Cold as Stone and Marble

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The death of a loved one is hard to handle, especially for those that are barely hanging on to life themselves. Can this girl accept reality?

Submitted: November 26, 2011

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Submitted: November 26, 2011

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The heat is unbearable. The late summer sun is frying my skin as I walk up the hill, but this pain is nothing compared to what I’ve felt before. My bare feet have long since grown used to the scorching asphalt, but still, as I reach the turn off for the dirt path, I can practically hear them singing in relief. The shade from the trees is almost as refreshing as a glass of water, although I know that’s what I really need after walking two hours uphill in this kind of weather.

It is hard to believe it has only been two hours; and hell, it isn’t even noon yet. I feel like I had been walking for days. The events of the morning play through my mind a hundred times over, but despite that, I feel… numb. What am I supposed to feel? I should cry. Normal human beings cried under these circumstances, didn’t they? Yes. The others cried when they told me. They cried, and I… I am not normal.

I’m just vaguely aware of the bushes and the thorns whipping me as I… run past. When did I start running? I really don’t know. Something snags my dress and I can hear it rip, but I don’t stop. I don’t even care. The light shining through the trees is filtered green from the leaves, but it’s more than bright enough for me to see where I am going, and soon-- too soon, maybe-- I am passing the iron gates.

Until this moment, I knew I had been in denial, but disbelief and a new kind of pain still struck me when I saw it. This was real. Would I cry now? No; not yet. I walk slowly to the stone and just barely brush my fingers across its milk colored surface. Even in this sweltering heat it feels cold to the touch, and I shudder at the thought that goes through my mind: as cold as the corps lying buried beneath the dirt. Why do I have to have such a graphic imagination? Normal human beings-- but I’m not normal.

I shudder again as I take a seat on the freshly churned earth, drawing my knees up to my chest and wrapping my arms closely around them as I stare blankly at the name engraved onto the tombstone. I feel deafened; the birds that had chirped when I entered the cemetery are no longer audible, and I can’t hear my breath, which is ragged from the running. I squeeze my eyes shut, hoping… just hoping. But when I open them, your name is still there, carved deep into the marble.

Why? It is the only word that’s going through my mind now, a hundred times a minute, but no possible answers come to me. Why? It isn’t supposed to be this way. Why? How could you leave me here, like this, after everything? Why you, when it should have been me? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

Why am I screaming? You can’t hear me.

I’m so sorry, I say, still knowing you can’t hear me. But it doesn’t matter. I say it again, and again, and again. I’m so sorry.

I look down at my wrists, tracing the old scars with my eyes, a burning desire building up inside me. Just yesterday they seemed like shadows, hardly worth a thought anymore. But now they were taunting me.

This… is my fault. If I hadn’t been so stupid… if I hadn’t been gone… you wouldn’t be…

No. That word is a whisper in my mind, and I could swear it’s your voice saying it. I pry my eyes away from my wrists and look back at your name. No, I say out loud. What you did… it’s what you did… Not I.

I take a breath, deep and shaky. I can feel the knot in my throat, and the burning in my eyes. I’m probably dehydrated, but I can feel the defiant tears slipping out anyway. Maybe… I’m still human after all.


© Copyright 2017 Katy Black. All rights reserved.

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