"I'm going to the park," I tell Aunt Tricia. "Grace and Ella are already there."
"Have fun, we'll pick you up from there," Aunt Tricia says doing her nails.
"Ok, bye." I head out the door putting in my ear buds and hitting shuffle on my phone. Really Don't Care by Demi Lavto came on; I walk down the familiar streets of Bradford passing a cafe where Waliyah, Aaroosa, and I would go every afternoon for a snack then to the park to do our homework. I hear laughter and squeals of joy from little kids who ran after each other.
"Aaliyah over here," Grace waves me over to the slide
"Hey," I say reaching the top of the slide.
"I like your sweater when did you get it?" Ella asks.
"Forever 21." I was wearing an oversized sweater with black skinny jeans, a beanie, and black boots.
"How long can you stay?" Ella asks fixing her hair.
"Until Aunt Tricia comes and picks me up," I tell following her down the slide.
"You are so lucky," Grace says once she reaches the bottom. "You live with 1/5th of the most gorgeous boys on the planet."
"You see him almost every day," I point out. We have this conversation quite often, in the end I'd end up calling Zayn, and then she'd start fangirling.
"True," Grace says sitting down next to me on the swings
"Anyways," Ella says changing the topic. "Are you going to the winter dance?"
"Please come Aali," Ella and Grace begged.
"I haven't asked yet," I tell them. I run to the monkey bars that were placed to make a square. "I am now going to cross the Bermuda square!" I declare going across the monkey bars.
"Don't fall the Bermuda sharks will eat you," Grace says playing along. My hands start getting slippery; I can't hold on any longer and fall.
"No! I have been eaten by the sharks!" I scream moving my arms and legs everywhere to look like I was drowning. Grace and Ella are dying of laughter from the platform area where the monkey bars started. "I have survived the sharks!" I say standing up then running back to the platform.
"Only you Aaliyah, only you," Ella says between laughs.
"Only of me," I say smiling and brushing off some of the woodchips that covered me. We spend the next two hours at the park, sitting in the cold, laughing and talking. We went on some slides and swings laughing at each other when we fell of the monkey bars.
"Aali your phone in ringing," Grace shouts since I'm on the other side of the playground.
"Answer it," I shout back sliding down the slide and going over to her.
"Waliyah," she says before going off to see what Ella was doing.
"Hi," I say into the phone.
"Hey, are you still at the park?" Waliyah asks.
"In this cold?"
"It's not that cold."
"If you say so," Waliyah says not believing me. "We're coming to pick you up in about 10 minutes."
"Ok, bye." I hang up and join Grace and Ella at the swigs.
"Are you leaving?" Ella asks slowing down a little.
"In a few minutes," I say looking up at the clouded sky. "Do you think it will snow on Thanksgiving?"
"It snows after Thanksgiving," Grace says. A few minutes later Aunt Tricia pulls up in front of the park.
"Wait" Ella says as I'm walking over to the car. "You’re still covered in woodchips." For the next five minutes Grace, Ella, and I take off all the woodchips that were on me. There were a lot since I fell down a lot. Once all the woodchips are gone I say bye to Grace and Ella and climb into the warm van. I sit down all the way in the back next to the window.
"What were you doing? Rolling on the ground?" Doniya asks as Uncle Yasser starts driving.
"Yup," I say fixing my beanie.
"Why am I not surprised?" Doniya says making us all laugh.
"How far away is it?" I ask loud enough for Uncle Yasser to hear who was driving.
"About an hour away without traffic," he says concentrating on the road. I sit crisscross on my seat looking out the window. Safaa, Waliyah, Zayn and Doniya had started talking about something else now, and I didn't want to barge in. Uncle Yasser pulls onto the freeway and my hearts start beating really fast. It has happened ever since the accident. I hated freeways, but I couldn't just avoid them for the rest of my life.
"Want to play a game?" Safaa asks poking me to get my attention.
"Sure," I say facing her. We play find that letter, we had to find the letters of the alphabet on license plate.
An hour and half later we pull up in to a way too familiar gravel road, Uncle Yasser parks the car on the side near the railing that surrounded the area. I am the last one out of the van and behind everyone. Zayn waits for me to catch up to everyone; he gives me a side hug as we walk over to the two graves. Two people that I missed the most and wished that they were with me right now. Tears gather in my eyes, waiting to roll down any second. We stop in front of Mum and Dad's grave, we had gotten sparkly, black rocks and placed them around the grave and tomb stone to show where the graves are. The tears slowly roll down my cheeks one by one. We all pray for Mum and Dad, asking Allah to forgive them and make them room in heaven. By now I can't stop the tears; Aunt Tricia is trying to comfort me, telling me everything will be all right.
"Aali," Doniya says pulling me into a hug. "Your Mum and Dad wouldn't want to see you like this. They would want to the smiling, happy Aaliyah that's always laughing and making everyone else laughs." We both stand there for a while in front of Mum and Dad’s grave. I wipe my tears and sit down in front of Mum and Dad. I sit there for a few minutes reading both of their tomb stones, Doniya had gone to help Aunt Tricia get lunch out of the car.
"I went to the park today," I whisper. "The one that we went to all the time." I sit there telling them everything I didn't get to tell them. I felt a little relived after finishing telling them everything I had to tell them. I felt like I told them all the things I wanted to say even though I have said all those things before, but this time I felt like I told them the first time but this time it felt different. It's really hard to explain how I felt.
"How are you feeling?" Zayn asks sitting down next to me.
"Better," I say letting out a sigh. "Could you hear me?"
"No, all we knew was that you were talking."
"I feel different after telling them what I can't tell them, like something wasn't complete before." I say not looking at Zayn.
"You're use to telling them everything and for a while you couldn't and now you can."
"I really miss them," I say reading the tomb stone for the hundredth time.
"Everyone dose, they were great people," Zayn says.
"Yea." We sit there for a minute in silence, you could hear Safaa and Doniya talking and the wind blowing through the trees.
"Lunch is ready," Zayn says getting up and then helping me up because I'm too lazy to get up myself.
"I love you and I miss you a lot," I say to Mum and Dad then catching up to Zayn who was waiting for me ahead.