Now I must warn you my friends, I have been dreading this part of my story since I began my tale. We all go through heart ache and strife and my family and I are no different. I wish what I was about to tell you was one of my crazy fantasy dreams, but sadly it isn’t. No this really happened and it would affect all of our lives forever.
The day started off in the usual way. We had all gathered for Orange Blossoms birthday, it was quite a party indeed. Friends and family watched as she blew out her candles, solidifying her first steps into young adult hood. The candles went out and the small puffs of smoke snaked their way up to the sky, before they disappeared completely.
I had always looked up to my sister, but as we all stood there clapping and cheering, I realized just how beautiful she acutally was; and for the first time I felt really excited about having my own birthday. The dreams had subsided for a while, which in a way was a blessing. Sure it felt amazing when I was asleep, but it was all too depressing when I woke again.
Candi Ann, Orange’s bestie was also at the party and she too had recently started to look a little older. Candi had also recently rented one of the old flats near the river. Not the nicest neighborhood, but dirt cheap and for a single girl on her own it was just right. She invited Orange to come over after the festivities had ended, so she could see her new place, and they could celebrate the rest of the evening together.
Once the party was over Orange grabbed a few things from her room and they left.
They spent the whole evening hanging out and chatting by the fire. The place was not as bad as Candi had made it sound honestly. Everything was going great until the small fire started to die out.
“Brrrr, I swear it has dropped like 10 degrees in here. Let me just stoke this a little.”
“We could grab a couple blankets.”
“No, no this will just take a second.”
No one knows exactly what happened. Most likely it was the polyester top she had been wearing, but while she was stoking the fire a small ember jumped out and on to Candi and soon she was engulfed in flames. Orange screamed and for a brief second was paralyzed with fear.
“OH MY BERRY!! CANDI!”
Just as quickly as the flames had started, she regained her awareness and pulled out her cell phone. Frantically she dialed 911 and reported the emergency.
“Help! My friend is caught in a fire. Please hurry! We need help. Please!”
“Ma’am are you hurt?”
“No I am fine, its my friend, please she needs help!”
“Alright. Listen to me. I need you to get away from the fire. Help is on its way. Please keep yourself safe. Ok?”
“But my friend!”
“I know. We will try to help her as much as we can, but we don’t want to add you to the equation. Please stay back.”
Daddy was on call that evening and with in a minutes he and Mr. Riesling arrived. Daddy entered the house first and called to Orange to get out of the room. She had moved the far corner and was screaming uncontrollably.
“Daddy save her! Please!”
Daddy and Mr. Reisling did their best to put her out, but by the time the flames were extinguished…
It was too late.
“Candi?” Orange tried to step forward, but Daddy blocked her.
“Honey, I am so sorry.” His voice broke with sadness. “She’s gone.”
“NO! She Can’t be! You were supposed to save her! Why didn’t you save her!?!”
“Honey I tried, but it happened so fast. Her burns were just to severe. Baby, I am so sorry.”
After that night Orange stopped talking. Well in all honesty it was not just talking, Orange was completely lost. She did not cry or have any sort of emotion. She was like a stone and it was incredibly creepy and worrisome.
The funeral was incredibly hard on us all. We had practically grown up with Candi around. As we stood before her grave, my mind wandered to that place you should never allow it to go. What if it had been me and Rose in this situation. I would have probably been just as distraught as poor Orange. Just the thought of losing Rose made me cry even more.
Watching Taftlee and Cherri mourn the loss of their daughter was almost too much to bear. I had to excuse myself for a while.
It wasn’t until we were about to leave when the tears started to fall. Orange let out a small sniff, and we all looked to her. The tears were then pouring down her face. Pumpkin had a knack for picking up on other peoples energy, and the look on her face expressed just as much pain as poor Orange was going through.
“It’s ok sis.”
When we returned home, Orange just sat on the edge of her bed staring at the baseboards. She wasn’t eating and she wasn’t sleeping either. The next morning Persimmon and I went to check on her. We must have been on the same wave length, because we almost ran into each other outside her bedroom door. Persimmon motioned for me to go in first and she followed right behind.
“Hey sis, we were thinking about going to a movie later on, you wanna come?”
“Ya! Its gonna be all of us girls. We would love to have you there.”
“No. Go away.”
“Ok, well if you change your mind let us know.”
Well it wasn’t what we wanted to hear, but it was a start. We both left her room, and also decided we should probably hold off on that movie.
Things started to get a little better from there. Orange was at least venturing out into the kitchen to eat. She wouldn’t come out at dinner time though. She would just grab left overs from the fridge and reheat them. Leave it to poor Pumpkin to discover what happened next. Pumpkin heard talking from the kitchen and bounced into see how Orange was doing. She was quite unsettled by the fact it was only Orange in the room. She wasn’t actually talking to herself though. She was having a conversation with microwave.
“Daddy always said he would keep us safe, but he lied. He let her die. I know you wouldn’t hurt me.”
Terrified about what she had just witnessed, Pumpkin ran to mom to tell her what had happened.
“Mom. I think Orange is sick.”
“What do you mean sick? She seemed fine last time I went to check on her.”
“No Mom, not that kind of sick. Mom I think the Candi’s death has thrown her off the deep end. She is in the kitchen right now talking to the appliances. I’m scared.”
Mom did her best to keep a calm face, but deep inside the realization that this could possibly be true, was starting to send her own anxieties into over drive.
“Honey take a deep breath. I will go check on her.”
Mom entered the kitchen to find Orange laughing at the fridge. “Haha! That is so true!”
She placed a hand on her shoulder. “Sweet heart? Everything alright? Your sister is worried about you.”
“Everything’s great Mom, Freezy and I were just talking about how weird that plant in the corner is. I never noticed it there before, but it is hilarious!”
“Freezy? Who is Freezy love?”
“Duh Mom, Freezy the fridge.”
The look of shock was no longer hidden on my mothers face.
“Honey. I think we had better get you some help.” She slowly pulled her cell phone from her pocket and called Daddy.
“Dear you need to come home now.”
They took Orange in for observations, and none us knew quite what to do. We all tried to stay busy. I painted 10 different paintings in the two weeks she was away. We all wandered the halls not really knowing what to say to each other.
Poor Persimmon was having a terrible time concentrating. Her school work started to suffer, but because the school was aware of what was happening at home, they did not bring it up. We were all on edge and they were pretty sure once things had settled out for all of us, her grades would start improve.
When the next weekend arrived, we all decided we needed to get out of the house. Maybe it was time for that movie. Persimmons favorite cartoon of all time, The legend of Fluffy Bear had been turned into a full length feature film and was recently released to the theaters. We all knew she was dying to see it, but would have never brought it up on her own, out of respect for Orange.
Sadly the movie was absolutely horrible. 15 minutes in people were getting up and walking out. I felt so bad for her. She had been waiting years for the movie to come out and when it finally did. It was awful! When the atrocity was over, we all walked out of the theater feeling even worse than we had when we got there.
“OMB, that movie sucked!”
“Ya it was pretty bad.”
“AHHHHH! I am so angry right now! How could they do that!? The show was so awesome. This is an embarrassment!”
“Dude sis. Chill out. It was just a movie.”
But there was no chilling out for Persimmon, that movie had totally upset her. She spent the whole ride home complaining.
“And what was with that!? That is not how it happened….”
It didn’t stop when she got home either. She spent the following week reading different forums and putting her two cents in. It seemed she was not the only who agreed that may have been the worst movie of all time. Though there were a select few that thought it was great and Persimmon and the other fans were all over them with their rebuttals. The whole thing was futile, but it did seem to help her feel better, and unlike Orange we were all pretty sure that this would pass.