Yoko stood and watched the unfathomable with a forlorn gaze and a tiny smile, in a way relieved that the suffering had finally ended. Only a couple of metres beside her stood Rossiu doing the same thing, only with an understanding look and a sense of deprivation, as well as a slight tinge of disbelief.
None of them could have imagined that it would actually happen: he was so strong it seemed nothing could get to him, yet it was so obvious, for who could possibly bear to lose so much?
They stood and watched the gravestone on whose side was etched the epitaph:
"Here lies Simon the Digger
Whose drill was one that pierced the heavens
Yet it could not pierce
The emptiness of death."
"How fitting," Rossiu suddenly uttered, more to himself than to her. "Alas, he died when his drill found something it could finally not pierce, as there was nothing for it to begin with. Truly, while his drill may have pierced the heavens, there is nothing that can pierce emptiness."
Yoko felt touched. It was those same finely picked words that Rossiu has used when he'd conducted the memorial service only a month ago.
"I guess you're right," she replied, surprising the man a little. "He'd lost the two most important people in his life, who would be able to bear that? I guess everything does have its limits after all."
He smiled at her response. Why? He didn't know. He hummed in agreement.
"I'm still astounded though, that he could bear it for so long. One would have expected it to come sooner."
"You mean, if one had expected it to come in the first place," replied Yoko smartly.
"Eh?" Yoko chuckled at Rossiu's response and shifted her gaze back to the gravestone.
"I have this feeling that even if he'd planned it for some time, he never really expected it to ever come to that."
"How do you mean?" Yoko looked over at the clueless man with a kind expression.
"When Kamina died he was exactly the same, remember? Only then he didn't have the strength to kill himself over it. Then from nowhere, Nia came and rescued him, dragging him out of that dark hole." She paused, sighing a few times while doing so. "I think that he was perhaps waiting for the same to happen again, for someone to come and drag him out of his pit of misery again."
"Yet in the end, no one did," Rossiu finished. They both remained quiet, letting their silence be the sign of their agreement.
"It is ironic in the end," Rossiu continued, "how the Anti-Spirals ultimately won. Not over us, but over him. He who'd led us all to victory was the only one to ever succumb to their strategy of total despair."
"Just like Kamina…"
"Yes, just like Kamina…"
"Yet again the irony. Simon was in the heart never quite like Kamina. He was weaker, always the one inclined to give up. Still, that is precisely what in the end made him end just like his brother," Rossiu said.
"This world's a crazy one indeed," Yoko added.
"I still can't believe that we two are the only ones still left standing."
"The only two who knew him this well, you mean?" His question was affirmed by a hum from Yoko.
"Yeah, Leeron was never this close with him, no matter how long he travelled with us."
"And Gimmy and Darry were simply too small," Rossu completed her sentence.
"Yeah… makes me wonder what I'm going to do from now on…"
"Well… we could always get married." Yoko spun herself and eyed Rossiu with the most incredulous of stares. The politician simply smiled back in the kind of warm and reassuring way that seemed so unusual for him.
After a while, his meaning got to her and she began to laugh, laugh out loud. It took her a while before she regained her composure.
"Heh, I didn't know you had a sense of humour, Rossiu."
"Hey, now that's just mean!"
They both shared a laugh. Looking back and forth between each other and the gravestone, they reminisced about the old times that they'd all spent together.
"Honestly, how goes it on that front anyway? I heard you and Kinon were getting married."
"We were, but with all this… Nia vanishing at her own wedding and Simon killing himself over it like this… it still feels to fresh, none of us feel like having another wedding right now, so we decided to wait with that. How long, I don't know, maybe next year, maybe later still, at least till we've been able to get over all of this."
Yoko could understand him: the events of the past months had really torn everybody up from the inside and out.
"And what about you? Found anyone yet that suits your tastes?" Rossiu asked, feeling his otherwise rigid eloquence ease up into a more informal mode of speech.
"I'd be marrying ghosts then," she chuckled. "All the men I've ever considered are dead now… Kamina… Kittan… heh, I even considered Simon after that whole wedding catastrophe."
"Well, what stopped you?"
"Hey, it was painful for me too you know, seeing her go like that, seeing him so devastated. It was like history was repeating itself all over again. It just didn't seem right to approach him with it so soon after, so I left. I went out into the world trying to forget about the whole ordeal and when I returned, finally having mustered up the will to tell him how I felt… he was gone."
Rossiu let out a heavy sigh, letting his shoulders sink with it.
"So sad… think of it, had you done it earlier, you might've been the one to drag him out of his pit of misery," Rossiu said, quoting the one he was speaking with. Then he noticed the tears beginning to well up in Yoko's eyes.
And that's when she let it all go, letting her tears stream down her cheeks, letting that strong woman she'd cut herself out to be succumb to her feelings and cry in front of another.
Rossiu watched her like this and felt a pang of guilt for having brought her to this point. He was hesitant at first, but soon extended his hand to her, offering his comfort. She accepted it and soon buried her face in his chest. Rossiu himself began to feel the same dreadful tickling sensation, but decided that he must be strong, at least for now, at least for her…
"I didn't even get the chance to say goodbye!" she wept into his chest.
Aw to hell with it!
And so he let his own dams burst, letting his tears flow like tiny brooks and creeks out of his eyes. Resting his now snotty, teary face on her shoulder, he cried with her in unison.
Crying over what had once been, what could have been and what never was.