We left our downtown apartment and walked up the waterfront into the pearl district. It’s so much easier to walk in Portland. No one realizes this, but it’s actually bigger than Las Vegas. and anyone who lives here can tell you, if you come downtown in a car, you’ll spend all your time looking for a place to park and if you find a place you will spend all your money paying for the parking. So we walked a few blocks until we arrived at our destination.
Mia’s flower and boutique. It was a quaint little flower shop. Mia, the owner, gives me a discount on the flowers I purchase since I helped her find and put her husband behind bars.
“Good morning Mia” I said as I walked through the door. Mia turned and beamed a smile at me. It turned even bigger when Shane entered in behind me.
“Katsia! How are you child?” she asked as her eyes traveled up and down Shane’s body as she talked. Before I could respond, she turned her attention to Shane and I just laughed to myself. She was hopeless when it came to him.
“And a good morning to you Shane! You are looking good as always” she gave me a sly wink as she said it.
“Good morning Mia. You are looking just radiant today.” He said.
She blushed and turned her attention back to me. As soon as she turned I tensed. The woman is what I call a hugger and sure enough, as if on cue, She wrapped me up in a big hug. I forced myself to relax, since she does this all the time, it will be over soon.
As she pulled away concern filled her eyes
“How are you doing today hun? You holding up ok? You seem different, but I can’t place it.” I smiled and felt my professional mask slip into place.
“I’m fine Mia. You said you have something for me?”
She frowned at me and nodded “Yes, I made this special, you come in here every year and buy the same old flowers, I thought you would like to place something new on her grave.”¶
She turned and headed into the back. A few minutes later she came out with a small bouquet of roses and carnations, baby’s breath was laced through the flowers. ¶
“Oh Mia, it’s beautiful!” I said as I held it up to my nose “Thank you so much.”
She beamed at me as I saw tears twinkle in her eyes. We left the store and caught the Max to take it out to the cemetery.
We arrived and walked out towards her grave. Shane stood a bit away from me to give me privacy. I knelt down by her grave and placed the flowers in the vase, removing the old ones.
“Hey Cass, it's Katsia. It’s been 10 years since you’ve been gone. I don’t know if you are dead or if you’re out there somewhere, but every year I have come here and did this exact same thing. At first, I missed you more than anything. But as life got worse, and I realized you weren’t coming back, I hated you. With every blow dad gave me my hatred grew more and more. Then after it was done, I’d sit in my room and cry. Not because of the pain, I got use to the pain, but because I hated myself for hating you. After I found mom, something in me broke. I couldn’t feel anything anymore. After she passed, dad got worse. I think my emotionless state set him off worse because when I was 18 he put me in the hospital. Since then, I put everything on hold. I kept everyone at arm’s length. But I can’t any more Cassie. I know I may not be worthy of happiness, but I can try right? No matter how broken someone is, they deserve happiness. The last part came out more of a yell and a sob escaped me. As I started to cry I felt strong arms snake around me and pull me in. Shane held me there as I wept. After what felt like hours I sniffled and turned my attention back to her grave. I felt Shane’s arms wrap around my waist and hold me to him as I stared at the gravestone. A fresh set of tears threatened to spill from my eyes as I thought about how close Shane was and how I wanted it to mean more. How I wanted him to hold me as a lover, not just a friend. I pushed the thought away. He’s the only thing you have in this life, you’ll just screw it up if you become more than what you are. He will leave and you’ll be alone. No family, no friends, and no life. I blinked back the tears and took a deep breath, “Good Bye Cass. I love you.” I whispered. Shane released me from his hold and as we left the cemetery I looked up, dark clouds had gathered in the sky and I felt the first few drops of rain hit my face. “It decided to rain after all” I said quietly to myself.