Shaun always liked when people called him 'good boy'; He liked being a good boy, because then, mommy would smile and daddy would give a pat on his back or ruffle his hair. Sometimes, it meant a chocolate treat. Sometimes, just a peck on cheek by some stranger. He was so happy. At age 7, Shaun was showing great progress in studies. Always at the top of his class, all teachers praised him, each expecting him to go high up in life.
One day, as he was watching Pokemon, his mom sat by his side and said "Shaun, you're gonna have a sister!" Confused for a moment, he looked at his mom for clues as to how to react and seeing her smile, he started smiling too. He soon told all his friends from school about his baby sister's coming. Everyone, including mom, dad, aunt Cassie and his grandpa were happy, and so was Shaun.
It was a warm sunny day. As he said Goodbye to his friends at the gates of his school, he saw that instead of mom or dad, his aunt Cassie was there to pick him up. She looked mournful, and hugged him as soon as he came near. Sitting in the car, Shaun asked his aunt where were his mom and dad. She replied with silence. He repeated his question, to which she replied that his mom was at home, waiting for him.
When he went home, he saw his neighbors and mom's friends from office. All looking at him with sad eyes. As he went in, he saw his mom sitting on the sofa, crying in his grandpa's arms. He went to his mom, and asked what happened. She simple hugged him tighter and cried louder. Shaun started crying too; feelings of confusion and his mom's tears invading his innocent brain.
Shaun was aged 12 when he lost his Dad and little sister to a road accident. They had died on the spot when their car spiraled out of control and collided against a stout tree.
Stacy was the sort of girl that you see most of the time, but rarely notice. A demure expression always clouded her beautiful face, the clothes she wore did no justice to her body and she had a firm yet soft voice that could make a mockingbird mourn, because it couldn't replicate a sound so sweet as hers. She had a kind heart, and empathy to match her good nature, yet for all that, she wasn't blessed with brains for academia. So she asked for help from the topper of her class, and thus met Shaun and Stacy. And this time around, Shaun did notice her.
Aged 16, Stacy desperately needed all the help she could get to pass her Finals. And Shaun was all the help she needed. Soon enough, both started looking forward to their study sessions and love blossomed in both their young hearts. He promised himself that he'd ask her out once the finals were over.
After one such study session, after Stacy went home, Shaun's mom called him in and said she wanted to talk. Shaun noticed how much mom had changed since... She looked much older that her age, and wrinkles of worry and stress always showed on her elegant face. Yet she strove on - for their survival, for his sake. He pitied her for a moment, then felt proud for the courage she possessed.
"Son, remember I visited the Doctor Hollis the day before? Well, he said I'm suffering form Heat Syncope. It means my blood vessels dilate in hot environments and all the blood moves to my legs. So... We have to move to your grandpa's place up North..." After much consternation, and some more discussions, he realized he had no choice. He felt his heart drop when he thought of Stacy.
He was now officially an Adult, but that gave him no more pleasure for all it could entail. As he sat there on this dead grandpa's sofa all alone, he reminisced about the life he had lived. Images of him playing with his little sister and dad, his mom cooking up his favorite dish, all his friends giving him a surprise birthday bash, the day when he found out about the accident, how his mom had cried.. and later fought. All the pains she had gone through to take care of him, making sure he never felt wanting, how his grandpa cracked funny jokes, the funeral of his grandpa whom he had come to love and respect in the year he had stayed at his place, how he felt his mom breaking down - piece by piece, held together barely by forces he knew not. Her illness, how the damned doctor had misinterpreted the diagnosis. All the loans he had taken to remedy that mistake and provide her with all the medical attention he could. Yet here he was today, with nothing to show for it all, for all that he did, people still died around him. He thought of Stacy, of how she might be and how it could've been. But more than anything else, his thoughts returned to his mom. The wrinkles of burden on her soft face and how beautiful she looked when she smiled; the last time he had seen her, she was so weak that he could see her skin stretched over the bones. The doctors said there was nothing else they could do. He remembered getting the call, saying she was no more. The emptiness he felt, knowing that she went without seeing his face. That he wasn't there to say goodbye. They assured him it was peaceful, she died in her sleep. But even then, that emptiness was like a storm in his heart. he felt himself shrinking, the world around him becoming unbearably suffocating, trying to choke him till he broke.
Such thoughts assailed him while he waited for aunt Cassie to come; she was going to make the arrangements for his mom's funeral.
The funeral was a quiet affair; Shaun heard little of the condolences and heeded less still. He didn't know how he was going to survive, what he was going to do now. All the people he loved were gone. He had nothing left to live for. He felt his mom, dad and little siser calling to him from heaven, beckoning him to come to them. He had almost decided to honor that call when he heard a soft sweet voice calling his name. Though moist eyes clouded his vision, he could make out the faint outline of a woman in mourning clothes standing right in front of him. He stood up, expecting to hear more condolences when she suddenly hugged him tight. A little whisper of 'I'm so sorry for your loss Shaun' for that woman's lips pierced his senses, and it felt so genuine that he wiped his tears away and took a closer look at the woman. Somehow, her features were recognizable. He couldn't place her right then, as his memory was foggy at that moment, but she quipped "It's me, Stacy. I read about your mom's passing in the Obituaries and I want you to know that I'm here."
Remembering the study sessions that he had had, which seemed like from another life of ages past, he felt fresh tears pour from his eyes as Stacy again hugged him, tighter this time and in that sweet soft voice of hers, whispered in his ears "It's going to be okay Shaun, It's all going to be okay..." And against all hopes, he decided that it just might be.