Your funeral was on a Monday.
I felt it was too ironic, too strange to put something so final at the beginning of a new week.
You were all about new beginnings. When we met, you promised me a new life. I agreed, inawardly amused at your fervor and drive. You were so serious, but so playful. I thought maybe you were just having a good day, but then you were always like that.
Not what I expected when I answered that "roommate wanted" ad in the paper.
The months passed and you grew attached. You were the kind of kid that needed other people. I don't -- but I didn't mind. Still, you were so friendly. I didn't understand why you weren't bringing home friends from school or going out with other people all the time -- but you weren't. You came home to me everyday at 3:15, right on the dot. If you had an errand to run, you always came home first and made me come with you.
You were so disappointed when I got a job. I found a way to change my hours so I got home just a few minutes after you, and when I did, you were always there waiting for me with those big, curious eyes.
"Did you bring me anything! Did you, did you!"
There's only a small crowd today. I recognize your brother, but that's about it. The rest are from school, maybe. They start whispering during the service. They're making plans to go to dinner together afterwards. I want to kill them.
Nobody knew you like I did.
It was raining the night you kissed me for the very first time. We were running home from your favourite restaurant, and you wanted to stop at the damn park ever though it was pouring. You were leaning over the rail, watching the raindrops hit the ocean. I was kicking myself for not bringing an umbrella. You suddenly got up on your tiptoes, slung an arm around my neck to pull me down, and kissed me.
The only reason I knew the world hadn't stopped was because the rain was still falling.
It's too bright today. Too much goddamn sunlight. I want the sun to fuck off. I want the sky to mourn for you, too. You'd like this weather too much. You'd smile. I hate it. I want to hate today.
I'm convinced you're playing a joke on me. I must have missed the punchline.
Your brother sits down by me as the preacher's voice rings through the chapel. He doesn't say anything. He's staring at the floor. I wonder what he's remembering about you. His head falls to bury in my shoulder and his shoulders drop and I know he's crying even though he's not making any noise.
You were always making too much damn noise. We always had that bitchy landlady up at our door or beating her ceiling with her broom under us.
And then there was that night. I told you to be quiet, but you kept making noise. I didn't mind as much as I should have. You were crying out my name and I wouldn't have done it, but i fuck /i , you were such a tease, and you wouldn't stop begging me, so to hell with self-control.
The landlady never bothered us after that. She's at the funeral too, in the back. She doesn't look at me. Nobody does.
Ace's hand finds mine at the graveyard. I'm surprised. I was sure he hated me. I was sure he knew about us and hated me. His face is streaked with tears.
They lower your casket into the ground. I can't stop myself from picturing your inside. You're not smiling.
I can remember the day I came home from work and you weren't there. You weren't waiting for me. I thought maybe you had been held up at school. An hour passed. I called the damn school and your teacher told me you had left like any other day. I didn't know what else to do. I waited.
They asked me to identify your body. Ace was already there when I got to the hospital. We looked together.
I almost didn't recognize you because you weren't smiling. I wanted to tell them it wasn't you. I wanted to tell them that the Luffy I knew didn't have five bullet holes in his chest.
They said you saved a girl from getting raped and the man killed you, instead. They promise they're still looking for him. They say they're "hot on his trail".
I say, fuck heroics.
The girl you saved came to the service. Her fingertips brushed your coffin. If she hadn't been wearing such a short fucking skirt and walking alone that day, maybe you would have been able to come home to me.
She didn't even know you. How dare she come.
Ace's eyes are red and moist when he finally turns them up at me. His fingers tighten around my hand. We're the last two at your grave. He asks to come home with me. I want to be alone but his eyes look like yours and they're begging me and I want to cry and I can't say no.
It's silent the whole way home. When I get there, you're not waiting for me. I feel alone even though Ace collapses against me as soon as the door closes.
He's got his head pushed into my chest and I won't wrap my arms around him because my arms are yours. He's screaming about how unfair it is.
No good deed goes unpunished.
I don't know what to say. I won't talk. My mouth won't open. Your stuffed rabbit stares at me from the couch. I can't believe you're gone.
Ace won't let go of me. He wants to stay for the night. I don't say no. I don't say anything. I just stand there. He says he can't be alone, and I don't understand but I just stare down at him and nod and he's shaking when he finally pulls away.
We're not hungry, even though he grabs a banana and sits at the table. I pour a glass of water. I half-expect the faucet to run with blood. Ace peels his banana and stares at it. He gets up and I hear it thump into the trashcan. His boots clomp down the hall and I can hear him throwing up in the bathroom.
I feel like I'm losing my mind.
Your cat misses you. It jumps up on the table and drinks from my water glass even though we tried to teach it not to. I don't even care. It mews at me and reaches a paw up to snag my shoulder, crying for you.
You're not here.
Ace and I lay together in the bed, staring up at the ceiling, through the skylight you loved so much. It's silent. Someone knocks at the door but I don't get up. I know it's not you.
I don't sleep. Somewhere in my mind, I hear the phone ringing when I'm late for work the next day. I let it ring. It catches the answering machine--
--I hear your voice -- my heart leaps--
But it's just your recording on the answering machine, telling people to leave a message. I feel something wet slip from my eyes and down my face.
"Please come back," I hear Ace whisper. "Please come back."
I don't shower. I tell Ace I'm going to get some milk. He doesn't say anything. I don't care. I'm not coming back.
I grab my keys -- and as afterthought, your bunny comes with me, too. I sit it in the passenger's seat just where you sat. It smiles at me. It doesn't know.
The place where the police found your body isn't blocked off anymore. I drive there and park. For a long time, I sit outside the building, staring into the alleyway from my window, trying to imagine you fighting. I wonder what you were thinking. I leave the bunny where it is.
The stairs to the top of the old apartment building are long, but I don't care. I just climb up them, not even thinking. I want to see the whole world.
The people below me look so happy.
The wind feels good, rushing past my hair and pulling my clothes back. My jacket pulls up, like a cape. I feel like I'm flying.
I couldn't be alone.
I loved you.