Fiction by Dakotah Jennifer

Stages of Grief

It was the one thing he coveted the most. That one memory. He needed nothing but that. He had no valuables, nothing else mattered. When she left, he cried. At first he hit the bars, drank himself into a stupor, told himself it wasn’t his fault. Told himself she hadn’t left, that when he walked through the door that night she’d be in the kitchen cooking supper. Every night he would come home to discover she wasn’t cooking supper, she wasn’t in the shower and she wasn’t sound asleep in their bed. Some nights he would call her, leaving 2, 4, 10 messages, just screaming her name, telling her she was worthless, that she never should’ve been born, telling her she made a mistake by leaving him. Other nights he’d wreck the whole house, throwing things, breaking mirrors, glasses, their wedding china. Bad luck was already in his archives, more would do nothing. At late hours of the night he’d write letters, hundreds of letters telling her he’d change, that she was hurting the kids. In the morning he’d lay in bed, not moving, not eating, the curtains drawn, he felt hopeless. He waited for the sun to set and started all over.

The memory he valued started to slip away, every night he remembered it less and less until one day it was gone. But when he realized it was slipping away it was too late. He wanted it back, he needed it to keep on moving everyday, to give him a reason to live. He called her, to get it back but it wasn’t there. The memory that he needed wasn’t there. He didn’t recognize the voice on the other end of the line. He didn’t recognize it at all. It wasn’t the one he was used to. His memory was forever gone. But he knew how to get it back. With one last effort, one last idea. He left at 10, earlier than he had gotten up in years. He walked along the wet pavement, he was unshaven and dirty, he hadn’t changed his clothes in five months. He crossed the crosswalk, went to the store on the corner and got it. Got what he needed to find his memory again. He wrote another letter, this time not to her, to his kids. He shaved, changed into his suit, and drank. This time water, not liquor. Then he lay down and went to find the memory that he coveted so.

They found him smiling. An OD of acetaminophen. All dressed up, ‘he was just trying to find her’ they said, ‘he wanted to be closer to her’ they said. She had died four years prior to his death. They were happily married until then. She was hit by a car, never saw it coming. But I guess that’s how it always is. You never see it coming until it is there with you. And he never did.

Dakotah Jennifer is a 16-year-old poet from Baltimore, MD. She started writing at a very young age and has always loved poetry. Working on self-publishing currently, Jennifer just wants to keep writing and show people her work. Through divorced parents, boys, and being black in America, Jennifer keeps writing.