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Fiction Sad Romance

Sometimes, I steal flowers for my boyfriend from your garden; but, unfortunately, today you caught me and demanded to join me to make sure the, “guy is handsome enough to warrant flower theft.”

I’m still trying to figure out how to tell you that we’re on our way to the graveyard.

***

I pull the aromatic roses closer to my chest to shield them from the light summer breeze, but mainly in a fruitless attempt to calm my fluttering nerves. I glance over my shoulder to see if you’re still keeping pace with me. You are. I turn back again at the speed of lightning when you catch me staring. How would you react when we entered the cemetery? I didn’t want to find out.

I haven’t uttered a word to you except for squeaking out a “follow me” after your curiosity got the better of you. If I was more outspoken, I would’ve asked you to get out of my face and never talk to me again, but I wasn’t.

So there I was that warm late August afternoon, taking you to visit my dead (boy)friend. And here’s the thing. . . him and I? We were never a “thing,” if you know what I mean. I always thought of him as something more than just a friend, but I don’t (and never will) know whether he felt the same way or not. It’s torture, but there’s nothing I can do about it.

My eyes follow the cracks along the drab sidewalk, trying to form objects or shapes or animals from the meaningless lines. I would do anything to get my tumult of emotions out of focus, if even for a minute or two. My mind is a very busy place, while my lips are not. It’s all very paradoxical.

I’m glad you’re silent as we walk toward my friend’s eternal resting place. I don’t think I could take much more rambling yapping from anyone anymore without breaking down on the spot. I’m tired of going through day by day without seeing any improvement in my life. Things seem to keep getting emptier inside me. Guess you can say my ability to love (and my will to exist) died with him.

More than once I’d considered joining him, but I knew he wouldn’t want that for me. So here I am, sorting through my thoughts while taking you to visit my dead boyfriend.

At one point you’re right next to me. Either my walking pace slowed or your’s had increased, but it doesn’t matter. We’re already here; at my friend’s place; alone; at the cemetery.

The cheerful rays of sunshine don’t set the whole mood of “being in a graveyard,” but it’s not like I could control the weather or anything. It’s almost like the universe is playing a huge joke on me, and I hate it.

You lag behind me again as I hesitantly lead the way through the rows of tombstones. Leaves and twigs rustle beneath our feet, making the scene somewhat more eerie and fitting to our current location. I figure you think I'm a murderer or someone very sadistic or that I’m playing a prank on you and, to be honest, the thought bothers me. I don’t like being made fun of and people’s opinions matter to me. It’s a bad habit of mine I have yet to break.

I’m knocked out of my thoughts when the chirping of a bird breaks the silence I have been long used to. I slide my hands in my jean pockets and slouch my back in a relaxed position to show you I’m not afraid. The truth is I’m not. The home of dead people doesn’t frighten me. I’ve seen and experienced worse.

I steal a glance behind me to see how you’re faring. You look fine, but your eyes tell me all I need to know. They’re narrowed, and your lips are pursed ever so slightly. Other than those miniscule details that give you away, you seem perfectly at ease.

You hold up your head like you own the place while your hands swing casually at your side. You’re even whistling, as if you didn’t find it creepy or weird whatsoever to be taking an afternoon stroll with a stranger in a cemetery. You’re. . .okay, I think grudgingly before turning back.

A few seconds later I wave you over and together we arrive at a grave in pristine condition. Healthy looking grass grows in patches, and there’s not a dent on the marble surface. The dirt isn’t settled yet, either.

“There he is,” I choke out, biting my lip, and willing myself not to cry. I stare with brows furrowed at the engraved words on the grave. I’m not reading it; I’d already memorized it the day he was laid in it.

Against my will I find myself blinking my eyes in quick succession as the world starts to blur. I’m not gonna cry, I’m not gonna cry, I’m not gonna cry, I command myself. Get a grip!

What was the matter with me? I’d rehearsed saying this in my head a million times during the walk to the cemetery. Why did I screw up? I’m supposed to be over him, but I guess I’m not. I loved him too hard, and that was my issue. I love too hard.

“He’s beautiful,” you whisper back. I keep my focus trained on the grave’s inscription, but not because I’m rude. I’m afraid that if I moved even a muscle, I would start bawling my eyes out. I also don’t want to see your look of pity. It’s mostly the first reason which forces me to hold my steady gaze, though.

I take a shaky breath and (still looking at the inscription) ask, “You think so?” My voice doesn’t crack this time, and I am so proud of myself for that. I hate appearing weak and vulnerable in front of other people.

The only person I’d ever shown my brokenness to was him. I didn’t feel ashamed or weak or vulnerable when I did. He was different in that way.

I remember how I used to sob into him when I was having a rough time. How his firm arms found their way around my waist. How he stroked my hair and whispered in my ear how he was and always would be there for me. I fell in love with his voice and the way in which he told me I was not alone in my cruel battles against the universe.

How his chocolate eyes practically screamed his love like a brother to me. How he always had the right things to say at the right times. Oh, how much. . .

“I miss him.” I finish my thought verbally and continue it in spite of myself. “You wouldn’t believe how amazing he was.” I lick my dry lips and sigh a sigh of many meanings.

“And his smile.” I pause for a second to blink my watering eyes and then clear my throat. “His smile was something else alright. That crooked son of a gun. He made it so easy to be loved. So very easy.” I smile sadly and close my eyes, remembering. No way was I gonna cry in front of you.

Before I lose my composure altogether, I crouch down in silence and place the ivory colored roses at the base of his headstone. Next I trace his name on the grave with my finger and take another shaky breath.

My ‘I’m not gonna cry’ remix is blaring softer in my mind, but I’m not about to give in just yet. I lean my head against the gravestone and press my hands against it. It’s warm to the touch. His arms don’t wrap around my waist this time.

I probably look silly and utterly ridiculous to you, but I don’t care. I never asked you to come. If you feel uncomfortable or awkward, remember, this is your fault, not mine.

I wipe my moist eyes with the sleeve of my sweater when I notice I’m sweating. It’s hotter than I realized.

I bring my head closer to the marble and cup my right hand over my lips as if I’m playing “Telephone” and the gravestone is the next person to hear the phrase given to me.

I place my lips on the warm surface for a second and then pull away. I get up from my crouching position and dust the dirt off my jeans like nothing had happened. You’re still standing there, looking down at the ground all uncomfortable-like. I don't blame you.

On hearing my footsteps disturb a bunch of leaves you look up. I’m surprised that I can’t read your face, but it doesn't matter. I’m just glad it’s not a look of pity.

I’m about to turn my back on you and exit the cemetery when an invisible force stops me. My mind refuses to will my limbs to move. I’m frozen to the spot.

And slowly, very slowly, I raise my right hand up to my forehead and give you a quick salute with my middle and index finger glued together. I turn around without a word more and sprint off as if a phantom was hot on my tail. And who knows? Maybe one was.

***

There you are again, just like the first time we journeyed to the sacred home for the deceased. It’s been an entire year since you first caught me stealing those white roses from your garden.

You’ve sort of made it a habit to accompany me to the cemetery each and every day, come rain or shine. I don’t think either of us know why you’re doing that. It’s a mystery to us both that I guess will never be solved. But I don’t mind if the universe decides to keep it a secret.

As much as I’d rather not admit, your quiet presence has grown on me, and I’ve found myself expectantly waiting for our walks to visit my friend.

Speaking of which, my heartache over him has faded into the background of my thoughts. When I think of him, I’m not on the verge of crying anymore. I used to cry myself to sleep every night, knowing when I woke up he wouldn’t be there.

Before I couldn’t stop thinking about him, be it day or night or anything in between. But now? My feelings for him have drastically lessened, let me tell you that much. I still mourn him and think back to our wonderful little infinity (how could I not?) but my feelings are less extreme, I guess. I hate myself for it, but it’s the honest truth.

And another thing; over the past months my affections have been a mess ever since you came into my life. Oh, what a gorgeous plot twist you were. When I found myself wishing for my days to be over sooner rather than later, you changed that attitude in a heartbeat.

I feel the whole zoo when I’m around you, and I bet you don’t even suspect it. It’s torture, I tell you. Delightful torture at that, but still torture. Will I ever be worthy enough to be called yours?

“Uh, you okay?” you ask, waving your hand in front of my face. We’re on our way to the cemetery, like any other day. It’s overcast and looks as if the clouds will give way soon.

“Oh, I’m grand. I’m on a rollercoaster that only goes up, my friend.” I smirk and steal a glance at you. Surprisingly, I think I find you blushing, but you look away before I can make sure. If you ever did blush, you cover it up with a huge smile. Your pearly white teeth beam with their own faint glow. Did I mention how contagious your smiles are?

“There you go again,” you remark with fake annoyance, “quoting that book of yours again. Who said that line?”

“Augustus Waters, but that’s beside the point. You should really read the book. I promise you won’t regret it.”

“Okay, then. It’s called, ‘The Fault in Our Stars,’ right?” I simply nod and reply in the affirmative. “And isn’t this Augustus Waters your favorite character?”

“Yeah. Yeah, he sure is. But when you read--”

“If--” you correct. I roll my eyes mockingly.

If you ever read it, the boy’s mine.” I raise my eyebrows. “Capiche?”

You let out a small laugh, sending waves of happiness down my spine for some unfathomable reason.

“Capiche,” you finally say, your trademark smile still plastered on your face. “And would you look at that? We’re here.”

Both of our light moods take a dark turn as we open the creaking gates of the barren cemetery. By now the clouds are a dark shade of grey, and the sun is nowhere to be found.

Like usual we make a beeline to my friend’s grave, and I place the roses at the foot of his grave while you stand off to the side. There’s no kissing the headstone this time. I haven’t done anything of the sort since the first time and don't plan on doing it anytime soon.

Once I’m done paying my respects I feel a drop of water slide down my face like a tear. I tilt my head up at the sky and it is indeed starting to rain. I turn my gaze to you and find you smiling.

You return my gaze and open your arms wide, taking it all in. I walk over and stand next to you, mimicking your smile, while you look up at the weeping clouds.

It soon dawns on me that I’m trying to memorize you: your dazzling smile, your rosy cheeks, that wild look in your eyes, and as I do so a swelling surge of pride and awe crashes over me. I would do anything to make me yours, I think with longing. The thought surprises me, but I’m starting to think it’s the truth.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” you suddenly ask me.

“Yeah. Yeah, it sure is beautiful,” I reply breathlessly as I wipe the many raindrops off my face with my sweater. It’s pouring, and we’d pay the price later with a nasty cold, but I don't care. I don’t think you did either, based on the look of wonder and happiness on your face.

Seeing you happy made me feel happy, and I knew right then and there I needed you. Like, I really needed you. I’m sick and tired of lying to myself and it was about time I started telling myself the truth, even if it hurt me in the end.

“But. . .” I lick my lips to buy more time. It’s then I realize my palms are sweating, and I’m trembling a little. In that split second I also notice the knots intertwining in my stomach. What am I thinking?! This is crazy. I’m crazy.

“Yes?” you ask calmly, your voice full of comfort and genuine concern.

“But --” I take a breath to steady my thoughts, nerves, butterflies, etc. before I finish my question. “But you know what else is beautiful?”

Confused at the question, you stand there with uncertainty in your smiling face. And that’s all the time in the world I need.

All the time I need to tenderly wrap my arms around your waist. All the time I need to bring my face closer to yours. All the time I need for my cheeks to grow redder and not just from the biting cold. And most importantly, you gave me all the time I need to rest my lips on yours as the heavens cry tears of joy.

August 20, 2021 05:39

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27 comments

hey val, it's been a while. how have you been?

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Valerie June
21:55 Oct 03, 2021

Sorry for the late reply. . . Anyways, I've been pretty good! Haven't been able to do any writing whatsoever which is kinda upsetting but oh well. How have you been?

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Ah yeah it happens. I hope some inspiration comes your way soon :) I’m glad you’ve been good tho :D Yeah, been alright :3

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Valerie June
22:47 Oct 04, 2021

Ah, me too! I'm glad! It really has been a while since well last talked. . . I appreciate you reaching out to me though. 😁 And by the way -- I actually updated my bio after all this time, lol.

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Yeah same <3 Yay XD imma read it Looks good lol

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22:22 Sep 14, 2021

This was beautiful Valerie! The emotions that I felt was like a rollercoaster! Amazing. Just amazing. This should've won!

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Valerie June
21:56 Oct 03, 2021

Aw, thank you so much Sienna! Your comment made my day. 🥰

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Abi Bean
15:04 Sep 14, 2021

Apply to college and see what happens: It doesn’t hurt to apply for college and see if you get in. It is better to apply, see what kinds of financial aid packages you get and where you get in, then to decide last minute that you want to go and end up missing the application deadline. The first couple of semesters are typically all general education courses anyway, so you can take a year or so to decide what you want to major in. Being undecided is OK. The important part is that you are exploring options and actively looking for what you wil...

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Philia S
05:37 Sep 14, 2021

Hey! How are you?

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Valerie June
21:57 Oct 03, 2021

I'm doing pretty well! What about you? Sorry for the late reply, haha. 😅

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Philia S
23:47 Oct 03, 2021

Good to know! I would've said likewise except for the darned exams and some other things, lol. Tis fine, I understand you were busy. :D

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Valerie June
22:48 Oct 04, 2021

Oh, no. Not exams again! 😒 Yeah. I haven't been active on Reedsy, as you can see.

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Philia S
03:26 Oct 05, 2021

XD Yep! Write anything lately?

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Valerie June
04:57 Oct 06, 2021

Ah, no I have not written anything lately. I've been so busy with no time to even to think of inspiration, unfortunately. 😑 Have you?

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Beth Connor
16:41 Aug 26, 2021

Wonderful beautiful story. I think my favorite of yours yet.

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Abi Bean
13:19 Aug 25, 2021

IM BACK BABY

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Philia S
05:55 Aug 25, 2021

Hey Val! I'm so sorry I didn't drop by earlier. I mean I'm five days late- Jeez- Now to the story: I loved the story so freaking much! And really, there's nothing much to say, I literally don't know what to say except that it was really really good! Btw, a lil thing: Although it necessarily didn't need to be integrated in this story, I would have loved to know more about the person who died...that was a bit you could've written more about, but maybe that's just me hungry for more now that I've devoured this one. XD Btw, Abigail is back :...

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it all felt so so soooo real. Them as they walked, the rain, even the emotions at the end. The details made it all the more imaginable. I'm rather glad you decided to post it. It was pretty heart-felt, and really flowed smoothly. The second-person made me feel like I was the one walking beside the MC into the cemetery. So realistic, and greatly described. Great jobbbbbbb :DDD

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Valerie June
23:08 Aug 23, 2021

Your comments never fail to put a smile on my face, Speedy. 😁 I'm glad you liked this one even though I was hesitant to post it. I don't know what I had written until it was written, you know? It was definitely one of those times when the story kind of wrote itself. And thanks again! You're never obligated to read my stories, but you do it anyway. I appreciate that.

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😄 Yeah, definitely get that. The words just seem to flow onto the page sometimes. Ofc, I love reading your stories!!!

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Valerie June
01:37 Aug 24, 2021

It's exactly like that! Aw, you're so sweet. 🥰

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yep :) <333

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Abi Bean
12:46 May 19, 2022

bye, little musketeer...

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Dhwani Jain
15:49 Apr 13, 2022

You know Sapphire? We have a collab coming up on my blog at 04:06 p.m. IST tomorrow (April 14). Do check it out, here's the link (https://djdhwanijain.wordpress.com/)

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Aurora Spencer
17:00 Nov 05, 2021

You might not see this because I'm too late. Though I'm sad that you're leaving, I hope it was the right decision and you'll keep writing :)

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Valerie June
05:42 Aug 20, 2021

Wasn't sure whether to post this one or not, but decided with ‘why not?’ It was very. . . interesting to write, that's for sure. Anyway I hope y'all enjoyed this one. Not sure when I'll get another story posted because I've been busy as of late.

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