"Have I gone mad?"
"I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret....all the best people are."
- Listen, Smile, Agree, And then do whatever you wanted to do anyway -

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Any and all constructive criticism welcome but especially on the mood of the piece.

Five Things To Remember You By

August 29, 2015


Silence.  Serenity.  Tranquillity.  It’s so peaceful here, no loud noises or people to disturb me.  Lush green grass was soft and cool beneath my feet, damp with the afternoon dew.  Thick formidable oak trees with rough bark and intertwining roots that burrowed deep into the earth provided me shelter from the impending storm.  Ominous dark grey fstorm clouds, their bellies filled to the brim with water were about to burst and unleashed a torrent of rain that would chill me to the bone.  I didn’t care though and I was glad there was no one about on such a miserable afternoon.  It’s what I need after all, I don’t think I could handle anyone being near me.
Apart from him of course.   He’s the only one I could be near at the moment.  But he was the reason why I was here now.  He was the reason I was breaking apart.  I’d known him for five years, he’d trained me for five years.  Five long years and we’d had a bond that surpassed all my other trainers.  He was a second dad to me, I’d called him dad enough for us both to know it.  Tight, warm hugs that made me feel like I was the only person in the world as he praised me to the heavens after a performance no matter where I’d placed or how I’d done.  The way he’d get down on his knees to talk with me, never looking down on me as if I was beneath him.  If I was standing he would stand to the same height and if I sat on the ground he’d plonk himself down beside me.  He was the best friend I could ask for, the best coach I could ask for and the most compassionate and inspiring parental figure I could ask for.
That happiness is gone now, dead and buried beneath layers upon layers of dirt as the tomb he lies in serves as a painful reminder of what I’d lost.  Who I’d lost.  Bitterness swamped my features as pure agony stabbed its sharp daggers straight into my heart.  Regret at being unable to see him in his final hours and now unable to tell him just how much he means to me.  I’d lost everything because of cancer.  12 months of fighting off this disease, finally free of it only to have it all come crashing back down as it comes back worse than before.  Why?  He was one of the greatest people to ever live, he could make anyone he came into contact with smile and feel so good about themselves and now he was gone.  It had been a painful slow death to, something him of all people didn’t deserve.
Rain began to fall.  Fat, crystal tear droplets cascaded from the dark heavens above down onto me and the graves around me.  My clothes and favourite jumper, the red university one he’d helped me ‘acquire’ last year that was far too big.  The mischievous twinkle in his eyes as he smirked at me, his mind on the same wavelength as mine was. 
“It looks awfully lonely,” he’d remarked.  “Someone should take it.”
So I had, and he hadn’t said a word to anyone about it even though I received a bunch of confused glances from those who knew me and a heap of age misinterpretation cases.  I remember clearly the light of pride that filled his eyes when he saw me in it.  That was why I wore it today and probably why I’d wear it whenever I could.  This jumper meant more to me than ever before.
Through the heavy rain I blinked in an attempt to see.  Tears had clouded my greenish blue eyes and grief was reaping the remanent of my strength.  I looked at the small bouquet in my hand.  I was never one for flowers and neither was he but it wasn’t the flowers that were important to me.  I had one small thing to say before I began though.  A song lyric question that fitted the situation perfectly.
“If you could see me now would you recognise me?” I asked, my voice strong and unwavering to others now broken and grief stricken before my father in all but blood.  “Would you pat me on the back or would you criticise me?  Would you follow every line on my tear stained face, put you hand on a heart that was cold as the day you were taken away?”  I needed answer, desperately.  If I never had any other closure in my life that would be fine by me but I needed this one like I needed air to breathe.  I pulled the two pink ones out of the bundle first as I knelt before his grave.  One was a dark pink while the other was a light, pale shade but no less beautiful.
“Dark pink,” I began, my voice cracking as I teetered on the edge of an emotional breakdown.  “For gratitude.  Thank you for all you’ve done for me and for the thousands of children you’ve touched the lives of, adults included.” 
I laughed at that, however in sounded nigh on hysterical.  “You always said growing up was an option, it was growing old that was mandatory.  You always were a child at heart.”
“Light pink for admiration.  You were my hero, even though I hate heroes with a passion you were the only one I didn’t loathe.  You were my hero and every other child you rescued and pushed to great heights,” I continued, my voice shaky and tearful.  I intertwined the roses together as I reached for the next one.
“Orange for enthusiasm because you never ran out.  You could lift the spirits of even the most depressed children and could make me and all others believe in themselves just by listening to your immeasurable enthusiasm for life and all its treasures.  You were one of them,” I choked out, a coughing fit seizing control of my body as the tears gushed out of my eyes, the dam of control broken.  My uncontrollable sobs continued for away, drowned out and hidden by the rain.  It made me think of the truth behind the saddest quote ever made by the funniest man in the world.  Rowan Atkinson had once said, “I love walking in the rain because no one can see me crying.”  Maybe I wasn’t walking but right now, while I was wrapped up in my grief, nobody could see me.  That was something I found oddly comforting despite councillors and other people saying that the best cure to grief was company.  I just found it made things worse.  I shook my head as I managed to regain slight control over my emotions, however feeble that control may be.
“Yellow is for friendship,” I swallowed, tears still trickling out of my eyes.  “You were the greatest friend I could-no.  Anyone could ever have.  You’re friendship kept many people going in their darkest hours because you were the light to guide them.”
I fumbled with the wreath now, my fingers slipping over the stems as I attempted to bend them into shape.  Finally they obeyed and I laid the wreath down at the foot of the grave and rose, my head bowed.  My shoulders shook with grief as emotional fatigue set in.  I didn’t have the strength to cry anymore.  I had one final flower though.  I held it in both hands.  This particular rose was mournfully beautiful and just looking at it made my heart ache.  The loss of a family member would hurt forever and I knew that, I just hadn’t thought of the agony it entailed.  I laid the last flower onto of the grave, wedging the stem in a gap in the stone. 
“Black,” I whispered softly.  “Black for death and farewell.  I wish that I could see you again, but I know that I can’t.  I know you’re here with me though, and always will be but it’s just so hard.”
Tears tumbled down my face again, mixing with the torrential downpour as thunder rumbled overhead.  Far too fitting in my opinion.  “It’s so hard to carry on being strong and doing what’s right when you’re no longer here.  Sometimes I look in the mirror and it’s hard to remember that you’re not my family by blood.  We look so alike that it makes me shiver,” I murmured.  “I guess I’m here to say goodbye one final time, being at your actual funeral wasn’t enough I guess.  If tears were stairs I’d build I road right up to heaven and bring you back again but that’s impossible so I guess a farewell will do.”
“Goodbye, and thank you for everything.  I’ll never forget you, no matter where I go,” I said quietly, kneeling back down beside the grave and closing my eyes.  For now I’d stay here, at peace with myself, knowing I finally had the long awaited closure that I had longed for. 
I traced my fingers over the cold, wet stone, a tired smile gracing my features as I remembered all he had done both directly and indirectly.
“Five things,” I whispered quietly, inaudible over the wind and rain.  “Five things to remember you by.”


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