Never Looking Back | Teen Ink

Never Looking Back

June 7, 2022
By izzyruffner SILVER, Grosse Pointe, Michigan
izzyruffner SILVER, Grosse Pointe, Michigan
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

As I walked into this unfamiliar place, the only thing I could think of was “This is a dream, I am dreaming. As I turned left around the corner there was a room, waiting for me, taunting me. I followed closely behind my mother until I saw the door. I saw the door and began to slow, I couldn't go in there. I couldn't bring myself to. But I had to. I had to, for my mom, dad, sisters. I was the youngest and had the right to cry the way they did. I of all of us had the least amount of time with him, I had to hide my sadness, I had to smile.

As we entered the tan tinted room with high ceilings, I saw him. Well not him, it. I saw a casket at the far end of the room. Completely open so you were able to see the silk sheets that lined the inside of the lid. As I got closer, I saw a man. He was young, tall, with dark brown hair almost black falling to either side of his pale face. As we got closer a lady came out from behind that black curtain that the casket lay in front of. Her brown hair slicked back into a bun with her tall boney figure poking through her all black suit.

“How does he look?” the woman asked with an attempted smile at me.

“That’s not my…” my mother cut me off before I could finish.

“He looks great, thank you,” my mother said with a kind smile.

“That's not my brother” I blurted out without being interrupted this time. With a concerned look on her face the woman looked back and forth between my mother and I.

“Give us a minute” my mother said, putting her pointer finger up. Pulling me aside she said “That Tyson, that's your brother”.

“No, it's not” I said, starting to get agitated.

“It’s just the makeup, they put makeup on him and they just did his hair the way they wanted to. They didnt know how he does his hair” she said in an oddly reassuring tone. She thanked the women again and we walked back out. 

We came back the next day for the viewing. I wore my favorite black tulle dress with a white flower lying right above where my heart is. That was the last time I ever wore that dress. It is still in my attic somewhere, I couldn't bear to get rid of it but I also couldn't bear to look at it. 

As I walked in through the big oak doors, I expected to make the same left I had as last time, but instead we turned right. We walked into a room that had ceilings just as high as the last, however it had wooden pillars lining the exterior of the room. Once again, at the far end of their room with a daunting black curtain behind it was a casket. Instead of going to the casket this time we walked straight across the room to a pair of glass doors with white curtains covering the glass so you could not see in. 

I spent most of the viewing hiding behind the glass doors. After every five rounds of uno I played I was forced to go outside the glass doors and take a lap so that people could see me. I always turned left going out the doors, never right. If I went right I would come face to face with my brother and I couldn't bare to do it.

As people started to leave I knew the night was coming to a close. I had to do it. So I did it. I walked out through the glass doors and made a right. As I walked up to the solid oak casket, I saw him. He looked like him. The hair was fixed and the makeup changed. It was my brother. That was the exact moment I realized that he wasn't coming back. I had to check to see what was on my right and left before I moved further. I had to stand there for a moment trying to figure out which hand was his right hand. The hand that I did my handshake with. His hands folded across the chest like they are in every movie, his right hand lay on top. I reached out my shaking hand, grabbed his pointer finger, sending an immediate shiver down my spine.

The cold, all I could feel was the cold. He was no longer warm and welcoming. He was cold and distant, like me. Now that I had a hold of his hand, I gave him one final handshake. And that was it.

I turned around and walked the long walk that felt like eternity towards the exit, never looking back. That was the last time I ever saw my brother.

The author's comments:

This is a nonfiction piece about the loss of my brother.

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