And a Shooting Star – a short (true) story by Kelly L. Taylor

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I’m worried about Mommy. She’s very sad now so I stay with my dad most of the time. But I know she loves me. And I go see her sometimes but she seems like she’s tired all the time and sometimes I hear her crying in her room.

Her fiancé died. I miss him. His name is Jeff. He was always so much fun. He showed me how to shoot a bow and arrow and taught me about trees on hikes through the woods on our favorite trails. We called him our own private forest ranger.

He was the smartest guy I knew. It seemed like you could ask him about anything and he could tell you about it. I guess it’s cuz he read a lot. He collected all these cool old books; I bet he read every one of them, too. He taught us how to find four leaf clovers. He was always finding them, It was like he was the luckiest guy around.

Jeff was an artist. He made the coolest things. He never yelled at me for touching them, either. He said if something broke he could just fix it cuz he made it in the first place.

He was always joking around. We used to play pranks with a whoopy cushion. He always seemed happy. He was always doing something and making things. So I didn’t understand at first why he was there one day and then he was gone.

Mommy said he was sick. She called it depression and alcoholism. She said he got really sad sometimes and it hurt him a lot and he finally found a way out of the pain. She said he killed himself and she understood why. I didn’t really get it, cuz I never saw him that sad. He must have hid it from me.

When my mom isn’t so tired sometimes we go on trips. We went to the beach. It was fun. We stopped at a diner on the way and had the best pancakes ever. It was a rainy day but the sun came out when we got to the beach and me and my brother played in the waves. Then we spread some of Jeff’s ashes in the water and we saw a cloud shaped like a moth. My mom was smiling.

One day we went to the mountains for a hike. Mom said it was the park she and Jeff went to when they first met. When nobody was looking we dumped some of Jeff’s ashes over the cliff. We did it secretly cuz we thought maybe people would be creeped out. We watched the ashes blow away in the wind, in the sunshine. We could see the trees and rocks below. My mom was smiling but I heard her sniffling, too.

The apartment is a lot quieter without Jeff. And we miss the burgers he used to cook on the grill. But For a while, after he died, we saw tons of rainbows and it was like Jeff was with us every time. That summer we saw lots of moths. I never saw so many moths before; every time we saw one it made my mom smile. And we were always finding four leaf clovers; it was like Jeff was still pointing them out to us.

I hope my mom is happy again someday. I don’t really know what to do for her so I just hug her and tell her I love her. She told me that one night when she was really really missing Jeff and wishing he was still here, she looked up in the sky and saw a shooting star! That made her feel a little bit better. I think it was Jeff telling her everything’s gonna be ok.