Chapter 2: Libby
Liv was my best friend.
And then she wasn’t.
“You alright, Lib?”
Trying to inconspicuously swipe a tear from my cheek before turning to the voice, I look over my shoulder only to find Liv’s dad behind me, a solemn smile on his face. “I guess,” I say, and he laughs humorlessly.
He shoves his fists inside his slack’s pockets and shrugs, sauntering over to my side and sighing, “I’m not.”
I bite my lip, trying to search for the right words to say, but another tear escapes and I try to brush it off with my shoulder. “And I’m calling you out on your bullshit,” he remarks, peering down at me with a silly grin on his face.
I laugh, although it’s more of a hiccup, as a sob escapes me. He reaches out and touches my shoulder, rubbing his hand up and down my arm in comfort. “You caught me.”
He smiles, but doesn’t reply. Instead, we look down at what we’re standing before – Liv’s grave.
It’s a black marble, and she would’ve hated it.
“Black marble?” she would’ve said, and a shiver runs down my spine at the thought of hearing it again. “How ugly. Pink would suit it better – would brighten this depressing place up a bit.”
Rolling my lips in my mouth, I suppress a smile. God, I miss her.
I watch as her dad slides his hand off of my arm and walks further towards the tombstone. I had decided to stay back, away from where the coffin would be, secretly feeling uncomfortable with him standing on top of it as he kneels down and places the pink tulips against the marble. Her favorites.
He stays there for a while and my eyes wander around the venue, the graveyard admittedly more upbeat than most. It’s modern-ish, with the black marble tombstones instead of the chipping gray stones, and the fields are a granny-smith apple’s green that my grandmother would approve of. Instead of crows, there are doves, and instead of dying roses, there are fresh ones full of life.Looking back down at Liv’s spot, I see that her dad is now covering his face with his hands and his shoulders are shaking with grief.
It’s time to leave.
Backing away slowly, trying to make as little noise as possible, I head towards my bike and whisper one last goodbye into the soft wind: “Happy birthday.”
Pictures scattered all around, I feel like I’m walking in my own past.
The first one is a selfie of Liv and I’s faces filling the frame of the picture. Liv had just gotten her hair shaved off that morning, and I planned on doing the same whenever I got home from the hospital. We were happy. There was a bit of blood in her eyes from the severity of her health issues, but her blue eyes were still as bright as ever and her smile couldn’t have possibly been wider.
Me, on the other hand, was... well, me. My blonde curls were everywhere, and my dull brown eyes were smiling. My freckles were practically asking for attention, being everywhere on my young face.
Rolling my eyes, I flip to the next picture: Liv and me, holding notebooks. We looked as if we were in our early teens - twelve, thirteen. I squint at the picture and look closer at Liv’s scrawling on her notebook.
That’s all I can read. I go through different endings, trying to piece together the missing word. Until finally... I figure it out.
“Ah, the infamous bucket list,” I sigh, my thumb rubbing the place where Liv’s hand rested in the picture. The next picture is a closer shot of the bucket list she made, and a curious thought nips at the back of my mind. Groaning, I place down the small stack of photos and turn back towards the shoe box, shuffling through even more memories of notes we passed in class and diaries we shared until I finally found what I was looking for.
Liv’s bucket list.