By: Yvette Jessen
Tourkia, August 24, 2009
Adam sat at his computer, the headlines somehow making him feel sadder and sadder. He always felt that way during this time of year, but he could not understand why. Summer was drawing to a close and he was starting to see how the first leaves of autumn had started to peer out from the vastness of green. He could almost sense the pending, but gradual, seasonal change.
He had not been himself for much of the summer, perhaps because he had noticed that several people he associated with were involved in their own lives and activities. Dyeland seemed emptier to him somehow, and this somehow added to his despondency.
Lady JenniAnn was spending more time in the Tunnels helping Vincent and his family, Willy was getting the factory ready for the production of Christmas candies, Nigel was house-sitting for William and was probably more absent than present. Rose was helping her Aunt Josephine out or spending time in Los Angeles, and Mick seemed to be dealing with a hotter than usual summer, which for the vampire must not have been a grand or glorious time.
Yet, the person whom he missed seeing around was Yva Michaels. She had been in and out of Dyeland as though someone could have installed a revolving door on her house at the Heavenly Playground. What worried him was that she seemed to have withdrawn into herself and spent the days playing computer games instead of visiting friends and getting involved socially.
The game she played may have been fine, if he had known something about it instead of just that she was playing it rather actively. Notwithstanding the fact that Nigel had told him at one point that her life had become a strange mixture of being somewhat humdrum as well as stressful. Perhaps the game had become a applicable means in which she could put reality aside for a while.
Whatever the case, he was worried about her. The Dyeland rumor mill was still running and he had heard from some visitors at the café that Sir Sven’s working situation was not all that grand and there was talk of more downsizing. Not a good thing to happen during the summer holidays, and somehow this sort of news paralleled the bad news that Adam had been reading about on the daily news-feed that very morning.
“Bus Accident Kills 4,” he mumbled as he read the headline and his head sank lower. He had been sent there to take a man Home during the course of that story. It had been a horrible situation, the man had been a happily married father of two. He was just going home that afternoon to tell his wife that he had gotten the vacation time from work and that they could take that cruise to the Bahamas that she had been dreaming about since her youth.
Now instead of a dream vacation, the family was planning for a funeral.
Another story spoke of a woman’s husband accidentally overdosing on drugs, and a third reported a fourteen-year-old boy committing suicide because his father had walked out on the family.
What was happening with this world and why did the Angel of Death feel as though it was running him down somehow?
He allowed his elbows to lean against the table. It was no secret, he had been sitting and reading articles for what seemed like an eternity. Each story was depressing him more than the last. What is going on? He really wanted to know, but somehow there emerged no response and his questions remained unanswered. Somehow, nothing could make him feel any better after reading about all of these things.
Maybe I should get outside and do some chores, he thought morosely, but quickly dismissed the idea because he figured that he might take his bad mood out on the turkeys. He knew that they could not help being what they were and that they had their own sets of priorities to deal with. That included, and was not limited to, swiping sweets, digging up the yard, and trying to escape from the pen that he had labored away on earlier that year.
Instead of clicking on another story, he closed the window and turned the laptop off. Standing up, he stretched, but abruptly realized that his back was immediately feeling the ‘result’ of having sat for a prolonged period of time. A dull pain somehow extended from the top of his back down to his hips. Doggone this Human Form, he thought sadly. As if I didn’t already feel bad enough.
As he turned away from the computer, he stopped short. Yva was standing in the doorway staring into the room. Her brown eyes were regarding him and in her hand she held a plate that was filled with chocolate chip cookies. “Hi Adam,” she spoke, as she casually walked into the room and once she had found a spot on the table, she placed the plate on it. “I thought you could use a break from whatever you’ve been doing.”
“How’d you get in here?” He asked, his voice neither happy nor sad. He was merely curious and that was, luckily, how his question had emerged.
“Your front door was wide open and although I did knock, you never answered,” she said. “It’s been awhile, but I thought I would bring you some cookies.”
“Why?” He asked.
“I guess because I have come to realize that today holds some degree of significance for you and I figured that you might like to have some company. If you would rather I go, then I will,” she said.
“I guess it does, but don’t go,” he mused as he looked over at the plate that was on the table. They were not as tasty looking as Lady Beth’s, but Adam immediately surmised that Yva must have baked them herself just for him. Baking was clearly not one of her stronger suits, but he knew that because she had tried, that he would have to at least taste one of them.
He went over to the plate and picked one up before bringing it to his mouth. Taking a small taste, he quickly realized that they tasted a lot better than they looked. A small smile graced his lips as he looked at her. “These taste very good, Yva.”
“Thanks,” she said. “But I did get a little help.”
“No, Papa helped me, but I’m the one who put them on the cookie sheet, which may explain why they look so weird,” she said.
Adam ran his hand through his graying hair. “You know, these are sort of a parallel to life?”
“How do you mean?”
“Well, sometimes the things that may not look the most beautiful on the outside, but they still contain a beauty that is uniquely their own.”
“I guess, I never really thought that a batch of chocolate chip cookies could be a metaphor for life,” she said. “Have you been playing chess with Father again?”
“Maybe,” Adam said. “Actually, before you came I was…”
“…You were reading the news feed again, right?” She asked.
“How’d you know?” He asked. “I mean; we weren’t even discussing it.”
“Well, I know you, and I also know that neither you nor Lady JenniAnn can conceal it when you go online to read the news and find something that upsets you. You both get melancholy and start talking philosophically like Vincent or Father. That generally means that you need something like deep thoughts and cookies to cheer you up after you’ve been doing it,” Yva said.
“What do you do when you read something that touches you like that?” He asked.
“I don’t know, usually I listen to music and through that, try and find some semblance of comfort in it,” she paused as her next words emerged in the form of a confession. “I mean; very few people know this, but I felt that way about a month ago when Michael Jackson died.”
“You were touched by that?” He asked. “I never knew that his style of music was your thing.”
“He was my favorite singer when I was about twelve-years-old,” she said. “His record album was probably the very first one I had ever bought. I saved my money for it because my mother wouldn’t think of buying it for me.”
“Is that why you sort of disappeared from Dyeland after the news emerged?” He asked gently. “Did you think that if you withdrew from your friends that we wouldn’t notice?”
“I don’t know. I felt strange after he died,” she admitted softly. “You know, it’s weird, but before his passing, I couldn’t have been bothered by what he was doing. I didn’t much care about the tour, or new CDs or anything. The really hard thing to contend with in all of this was realizing that I wasn’t sure if he really did what they said he did. I wasn’t keen on researching it either, because it hit too close to home.”
“Maybe you didn’t need to do that,” Adam said. “Perhaps it was something you should not have concerned yourself with.”
Yva took a deep breath. “Maybe, but it’s still not easy, I mean; human beings pass judgment on people every day, and we don’t even realize that we’re even doing it. What if he had been misunderstood or misinterpreted and a bunch of jealous and spiteful people judged him based on skewed news reports? No one could have truly known except for him.”
“Now your feelings about him are changing, right?” He asked.
She nodded. “Consciously, yes, but only because I know more now than I did before and that is somehow shaping what I believe.”
“Is this what has been bothering you?” Adam wanted to know. “You are suddenly beginning to recognize that you had been too critical of another human being or is it simply the fact that you must recognize that you are human?”
She nodded. “Maybe, but there’s more to it than that.”
“Well, tell me.”
“After he died, I came to discover that I never fully appreciated how much talent he possessed. Now that I acknowledge it, somehow it feels as though it is too late. It’s strange, because the older I get, the sad reality hits me that I could reel off a list of names of people who are no longer here. They are people whose work I sorely miss and for whatever reason, I cannot explain why. Somehow, I remember where I was when the news broke that they were dead. Then another person passes on whom I admired and looked up to, then I am not just reminded of them, but of all the people that I had ever admired and respected. That’s why whenever it happens, it just hurts all over again.”
She took a deep breath and continued speaking. “At the same time, there is this strange sense of irony in knowing that whenever I watch a show they were in or listen to a song they recorded, that they live on somehow.” She paused before her next question emerged. “Adam, should my feelings about them change because they are no longer here?”
“No,” Adam said softly. “They should be remembered for the impact they had on your life and the world. That is a part of their legacy, a part of what keeps them alive in your memories and recollections.”
“You know, there’s this song that sort of comforts me whenever I think about this sort of stuff,” she said softly.
“A song?” Adam asked. “And all this time I thought you were just involved with some sort of computer game.”
“I still am involved with that, but there’s always been this sort of melancholy sense with music, it’s something that has always been there even when my hobbies and interests might have changed. Music has been this sort of consistent, even when I’m not.” She smiled weakly.
“So what song is it?” He asked.
“I don’t remember the name. I think it was called something like ‘For My Broken Heart’ or something like that,” she said. “It came out when I was a little girl, but it sort of personifies the idea that although something awful may have happened in my life, that the world would still turn, even when we experience pain or grief. It says something like: The sun still came out and the world kept turning regardless of how sad I was.”
“Did you find healing through that?” He asked. “Even after Michael’s passing?”
“I tried, and to some extent I think I did,” she said. “I started listening to his music in a whole different way after I heard that he was no longer here. I mean; the words to a lot of his songs came back and hit me. There was something poignant in them, something that told me that he cared for the world and the people in it. It somehow became a defining emotion and this reminded me of how much music can affect and change a person. How much the right words can touch the depths of a person’s heart and make them remember.”
Adam looked at her. “In other words, the music has become his legacy.”
“Yeah, and you know what, the person who was born on August 24 also left a legacy behind? He reminded us to laugh and to see the humor in life. To embrace the ability to be funny, even when it may not be the best possible moment,” she said as a shadow briefly shadowed his face. Instead of allowing her words to hang in the air, she looked at the angel. “You know that it’s the truth, don’t you?”
“Yes, I do,” he said softly as he went over to where she was standing and pulled her into his arms and held her. As he did, he could feel the tears that streamed from beneath her eyes and landed on his shoulder. Pulling back, he reached over and brushed the tears away. “I know how hard it is to remember how lives somehow parallel in a strange and mysterious way.”
“Yeah,” she whispered bravely, “but the world does not stop, it just keeps going.”
“I know, I’ve known that for the past few years, Yva,” he said. “Today, you are recognizing it all over again.”
Seconds later, their embrace loosened and she started towards the door, her shoulders still slumped. As she walked, she wiped the back of her hand over her face, thus smearing away the remaining tears.
At that moment Adam noticed that there was a strength in her stance that he had never really noticed before. Instead of remaining where he was, he walked over to her and rested his hand on her shoulder.
She stopped what she was doing and turned around and waited for him to speak. “It’s nice to be reminded that feelings are okay, Yva.”
Wordlessly, the two friends left the room and started to make their way towards the front door that led outside. Just next to the door, Adam noticed that Yva’s laptop was placed, the beige colored carrying bag leaning against and hugging the wall.
“You know, something tells me that you did not bring this over here to compare its technical functions and the motherboard size with mine,” he said.
“No, I wanted to show you something, actually,” she said.
“What?” He asked with a good natured smile on his face. “Is it that game that has been robbing you from all of us?”
She did not respond, but something in his question indicated to her that her prolonged absence had been forgiven.
When he saw her cheeks flushing crimson, he continued speaking. “If it’s that ‘Mafia Wars’ thing that I have heard so much about, then I’m not interested. Andrew and Henry could attest to the fact that we see enough of that stuff in real life, we don’t need to see it played out in the form of a game.”
“I couldn’t agree more, Adam,” she said softly, but after several moments, she sat down on the ground and began to open the bag. “It’s nothing like that at all. It’s about these furry little pets that you can adopt.”
“Like Tribbles?” He asked with a quirky smile. “Will they multiply?”
“No, but let’s face it, nothing can multiply at the pace they did in that show,” she said with a genuine smile on her face.
Instead of elaborating on his question, she booted up the computer before glancing skyward. For whatever reason, that song that was still stuck in her mind had been right all along. Somehow the world does continue to turn even after a tragedy has struck, and those whom it affects will always be given the opportunity to embrace the fact that life does go on.
Adam watched her for several moments before speaking. “What is it?”
“You asked me earlier if I had found healing after Michael Jackson’s passing,” she said as she left the laptop on the ground, stood up, and embraced the angel.
“And did you really?” He asked.
“I did, but not earlier,” she said shaking her head. “Adam, I found it just now talking to you. I know that grief does eventually fade, but memories will always live on in those who chose to remember.”
The angel nodded as he watched her sit back down. Perhaps it was time for him to rise above the grief that he had been carrying and find the peace that he needed. Maybe, just maybe in all of this, Yva was trying to share with him one of the ways in which she was attempting to cope with it all.
Wordlessly he joined her on the ground. “Adopting a pet, huh?” He asked. “So how do you do it?”
“You can design them, give them a gender, and a name,” Yva said.
“What’s the name of yours?”
“Promise you won’t laugh?” She asked.
“I promise,” he said.
“I have three, the first one is Tiddly Winks, the second Xavier, and the third is Hi-Jinx,” she said smiling impishly.
“Tiddly Winks and Hi-Jinx,” he said, his blue eyes shining. “I won’t even ask how you came up with those names, but in the spirit of interesting names; I think I will call mine, ‘Luscious’,” he said smiling.
“I think Lady JenniAnn would love that,” Yva said with a smile as she watched him design the pet. After several minutes, she slowly got to her feet and returned inside to retrieve the plateful of cookies.
Coming back outside, she noticed a genuine smile stretched across the angel’s face.
Maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea after all, she thought to herself. I feel much better, and maybe Adam will find some semblance of healing in this as well.
to CABB 10
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