Earlier this month I asked people to submit short stories and blog posts to the website. I wanted to share stories of other experiences. This short story by Aziza Sphinx is a beautiful story of self introspection and understanding. I hope you enjoy it.
A BLESSED CURSE
It still haunts me sometimes. Though I’m not sure why this one out of all of the others is the one that still elicits tears. I’d walked with death many times before this one. He’d whispered in my ear at night, the visions of things to come dancing in my dreams. Some more vivid than others. But this one, this one I knew was special. Full Technicolor signaled finality and as much as I wanted to save him, the ink had already dried on this one.
Even now, I sometimes see in my mind the image of his Geo Tracker crushed in the front, the newspaper laying atop a pile of leaves in a metal trashcan; his face plastered on the cover page, the word Killed in big bold letters across the top. My stomach churns when the image comes to mind, a reminder of the depth of loss I felt with this one.
This man had giving my best friend a sacred gift, a little girl who would only know her father through pictures and stories. He left this world before she could remember him, or at least form memories of her own. My friend didn’t blame me, but the others did. When I told his family what I saw, they blamed me for his death. They said my premonition caused all of this. They cursed me to Hades in not so pleasant terms choosing to direct their anger, frustration, and ultimately sorrow onto a soul who’d wrapped her arms around her knees in bed that night and fought back gut wrenching wails of whys to the universe.
In my heart I knew I had to tell them what I’d seen. I’d made that call in the middle of the night questioning the whereabouts of this doomed soul. We’d called and called knowing the consequences, and not just the one I saw but the others too. It didn’t deter me. I did what I could because it was my way of keeping my sanity.
I don’t remember sleeping that night, though at some point the sorrow must have taken its toll because I woke to morning. It was hard, hiding what I knew from my parents. They didn’t know about my blessed curse. It was one of many secrets I shared only with my friends. The newspaper showed no headlines of the one I already knew was gone. No stories told my news anchors of a life cut short by one decision. Still, I started the calls. My friend knew as much as I did, which wasn’t much. She’d been met with voicemails. She’d left message after message with no response. Though I didn’t have confirmation, it was all closing in.
I tried to go on with my day, I needed an out and so I opted to ride with my father to the store, occasionally glancing at my pager for the message to come through. This was the time before cell phones so either way I would have to wait. An inkling growing inside of me that my life would change upon my return haunted me during the entire excursion. When I walked in the door once again, reality came crashing down. The premonition spoke the truth.
I remember sitting in the back of my friend’s father’s car at the cemetery. Watching and waiting. I was there for her and that little girl. No one else. Well, maybe a little for myself, my final goodbye to a man I never quite saw eye to eye with. But that was okay. It wasn’t my place. His family gathered around, tears flowing from their eyes and I wondered how many of them knew the whole story. Funny how that’s one of the things that sits with me.
The little girl is grown now. A woman in her own right. And still, her father’s death summons me from sleep at least once a year. I try to think of it as my reminder that my curse can still be a blessing. I’d saved others with just a phone call. That’s not to say that I saved them all. It was up to them to heed the warning; to choose. Some did and made it through their ordeals. Others, not so much.
I struggled with this for a long time. The blame part I mean. And maybe that is why even now this one stays in my mind. I begged for this blessed curse to be taken. I didn’t want to know the things that I knew. I didn’t want to be the messenger. For years I questioned if it was my fault; that my knowing did cause all of this pain. As time passed though, and the other images came and went, the survivors encouraged me to not waiver in my faith or my gift. They thanked me for the warnings, for even the opportunity to make a different choice. A better choice. I now cling to their words when I see the color in my dreams, for I know I happiness in my helping of others.
I am still the messenger. I acknowledge that the premonitions give me warning and afford me time to prepare for the passing of those souls. I now understand. Knowing what I know and looking back on things, I may not have made it through all of those deaths to share this story without those warnings. The premonitions made me stronger in ways I can only be thankful for. That glimpse into the other side confirms my beliefs, that things aren’t always how we see them. They also changed my perception of death.
I no longer label death as an evil plaguing my existence. Death is a part of my life, something to be celebrated. Senseless or not there are two ways of seeing death’s world. It is okay to feel sorrow. It is okay to remember those who no longer physically walk among us. But they are still here, alive and well in our actions. They have touched us in unique ways shaping us into the people we are today. Many times we don’t see it until death comes whispering in our ear.
I don’t take my blessed curse for granted anymore. I understand that I cannot change what I see. This was given to me to use and that is what I plan to do. I still make those calls, when necessary, though they haven’t been necessary in a number of years. When those dreams do come, and they are filled with bright colors I remember the one who still sits with me. I am human, I am mortal and I have this gift. Curse or not the visions will come. Then I must choose. Share what I know, or sit quietly.
This death will always be with me. However, it is no longer blood on my hands. I cannot always save them, but I can make the call, give them the warning and leave it up to them choose.
Aziza Sphinx is a firm believer that reading and writing go hand in hand. A southerner through and through she loves her peaches and pecans while curling up with a good book. A master of resourcefulness, her love of research leads her down paths of discovery that touch every aspect of her writing. Her love of reading ignited her passion for writing leading her to frequently fill page after page with tales of her beloved characters’ adventures.
An influence and an adversary she loves to sprinkle facts about her beloved Georgia throughout her fictional worlds. Also writing under the name Ana’Gia Wright, her African American fiction novels subtly explore life challenges such as teen suicide, body image, and family dynamics through the experiences of her imaginary friends. More information is available on her website http://www.authoranagiawright.com.
If you would like more information about Aziza please check out the following links.
Twitter: @Aziza Sphinx