That was a word I’ve encountered in Literature, meaning, “Relating to twilight.” The sun’s crepuscular rays shadowed over the surrounding land, its light barely reaching the headstone.
I never missed. Not once. And it pained me.
My fingers brushed lightly against the rocky tough surface of the grey stone and I forced out a shallow breath.
“It’s been a long time...Leo,” I hummed. I rarely visited him, but whenever I do, I try to come over and place fresh flowers when I came. Sometimes, I even bring his favorite treat, homemade peanut butter brownies.
I knew he couldn’t resist it and immediately stood when he smelled the sweet air. It may seem like an absurd idea, but I wanted to pay my respect. I baked them myself even though we had several cooks because I wanted it to be special every time I brought it with me on his commemoration day.
I wasn’t the only one coming here. Sometimes his distant relatives pay for a visit, but not his family. I hadn’t seen his family for over 7 years. I don’t know what happened, but we completely lost contact with them.
The graveyard was an hour away from home, so it was a long way to reach there by foot.
Leander’s grave was in South Meadow Memorial, buried in the VIP area. There were many like him around his grave - only generations older. The sorrow that I’ve tried to hide came back full force and I broke down.
“Why? Why did you have to be taken away first? Why so young!” I screamed and pounded my fists hard against the wet grass underneath as my hands created angry clutches. “How is this not unfair! This shouldn’t have happened. Why you out of everyone?” Tears ran uncontrollably down my cheeks and more rimmed my eyes till I could barely see.
I poured everything I always bottled around and screamed repeatedly until there wasn’t anything to spill.
I hated this. I always got angry with myself for periodically falling apart when I came here. I promised myself that I’d handle it better the next year, but, it only became worse.
This was something I had been arranging every year since his death. After visiting him I would start over again, closing my heart about his death and releasing them when I return. It’s like a vicious cycle I couldn’t break out of and it was affecting me mentally.
“I hate you!” I wailed weakly at his grave. I bent my knees and covered my face with an arm. “You were the closest person to me, and...we could’ve been having unforgettable memories— not never-ending sorrow...”
This wasn’t as severe as the first time I came here; when the earth was freshly dug and the smell of a depressing air was always surrounded me. It felt like forever and I couldn’t seem to escape the cage.
I didn’t hear the crunching of dead leaves behind me and suddenly something warmed covered me. I was still wrapped down with my head low as loud sobs escaped my mouth. My fingers wrapped the warm jacket tightly.
I stayed in that position for a few minutes before finally calming down. I stood up with my jacket hugging me and I brushed my grazed knees and clothes from any grass and muddy dirt.
My parents knew of my visits here and they didn’t stop me. Ivan used to join me once in a while but then he stopped altogether.
It was always an individual journey and that’s what I wanted it to stay as.
I took out a handkerchief from the jacket’s pocket and cleaned the transparent substance running down my nose and wiped away my eyes to clear vision. I sniffled and recalled that I had a meeting with the others in an hour.
My long hair remained loose and I probably resembled a banshee. Strands flew in the wind - some were sprawled against my sweaty forehead even though it was a chilly afternoon. Clouds were omnipresent and the wind howled uncontrollably around the graveyard that I could almost hear a chilling moan within it. It too was filled with low spirits.
Today was the 10th of October.
This was the 7th year. And I failed to make any progress.
“Thanks, Javier,” I croaked in a haggard voice as I turned around to walk towards the waiting vehicle. I didn’t care whether he had followed or not as I trudged like a mindless person. By the time I reached the car my eyes were still fixed on the ground.
“Señora?” Javier asked as he opened the door for me and nodded with his head to get inside.
I did, but stared behind me for a final time, my eyebrow creased. “Until next time...Leander.” And with that, I made a prayer before the door closed behind me.
It was all over the news.
His family was in a state of panic and everyone was in a rush to find out what had happened. I was nearly 7 that time, but he had already turned before I did.
The next thing I knew we lost all contact with the Leos. I didn’t know what was going on as a huge shadow covered us all. It was grim, dark, and...the feeling of loneliness finally seeped in.
That’s until someone ultimately broke it to me that he was no longer with us, never coming back to play with me and be my best friend...
I thought he left for another country, but they gave me sympathetic faces and said in a calm voice that he was no longer walking among us. He was permanently gone. Never to come back. We went to his funeral the next day and I didn’t cry until after it was over, even though internally, I was shattered into infinite pieces.
That was the end. He was gone.
I brushed away any bad memory and cleared my throat as I fixed myself up. My hair was in tangles and my clothes were slightly dirty, but I didn’t care. My hands too were quite muddy, but nothing like water can’t fix it.
I shook my head. Think about the future, not the past. What happened - happened.
Nothing can change that.
“Javier?” I called from the back.
“Yes, Señora?” he asked while he drove us back to the main road.
“Did ya’ll contact them?”
He nodded his head. “Yes, they’re going to be there at 4 PM and it’s only an hour away from your destination so we can reach there before they do if there’s no traffic.
“Alright - if we have time stop by a supermarket. I need to buy a few things.” I told and he grunted.
The reason why I couldn’t call them myself was because of my emotional state. The twins can’t know where I was or they’d torment me with how I was feeling. Angelique knew obviously.
I looked ahead of the road and almost no cars were driving past us. Javier along with Mr. Vicente were the only ones that always accompanied me when I came to this part of the suburb. I didn’t want any others anyway; these two had been with me since birth and I trust them.
Unfortunately, Mr. Vicente couldn’t drive me today because he too had attended a commemoration. Except that the person died recently, so it was a funeral.
I was going to buy my favorite cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream brand for the drive ahead to calm my nerves down.
It always helped.
❅ 𝔻𝕃 ❅
To be continued
Damien and Brendon had noticed the old picture that their 14-year-old cousin stared at that night. They watched in silence as she closed her eyes before taking slow deep breaths.
They knew the two girls in the back were having a silent conversation that wasn’t meant for them to hear. The reflections on the tainted windows and night sky made it easier for them to know what they were up to in the back.
The next day few days came with a twisting turn as new faces emerged and soon a little tale was born.
~The Outback will soon resume in another unexpected way ~