Hi peoples. I wrote this because I was bored. I don't know how it turned out, so please tell me in the form of a review! Thanks!
Disclaimer: I don not own Harvest Moon or any of it's characters.
I walked into the Church quickly, finding a seat in the front pew next to my grandfather. I was wearing a black suit; something I'd never wear any time else. But I decided to wear it for her. She'd want me to wear it. I didn't take off my hat. My favorite blue hat... She always liked it.
I stared at the floor in front of me, not daring to look at the dark wooden casket in the front of the alter. It would be too difficult. Goddess, why did this have to happen? Why? I couldn't think of a good reason, or even a bad reason. There was no reason. I could hear a few people crying behind me somewhere, and it wasn't helping with my condition. I turned around and saw Elli and Mary crying with Popuri. Of course it'd be them. They were some of her best friends. She was friends with everyone, it seemed. That would explain why the Church was so damn full.
My thoughts were interrupted when my grandfather nudged my side and whispered, "You okay?"
I sighed. Why the hell would I be okay? She just died! Oh Goddess... She's dead. I'll... Never see her again. This is not supposed to happen to anyone.
Before I could answer him, though, Carter walked up behind the coffin and up to the alter. It was covered in beautiful toyflowers; her favorite.
"Hello, everyone. Welcome," Carter started, raising his hand towards the crowd in attempt to quiet them down, "You all know why we are here today. We've gathered to say our final goodbyes to a wonderful young lady; a friend to us all. It was truly awful that she had to leave us so... Suddenly," he said, his voice cracking. He was one of her good friends as well. I remember she'd beg me to come to the Church with her every Sunday. I sighed and the pastor continued, managing to hold back his tears, "Well, now I'd like to ask a few of you to come up and say a few words about her, some stories, perhaps? Ann? You told me you wanted to say something?"
Ann heard her name and shot up, coming up to the front. She had red, puffy eyes. It looked like she had been crying as well. I fixed my gaze back on the ground as she cleared her throat.
"Hey, everyone. Well, you all probably know how close the two of us were, with all the commotion we'd cause. I remember every Friday night she'd stay at the Inn in my room, and we'd stay up all hours giggling about the stupidest things. She was just so... Peppy. And funny. She was truly my best friend... And, I'm... Going to miss her a lot... So, I just wanted you all to know that she was so lively, and to remember her for that." Ann finished and wiped her face off with her sleeve. Carter came back up and gave her a hug, then proceeded to speak.
"Thank you, Ann. Next, will Barley please come up here and share? You seemed like you wanted to say something." Carter smiled, and old man Barley came up to the front, still holding a sniffling little May. May had become great friends with her. She always loved kids... And told me she wanted a few of her own someday.
"Yes, thank you, Carter. I remember when she first came into our little ranch, her bright eyes were shining so brightly. May here instantly loved her. She was so wonderfully sweet, the way she'd come by everyday to play with May and Hannah. But she was responsible, too. On rainy days she'd never give in and let May play outside... We'll never forget her, will we, May?" Barley asked his teary-eyed granddaughter, who turned and faced the crowd.
"I-I'll n-n-never e-ever f-forget my b-b-big s-sister..." She cried. It made my heart ache even more to see such a little girl so torn up. She'd probably be reminded of this tragedy for years to come, the poor thing. Apparently her short but meaningful speech had the same effect on others in the Church, because I could hear more sniffling and quiet sobbing.
It made my heart hurt so badly.
I looked back up at the alter, and saw that Barley and May had gone and Carter was back up. He scanned the crowd briefly, looking to see whom he'd call up next. His gaze stopped on me, and my eyes widened.
I can't go up there! I'm not... I'm not ready!
I tried to shake my head and signal to Carter I couldn't do this, but I was too late. He already started to introduce me.
"Now why don't we ask Gray to come up? He must have some fond memories he'd like to share about his fiancé, Claire."
I froze. That was actually the first time anyone had said her name since she died. And he just had to add in the fiancé part, I thought bitterly. When I heard her name, though, I think I felt something inside me snap. It was awful; like I had been run over by a tractor then fed to wild dogs. I felt all eyes fix on me.
Oh Goddess, what do I do?
I felt an elbow in my side and looked over to see my grandfather staring at me.
"Well? Get your behind up there young man, and tell some stories," He whispered sternly. So much for being sensitive, Gramps. He knows how hard it is for me to talk to someone, let alone a whole crowd.
And talk about Claire.
My Goddess, just thinking her name made my heart cringe. Before I knew it, I was walking up to the alter, standing behind her casket. I looked down at it, remembering when I proposed to her. It was just a few days ago, and she was so full of life and love. I stared down and lost myself to the memory.
"Gray! Hi!" Claire called to me as she ran up the hill to the summit of Moon Mountain. I had told her to meet me here at eight, and she was right on time.
As she neared me, I couldn't help but smile. She always made me smile. She threw herself on me in a huge hug. I stumbled a bit, but couldn't help but chuckle at her eagerness.
"Hey, Claire. How're you?" I asked as she released me from her warm embrace on this chilly winter night. She giggled.
"I'm great! Never better!" She smiled and posed like she was flexing her muscles to prove her point. I chuckled again.
"That's great to hear. Say, can I ask you something?" I said as we sat down. She grinned.
"Of course! Ask away!" I smiled as well, and looked up at the dark sky. It was beautiful, with millions and millions of tiny white, yellow, and purplish dots forming together into cloud-like clusters. I glanced over at Claire. She was looking up at the sky as well, a content smile playing on her pink lips. I took a deep breath and pulled a bright blue feather out from under my hat, and fingered it's softness in my hand before I set it on Claire's lap.
"...Here. It's for you." I said quietly, no doubt blushing like crazy. Claire gaped down at the light, blue present. She picked it up so delicately; as though it would shatter into ten million pieces, never to be seen again. She held it up close to her face, stroking its softness. I looked at her gorgeous blue eyes. They were wet. I closed my eyes and tried to get myself to say the four words I had been practicing over and over at the Inn before Cliff came back from the vineyard. "Will you marry me?" I whispered. She turned towards me so quickly, it startled me.
Her eyes looked like they were going to burst with happiness and... Pride? I couldn't really tell. She threw her arms around my neck and gave me a quick kiss. I guessed this was a 'yes'.
"Of course! Yes, yes, yes! Thank you, Gray!" She exclaimed, still hugging me. I chuckled once again.
"No, thank you, Claire. I really can't thank you enough!" I said and squeezed her tightly.
I snapped back into reality. I looked at the closed coffin once more, realizing that the next time Claire and I were supposed to be here together, we'd be getting married. It was supposed to be our wedding. Today. I didn't realize it at first, but my eyes filled with tears. Hot, salty tears. I blinked, and they rolled down my face.
I'm not supposed to cry. Men don't cry. No matter what. I sighed at how stupid I sounded. Of course I was going to cry. If I didn't, what kind of a man would I be?
I then become conscious to the fact that I was still standing up in front of the whole town, and they were watching me cry. That was the first time I cried in at least fifteen years. It was relieving in a way, like part of the pain of losing her was leaving my heart and mind in the form of tears.
I slowly turned and walked down away from the front and out the Church doors. I walked over to the beach and sat at the pier, watching the freezing waves crash underneath me.
My tears poured out and down into the ocean.
Claire would've been proud of me for crying. She would've been so glad I could express such raw emotion. But she wasn't here anymore. I wouldn't be able to hug her, or kiss her. I couldn't hear her voice anymore; hear her laughter.
I wept quietly to myself as I comprehended how my life would function without her. I remembered two years ago, before she came to Mineral Town. I was an angry jerk who would never find happiness. Until she came into that blacksmith's shop the first time…
I was having yet another argument with my grandfather about my life. It had just started with this necklace I was making, but then Gramps just HAD to go and bring up how my awful personality would make people hate me and I would never have any friends, or have a family and I would end up dying alone and bitter. Just the usual things.
I went over to the door and reached out for the knob when-
The door opened and hit me right in the face. I stumbled back a bit, then, being in a fiery mood, shouted at whoever had come in.
"What the hell do you want?! You better get the HELL out of here before-"
"Goddess, calm down."
I opened my eyes and actually looked at who had interrupted me. It was a petite young lady, with long blonde hair and sapphire blue eyes. I was expecting for her to be angry, or scared, and start crying or something. But she wasn't and she didn't. She looked up at me with… Understanding? What?
"Uh… S-Sorry…" I mumbled and lowered the brim of my hat down to cover my face. Then she did something no one had ever done.
She took my hat off me.
I tried to snatch it back, but she was too fast. I watched her, confused, as she studied my old blue hat. She turned it over and over, observing every inch of it. She stopped at the red brim, and fingered the small worn area where I had touched it to pull the hat down so many times.
"Why do you need this hat?" She asked, her gaze not moving from the worn cap. I didn't really understand her question.
"Wh-what do you-" I started, but she interrupted me. Again.
"You need this hat to cover up your emotions. You shouldn't. It's only natural to have emotions, so you have no reason to hide them from the world." She stated, almost gloomily. What she had just said… It was weird to me. I never really thought I depended on my hat before.
"I guess…" I mumbled, not knowing what else I could possibly say to her. My grandpa had apparently left to the back room after the door hit me. Wow, he's so caring.
The girl set the hat back on my head and smiled up at me, her mood seeming to change significantly.
"I'm Claire, the new farmer." She sounded so proud. I stared at her, trying to remember my name so I could introduce myself.
"I'm, uh, Gray. My grandfather, Saibara, owns this shop. Come by whenever you feel like it…" I muttered, finally recalling my name. She grinned up at me. I was almost a foot taller than her, but I was also a very tall man at six foot four.
"Gray… That's a nice name. I'll see you later, Gray!" She called as she left, giggling after she used my name.
After that day, my attitude only seemed to get better. Claire gave me reasons to keep trying and to never give up. I didn't think I could live without her encouragement… No, I'd have to. She was gone. But I wasn't.
I could never find someone to love like I loved Claire, and I didn't really plan on it. I could never find anyone to give me encouragement like she did. I could never find anyone to cheer me up when I got into a fight with Gramps like she did.
I could never replace her.
But I didn't have to. She was still here; in my memories. Sure, it wasn't the same, but it would have to do. For now, anyways.
I got up off the pier and wiped the tears off my face with my hand. It did feel good to cry and let it all out, like Claire had told me. I smiled as I remembered…
Claire and I were sitting at the Inn, having dinner. We had been going on dates for a season or so now, and I was really starting to like her.
"Hey, Gray, can I ask you something?" She asked me, curiosity swimming in her deep blue eyes.
"Sure. What?" I asked. I wasn't hesitant. Knowing Claire, it would be something simple she wanted to know about me. And it was.
"Do you cry?"
I was slightly taken aback by her question. "Um… Not really, no. I haven't for quite a while. Why?" I asked her. She sighed.
"Well, I just was wondering. Like, are you one of those 'men don't cry' kind of guys? Or, are you, well, not?" She asked, cocking her head to the side. I furrowed my brow.
I always did think that. 'Men don't cry'… Hm… The way she says it, it makes it sound bad.
"Eh… I suppose I am one of those kind of guys. …Is that bad?" I inquired, truly curious as to what the answer might be. She shook her head.
"No, no, no, it's not BAD, but… It's not entirely good, either. At least in my opinion. You shouldn't be afraid of crying! It's fine!"
I grunted, "I don't know. I've never been the 'crying type'."
She sighed. "I figured as much. …You know what? I'm going to see to it you cry. Not from physical pain or anything, but because of emotions. And I'm going to be there when you do. I swear it." She said and crossed her arms. I chuckled at her enthusiasm.
"Sure, sure. I'll remember you said that, and if you aren't there, you'll be in trouble. Mark my words." I laughed, and so did she.
But she wasn't here.
Not in person, at least. I walked back over to the Church, hoping I could still make it there in time for her burial. I hadn't actually realized I just walked out on Claire's funeral until just now.
I knew I wouldn't be myself again for a long time, if ever. I knew my heart would take time to heal, if it ever did. It would, I know it would, eventually. I knew Claire had changed my life for the better. I knew the rest of my life would be difficult at times without her. I knew I'd probably shed many more tears on her behalf.
But I also knew one thing, one wonderful thing that gave me hope. It was a small light in my darkened mind. It was a roll of duct tape for my broken heart. It was a bowl for my tears to fall into. This little bit of knowledge was what made life worth living.
I know that I'll see her again someday.
Whew! Well, there ya go. I got the idea for this when I was listening to Kenny Chesney's Who You'd Be Today. So, go listen to that song, 'cause it's good. And I don't own it. :D