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  • Writer's pictureBritt Leigh

What Happened to Omar Adantes? Part I

Otherville exists just on the other side of an invisible curtain, separating the living from the dead. Some have called it purgatory, but Otherville's residents only know it as an unsolvable mystery, a place that holds impossible secrets to the wonders of eternity.

How do you get to Otherville?

You die.

Just like Omar.

NOTE TO THE READER: In order to tell Omar's story, it's important to first understand what made him who he eventually became. This is part I of Omar's story.

September 5, 2009

“Higher, daddy! Higher!” Amara screamed as the swing rose like a bird in flight across the cotton candy skyline. “Higher!” she called again.

“If you go any higher, you might fly right into the sky, and I’d never see you again,” Nelson replied.

“I would never leave you, daddy,” Amara cooed.

Nelson’s heart felt like it might fly right out of his chest to join his daughter's spirit. “You better not, baby.”

“Dad!” Omar called from across the yard. “Look with Aunt Adri got me!”

Omar tossed a brand new Wilson football into the air, catching it with one hand and putting on his best impression of a Brian Westbrook touchdown dance.

“Very nice, son,” Nelson called. “You’ll be playing for the Eagles, yet!”

“C’mon, Amara,” Nelson whispered to his daughter, wrapping his large hands around her tiny waist, “let’s go see if we can steal the ball from your brother.”

Amara giggled wildly, taking off in the direction of her older brother. He saw her coming and crouched down into a low position, waiting for her to pounce. At the last second, he juked to his right, her fingertips missing his Westbrook jersey by centimeters. Her laughter echoed throughout the backyard as her brother continued the keep-away dance. Each time she got too close, he found a way to escape her tiny grasp, sending her into another fit of giggles. After a few minutes, Omar stopped and held the ball out, teasing his sister with the empty promise of finally capturing it.

“C’mon Mar,” Omar chortled. “All you gotta do is grab it.”

“Like this?” Nelson said as he snatched the ball from Omar’s hands. “Now, you both can come and get it!”

Omar and Amara chased their dad around the back yard until Nelson’s legs couldn’t carry him any longer. Then, he simply stood up as tall as he could, holding the ball as high above his six and a half foot frame as he could. Amara scaled his thick legs like a koala bear, inching her way up towards the prize at the top of her father’s canopy. Omar, on the other hand, had inherited his father’s height, already measuring at close to six feet on his fourteenth birthday. He bent his knees, keeping his eyes trained on the ball as he pushed off the ground as hard as he could. His momentum carried him higher than he imagined, and he tipped the ball out of his father’s hands.

What he hadn’t anticipated, however, was the forward momentum that blew him into his father’s tired bones. Amara, Nelson, and Omar crashed to the ground in a tangle of legs and arms. Frozen, the three members of the family quickly scanned one another for unspoken injuries. Omar to Amara, Amara to Omar, Nelson to Amara, Amara to Nelson. Their heads moved like they were watching a pinball machine, silently surveying the one another’s reactions.

The silence spread between them like a thick fog, clouding the euphoria of the moment. Amara took a few deep breaths, assessing whether or not she should be scared. She caught her brother’s eyes a second time and erupted into another giggle fit. Her laughter spread quickly through her father and brother, chasing away the fog so all three of them could get to their feet.

“Happy Birthday to you,” Sara sang from the doorway, eyeing her son across the yard. Something about the way the candles lit up her face reminded Nelson of the day he married her. He would marry that woman every day for the rest of his life if he could. She winked at him as she sang her son’s name, a silent thank you for keeping the kids occupied while she finished decorating the cake in the kitchen. He winked back seductively, wanting her to know exactly how stunning she looked tonight.

“Make a wish, Omar,” Sara said, flashing a sideways smile to Nelson that sent shivers up his spine.

Like every fourteen-year-old boy in 2009, Omar wished for a new PlayStation and blew out his candles. He would never forget that moment.

When a small factory exploded three days later, the only thing Omar could think about was his wish. Maybe if he had been more selfless, his father would still be alive.

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