Daniel opened the door to his sister’s bedroom. He had not been in that room since the accident, and though it had been several years, he was anxious about entering. However, he knew that he would have to move along. He could not mourn her passing forever.
He entered the room and sat on the bed, and looked around the room. Everything was just the way she left it, just the way he remembered. As he looked, he thought again of the accident.
She was only sixteen, but was the victim of a foolish driver who was trying to talk on his cell phone while driving. As he looked at her things, he cried as images of the crashed car, and her mangled body being removed from the remains flashed in his mind.
Then, he heard a voice “Daniel, what’s wrong?”
He turned to the side, and there she was: his dead sister, Jen, was sitting on the bed right next to him. She was smiling, and looked the same way she did before her accident. He was completely dumbfounded when he saw her.
“You’re…dead!” he said.
“Dead?” she said, “then why am I sitting here?”
“But you’re…” Daniel began, confused.
“No, silly,” she said, “come on, we’ve got work to do, for the move, remember?”
While Jen got up and grabbed a Daniel stood there, stunned silent. She was dead, and yet, she was standing right there. He had been overwhelmed by many emotions. He was happy to see her alive, but confused as to why this would happen, and filled with disbelief, knowing this was impossible.
“You don’t exist,” he repeated to himself, believing she was just a figment of his imagination, and the memories were just getting to him.
As he tried to tell himself this, Jen put her hand on his shoulder. As she did so, Daniel realized she was really there. It was not just a hallucination.
“Come on, help out, lazy,” she said.
She approached her bookshelves and looked at it. She grabbed a photo of herself as a young girl dancing, that was sitting atop the shelves.
“Remember when I got this?” she asked.
Daniel briefly thought back to when Jen was in dance class, when she was a child. He remembered his sister’s big dance recital, when she slipped and fell on the star dancer during the final part of the recital. But though she ruined the performance, she just got up and laughed.
Daniel briefly chuckled as he remembered the performance.
Then, Jen put the picture away in a box, to be moved.
“And remember this birthday party,” Jen said, grabbing another picture, “when I turned twelve. You popped the clown’s balloon dog while he was still making it! Remember the look on his face?”
Daniel laughed harder at that. Jen put that picture in the box with the other. As she did, Daniel realized he hadn’t thought of those days since the accident. In a way, he had put the memories in a box in his mind, just as Jen was putting them away now.
“And remember what dad said,” she continued, “Looks like we need a veterinarian!”
As she quoted their dad, she spoke with a deeper voice, attempting to imitate their dad. The impression was surprisingly good, and Daniel laughed again.
“You sound just like him,” he said.
And they continued like this for the next hour. As they cleaned out the room, they reminisced about all the good times before the accident. Eventually, Daniel started to bring up memories too.
Then, when the room was cleaned out, Daniel grabbed the first box. He walked out of the room. When he turned back to look at Jen, she was gone again. He thought again that she might have been a hallucination, but then, he noticed the items in the room were all packed. She was there, somehow.
As he pondered exactly what happened, he heard Jen’s voice in his head again.
“Don’t you understand,” she said.
“What do you mean?” Daniel asked.
“I came back to remind you,” she said, “You still haven’t moved on. I don’t like the fact that you’ve only thought of my death. You should remember my life. I just came back to remind you. I wanted to be remembered for who I was, not the accident.”
“I see,” Daniel said, “and I understand. I guess in all the sadness, we just forgot the happy times, or were too preoccupied by the fact that those times were gone.”
“Just remember me the right way,” Jen said, “farewell…”
With that, her voice faded away, and Daniel took the box away, smiling about his experience.
Author’s Notes (may contain spoilers):
So, The Sister’s Bedroom. It should be obvious that this is not the sort of story I usually write. It started as an exercise I did in my college creative writing class, that I just took a little bit further, and in a way, it was mostly an exercise; an experiment. I don’t have too much to say about this one.
I wanted to combine the mystery of why Jen reappeared for no apparent reason with the happiness and joy of two long-lost friends reuniting, and sharing memories. I think this one ended up falling more into the latter, and the nature of Jen should probably be quite obvious. Either way, it’s a nice simple story with a nice message for anybody struggling with the death of a friend.