Are You Really Gone

September 29, 2016
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"I miss you," I whispered, running my wet hands through my hair. I can tell I’m cold, but I can’t feel it. My body isn't working... it's just shaking, revolting against me as the snow falls onto my bear arms and face.
"I miss you," I say louder, trying to get my voice to work. It’s soar and raspy from the sheer air. It crosses my mind more than once that I shouldn’t be here. They all tell me it’ll be good for me. That seeing this will bring me back to reality. But I don’t know if I want to. I don’t know if I want to live in a reality she’s not in. A reality without my sister, the only one I could consider my family anymore.
"I miss you!" I yelled at the sky. As if my proclamation of longing could somehow bring her back. As if she'd come walking through that clearing right now and tell me she missed me too. As if she'd put a sweater around me and place her soft hands over mine and tell me it was going to be okay.
"Well it's not going to be okay, Sarah. You left me... you left me-" I sobbed, taking in another sharp breath. I get down on my knees carefully, although I can’t quite feel my legs. My face stings as my tears frost on my face. I've never believed in God or life after death before... well before the crash. But she always did, so today I prayed. I folded my hands shakily under my chin. I hope they're happy, whoever took her from me. More than anything though, I hope she's happy. I hope she's looking down on me somewhere... and she's laughing at how ridiculous I look, shouting at the sky. I can see her now, sitting up in a cloud, talking to all her new Angel friends. She was always great at making friends. "That one's mine" she'd say, as they all watched me. She would tell them she misses me too and they'd all fawn over how tragic our story is. How sad it is that I’m without my other half. I want to be with her, wherever she is. I want her to introduce me to all her friends and hug me again. I want her back.

Maybe the problem is that I can’t get away from her. I’ll be walking down the street passing the bakery and suddenly she’s there again. She’s dragging me inside and we’re buying coffee. Talking about our plans, our future. A future we don’t get to share anymore.

We drank coffee just about religiously when we were younger. I don’t think it was the coffee itself that made it so addicting, but the thrill of buying it. Mama didn’t like us drinking caffeine… she said it made us too “uncontrollable”. Back then we used to walk our neighbor Sherrie’s dogs. Twice a day we’d take them out and twice a day we’d get a quarter each. At the end of the week we’d walk through the square and buy coffee. Momma never ask where we went. So we never got caught. Our Sunday spending became more of a comfort than anything else. I’d do anything short of killing just for one more minute of one of those days.

I stare at where they buried her and it just doesn’t make sense. The grave looks just like everyone else’s and it’s not fair. In the past month since her death it looks like almost 15 people have left flowers. Most of them are roses and it’s so sickly ironic that no one seemed to have known her.

“No one brought you daises,” I tell her, looking to the sky. As if she’s listening.
“Roses,” I begin to laugh, “They brought you the one flower you hate,” and I’m still laughing because not one person knew her favorite flowers were daises and not one person could bother to put her full middle name on the headstone and she didn’t deserve that. Her name was Sarah Grace Muller and she deserved Sarah Grace Muller… not Sarah G. Muller. The letter “G” could be short for anything. Heck, someone who didn’t know her could think her name was Sarah Greta or Sarah Gwen or something else that was substantially less perfect than Sarah Grace. Now I’m laughing because I’m sitting here talking to the one person in this world who understands me, who also happens to be dead. I keep laughing because it’s a lot better than crying. Better than the emptiness and the pain.

I just can’t bear it. The sight of her grave has finally broken me. Until now there was a possibility. She could’ve just gone away. Could’ve been anywhere doing anything… anything that wasn’t death. But now it was all coming down. She had died and her body was buried under where my feet were touching. I get up quickly because I don’t want my feet anywhere near here. I don’t want anything near her. Not the dirt, not the leaves and not those damn roses.
I can’t find words and I don’t want to. I don’t want to speak if she isn’t the one I’m talking to, or laugh if it isn’t with her. Sarah taught me how to live and I don’t know how to do it without her anymore.   

"Samantha?" I heard my name being called and I look around, not sure exactly where my eyes should be going. They settle on a tall boy. Messy blonde hair and frown creeping across his face.

"H-how’d you find me," I ask Luke, who’s staring down at me with soft eyes.

“Your mom told me you said you were going to talk to Sarah,” He explained to me, helping me up slowly. I don’t answer, still feeling unsure. It all feels like someone’s caught me in a lie. Like finally someone finds me with all my emotions on my sleeve. This is exactly the reaction they’ve all been waiting for. Me yelling and crying. Kicking and screaming at my diseased sibling’s headstone. I half expect him to get out a camera and start videotaping. He could send it to the therapist and my mother and every other person who told me I “wasn’t grieving properly.” As if they were crying just to do it right. As if any of them knew how this felt.

But this was Luke. Luke with those big blue eyes and his sweet, sweet words. The Luke who knew her like I did. When he speaks, his voice is like everything’s fine. His voice is like nothing ever went wrong in the first place. If I listen close enough I can almost hear her voice too. Interrupting him, laughing at his stupid jokes.

“First time you’ve been here?” He asks quietly. I nod, wondering how many times he’s visited her. How many times has he called out for someone who can’t hear him?

“Why are you here?”

"Snow day... school's cancelled.” His breath hitches. The cold is refraining him so that not all the sound comes out. Just something scratchy and barely audible.

“I know, but why are you here?” I say, desperate to know why anyone sticks around anymore. Luke’s the worst. He’s always there, always picking me up off the ground and hoping someday I’ll be normal again. Every time I ask why he tells me it’s his responsibility. That by being my best friend it’s his job to keep me from going off the deep end. But even more than his constant good attitude, it scares me what being with him does. He makes me feel like maybe it will be okay at some point. I don’t want to be okay. By being okay, it means forgetting her… and all the pain in the world isn’t worth that.

Instead of the pep talk though, Luke just tilts his head to the side and sighs.

“Because We’ve never spent a snow day apart,” He says sadly. He goes down by her grave and drops what he’s been holding. I almost smile when I see daises on the rough stone.       
Then he places his hand on my back and leads me away. He repeats the same words I’ve heard a million times.

“You’ll be fine.”

Except I’m not. No one understands that however sick it seems, I like the grief. I like her memory so clear that I can see every detail. I don’t want to ever let her fade away.

Everyone keeps telling me to look forward, to look for the future. Yet as my best friend leads me away, I look back at the cement block they buried her under. I look back on what was going to be my future. But I can't bring myself to believe that everything I'd ever set my hopes on was running out of my hands. I’m nothing without my sister. I’m absolutely meaningless without her by my side. So as I look back at the grave, her name engraved into the stone, I question it all. Staring, one last sentence forms on my tongue.
"Are you really gone?"

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