The sky was the kind of grey there was no name for. A blank sheet covering the universe. A vast, steady, blanket. It was hard to tell where sky ended and cloud began. It was all the same color that day.
I only attended the funeral because I was forced to. My parents pulled me out of bed that day and informed me I didn’t have a choice, I was going.
If I had had it my way, I wouldn’t even be awake on the grey morning of April 19th. They said I had to mourn. I said I was.
People do not seem to understand, grief is different in everyone. I had skipped denial and gone straight to anger, I had put my fist through a wall. Then I skipped bargaining and went straight to depression. And acceptance? I was still waiting on that.
I rubbed my bandaged hand as my parents lead the way to the grave. The sky looked like it might rain and part of me hoped it would. She would’ve liked that.
I very much dislike the notion that one day I will be no more than a name on a grave. But she . . . Evanna never seemed to mind. She always told me: “as long as I have lived well I don’t care what happens after.”
Her parents saw me and gave me dirty looks. I looked away. I focused on my steps. -Don’t trip. Don’t trip. Don’t trip.-
We took a seat in the back. I was shivering. My mother took off her jacket and wrapped it around my shoulders. My breath puffed out in white clouds as I huddled into the warmth of my mothers oversized black jacket.
I closed my eyes and lost myself in the memory of Evanna. She grabbed my hands as she jumped off the cliff and into the water, forcing me to come with her. She threw a pillow at me at every one of my bad jokes. But hers were always worse. She baked me a cake on my fifteenth birthday and it tasted as good as it looked. (It didn’t look very good).
“Evanna . . .”
Her name was breath on my lips. Not even a whisper. I wanted to disappear into warmth and keep my eyes closed and my head down and just go through every memory of her I had. And I wanted it to stay like that. I wanted it to never end. I was furious again. Furious that it was over. No more memories with her, no more summers, no more birthdays, no more staying up too late and talking and talking and talking. No more Evanna.
I opened my eyes. The sky was still grey. The people still dressed in black. Her parents were still crying. Her father looked up. Our eyes met. He did not glare or scowl like her mother would. Like he normally did if her mother was looking.
Our gazes held for a minute. Two. Three. It was in understanding. In loss. In grief. And pain. We were united.
I closed my eyes again.
My last memory of Evanna is bittersweet. She is lying in the hospital bed. So thin, so frail. I wan to pick her up and hold her in my arms. I want to feel her heart beat and her chest rise and fall with breath.
It’s three am. It’s dark. So dark and quiet and all I can hear is her labored, raspy breathing. It’s like a stab to the chest every time. It hurts to know she hurts.
I want to take it all away.
I crawl into bed next to her and wrap my arms around her. She looks up at me, I can feel her shaking, like she’s shivering, but she isn’t cold, she’s too warm.
“I’ve lived well,” she says. It is not spoken as a statement. It is spoken as a promise. She is telling me: let go, it’s okay, let go.
She is telling me she loves me. She is telling me she’s okay. She is telling me it’s time.
I am so afraid. Tears run down my cheeks in an endless stream, a storm, a torrential down power of grief.