graveyard ghosts

you cannot believe in honour
until you have achieved it

Flowers don't grow very well in Trabia but this is all right because Selphie has brought the plastic versions, coated in reds and pinks and yellows and she sniffles to herself as she enters the dirt-covered area, with the grime and stench and the feeling of rotting bones, rot rot rot––

People say that SeeDs are unfeeling, that they have to be, because after all they're ruthless killers aren't they? That's all they do; trained assassins, hired mercenaries, the two expressions one of the same in the wading pool of life. Selphie disagrees. If SeeDs are unfeeling, then what kind of colour does that paint the rest of the world, the ones-who-hire-the-SeeDs-but-still-criticise-them? Selphie does not know much about philosophy, but she does know what she feels and that's enough.

The flowers drop into the dirt and she picks out different colours for every one of her friends. Here they are, buried beneath the dirt, victims of Galbadia and Selphie will never forgive Galbadia because it's all their fault. Selphie does not see life in a complex way, because that makes her head ache and her conscience kick in, and for a SeeD to have a conscience is like for a sorceress to have an Odine bracelet.

Selphie sees life in a we come, we see, we die sort of way, but that doesn't make the hurt any less. She can feel the spectres of lost friends, watching her, contemplating her, wondering at her lack of tears. Selphie does not cry because tears are just made of water and what good does water do for dead people? Of course immortal souls don't need water, they need proper gut-wrenching sadness, and Selphie has never needed tears to achieve that.

There's red for her best friend who liked to plait her hair and stuff herself full of cheesecake and wear lens less glasses and sleep in and grouch and laugh like a hyena and––she thinks that red is strength, pride, all the nice things belonging to an Amazon warrior. Strong like an Amazon, right? That's her mantra, and she'll stick by it. She read it in a mythology book once.

The graveyard remains unmoving in the wind, never-changing, always dark and depressing and Selphie wonders why graveyards can't be bright and happy because do dead people really want mounds of dirt and slabs of marble to maintain their legacy? Selphie hates the fact that her friends are buried down there with the worms and maggots, decomposing and rotting and all-bones and no flesh and––

"It's not fair, you guys," Selphie protests weakly, letting the red petals fly and decorate the gravesite, knowing her best friend would've liked colour, gaudiness, exquisite-divine plastic. "You were supposed to come listen, when we had a band, you were s'posed to come and watch and laugh along with me. But instead you were here, six foot under, and it's sad, y'know, because corpses can't dance."

Selphie feels the callousness of SeeD training sink in and years of endless practice, nunchaku swinging through the air, clank-clank-thump. (She hit her friend in the middle of the forehead by accident and a few curses and Curas later she hit Selphie right back).

"Instead you were here," Selphie reiterates in case they didn't hear.

Selphie does not think she will ever be able to forgive the Galbadians. She knows that feelings are supposed to be pushed away, and somewhere in the recesses of your mind you have a part of you eternally crying and shouting and laughing all in a crazy jumbled symphony because doing it all aloud is frowned upon. Selphie knows that she's alone here, and that is the final barrier broken.

"You all made up stories 'bout how you were gonna die, remember?" Selphie asks, sticking in some yellow flowers at the next gravestone. "Hanna, you were gonna get hit by a twenty-tonne truck and have all your blood stain the sidewalk, and Markas, you were gonna crash an airship into that weird crater and become a tragic hero, spreading across the news and everything … and that's how it was gonna be, twenty thirty fifty years from now, but not today. Not now."

The last of the plastic flowers are shared out and Selphie is left empty-handed in more ways than one. Inside she feels broken and like walking is going to be the biggest difficulty ever, but on the outside like there's a small achievement in all that sadness and did Squall really think she refused that mission because she was tired? She remembers seeing the fur on his coat before, on the periphery, but Selphie is beyond caring about Squall eavesdropping or … anything, really.

"I'll miss you, you big idiots," she tells the respective mounds and feels better for it. "We were gonna become SeeDs together, right? Well, guess I'm gonna have to do all the work now, you lazy bums! But I'll get to level A, uh-huh, yes sir. And soon we're gonna defeat a sorceress and so take that. But you'll be watching, right?"

The mounds don't respond, but Selphie doesn't expect them to. Inside her head clogs are turning and life is simple but simple is so frustratingly complicated to uphold so really it doesn't make any difference. Selphie sees death in an oh crap you stabbed me way because she is a SeeD and that's what SeeDs do, but it's not all there is to it. This confuses her and so she tries not to think about it because it might make her cry.

And Selphie does not cry.

"Yeah, you will," she decides and brushes her dress off. It's got a bit of dirt on it but Selphie figures that in fighting evil and remembering great friends (cheesecake, plaits, hyenas) there will be sacrifices. She remembers Squall.

("Past tense, past tense, past tense")––Squall is so damned perceptive of everything that Selphie is sometimes scared of him. She remembers her friends as in the past, as memories, as the flickering of a candle burning bright finally dying. Death. She shivers.

Flowers don't grow very well in Trabia but graveyards do immensely well. The wreckage and ruin of her once-home is painful enough, but the ruin of her friends almost pushes her over the edge. She is mollified by one thing, and one thing only––

To her, life is simple (we come, we see, we die) and if life is simple then fighting for it must be simpler. She will make herself great and defeat that sorceress and get to level A like she promised, because if she doesn't, she'll be Selphie the-girl-who-breaks-promises and instead she wants to be Selphie Tilmitt.

She sniffles (from the cold, from the cold, that's all) and promises that she will never forget her friends, that they will live on in something that's not just rotting bones and mounds of dirt.

Selphie swears that she can see their spectres watching her.

And Selphie does not cry.

you are the window
through which
you must see the world

My attempt at explaining Selphie's scene in Trabia when she is talking to her friends in the graveyard (and Squall listens, geez). I don't own FF8. Hope you like.