I hit my knees, my breath knocked out of me, my mind refusing to believe what it heard. They’re lying! My mind screams, trying to justify it. They’re god damned liars and she’s gonna walk in at any minute and laugh that ridiculous laugh of her’s and everything is going to be fine!
I can’t even remember the last thing I said to her. Was it ‘I love you’? I don’t know. And I needed to know. I need to know a lot more than I do. And, most importantly, I need to know what they’re saying isn’t true.
I look down at my trembling hands. It makes me thinks about her hands. Her hands had always been small to me. Small and fragile and absolutely perfect to me. She was beautiful, in every way to me. She was mine. She would always be mine!
“No!” The sound bursts from my lungs, an anguished cry for help. I stand up surprisingly quick, but I can’t feel my legs. I can’t feel anything but the pain, choking me and crushing me and killing me.
“No! No, you’re lying!” I try to push through them, to see her. I’ll see her and everything will be alright. I just have to see her, and she’ll tell me that everything will be alright. And it will, because she’ll be alive.
“Vic,” her father says in the soft tone he uses, and for once, I don’t want to hear it. I want him to scream and be angry with me. Because this can’t be true. It’s not true! He’s her father; he should know she’s not dead.
“No!” I scream again, this time directing it at him. “No! She’s not dead! She can’t be dead!” I feel tears rolling down my cheeks, but I don’t want them. I don’t want this pain! I want her!
He puts his hand on my shoulder, trying to calm me down. “Vic!” he says, his voice more stern this time. Good! He needs to be upset. “You need to calm down! Do you think Sam would want you acting like this?”
I shove his hand off my shoulder. “No, god dammit!” I try to push through the paramedics again. I faintly hear people talking, calling my name, but it passes by me in a blur. I just have to get to her.
My vision is blurred, a series of blurs and lines, and I just want this nightmare to be over. It can’t be true, it can’t be true, I think over and over again, trying to reach her.
I feel two pairs of hands grab me, pulling me back. I fight against them with all I have, trying to get free.
“No!” I scream again. “Let me see her! Let me fucking see her!”
“Kyle!” Brennen’s voice reaches me, and I see him standing near me, trying to restrain me along with Tyler and Jesse. He looks to the two of them, since they are the ones with a grip on me. “Get him out of here.”
They start to pull me back, and I pull harder against them. “No! Let – me – see – her!” I puff, using all of my strength against them, to no avail. I see the group of people growing distant and I am vaguely aware of people staring at me as they pull me outside. My throat starts to burn as I repeatedly scream “No!” as loud as I can, fighting.
“I can’t leave her!” I yell, as I’m pushed outside of the hospital doors.
“Kyle! God damn it Kyle, would you just calm down for two freaking seconds!” Tyler says, as he and Jesse let go of me. I see tears running out of the corner of his eyes and both Jesse and Brenne look like they’ve just been hit by a truck.
Something inside me cracks, falling down and leaving me somehow empty. I walk over to the side of the hospital building and crumple against the wall, my tears falling more quickly now. I bury my face in my hands, unable to control my breathing.
When I close my eyes, all I’m able to see is her smiling face, and remember how she danced on our first date, with her hair falling down around her shoulders, no shoes, and twirling in the middle of the deserted street to no music, me watching, too scared to join her.
She’d smiled at me, wearing her jeans and t-shirt, because she said she hated dresses. She’d twirled over, grabbing my hand, pulling me up from the ground, and showing me what to do. She’d placed my hands gently on her hips, and wound her arms around my neck, us swaying to the music only we could hear.
I remember looking down at her, into her beautiful eyes, that she somehow found average, and wanting to kiss her. Now, I wish I had. It would have been one more kiss than we’d shared. And that one kiss plagued me with thoughts of all of the things I should have done differently.
Tyler comes and sits next to me, laying a hand on my shoulder. “I know man, I know.”
“What am I gonna do?” I say through my tears. I pull my face out of my hands and I look up at the sky. There aren’t any stars out tonight, which I find tragic. She’d always loved the stars. Maybe she was a star now. “She was – she was my everything! I – I don’t know what to do without her.”
Tyler doesn’t have an answer, and neither do the other guys. They come and sit around me, none of us really saying anything. We’d all loved her, in our own way. She’d met Brennen first, then Jesse and Tyler, and then we met. And nothing was the same after that.
Jesse comes over to where I stand towards the front door. He has some girl trailing behind him, and she is laughing at him. She has a great smile, is the first thing I think. Jesse reaches me, grabbing me by the shoulder, and holding the girl by the hand.
“Hiya, Kyle. How ya been?” he says, trying to sound casual.
“Uh, good,” I say awkwardly. “You saw me like an hour ago at band practice but –”
He cuts me off. “That’s good, that’s good. Kyle, I want you to meet Sam. Sam, this is my good friend Ky;e.” He flashes a dazzling smile, as if trying to charm her.
She laughs at him again, shaking her head. Then she looks at me and extends her hand. “Nice to meet you,” she says in a voice that makes me melt. Cool it, I tell myself. It’s one girl.
I smile back and shake her hand. “Like wise.”
As soon as our hands separate, Jesse darts off, yelling something about having to go, and I see him snickering across the room with Brennen and Tyler later.
Sam watches him as he makes his quick departure, and just shakes her head again. She laughs, a quirky laugh, and says, “He’s a weird guy.”
I shrug. “Not too bad. He introduced me to you.”
She scoffs. “Nice one,” she says sardonically.
I chuckle, trying to play it off. “Yeah, well, maybe his flirting tips are a little off, but he does his best.”
She cracks another smile and I feel my chest swell. It feels as if getting her to smile should be cherished, like a prized possession.
“Hey, um,” She says, leaning towards me, the music almost too loud to hear each other. “It’s a little loud in here. Do you want to take a walk?”
I nod, surprised she offered. She nods back and starts walking towards the door. I follow close.
Once we are safely outside the mostly-sound proof doors, she sighs in relief. “Thank god. I could hardly hear myself think in there.”
I laugh. “Yeah, it gets that way.”
Me and her walk around town for the rest of the night, talking and laughing and just… well, being real with each other.
“It’s nice, just so you know.” I say to her as we approach her house. We’d walked around, and, since it was late, she said she had to get home, or else her parents would freak.
“What do you mean,” she says, looking at me out of the corner of her eye.
“It’s nice to be with someone who’s real. I’ve hung out with a lot of people who are about as fake as… well, I can’t think of anything fake, but really fake.” I curse myself, wishing I’d been smoother.
Still, she laughs. I smile just from seeing her smile. Then, slowly, her smile fades, replaced by a serious look. “Do you –” she asks tentatively. She takes a deep breath and starts again. “Do you hang out with a lot of people?” The way she says it makes me think she’s trying to imply something.
“I don’t understand.”
She sighs again. “Do you hang out with a lot of girls, is what I mean.”
“Oh,” is all I say for a moment. “I don’t know, I guess. It’s kind of inevitable, especially with the other guys. But, if you’re asking about what I think you’re asking about, then not really. I mean, I’ve had a few serious relationships. Probably just as many flings. But – I don’t know – just nothing I felt worth fighting for. And I think love should be worth fighting for.”
She smiles, which I find odd, but I guess she’s pleased by my answer. We walk a little further before I ask another question.
“Do you still live with your parents?”
“No, but they live around here. It’s convenient, I guess, but sort of annoying at times.”
I nod. “Yeah, I get what you mean.”
We reach her door, and stop. We turn to face each other. She smiles at me, and I know I should do something, but I have no idea what I should do.
I don’t want to kiss her – I mean, I do, obviously, but I don’t want to ruin things before they start. She still has that little smile on her face and I think about what my dad would do. He always told me exactly how to love. With all of my heart and generously. Always do what feels right, not necessarily what feels good. And then I know what I’m going to do.
I smile at her, and fiddle with my hands. I take a deep breath, and I start. “Okay, um….you would – no, no, I mean would you – would you please – I mean, would you like –” I stop and take another deep breath, trying to steady myself. I keep my eyes locked on the ground. “Sorry, it’s just been a long time since I’ve done this. What I’m trying to ask is: Would you like to go on – on a date with me – maybe, only if you want to?”
I mentally kick myself. Really fucking smooth, Kyle.
I hear her laugh and I tentatively look up at her. She has a large smile on her face. “Yes, Kyle. I would love to go on a date with you.”
A large smile breaks across my face. “REALLY? Great, that’s great!” I sigh in relief. “Okay, okay, um, I’m gonna go now,” I say, my smile jumbling my words.
She laughs again, pulling her keys out of her pocket. “Okay. Bye.” She smiles.
I head down the stairs, tripping slightly and falling forward, catching myself at the last minute. “Shit! I – I’m good, don’t worry!” I look back at her and see her smiling, laughing loudly at me. It makes me smile wider. I walk down the sidewalk backwards, keeping my eyes on her. She waves largely and I wave back before turning around, and walking home, thinking about her the entire time.
I sit on my bed, hours after finding out. After sitting outside the hospital for quite a while, I decided that I couldn’t go back in. I couldn’t put myself through that pain – not yet. Brenne had offered to bring me home, and then insisted on staying with me. I didn’t let him, though. I needed to be alone.
However, now that I was actually alone, I realized what a bad idea it had been. I was stuck in my small apartment with nothing but her memory to haunt me all night. I’d known Y/n for nearly two years, and I loved her with all of my being.
I fell back on my pillows, my head pounding and my heart aching. I would have probably been crying, but I don’t think I had anything left. I close my eyes, praying for sleep, but knowing that I’m not going to get it.
Instead, my mind decides to make me relive every painful memory. From us fighting to us loving, and everything in between. Because, it seems, when you love someone, you love all of them. Every quirk and flaw. Every smile and every tear.
Automatically, my mind brings me to the memory of the first time we made love. There are some things that burn into your memory, blazing so bright that every time you think of it, it’s like you relive it over and over again.
She and I had been dating for about a month by then, and I knew that I was absolutely and completely in love with her. I just had yet to tell her. Jesse kept urging me on, telling me I had to tell her soon before she got tired.
“You’re lucky she’s stuck around this long! You better hurry up, before she slips between your fingers. And believe me, that is not the kind of girl you should let go,” He’d said to me earlier that evening.
“I’ll keep that in mind, thanks,” I’d replied sarcastically.
“I mean, really, Kyle. You haven’t even slept with her!”
I’d choked awkwardly on my drink, trying to cough it up. But, his words had made me think. Maybe I was being too modest. Maybe I was boring her. Maybe…
So, after a long afternoon of deliberation, I’d decided that I was finally going to tell her how I felt. Jesse did have a point – at least, about not letting her slip through my hands. It was time I told her. I just didn’t know how.
After hours of worrying and planning and talking myself out of it, only to turn around and have to talk myself back into it, I was standing on her front steps. We hadn’t planned on going out tonight, so she wasn’t expecting me. I hoped she wasn’t busy. Then again, that was the thing I hoped least about.
I poised my fist above her door, pausing to take a deep breath. Then I knocked slowly three times, each knock ringing in my ears like a gunshot. Bang. Bang. Bang. I felt my breath catch in my throat, wondering how the hell I was going to pull this off.
I knew how I felt about her – knew with every ounce of who I was – but I didn’t know if those feelings were reciprocated. I prayed – I prayed to god that she felt the same. I wouldn’t have to wait long to find out.
I heard shuffling from inside, then her door opened up slowly. “Kyle?” her voice called, as she opened the door wider. “Hey, I didn’t know you were coming over.”
I stuffed my hands in my pockets and tried to smile easily. “Yeah, I know. I just needed to see you, I guess.” I shrugged a little.
She smiled a small smile. “Oh, okay. Well, why don’t you come in?” She opened her door all the way open and stepped to the side to let me in. I stepped inside slowly, looking around.
“Nice place,” I commented.
She shrugged, closing the door. “It’ll do for now.”
I nodded, my stomach flipping and dipping, and I was suddenly scared shitless of what I was about to do.
She stepped around me and started heading through a doorway. I followed. “So why did you need to see me so bad all of the sudden?” She walked into her kitchen, pulling two glasses from a cabinet. I propped myself against the doorframe.
I opened my mouth, only to close it and then open it again. She looked at me from the other side of the room, waiting for my answer.
I took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. “Well, today I was talking to Jesse about – well, I was talking to Jesse, and he mentioned some things that got me to thinking.” I paused to see if she was listening. Her eyebrow was arched as she followed what I was saying. “Anyways, like I said, it got me to thinking. Thinking about us that is.” She nodded slowly.
I took another deep breath. “Now, just please know that I’m not very good at this kind of stuff, but I’m trying. Well, while I was –” Suddenly she interrupted me.
“Kyle, are you trying to break up with me?” Her voice was quiet but strong, as if she wanted the answer and she was prepared for it.
“What?!” I choked in disbelief. “Am I – am I breaking up with you? No, no you have it all wrong!” Before I could explain, she started talking again.
“Well, I mean it kind of seems like it. Whatever you’re trying to say, just spit it out, don’t try to spare my feelings. Really, if you want to be done with th –” She was talking quickly, as if trying to get it out before she broke.
“No! No, just listen, okay?” She stopped, waiting for me to explain. I took a shaky breath, wondering where this had turned so drastically. Think, Vic. Think! “How do you feel about me?” I blurted out quickly.
She looked at me, mouth slightly open. “How do I… how do I feel about you? What kind of question is that?”
“How do you feel about me? Because I know how I feel about you. I know exactly how I feel about you.”
“And how do you feel about me?” She asked, her voice quiet.
I laughed, even though it wasn’t funny. “I love you. I. Love. You.” I paused and looked deep into her eyes and asked, “Now, how do you feel about me?” My pulse throbbed in my hands, since I’d had them clinched, unknowingly. I needed her to answer, but at the same time, I was scared that her answer would crush me.
“You love me?” she said with a small smile on her lips.
“Of course. Of course I love you.” I said it as if it’s the most obvious thing ever. Because it was. How could I not love her?
I walked over and stood on the opposite side of the island from her. She was leaning up against the counter, looking at the ground with that same innocent smile on her lips. The kind of innocent smile that made me want to do a lot of dirty things to her.
“I love you too,” she said, practically too quiet for me to hear.
“I love you, Kyle. I. Love. You,” she said, mirroring my words.
I was breathless, although I wasn’t not sure why. “Really?”
She laughed quietly, to herself. She nodded once. Then, I saw a spark of passion ignite in her eyes. It made my chest expand and my veins burn. Because I loved her. And, in that moment, I wanted her more than anything.
If I would have been given the option, right then, to cure cancer or to have stopped the holocaust, or to of had her, right at that moment, I would have chosen her. Every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Maybe that makes me selfish. But she was worth it. She was always worth it. She would always be worth it.
I almost didn’t see her crossing the room until she was right in front of me, her hands, small and perfect, grabbing the edges of my shirt, pulling me towards her. Our lips crashed together, sloppy and rough, but perfect. My hands grabbed at her waist, pulling her towards my body. She wrapped her arms around my neck, and every place out bodies touched, my skin was on fire.
“I want you,” she whispered, in between kisses. “I need you.”
“Ok,” is all I found myself able to say.
She grabbed my hand and led me down a hallway, never breaking eye contact with me. My heart was beating out of my chest and for some reason, I was nervous. Like I was a fifteen year old about to lose his virginity.
We reached a door and she pulled me to her again, our lips moving together. Her tongue drew patterns along my bottom lip. We shuffled backwards into what I realized was her bedroom. My hands fumbled along her shirt hem, and I slowly ran my hands along her stomach. I heard her gasp quietly against my mouth and I pulled her bottom lip between my teeth.
She reached down and yanked her shirt off, our mouths separating for a moment, before she slammed her lips back to mine. She pulled her hands through my hair, letting her hands glide down my shoulders and arms. She grabbed my arm gently and pulled me further into the room then turned me, so that we had switched positions.
She slowly walked me to her bed, her hands gripping for the bottom of my shirt. When she found it, she slowly started pulling it over my head. I raised my arms slightly to help her. I felt my legs hit her bed, and she pushed me further back onto it, crawling on top of me, straddling my lap.
Her hands ran over my chest gently, her eyes staring at me in awe. I’d never been very proud of my body, it never being as masculine as other guys my age. However, she didn’t seem to care. In fact, with the way she glazing over my body, it was like she thought I was the most attractive guy she’d ever met.
My hands were sitting on her waist, and I looked up at her, staring back at me. She was so beautiful. Her eyes looked up and met mine. She gave me a small smile, her fingers grazing my belt.
“Are you sure?” My voice was breathy and I was sure my hands would have been trembling if they hadn’t been securely attached to her hips.
She nodded. “Absolutely.”
And, in that moment, I knew I was too.
I wasn’t virgin by any means, and neither was she. But that night, with her, it was like my first time all over again. It’s like when people say you are born twice. I guess I knew then. Knew that she was the person I was meant to spend the rest of my life with. Knew that I would love her forever. We were one person, and we would never be separated. Not for a very long time
But, at that time, I also didn’t know how fast things could change. I didn’t know the kind of damage a fast-moving car on a rainy evening could do to something that perfect. To her. To me.
I stood just outside the doors, staring up at the church at the top of the steeple. Tyler patted me gently on my back. All four of us were wearing suits, even though Brennen looked rather uncomfortable, pulling at the cuffs. I sighed.
I began walking up the gallant steps of the church, each stair making my heart twitch. I felt that familiar pull at my eyes, meaning tears were close to flowing. It’d been three days. Three days without her. And each day had been a living hell. How was I ever going to do this?
I stopped again, in front of the doors, not wanting to go in. When I walk through those doors, it becomes real, I think painfully. Brennen, Jesse, and Tyler stand beside me, and I draw strength from them.
For the past two nights, they’d came over to my apartment, bringing booze, even though we barely drank, rather reminiscing and all crying. The other three guys were taking it hard, even though they seemed much stronger than I did. Then again, they hadn’t loved her like I’d loved her.
Slowly, I reached forward, my hand wrapping around the ornate door knob, taking a deep breath. One. Two. Three. I pulled the door open. Inside, the church was filled with people. They were all wearing dark colors; mourning colors.
Mourning! I thought bitterly. As if they have the right.
I realize I’m being harsh, and cynical, but I don’t know what else to do. I’ve lost my better half.
We slowly begin walking inside. A few people who knew me and Sam smile apologetically at me. I try to return their smiles, but I think it turns into more of a grimace. Others, who don’t know us stare at me and the guys, gaping at our tattoos and long hair. But I’m beyond caring.
Sam’s parents find me and they both embrace me when they find me. Her dad gives me a good pat on the back and asks, “Are you sure you’re up for this?”
I nod. “Yes, sir.”
He gives me a gently smile. “I appreciate you doing this. We – we just couldn’t find the words.” His voice is breaking and I see tears pooling in his eyes.
Next, her mother, comes up to me and wraps her arms around me strongly. I gently return her hug. She reminds me a lot of Sam, with the same hair and same smile. I hear her sniffling against my shirt, and I rub her back consolingly. She and I had always been close, and I hoped that wouldn’t change with… the circumstances.
Eventually, she straightens up, running her hands over her hair. “We have you all seats up front, with us.” I nod quietly and she leads us all up to the very front row, in front of the closed casket and a large picture of her.
My heart pulls when I see the picture, her long hair cascading over her shoulders, a large smile on her face. She looks so happy, so… alive. It was like I was looking at the real her.
After a few moments, everyone finds their seats and a priest comes to stand at the podium. He says a few words, explaining that the casket was to remain closed, by the wishes of Sam. The thought almost makes me smile. I remember her telling me once that she had written a will, in case anything ever happened, and how she especially wanted her casket to be closed.
“I don’t want all of those people gaping at me when I’m dead. If they wanted to see me bad enough, they would have visited me when I was alive,” I remember her telling me once. I’d even seen the will, and almost laughed when I read the part about the closed-casket.
“And now,” the reverend’s voice calls over the crowd, “a short eulogy is going to be read by her significant other,” I smile at his use of terminology, “Kyle Jones.”
No body claps as I get up and head up to the podium, pulling out the pieces of paper I’d scrawled the words on, unfolding them. When I reach the podium and I look over all the people, I analyze each and every one of their faces. I figure she must’ve known them all. I look to Brennen, Tyler, and Jesse quickly, and they each give me encouraging smiles.
Standing at the front of a church, with the girl I love in a casket in front of me, with a pain in my heart, I begin.
“I am no poet. I am simply one man, standing in front of a church full of my equals. But, as simply a man who loved a woman, I am suddenly found to be poetic. Spoken by Henry Fielding, ‘It hath often been said, that it is not death, but dying, which is terrible.’ I think it is hard to quite grasp the meanings of some words until you experience them at their fullest. And, standing here today, I know that I have experienced dying, while my heart was still beating.” I stop and take a deep breath, looking away from the crowd, down at the podium. I don’t have to read the words I have written in my sloppy hand writing; I’ve had them memorized since I wrote them.
“I loved Sam completely, and with all of my being. But that is not the reason I am standing here today. For both of our sakes, I will keep our tragic love to myself. Bertolt Brecht once said, ‘Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life.’ I can assure you that Sam’s life was anything but inadequate. She used to tell me that she believed that life was not valued by the number of breaths you took or how many beats your heart got out before it stopped. No, that a life was valued by how many other lives that person touched.
“She was too young in many ways, but wise beyond her years. Maybe that is why she was taken so early from this world. Some believe that two souls are tethered together, floating through each life, searching for each other. The belief is that, long ago, Lucifer grew jealous of the happiness granted to these tethered souls, seemingly crafted from the same mold by God’s hand. Fueled by this wrath, he separated these souls, who could seemingly not live without the other, to opposite ends of the earth, and proclaimed that these two lovers should never be reunited again.
“Whatever story you may believe, know that what happened was a tragedy. An amazing person was taken from this world, from those who loved her most. And I will travel through hundreds of millions of lives until I find her again, and then, not a moment more, I will rest easy, knowing she was loved like she deserved.”
When I looked out to the people sitting lined in the pews, I saw many somber faces. Tears flowed from many faces, but I didn’t think many of those crying faces were caused by me. “E. H. Chapin. ‘Death is a great revealer of what is in a man, and in its solemn shadow appear the naked lineaments of the soul.’”
I slip away from the stage, slowly descending the stairs, turning the small, velvet-covered box over in my pocket. When I reach the coffin, I drop to one knee in front of it, placing one hand on it.
“I’m sorry I was never able to give this to you before. I just hope you know I wanted to.” I slip the ring box out of my pocket, place it quickly to my lips. Then, I slip open the casket and drop the box inside, closing it quickly, not daring to look in.
Even though I try not to, I catch a glimpse of what she’s wearing. It’s a shimmery floral dress. I have to resist the urge to snort. She would hate this, I think. She hates dresses.
After sitting in front of her coffin for a few extra moments, I eventually bring myself to stand up and turn around. Now, all eyes are on me. It’s obvious they all heard what I said. Every eye that catches mine, including the boys, is damp and carries a hollow sorrow in it.
I begin walking down the aisle, strangely disconnected from my body. I have to try not to stumble, my mind soaring. When I finally push through the doors of the chapel, I know what I’ve lost.
Not only did I lose Sam, but I lost myself too. I left myself in a small velvet box, lying beside her in her casket. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Author Notes: This was originally a fanfic I wrote for the band, Pierce The Veil, but I changed the names in it.