A/N: Before you read the next chapter, I just want to thank Zoe Anderson for the kick in the pants she gave me. Without her PMing me, I don't know when I would have gotten this written. Thanks!
The memorial was ten times harder than I thought it would be.
It was even more final than hearing on the news that my best friend was dead. There were so many times when I wished I hadn't cut my hair, so that I could let it fall in front of my face. I didn't want to see what was right in front of me: to see the pictures of her on display, surrounded by flowers in one last goodbye; to see the looks on her family's faces (so sad, like their entire world had been ripped apart, and, which confused me, an expression of impatience); hearing the sobs (some of them my own) and the priest's words… I don't know how I made it through the whole service.
But I did, and as soon as it was over I left. I couldn't bear to hear anyone tell me how sorry they are, because no one – except maybe her family – is sorrier than I am.
Looking back now, I guess I should have given my condolences to her family, maybe asked for one of those pictures of her. But all I wanted to do was get out of there. I didn't even wait for my dad. I just walked out of that church, away from all of the tears (okay, most of them).
Plus, I wouldn't have been able to speak calmly. I was furious at them. How could they cremate her? Stick her in an incinerator until there's nothing left but ash? I'm an AP student. I understand that all living things are subject to decomposition. Really, I get it. But how could they speed it up like that? They just erased her body instead of laying it to rest. I would have gone to her gravesite every day if they'd buried her. But they hadn't. She was probably in an urn on a shelf in their apartment, and I didn't have a reason to go down there anymore.
Before the accident, her apartment was like my second home, and my apartment was hers. After school we'd usually stop by her place to start our homework and have something to eat, and then we'd convince her mom that homework was finished (when that generally wasn't the truth) before going up to my apartment for a few hours of Journeyquest or a new surgery show on the Discovery Channel. Even after she went home, we'd still keep playing, or e-mailing.
Somehow, I found myself in Central Park. And the memories just kept flowing.
I saw the day we met, when I was moving into the building and she was snooping through my video games with this impressed look on her face. I saw each and every time we reached a new level in Journeyquest; we'd always celebrate with a high five (now I wish it was something more) before we continued playing. I saw her at lunch at school, giving me the extra cookie she'd brought because the Commander would never have such a thing in our apartment, and gagging at the stench of her tuna salad as she pushed it to the middle of the table.
I had to sit down; I sank onto the first bench I came to before I fell back into the overload of images.
She was laughing at me, and with me. She was offering new ideas to get us more points. She was complaining about the unfairness of our physical education system. She was throwing an insult at the Walking Dead.
I sat there for a while, until the sun had long since set and I knew that I should be going; everyone knows what goes on in Central Park at night. But I was enjoying the memories too much. For the first time since her death, my mind was allowing me to remember her the way I wanted to, not the way it killed me to. I could make myself remember whatever I wanted to about her; I no longer had to watch That Moment over and over again. I had control over my mind again and, I had to admit – if only to myself – I felt a little better.
A/N: Okay, I was listening to Brad Paisley's "New Favorite Memory" and it's a really cute love song, so my chapter kind of ran away from me into a cute flow of memories. But I don't think it's too out there, because he'd been at a memorial, it's only natural that he starts remembering something other than The Accident. And yes, he's feeling a little better... But next chapter he's going back to school. Soon we'll be seeing Supervillain Christopher... I can't wait!