I put on my black dress shoes, grabbed my umbrella, and headed out the door.
The sky was a light gray, and I could feel the rain coming down lightly, but surely. It was days like this that I really enjoyed, when the sun was at rest behind the clouds and the rain cleansed the busy streets of the city.
Eventually, I made my way to the cemetery where I saw a green field and a slick black casket in the middle of a large group of people. Saying goodbye had always been hard for me, but Daniel deserved it more than anyone.
As I made my way to the group of people, I locked eyes with Katie. Her beautiful face was smeared with mascara, and her black dress was flowing in the gentle wind. Daniel’s death had been most difficult on Katie; they had always been close. As kids, I had always thought she and Daniel would end up together.
I walked up to her and took her hand. She looked up at me and smiled. Her ebony hair fell on her face, and I pushed it back, returning her smile.
We stood in silence and watched the ceremony. Daniel’s parents and brother shared some words. I had promised Daniel’s mother that I would say something for him too.
I morosely walked up to the photo of Daniel which was framed in a simple, wooden photo frame. His brown eyes were full of compassion, and his mouth was tilted up in a warm smile. At the bottom of his picture were white daisies. Daniel had always loved daisies, he even planted them for Katie on her birthday. Tears started streaming down my face. I hoped Daniel was at peace. Wherever he was.
I turned around and faced the crowd of people that had gathered for Daniel.
I took a deep breath and began speaking.
“Daniel was a loving son,” I said gesturing at his parents.
“He was a caring brother,” I gave a weak smile toward Gabriel.
“And he was all I could ever ask for in a friend.” I continued my eulogy.
It was a beautiful service, just like Daniel deserved.
The rain started falling harder, and the sky grew darker.
I walked with Gabriel to his car; he was more family than my own parents. I got in the passenger seat of his car and stared out the window. Daniel never made conversation in the car, he would always look out the window. I remember his deep chuckle at funny billboards and his fascination at trucks.
I was snapped out of my thoughts as Gabriel started the car. I looked over at him, his dark mocha hair fell over his brown eyes, I had never realized how much his eyes looked like Daniel’s until now. Daniel and him had been inseparable, his death had taken quite a toll on Gabriel. Although Daniel was younger, Gabriel always had a tough time in school and Daniel had gotten him through that.
Gabriel sighed and looked back at me. We spent the car ride in silence.
Although Daniel’s family had the funeral in town, they lived on the outskirts of the city in a traditional house. The outside was paneled with light gray bricks and a broad, amber, wooden door welcomed us in. I noticed freshly planted daisies in the front yard and I smiled. Daniel’s house had a large lawn where I remember playing games like tag and hide and seek with him and Katie.
Gabriel parked the car, and we briskly walked towards the door, trying not to get soaked in the rain, which was continuing to get stronger.
Even though the house was ornate from the outside, it was quite minimalist from the inside. Daniel’s family had never been into collecting.
I took Gabriels jacket and hung it up with mine. I had practically grown up here as a child, my parents had never been at home. They always had to work, so I spent a lot of time with Daniel’s family.
I joined Daniel’s parents, Gabriel, and Katie in the living room. I took a seat next to Katie and put my arm around her. We had been together for a short time now, but I knew she had always loved Daniel, she always would. We all would.
Daniel should have never passed this early. He was hardly in his thirties. I remember how he always wanted to settle down and own a farm when he retired. He even asked me to join him as a farmhand. I chuckled at the idea back then, but now, the idea of spending even a moment with Daniel seemed like a dream come true.
I looked over at Daniel's mother. Hayley had short, chestnut hair that curled up at her shoulders. Her eyes were the same dark brown as Daniel’s, and just like Daniel, they had that compassionate hint in them. I remember her fondly, just like a mother. I recall the one time I scraped my knee while playing tag; she came hurrying down to the yard when she heard my cries. She picked me up and took me inside the house where she gently bandaged my knee and sat with me until my pain subsided and I could stand up on my feet and walk again. Although she was not crying her eyes still were still puffy from the funeral.
Daniel’s father was sitting next to her, just as somber. Unlike my father, Simon had taught me how to drive and shave. He turned me from a little boy into the man I am today. Just like Gabriel, his hickory colored hair fell into his brown eyes. His eyes were glassy, and he was looking out the window at the daisies in the front yard. Although he did not show it, I know he loved his sons more than anything in the world, and the death of Daniel had left him heartbroken.
I said my goodbyes of Daniel’s family and left his house with Katie. The rain was now rapidly falling off my umbrella.
Katie pulled up in front of the apartment where I lived, I kissed her goodnight, got out of the car, and ran towards the building.
I waited for Katie to leave, but I did not go inside. Instead, I opened up my umbrella and walked in the direction of the cemetery. I wanted to say goodnight to Daniel.
The rain was pelting my umbrella as I took quick long steps towards Daniel’s grave. It was a light gray that was hard to make out in the dark. Rain was hitting the gravestone and trickling down Daniel’s name.
“Daniel,” I said, my voice cracking, the rain shower had turned into a thunderstorm and I could see a bolt of lightning in the distance. I had to hold my umbrella with both hands to keep it from collapsing from the rain.
“I’m sorry,” I continued, “It should have been me instead of you.” It really should have, it was because of me that Daniel was dead, and I would give my life for him in a heartbeat.
We had been fighting over Katie outside of my apartment room. I knew Katie loved him more, but I still wanted to fight for her. For us. Daniel had shoved me into the wall, and I shoved him back. We continued throwing punches, but we did not notice how close Daniel was to the stairs.
Daniel had always been stronger than me, and he had knocked me to the ground. I remember him looking down at me, his compassionate brown eyes staring into mine. He held out his arm for me, to lift me up, like he always had, but I had been so angry. I rejected his help and instead gave him one last shove. I tried to grab him before he fell down the stairs, but it was too late. Daniel was already dead.
“Daniel, you were a brother to me, and you still are. Wherever you are, I miss you. And I will always love you.” I looked down at his grave one more time, “goodnight, Daniel.”
I didn’t even notice the rain had stopped. I looked up at the night sky and saw the full moon peeking out from behind the clouds. I have always loved it when it rains, but Daniel loved the city right after it rained. He thought rain washed away all the bad that happened and gave life a new chance to grow and heal.