. Off to first period I went, where everyone was acting exactly the same as the people in homeroom; everyone looked super sad and gloomy, the teacher and other students didn’t seem to notice me, and I think I even saw one or two people shed a few tears. I was wondering all morning why everyone was acting this way. I even made it to lunch and still didn’t have any answers. I couldn’t even ask my best friend Christie at lunch because she didn’t arrive at our table. Christie not meeting me at our table for lunch really confused me. She had never missed a day of school in her life, and she always sat with me at lunch. We were each other’s only friends, so she most likely wouldn’t be sitting somewhere else. So where was she?
My remaining classes were just like all the others. Everyone seemed sad and my teachers and classmates acted like I wasn’t there. Because of this, the rest of the day felt long and boring. Finally, the bell rang at 3:00, signaling the end of school. I always got a ride home with Christie’s mom but since Christie was gone, I was given no other choice than to walk home.
As I was strolling along, the first snowflakes of the season began to fall. As the immature being that I am, I stuck out my tongue to catch snowflakes. I giggled as the cool flakes touched down on my tongue. I enjoyed the snow as I completed my walk home. I waltzed in the door, threw my backpack into the kitchen ahead of me, and made myself a snack. Usually my mom was waiting for me with apples and peanut butter already prepared for me, but she wasn’t in the kitchen. In fact, her car was missing from the garage. I figured she must be out getting food for dinner. I didn’t have any homework that night. Therefore, I decided to go take a short nap while I waited for my mom to get home.
I woke up to realize that I had slept through the night. It was 5:56 a.m. I would have only had four minutes to sleep if fell asleep again, so I got out of bed and began my morning routine. I took a shower, got dressed, brushed my hair, and wandered into the kitchen. I was about to open the cupboard to grab some cereal when I caught a glimpse of my face on the kitchen table. Out of curiosity, I went to check it out. What I saw shocked me so badly I was unable to think for a moment. On the table lay the local newspaper, bearing the headline “Bike Accident Leaves Local Girl Dead”.
I stood there in shock for a good five minutes until I mustered up the courage to read the article. It said, “Local fifteen-year-old girl by the name of Mia Holland was recently killed in a bike accident. According to her mother, she was riding home from a trip to the local convenience store late at night. It appears as though her bike hit a pothole in the sidewalk and the front tire got stuck. She was thrown over the handle bars and she collided with the pavement. She might have survived if not for a drunk driver who lost control of the wheel and drove onto the sidewalk, crushing the girl. Some nearby people saw the situation and called an ambulance. Mia was rushed to a hospital, but it was too late. She was pronounced dead at 12:00 a.m. on November 21st. Mia’s recently divorced mother is devastated. She even said that she could hear her daughter’s relaxing music playing when she returned from the hospital.” Suddenly, everything made sense. My mom crying, everyone at school looking sad and ignoring me, the assembly scheduled to honour me, and Christie was probably too heartbroken to come to school.
This was a week ago.
Now I’m standing in a cemetery, watching my funeral. My mom, Christie, a few of my teachers, and a few of my classmates were there. My dad didn’t come. He never loved me, but I didn’t think he would actually miss my funeral. When the service was over, everyone was allowed to go up to my casket and pay their respects or say goodbye to me. Only a few people came up and they didn’t say much. The only moment that I found really painful to watch was when my mom came up to my casket and just cried. She didn’t say anything, she just cried. I felt really bad for her. First her only son moves a thousand miles away, then her husband breaks up with her, and now her only daughter dies. I couldn’t help myself from going up to her and hugging her. I knew she couldn’t see or feel me, but I had to try to comfort her. I was about to walk away and think about what I’m going to do now until I saw someone else walk up. Two people actually. I couldn’t see who they were, but then one of them said to a baby they were carrying, “Mia, say goodbye to aunt Mia.” It was Jesse and Natalie! They came all the way from Michigan to come to my funeral. They even brought along their new baby. It was a girl, and Natalie kept her promise! I was so excited about the baby that I forgot I was dead and wouldn’t get the chance to be her aunt. Remembering that fact brought upon the worst emotional pain I’d ever experienced. I’d never get to be an aunt to Jesse and Natalie’s child. I’d never get to do anything. No one can see me, or hear me, or feel me. What do I now?