I remember staying late with him, with my mom, with my grandmother, with my stepdad, listening to the bugs buzzing boisterously, while we talked about aliens, about ghosts, about God.
I remember being scared.
I remember my mom chasing me with a flip-flop because I was bothering my sister.
I remember running from her.
I remember knocking on my grandfather’s door.
I remember him opening the door, and asking my mom to go away.
I remember my mom stomping furiously, like a child having a tantrum, as she left.
I remember feeling relieved as my grandfather hugged me and sat me on his lap.
I remember him lecturing me about how I was expected to treat my mom and my sister.
I remember him playfully biting the tip of my ear as his pale lips pronounced a word that filled me with warmth.
I remember him saying “I love you...”
I remember not remembering him saying such expression.
I remember his warm skin hugging me anxiously, for the first time.
I remember I was crying.
I remember him drying my tears out.
I remember it was time to return to my father’s house.
I remember packing my things up.
I remember my father waiting for me outside, while I said good-bye to my grandfather and to my mother and to my grandmother.
I remember feeling nostalgic; I wanted to stay with my grandparents, and my mom.
I remember getting up, in the morning, and starting to get dressed to school.
I remember hearing my sister crying relentlessly in her bedroom.
I remember wondering why she was crying, as I walked to her room, afraid.
I remember my father’s face revealing a tragedy.
I remember my sister looking at me with a contagious grief, and her eyes overwhelmed with tears, and fears.
I remember my father’s voice saying “your grandfather... he killed himself!”
I remember going blank.
I remember not crying... not even one tear.
I remember feeling emptiness commencing to invade my insides.
I remember my father reaching out to hug me, as if it would change what happened.
I remember him turning on the television and putting on the news.
I remember sitting on the couch, staring at the television... thoughtless, and helpless. My father repeating helplessly, how sorry he was for my sister’s loss... for my loss.
I remember many familiar faces showing on the television, sobbing. My mother, and my uncle, and my siblings were behind the speaking glass that kept me from reaching them.
I remember not seeing my grandmother appear in the news. She was somewhere else where only solitude could see her cry...
I remember not going to school that day.
I remember... I remember... I remember...
I remember going to my grandfather’s funeral. People who I never saw, who I never talked to, who I never knew about, were there.
People who did not deserve to be there were there. People from all over the place were there. Their clattering voices diminished the silent darkness that was undertaking me.
I remember seeing tears standing on the cheeks of his beloved ones, but on mine.
I remember asking my grandmother to accompany me to the coffin where his body laid. My grandmother said no. She said that she did not want that memory to blur out the perspective that she had of him. She did not want to remember him that way.
I remember not understanding what she meant.
I remember walking towards the coffin. Every step I took further released a memory of him. They all kept adding up, leaving me powerless and trembling.
I remember staring at the content of the coffin... an empty body. What I expected to find there, was gone. Not even a pinch of what used to be my grandfather was left.
I remember a tear of disappointment running down on my right cheek, crashing onto the edge of the shiny coffin.
I remember my hand reaching for his hand. It was cold and motionless.
I remember leaving with mourning that night. Darkness seemed to be more dark than usual.
I remember the day of the burial. It was a sunny day.
I remember not going to his burial. No one wanted me to go. They all said I was too young to witness it.
I remember not remembering what happened that day. My mind was in an unstoppable trance, seeking for a peek of the gone spirit. Why didn’t they take me? I needed to be there.
I remember praying to see him in my dreams... to ask him why he did what he did.
I remember having nightmares, instead of dreams.
I remember having nightmares of the night it happened.
I remember myself picturing the way he died... hung. I pictured him with a yellow shirt and the camouflage pants he liked to wear so much. I picture him hanging himself in those clothes.
I remember feeling as if the nightmares were my only connection to him.
I remember feeling emotionless. I was an empty chest, left to drown in the middle of the ocean.
I remember learning to love to wear black. It came as second nature to me. I was like a rotten apple falling, rotting.
I remember the depression that followed during my teenage years.
I remember my family getting closer to each other... but it was too late. He was gone, and nothing was bringing him back.
I remember how his death marked my life forever.
I remember, I remember, I remember...
But, what I will always remember is that last time we were together. When we were both alive. The “I love you” that in that specific moment I took for granted, but hours later pierced through my soul as I remembered it.