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“What are you waiting for?”
A small smiled fell upon her lips. “I guess I’m just waiting to see if I mattered.”
Lloyd tilted his head in confusion at the girl in the graveyard. Her ebony black hair, seemed to pull out the pale glow of her skin. Her eyes were pools of water with a small hint of gold around the black of her pupil. She was sitting on the edge of the cliff that shielded their small town from the heavens. They often met there from midnight till the sun rose.
“Why do you all of a sudden want to know why I’m waiting?”
Lloyd shrugged as he carefully sat down and swung his legs out into the free air. “I realized I never asked you why you were here Phelia. I thought you would've left by now.”
Lloyd saw her turn her head to look at him with a slight grin and raised eyebrows. “Should I be gone? Do you want me to leave.”
He shook his head and whispered “I’d be alone if you left.” He turned his head and looked at her. She leaned in an inch away from his cheek, then froze. She bit her lip and turned her head as she pulled away from him and hastily changed the subject.
“You know, now that I think about it you never told me why you come here.”
Lloyd smiled slightly then looked toward the horizon at the golden light of coming sun. “That’s an easy one. I come here because when I look out at the birds in the sky, and the open air above the town, I feel like maybe, just maybe, one day I’ll be free. That probably sounds weird, huh?” Ophelia didn’t say a word. A minute. Two minutes. Lloyd turned to the spot she sat, but she was gone. He couldn’t keep back the sigh that flew from his lips. Sometimes it was hard being friends with a ghost.
“Hey Lloyd. How are you?”
Lloyd smiled as he sat next to his friend. He stretched out and sat back, looking at the stars that filled the night sky before he answered. “I’m okay. How are you Phelia?”
Lloyd turned to look at her and noticed she was smiling at him. “Same as usual. Dead.” Lloyd let out a small chuckle as she continued talking. “I meant to ask you last night. Are things getting better with that kid at school?”
Lloyd shuddered slightly. How was he supposed to tell her things were only getting worse? How would he explain the bruise that hid under his shirt and disfigured his chest from where he was punched? He could lie, it wouldn’t do much harm. “Yeah, I talked to the principal and he cleared things right up.”
Ophelia beamed at him, causing his guilt to wash over him. “That’s great Lloyd! I’m glad things are looking better.”
Lloyd just nodded and stared out at the stars. “You know, I envy them.”
“You envy what?” She asked, her voice sounding confused.
“The stars.” Lloyd pointed up at the brilliant beacons above them. “They remind me of me, but it’s easier for them.”
“It’s easier being a ball of hot air millions of miles away?”
Lloyd laughed. “It’s not that. I mean, well, there are thousands of stars out there. Each one shines its own way, and probably has its own galaxy around it. Each one is different, and all though at first glance they look the same, when you really look at them, you realize each one of them is slightly different. That’s how they’re like me. It’s easier for them, because they don’t have to worry about how we see them. They don’t have to worry if we think they’re beautiful or not, they just can be how they want and not ever care. You know what I mean?”
Lloyd turned to see Ophelia looking at him with a confused look on her face. “Well....of course they don’t care how we feel, their stars. They don’t live.”
Lloyd sighed and shook his head. “Oh, forget it then.”
Ophelia frowned. “So, uh, how’s your mom?”
Tears were forming in his eyes. His mom was sick, very sick. She had a tumor in her brain. For the last 7 months his mom had undergone dozens of different types of surgeries and treatments, but so far nothing had worked. His mom had gone to see the doctor that morning too. The news hadn’t been good. Lloyd couldn’t stop the wave of tears that flowed through his eyes as he tried to answer the question.
“Th-they say...they say she doesn’t have much time left.” Lloyd turned his head as the storms in his eyes raged. He covered his face so she wouldn’t see him. Through all the tears somehow his face was still able to turn red in embarrassment. Did he really just start crying in front of someone? Oh, and not just anyone, his best friend who happens to be a girl? Great, just great. “God, I’m sorry Phelia. I-I didn’t mean to start crying. You must think I’m an idiot, or something.”
“Actually, no. I don’t.” Huh? “I think you’re a sweet boy who’s just going through a rough time. I think you just need someone to be there for you. Well you have someone. You have me.”
Lloyd turned to see she had moved closer to him. He stared at her unsure what to think. She cared about him. She actually cared about him. It had been awhile since someone had cared about him. He smiled a bit at her and wiped away his tears. “Thanks. You don’t know how much that means to me.”
She smiled back at him then turned to stare at the stars. “Hey Lloyd? I wish we could’ve met when I was alive. I wish we were born in the same time.”
That caught him by surprise. “Really? I wish that too.”
She turned and smiled at him and he smiled back. “Good. Lloyd, you’re amazing. You’re a great friend, one of the first I’ve ever had in fact. That’s why I have to tell you this. You’ve got to stay strong Lloyd. I know things seem rough now, and it seems like you might never get through what’s going on, but you will. You’re a nice kid, and I know it seems like the world is against you now, but I’m here to tell you that, it’s not. Whenever you’re sad, someone will be there to make you feel better. Even though I’ll be gone in the future, I’ll always be in your heart. Just like you’ll always be in mine. You asked me why I’m waiting here and I said I was waiting to see if I mattered. I’m waiting to see if I matter to you. I’m waiting to see if I help you through everything, and help you move on with me. Lloyd, you’ve been the best friend I’ve ever had. I want to make sure when I go, you’ll be alright because that way I know, I meant something to someone.”
Her eyes were in tears and she looked away from Lloyd to wipe them away. Lloyd reached and places his hand an inch away from her face. He saw her glance down at his hand then look at him. He smiled at her.
“Phelia, you do matter to me, and you did help me. I don’t know where i’d be right now if it weren’t for you. You’ve changed my life in ways, I could never find the words to says. Phelia, meeting you was by far the best thing that could have ever happened to me. Phelia, I love you.”
Her eyes widened as her tears increased and she smiled at him. “I love you too, Lloyd.” She turned her head and looked the rising golden light that was slowly filling the sky. “Wow, the sun looks beautiful today. I’m glad this is the last moment of my time here on Earth, and I’m glad I can spend it with you.”
Lloyd felt tears come into his eyes as he nodded in agreement. He looked at Phelia one last time as she took a final breath, and faded away like smoke in the wind. “Goodbye, Phelia.” He whispered as his tears water the ground.
“Hey Phelia. It’s been sometime, but I wanted you to know, I did what you said. I stayed strong, and things are looking better. My mom came back from surgery last Thursday, and the doctors say she’ll make a full recovery! Since she got back we’ve spent a lot of weekends doing family stuff, like riding bikes or swimming. I even confronted that bully again, and well we came to an understanding and he promised to leave me alone. The main reason I came up here was to thank you. Thanks to you I feel happier then I’ve ever had. Thank you for everything. I’m sorry we couldn’t know eachother longer, maybe we’ll meet again one day. I love you.” Lloyd smiled and placed the bouquet of roses on her grave. Lightly he pressed his lips one the gravestone and kissed it before standing up. He stared at it for a long moment, before turning and leaving for the last time.