March 25, 2013
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I slide on my black spring dress and tie the strings into a bow carefully behind myself. I pull the little black shawl over my shoulders and begin doing my hair. Six years have passed since that day yet I still feel it hit me just as hard as the night it happened. I quickly blink back the tears and wipe the few that slip out.
I look in the mirror and force a smile to my lip. If I end up bumping into them I’ll need to look my best. I carefully make sure each curled lock of hair lies perfectly and reapplies eyeliner above my eyelid before applying mascara. I take a deep breath and walk out of the bathroom. Dean is sitting at the little dining table in my small apartment. He looks up as I enter the room and smiles. I carefully look him over. He’s wearing a black suit jacket over a blue dress shirt. His tie is slightly crooked, but he straightens it as he stands.
“You look beautiful.” He says. “Ready to go?”
“As I’ll ever be,” I say distractedly. “Zeke is meeting us there?”
Dean nods, “He’ll be there.”
I sigh in relief and slides on my heels that I haven’t worn in almost as many years as it’s been since the worst night of my life. The memories hit me again, hard.

He’s smiling at me as I flip through his sketchbook.
He’s throwing me in the pool when I’m trying to argue with him.
He’s stepping in front of me trying to keep Julia and I from fighting.
He’s tipping my head back and kissing me for the first and last time.
He’s lying on the floor. He won’t stop shaking. His eyes are rolling to the back of his head. I’m screaming. Jay is there trying to pull me off of him, but I can’t leave him.

Dean wraps his arms around me and rubs my back. “It’s okay Helen. Everything is going to be okay.”
I shake my head as I step out of his embrace. “He’s dead, Dean. Nothing is okay about that.”
Dean stares at me, but doesn’t dare say anything else as he pulls open the door. I walk through and wipe away my tears.

I walk through the grass and stare glassy-eyed at each headstone when we pass. I spot Zeke standing in front of a grave. Suddenly the flowers and purse I’m holding feel like they weigh a ton. A woman is standing there with Zeke, but I don’t recognize her. As we approach, I stare at the woman noting a familiarity in the way she stands. The woman is crying staring at the headstone. My eyes glance to the headstone.
Colin Michaels
Adored Son & Friend
April 17, 1991-March 25, 2009
“Kayla?” I say uncertain. The woman’s head whips around to face me. She smiles as she reaches to hug me.
“Helen! I was hoping you’d show up eventually!” She says excitedly.
We both fall to our knees clinging to each other tightly. We cry as Zeke and Dean stand ready to help us up. Kayla opens her bag and hands me a beat up red binder. I look at Kayla in confusion.
“He’d want you to have it,” Kayla says as she flips open the binder to the first page.
It’s a sketch of me asleep on Colin’s futon, a sketch of me smiling in his car and a sketch of me picking up pebbles along the beach. On the back of the page is a letter. My eyes overflow with tears as I read the last sentences on the page.
…You’re going to be an even greater person one day. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. Stay strong so you can find your place, your closure, your infinity, your happiness, and peace. You deserve it and so much more.
I clutch the binder to my chest as I smile at Kayla. “I think you’re right.”
And Colin was too. I finally found the one thing I’d been searching for, for six years, closure.

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