Disclaimer: I do not own South Park nor the poem "I Do Not Love You" by Pablo Naruda.
I Do Not Love You
By Ben Barrett
Stan stood in the grass, tears flowing down his face in great streams. He looked down at the gravestone and felt a moan escape his throat. There, etched on the stone, was the name of his Super Best Friend, his lifetime companion….
"…my soul mate," Stan said out loud through his sobs.
It had been a year since Kyle had died, but Stan still came here to the cemetery every day and talked to him. Sometimes he would just sit cross-legged on the grass and stare at the inscription:
Beloved son and friend
You will always be missed
It had been all Cartman's fault, of course. It had been one of his stupid get-over-on-the-Jew schemes, except this one had worked a little too well. He had cut the brake lines on the Broflovski family van, expecting it to be more of a pain in the ass than anything else; it had resulted in Sheila losing both her legs, Gerald becoming a brain-dead vegetable, and Kyle being killed instantly. The only member of the family not injured was Ike, who had been with a babysitter that day.
Cartman had gotten off scot-free since there was no evidence to suggest he had been the one who had cut the brakes, but Stan knew better. The fat fuck was the only one who had hated Kyle enough to pull such a stunt.
Stan stood over the casket, staring sadly at the still form of his "Super Best Friend". It had only been two days ago that Kyle had been alive, and now he was lying here dead. As he stood there, weeping silently, he felt someone put an arm around his shoulders. He looked and saw Cartman standing there beside him.
"Tragic, isn't it, Stan?" he said.
Stan pulled away from Cartman as if he had been burned by his touch. He fixed the fat kid with a glare of hatred so intense that the soulless little prick actually looked alarmed for a second. He quickly gained his composure and gave Stan a smug look.
"You don't want to try anything here, asshole," he muttered so that only he and Stan could hear it. "Not at your boyfriend's funeral."
Stan felt his self-control slipping away. He wanted to kill this murdering fuck and he wanted to do it right now. He wanted this bitch to suffer for what he'd done to his friend.
"Why are you here?" he growled through clenched teeth.
"Why, Stan," he said, putting on a look of mock sympathy, "I'm here to pay my last respects, just like you are."
"You didn't have any respect for Kyle!" he shouted, making several people turn to look.
He felt someone gently take his shoulder to lead him away. He turned and saw Kenny there with tears in his eyes.
"Come on, Stan," he whispered. "Not here. Not now."
He let Kenny lead him away, still seething. The hooded boy whispered comforting words into his ear, which he really didn't hear at all. No, Kenny's words were wasted on him, for as he was being taken to his seat and being told to let it go, he was planning to exact sweet revenge upon the tub of vile lard.
After the service, Stan made sure he was behind Cartman as he went out the door. When they reached the church steps, he gave the giant prick a hard shove and sent him tumbling down the stairs. Several people had to jump out of the way to keep from being flattened by his mass.
"You son of a bitch!" Stan screamed, standing over him when he finally cleared the stairs and hit the sidewalk.
"Now, Stan," Cartman pleaded, trying to crawl away, "you know I'd never actually kill that Jew-rat…I…"
"DON'T CALL HIM THAT!"
And with that, Stanley Marsh proceeded to break every bone in Eric Cartman's body, starting with his nose. The fat bastard screamed until Stan punched him in the throat and silenced him. When it was all over, there was a blubbering, bloody mess curled up on the ground and Stan felt no better. Stan's parents, Sharon and Randy, thought it might earn him a few years in juvie, but the honest truth was that the cops knew exactly who had cut the brake lines on the van, but couldn't prove it. Therefore, when the fat ass got what was coming to him, they just turned a blind eye to it and claimed that there was no evidence to make an arrest.
"I got him good," he told the headstone with a bitter laugh. "I paid him back for what he did to you. He's still in a wheelchair."
The silence in the graveyard was the only response he got. It was then that he was reminded that no matter how much Cartman suffered it would not bring Kyle back. There would be no more sleepovers where they sat up till three in the morning bullshitting, there would be no more meeting to go skating at Stark's Pond, there would be no more walks through town together….there would be no more Kyle.
"Oh God," he cried, falling to his knees and sobbing into his hands.
It was here, in this miserable condition, that Kenny found him. He had missed him at school and deduced, quite correctly, that his friend had ditched to cry over Kyle's grave again. He felt pity for Stan, despite the fact that he had died three times since the Jewish boy's passing and nobody had noticed.
"Stan," he said, softly putting a hand on the other boy's shoulder.
"Go away, Kenny," Stan replied without looking up.
"Dude," he said," I miss Kyle, too, but crying over his grave all the time isn't going to help anything."
"Come on," he urged, putting an arm around his friend's shoulder, "it'll be okay. We'll get through this."
Stan finally looked up, tears in his eyes. There was a pain that Kenny saw there in his face that he'd never seen before, and Kenny knew a thing or two about pain and death. It was the look of a person desiring death, the look of a person who had lost everything dear to him and had no reason to go on.
"It hurts so badly," Stan said. "It feels like my heart could stop at any minute from the pain, but it doesn't."
"Do you know what Kyle and I did before he died?"
"We read poetry."
Mrs. Garrison walked into the classroom, wearing that ugly green dress she wore every day. After she quieted the class down, she held up a paperback book.
"Pablo Neruda," she said, "you're all going to read a poem of his and give a report on it."
The glass groaned, which prompted her to tell them to shut the hell up. She passed out copies of the book, and then informed them they had two days to read a poem and write a page and a half about what it meant. To anyone not familiar with Mrs. Garrison's ways, it might have seemed cruel to assign such a large assignment and give them so little time to finish it. The class, however, knew exactly why she was doing it: she had been dumped again.
"Poetry sucks," Cartman said. "It's all about dark colors and plants with penises."
"Dude," Kyle responded, disgust and loathing in his voice, "poetry isn't about plants with penises."
"Yes, it is, Jew," came the reply.
"Up yours, you fat fuck!"
"Boys!" Mrs. Garrison scolded. "That's enough. Get to work!"
So Stan and Kyle teamed up, as usual. They flipped through the book, not understanding a lot of it, and finally decided to do it at home that night. Cartman made a snide remark about locking themselves up in a bedroom and reading poetry being solid proof that they were fags; Mrs. Garrison sent him from the classroom to see Mr. Mackey, leaving Kenny without a partner.
"I remember that," Kenny said, interrupting. "I got an 'F' because of that. Taught me about teaming up with Cartman, anyway."
"It was the last thing he said to Kyle," Stan said, not really listening to Kenny at all. "That's what pisses me off so bad. The last thing he ever said to Kyle was a crack about how we were gay for each other."
Stan looked away from Kenny, wiping the tears from his eyes so that he could continue.
That night, Stan spent the night at the Broflovski house so that they could get their homework done as soon as possible. Their luck, however was no better. They still had trouble finding a poem they could understand. In the end, they decided to just flip the book open to a random page and write on whatever poem they saw.
"What is it?" Kyle asked Stan, laying beside him on the bed and trying to look over his shoulder. "What poem did we get?"
"It's…it's called 'I Do Not Love You'."
"Read it, dude, so we can get this over with."
Stan gulped and began to read:
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
He got no farther. He had noticed Kyle had gotten awfully close to him as he was reading, making him extremely uneasy. Sure, it had been for no other reason than to be able to see the book, but what Cartman had said before he had been thrown from class came back to him at that moment and shook him up. He jumped from the bed and walked to the window.
"Dude, what is it?" Kyle asked.
"I…don't know," Stan replied, look over his shoulder at his friend. "I…I just can't go on."
"Why? There must have been a reason you jumped up like I bit you."
Kyle got up and walked over to Stan, putting his hand on his shoulder. There was something warm and comforting in that touch, something that told Stan that, no matter what, Kyle would always be his friend.
"Kyle," Stan said, taking a breath, "what if I said that what Cartman said in class was getting to me?"
"Getting to you how?"
Stan took a breath and braced himself for what he was about to say. He had been feeling very close to Kyle lately, to the point that it went beyond friendship. As much as he told himself it was all in his mind, he couldn't make himself believe it. In the end, he had come to the startling realization that he had a crush on his best friend.
"It's getting to me….because…."
"Because…?" Kyle prompted..
"Because I love you, Kyle!" he cried, turning from the window to face his friend. "Because every day I see you…I…"
"Feel like we're connected, like we have the same soul," Kyle finished for him. "You feel like we're two parts of the same person And when we're not together, you count down the minutes until we are."
Stan was shocked. Kyle had read him like a book. Had he really been that obvious? Did he wear his feelings so far out on his sleeve that the whole world knew his deepest secrets?
"Y-yeah, dude," Stan replied finally, "but how did you know?"
"Because I…feel the same way about you."
Stan was shocked. He looked into his friend's eyes and it was there that he found the answers to all his worries. The look Kyle was giving him told him that there was a love between them that could not be expressed, a love that was so deep it went farther than just "Super Best Friends".
"Finish the poem," Kyle said.
Stan walked with his best friend back to the bed and they sat down side by side. He picked up the book and continued reading:
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
Stan looked up from the book and into Kyle's smiling face. It was then that Stan realized that Pablo Neruda had put their feelings for each other into better words than they ever could. It was like the poem was written for them. He recited the rest of it while they looked longingly into each other's eyes.
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
He was now nose-to-nose with Kyle as they had been inching toward each other with every verse.
Stan closed his eyes and felt his lips make contact with Kyle's. He felt the familiar wave of nausea hit him, but it was soon overpowered by a feeling of ecstasy that he had never known. It was like the two of them had been destined for each other and that all of creation had stopped to watch and rejoice.
"When I left Kyle's house that night," Stan said, his voice thick with pain, "I told him I'd see him again soon and that…"
He stopped, too choked up to continue.
"That you loved him," Kenny finished.
Stan nodded and went to pieces, his sobs echoing around the cemetery and his tears flowing faster than anyone could hope to wipe them away. Kenny took him into his arms and held him as he cried. He cried until he felt he had no more tears left to shed, and then he broke down again.
And as he cried, it seemed all of creation stopped, as it had before, to mourn with him.