Why Did I Disappear?

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I went back to Elise’s graveyard a week later. Rebecca came with me to visit Samuel. There were shattered and chipped vases and over-turned flowers everywhere again but the world seems a bit brighter.

I place a bouquet of roses on Elise’s grave and Rebecca places lilies on Samuel’s.

“I don’t think it was you but thank you,” I whisper to Elise.

“He realized everything he’d be missing out on if he didn’t support his children, he’d have nothing,” Elise replies. “He also loves you and regrets what he did to Peter.”

I smile.

“Good luck, Dean. I hope you and Rebecca have a happy life together. You brother and Trev, too,” she finishes.

“Goodbye, Elise,” I mumble.

I feel her presence leave and a cool autumn wind takes its place.

“Dean, are you ready to go?” Rebecca calls from the main sidewalk in the center of the graveyard.

“Coming,” I reply.

I join her and we walked back to the car.

The past few weeks my parents had been catching up me, Luke and Peter and meeting our friends and families. Trev had reported his and Luke’s bashing and there was an investigation into the seven men who attacked them. There was security footage of the incident found and they were tracking down suspects now.

Luke and Trev had toned down the affection they were showing when they were out and about, they had also had more dates in dark movie theaters, small welcoming cafes, and parks where they could be affectionate without people seeing or caring.

Our parents were flying back to Bristol next week but they said they’d visit for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I and Peter finally had families to spent those holidays with after decades of being on our own or in the presence of others’ families and being the awkward ones out.

I was happy to be myself and be with my family. I was lucky to have Rebecca and my coworkers.

I was glad I didn’t have to lie to everyone anymore about who I was.

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