Written By: Hadley Grace
April 4, 2015
Everyone else is crying, but my tears have run out. I’ve received more hugs today than I do in a year. My fingers tremble against the piece of paper in my hands. I’m the last person to stand up as close friends and family file down the leaf-strewn aisle. Flats would’ve been a better choice against the heels I’m wearing. I realize this only after the heels have sunk into the dirt and leaves. I realize too late.
I’ve been too late a lot recently.
Casper’s mom puts a hand on my shoulder as I reach the coffin. My breath catches in my throat when I realize that the last time I saw his face was in stuffy coffin in a stuffy church behind a cloud of tears. I can hardly remember his smile, even now. Pictures will never be the same. I close my eyes and see him again. He's full of life, in my imagination. He's grinning--not for any camera, but because he's happy. He reaches out out for my hand, but I can't take it, because he's gone.
I didn’t plan on falling love, not now. I was always against teenage dating. Being so young, we were bound to immaturity. Still, I took the risk. I knew there was always a chance my heart would get broken.
What I didn’t know is that it’d get broken like this.
I don’t beg him to wake up, not again. I don’t get on my knees and cry, not again. Instead, I unfold the paper in my hands. The note is simple, not filling the page. Most of the paper is taken up by his drawing of two hands, holding each other. I close my eyes and memorize it. Not the words, not the ink, but the crinkles and damp edges of the paper. Casper would laugh at my sentimentality, but the copy I have at home won’t ever feel like this. Copies won’t carry his scent or the crease he made in the corner, or his heart.
I stick the paper under the flower bouquet and move next to my parents. The pastor from Casper’s church says a few words I don’t pay any attention to. I don’t want to go to his house for the reception. I can hardly stand to look at his family.
The pastor says ‘amen’ before I realize we’re praying. The following trite ceremonies that follow drag past in a blur. And then it’s time to leave the cemetery.
I follow my parents over damp leaves to the car. The one person who could comfort me right now is the reason why I’m here. I slide into the car and push my shoes off. Curling my knees up to my chest, I press my head against the window.
“I love you.” My breath fogs the glass. “I always will.”