New Year Resolution : Be There for a Friend (Late)

Submitted into Contest #25 in response to: Write a short story about someone accomplishing one of their resolutions.... view prompt



Her love died in early spring. She wrote that she would be there for her love in her new year resolution earlier that year.

That was around six years ago. 

So as you can imagine, she didn’t accomplish what she promised to do. Now she is walking towards her love’s grave, trying to do something else that ended up unaccomplished on her subsequent new year resolutions as well.

Be there for her, albeit too late. 

Her love’s funeral was hosted on a spring morning, where the newly homecoming birds chirped with enthusiasm. A pair of swans that occupied the local pound ruffle their feathers in a promise to never part. Green was blossoming from the dirt-coloured tree branches.

The dead lay in her coffin with freshly cut bouquet held between her fingers. The dew that was still kissing the petals leaked onto her cheeks, like tears that she didn’t have enough time to shed in her last moments alive. They said that her parents’ weeping could be heard throughout the forest. 

Her hair brown as timber that were not yet touched in the stove, in contrast with her blank expression and pale frame. She didn’t look peaceful, rather the girl had a hard-shelled look as formidable as a stone statue. She wasn’t going to sleep, instead she was marching towards the battlefield. 

In death like she was in life. Her love  was always a fighter, even when she died they were still technically children. When they were together, her love’s strength used to make our protagonist feel weak. 

All of these things she heard from their mutual friend long after the coffin was buried. 

Unlike what she swore in the New Year Resolution, she never went to the funeral. Just another lie on a pile of fragile fabric that she knitted into her life. Unlike her love, who was honest about her condition till the end, she used lies to comfort herself. The “I’m okay”s and “I simply overslept”s. The “I-caught-a-flu” when she spend two weeks in a mental institution for the underaged after being sectioned. 

They say on the day of the funeral, the sun climbed up with limping legs. When the church bell sang at noon, a preacher stood up and began to talk. Announcing that her love was welcomed back to the Creator’s arms. How her love is at a better place now. 

Whispers passed through attendants of the funeral. It was truly an odd occurrence, as there are people unsure about the idea even among the ranks of the loved ones of the deceased. The girl chose her own death, in some believers’ eyes this was a one way ticket to Hell, which tainted this whole ceremony of an eternal afterlife with a dreadful undertone. 

No one spoke out loud about their worries, because no one was cruel enough to do so at a girl’s funeral. 

Dear Grace,

We had a lot of debates about what the world holds and the meaning of it all. You always believed there was a higher power. A God who is fair and just and is a good friend to those who needed him the most.

Even if they never said it out loud, I could still hear their thoughts. Like lingering ghosts wandering on the soil of the dead. They wondered if a girl who committed suicide could go to Heaven. 

I think we discussed this sometime in the past, too. I never understand how a God like yours could exist without contradicting Himself. If we say that God condemns suicide because life is a precious gift, hence taking of a life is a sin. Then how could He send plagues and stuff to Egypt and kill more people just because one pharoah is being a dick. 

You told me that one of the Popes said that if someone experienced severe condition of hardship, then their exist out of their lives could potentially be justified. You said it wasn’t a point. You just wanted to have a friend who was always there for you and love you even during your psychosis. God satisfied that category, so you’re willing to forgive the logic fallacies. 

He was a great friend, alright. He was probably also there when you left, still tolerating and accepting.

Unlike me.

I am sorry. 

Autumn leaves fell into her raven coloured hair. She crushed the scarlet carpet the dead leaves formed on the marble sidewalk as if that’s her love’s spine. The echoes of an empty phone dial crawled through the hall of time. A promise fallen short on its legs. 

Her love was buried in a cemetery that was close to the town’s church. Ivy lost all its greeness at autumn, so it almost seemed like a huge cobweb with thorne encompassed the holy ground like a curse from Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty. There was a religious metaphor in there somewhere, but Grace wasn’t there to tell her anymore.

‘This place is so quiet,’ she looked around the graveyard and quirked a smile. ‘I expected the cemetery would be the most haunted place. With all the dead people and stuff, you know.’

‘Humans don’t like to be reminded of Death,’ the entity peaked its head back from the pool of rainwater that was leftover that early afternoon. Its face was identical with her, but expression stoic and weird. ‘Especially the dead ones.’

‘Hmm…’ she digested that idea for a few moments. ‘That makes sense,’ she said. ‘Do you think she is still here?’

‘If she’s here, you’d see her.’ the entity answered, ‘you have the ability now, that was part of the deal.’

Dear Grace, 

I’m possessed by something. Not a ghost, like a dead person. It’s (It? Her? They? Don’t really know how it identifies. Don’t think we’re that close yet) not human, that part I know. I think they’re most likely a demon, with the whole phrasing this thing we’re doing together as a ‘deal’. It doesn’t seem malicious, though. At least not yet.

I was having a rough night when it came along. Insomnia, you know how I get when I cannot sleep. It slash open the black hole that’s always there, and it will vomit all these awful things into my head. It slipped into the garbage dump, but it wasn’t particularly harsh like all the other thoughts. That was what made it so foreign, which I knew was not part of myself.

It asked to live inside me. It’s a weird person, to be honest, it just likes to have a skin suit to walk around in. It agreed to not do anything of consequences with my body, weird dude, if I can be invisible and float around instead of stuck with all my toxic thoughts, I’d throw a party. No idea why it would give up that freedom, but I’m honestly in no position to judge.

I agreed immediately, which stunned it. I think. It kind of lost its shit for a bit, because it never got the chance to finish.

‘Do you get fucking possessed every Saturday?’  It practically gasped at me, if it had formed. ‘What’s your conditions? Requirements? Rules?’

I was pretty unsure, but with my quick reflex I came up with a perfect rescue within seconds. ‘Erh, don’t murder people?’ I said elegantly. 

It looked like it would break the deal and murder me then and there.

It was not a trap, on both sides. The entity inhabited her body, although a little disheveled. She felt sorry for creeping it out. 

On the bright side, turns out, there are side effects towards being possessed by powerful entities. For example, she start to see into people who shouldn’t be there. Ghosts snuffed out of their bodies like ants squashed unintentionally by the wheel of time. 

They were all angry and desperate and sad. But who could blame them? She’d be sad, too. If a random Dude just decided one day their lives should end. 

Dear Grace,

I still don’t know why you find solace in all this. Are you around here, somewhere? You’d be calmed by the notion alone, that afterlife in Heaven and Hell is somehow all real. You were correct, there was some kind of law that governs this universe. The good will be rewarded and the wicked will be punished.

It didn’t do it for me. The exact opposite, it messed with my mind. You see, I thought this world was meaningless and moral was arbitrary. When we die, we just cease to exist. But guess what? That never unsettled me. Maybe because everything was so meaningless, I thought there was a reason we have to be kind to each other. If there’s nothing beyond this, then kindness would be extraordinary. I felt motivated by the sheer determination that all my effort to make people feel better meant something. 

Now the world just suddenly decided to tell me that all I believed was false? All the meaning I tried to create, all the love I tried to maintain was never fruitful in itself. There’s some higher power who determines what true love looks like, what true fairness is like. 

Good people go to Heaven and enjoy a wonderland for eternity. Bad people are kinda toast, literally. 

Good and bad defined by a God like the one in the Bible. The one I never understood or agreed with. 

How can anyone think this is the enlightenment that human needs in life? What the actual fuck?

That also begs the question:

Where are you?

She recognized the bridge shaped tomb amidst the hundreds of memorial stones people somehow mistook for their dead loved ones. It was so painfully ironic, that she was almost crushed by the urge to give out a maniacal laugh. 

Grace jumped off the Oculus Bridge while speaking on the phone with her. She wasn’t able to stop her from ending her love’s life. Some good friends she was. Grace was right afterall, God was the only person her love could put her faith in.

‘Grace, I am here.’ 

She whispered to the wind, to the moss climbing onto the corner of Grace’s tomb, to the morning dew that dropped on Grace’s pale cheeks, to the cold hard rock that was all that was left of the girl who loved more than herself. 

The birds chirped, just like they did at the funeral she never attend. She wondered if Grace ever imagined they could be like swans that never parted, the childish fantasy of a beautiful mind that was cursed with an illness it couldn’t contain.

‘I’m sorry, I couldn’t be there for you then, but let me be here for you now. If you’re still somewhere near, please answer my call and show yourself.’

She whispered carefully, as she was a cautious person accustomed to remove stares of bypassers who questioned her credibility due to her condition. The wind bristled like wind chimes, there were a few spirits that lingered around their tombs that felt the outpouring of power from her and turned their heads. 

Although nothing resembles Grace Jackson’s spirit showed its trail. 

She stood there for a few centuries worth of long minutes. Until desperation bubbled into suspicion then disappointment. The entity tilted its head and stared at her from within, as if trying not to infuriate its vessel that was so much weaker than it.

‘She’s not here, Ting.’ The entity finally said, she could hear it shake its metaphorical head.

She whispered,‘then where is she?’ That question like a million cockroaches gobbling up her intestines at a surprisingly efficient rate.

‘Where is she?’ She asked, furious. 

‘Heaven or Hell,’ the entity said with a tinge of alarm in its voice. Her voice. ‘Anyway, it’s not places that a living human could touch. Move on, kid. You will find out the answer when you’re dead.’

She ignores the entity and spun around. Fire licked at her chest as an obsession sprout like a new seed in the spring rain. 

If it was Death she must seek to find the answer of where her love has gone, then it will be Death that she shall pursue. 

She was not there for Grace when she died. She will be there for her now. 

New Year Resolution: Find out where Grace went.

January 23, 2020 23:17

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.