Grief

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium

Submitted: June 30, 2019

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Submitted: June 30, 2019

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A few birds began to sleepily chirp, breaking the silence of early morning. It was still dark, though the stars had faded out and the sky above the trees lining the opposite side of the street was paling to a slate grey. I watched it as I sat on my front porch, quiet and listening. Occasionally I brought the cigarette in my hand to my face and breathed deeply, its cherry tip glowing in response. As was becoming more and more usual, I hadn’t slept. My face felt stiff and sore. I’ve learned this happens often when you don’t cry but probably should have. The air was chilly.


The sound of boots crunched through the dry grass to my right as someone crossed the lawn and sat beside me. I continued staring numbly just over the treeline. I knew by the silence of their approach and the spicy smell of them that it was Anger. We sat together a moment, there in the dark


“Welcome back,” I said.


“Surprised to see me?” His voice was deep and rolling.


“Not really. I figured one of you would be coming by soon.” I reached forward and extinguished my spent cigarette on the concrete under my feet. “Strange though, I didn’t think I was angry. Guess it’s hard to tell these days.”
There was another moment of silence. I pulled out a cigarette, lit it, and held out the pack to my stern companion. He shook his head and waved it away, then shivered. Slowly, he pulled his thick leather duster tighter around himself.


“Isn’t it a bit cold for you to be sitting outside?” He spoke again, gruffly.


I shook my head. “I’m not really in the mood to be comfortable. Besides, it’s colder inside.”


“Ah, she’s here too then,” he said, nodding. “Thought that was her horse tied up in back.”


I didn’t reply. He watched as I took another slow drag from the cigarette. It was Depression he was referring to. Of the small group of horsemen I’d been getting occasional visits from for the past month, she was the one around most consistently. I basically had a roommate.


“So,” he said slowly, “any idea what’s got you angry today? You’re gonna have to go back to work soon, right? Maybe that’s it.”

I scowled at him. “Well, maybe, now that you’ve brought it up! But, no. The last of my bereavement leave was last week, but I had a lot of vacation days set aside for…” I took a deep breath. “For...you know.”

“For the wedding. For the honeymoon.”

“Yeah.”

I felt his rough callused hand on my shoulder, but he didn’t speak. It wasn’t quite dark anymore. Most of the sky was a pale grey now, except for a thick band of purple streaked with orange peeking above the treeline. My eyes burned and ached fiercely.

“Everything,” I whispered.

“I’m sorry?”

“I’m angry at everything. At myself. It’s been a month since Na..., since my fiance, died and it still feels as if the world has ended, like nothing matters. Every plan I made, every goal I had is ruined and halved. It was real, the future, real and vibrant and alive. Now it's dead, and no one else even notices.” I was crying now. “No one cares.”

Anger was gripping my shoulder hard now, but it felt comforting. He looked hard at me, sympathy clear on his face. “Sure they do,” he said. “Your friends and family care. His friends and family surely care, and hurt too.”

“No,” I shook my head fiercely. “Not in a way that matters. How could they? A part of their world died. My everything did. It isn’t fair that I hurt so much, and that that means nothing.”

He frowned slightly but said nothing. He only wrapped an arm around me as I wept, pulling me closer. We sat like that for a long time, as the morning sun climbed into a blue autumn sky.

 


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