I lean back in the seat. There's a guy in front of me with curly, dark brown hair. Great. I look out the window. I can't see anything but clouds. I close my eyes but all I can think about is Daddy.
Bruno walks in my room with his black suit and tie. He looks at me, with his eyebrows raised in a worried, sad expression. I'm sitting on my bed, in a white dress. "Promise, if something ever happens to me, you won't wear black to my funeral." Papi's words echo in my ears. Bruno walks over and sits next to me. He doesn't say anything. He doesn't need to and we both know that. I turn and wrap my arms around him and he squeezes me with all his might. He takes my hand and we walk downstairs together. Ahmity is on the couch. She has her head in her hand and I can see the tears falling from her face. Her dress is yellow. Joe is holding my mom as he brings her from the bathroom. She's been throwing up for a week. We all pile in the car and Joe drives to the church. When he parks, I'm the only one who doesn't get out. I refuse. Bruno gets back in. "I can't go in there." I tell him. He takes my hand. "I know you think you can't, but you can Lena." I shake my head, my curly hair bouncing around my face. "Your dad always pushed you to overcome your fears, do things you don't want to do but have to, keep pushing when you feel like giving up, never quit. You can't stop now just because he's gone. He's instilled that in you so you can overcome situations like this." Bruno didn't sound like a 14 year old. He sounded so much older. I put my head down. "He didn't say it was gonna be this hard" I whisper. He lifts my chin. "I'm gonna be there with you, the whole time. I'm not going anywhere." I stare into his brown eyes. They make me feel like everything is fine and I could climb a mountain if I wanted to. I open the car door and get out. He walks next to me, holding my hand. Were the last ones to walk into the church. I feel everybody looking at me. It's probably the dress. I don't care. It's what Daddy wanted. We take our seats in the front with Mom, Joe and Ahmity. Eric, Bruno's mom and his sister's are in the row behind us. The pastor starts the service. I'm not really listening. I'm staring at the casket. His hair is how he always had it. Brushed back and neat. His mustache was trimmed and he was clean shaven. He looked so peaceful. My vision gets blurry with tears and Bruno squeezes my hand. I want to get up and run away screaming. I don't want to face the reality that my father is gone forever when just a week ago, he was walking around the house, singing his heart out. I can still hear his voice. It hurts so bad. I never knew I could hurt this bad. The service seems to take forever. The pastor tells everybody to give their last goodbye, leaving the family last. There was so many people. Daddy knew everybody. The church empties. Bruno pulls me out of my seat. He holds my up as I stand in front of Papi. I've lost all function of my body. I lay my forehead against his and cry. I've never cried so much in my life. I stroke his hair over and over.
When we get home, I go upstairs and lay down. Bruno lays with me. It was the only way I could sleep. Everytime I woke up screaming, he was there to get me to stop. Nobody else could do it. This went on for 3 weeks. Bruno kind of moved in. He has the spare bedroom, but spends most of his time in mine. "You need to eat Lena." he tells me. "I'm not hungry" I say. He brings me something anyway. The smell of the cheeseburger makes me want to throw up. I cover my mouth and look away. He puts it one the dresser and sits back down. He looks worn out and I know it's my fault. "Go home Bruno." I tell him. He doesn't turn around. "No." he says. "Yes." "No." "Yes." He gets up and leans his head against the wall. "I can't just leave you alone." he says.
I stare at the clouds. God, the memory hurts just as bad. The guy with the curly hair turns around. "Excuse me, do you know what time it is?" "Um, yeah hold on a second." I turn my phone on and of course it takes forever. I look up at him and smile. He smiles back. His eyes are green. They're gorgeous. My phone finally turns on. "It's 11:42" I tell him. "Only 11, it feels like I've been on this flight forever." he says. "It's only been an hour." I say laughing. He throws his head back and laughs with me. His teeth are white and his dimples are adorable. "I know, I hate flying." he tells me. He sticks out his hand. "I'm Brendan." I shake it, my cheeks turning red. "I'm Lena." He smiles one last time, than turns around. I touch my face. I hate that I turn red so easy. My phone was buzzing more than a bee. My voicemail and inbox were full. I turn it back off. It would kill me to hear or read any messages from them. Brendan turns around again. "Did anybody ever tell you that you're really beautiful?" My cheeks turn crimson and I feel hot. "Um, I'm not beautiful." I tell him. If Bruno heard me now, he'd be livid. Brendan's jaw dropped. "Oh so you're one of those, huh?" I raise an eyebrow. "One of what?" He smirks. "Those girls that know they're gorgeous but just pretend they're not." My eyes widen. "No, I'm not!" He laughs. "Relax, I'm just messing with you. You look like you need to laugh. But seriously, your too pretty so look so sad." Did I look that sad? I thought I was hiding it pretty well. He gets up and sits next to me. "Mind if i plant myself here?" he asks. "I don't know, you sure I'm not too sad to sit next to." He laughs again. "Well that'll all change, now that I'm here." I smirk. "So you're one of those huh?" His eyes sparkle. "One of what?" "Those conceited gorgeous guys that think everybody likes him." He bends over in his seat laughing. "Oh my gosh, that was good, I give you props." I can't help but laughing with him. His laugh is kind of, contagious. "So, can I ask why your going to Miami?" I look down. "Um, I'm going to see my sister." I say. "What? I thought you would be going to see your boyfriend." he says. I shake my head. "Nope, don't have one of those." I tell him. "Shocking." He says. By his expression, it looked like he was totally serious. "What about you? Seeing your girlfriend?" "Oh yeah, she's this gorgeous bikini model, 5'7, blue eyes...Whoo!" I nod my head. He laughs. "I'm just kidding!" I smile. He's such a goof. "No, I don't have a girlfriend. I'm actually going back home. I was visiting my guy up in Brooklyn. I was there for a couple weeks." My heart stopped. "I'm from Brooklyn." I tell him. "Really? You don't have an accent." he says. "I know, I guess I'm the weird one." He smiles. "Being weird is cool sometimes. It just means there's no one else like you." I play that line over in my head. I like that. I like him. "I couldn't agree with you more." I say. We talk the whole flight and before we know it, time flies and it's time to land. "Wow, I've never had a faster flight in my life. Thank you." he tells me. "Your welcome, I know I'm just that dope, you know.." He busts out laughing. "I hope I see you again one day. You're awesome to talk to." He says. "Yeah same here." He shakes my hand. "See ya Lena." "See ya." We turn and go our opposite ways. I look back and watch his curly hair disappear through the glass doors. I don't know where to go and reading the signs aren't exactly working. I kind of turn in a circle. I feel like crying, but than I see, off in the distance, a head full of wavy dark hair. I walk closer. Her eyes are just like Daddy's. She has Mami's lips and bone structure. She's tall like Daddy and skinny like Mami. She's always been beautiful. She sees me and comes running. I drop my bag and let her scoop me up in her arms. She's squealing and jumping up and down. I breathe deep and try and smell as much of her scent as possible. Flowery, just like Mami. She keeps kissing my cheek. "Oh my god Mama's! Look at you!" She spins me in a circle. "You got boobies. And hips. And a booty!" She slaps my butt. My face gets red. "Ahmity!" But I laugh. She hasn't changed a bit. She holds my chin in her hands. Her eyes look over my whole face. I know what she's thinking by the tears forming. I know I look just Papi. She hugs me again. "It's been too long Mama's. I can't even tell you how much I love you. I thought you hated me after I left, but I couldn't do it. I couldn't see Mami cry anymore. I couldn't see you wasting away in your room. I had to get away." She says in my hair. I close my eyes tight. Were more alike than I thought. I let go of her and pick up my bag. "Let's not talk about this here." I tell her. She nods. "Okay." She puts her arm around my waist and we walk out of the doors. I look at her and my heart swells with love. I missed her so much, no matter how hard I tried to convince myself I didn't. We get in her car. "Nice car." I tell her. Black Mercedes. "Thanks. It took me forever, but I always get what I want." she says and winks. That she does. As she speeds off with the windows down and the Miami breeze flying through our hair, I feel okay, for the first time in a long time. I'm going to be okay....