Still Alive

Written December 9th, 2011 - Revised September 23rd, 2014

Although he could hardly admit it to himself, the moment he knocks on the door – that very door – Yomiel is overwhelmed by feelings. And of course, coming from the dead, he is no longer used to having any.

The past years have been tough for him – he has had a hard time discovering tears again, stretching his lips in joy, recollecting the threads of his happiness as if nothing bad ever occurred. He is not even sure who he is going to meet, in that space of a few seconds that parts him from the doorbell. His doubts, not without a rush of thorough embarrassment, can't help accompanying him, as quick footsteps approach from the other side of the wall.

The door opens on three familiar faces. They look unsure – regretful, maybe? – but smile sincerely nonetheless. It reassures him, even if a little; their sweet expressions make him feel way closer to them than their other destiny wanted him to be.

They feel exactly the same – both awkward and welcoming.

"It's nice to see you here, Yomiel."

Curiously enough, the first voice to welcome him does not belong to the beautiful woman standing in the doorway, nor to the tall, strikingly fine-boned man who is leaving the sofa in twirls of impossible angles. He thought Detective Jowd would not make the liveliest host in the world, and he is right – but his greetings are utterly honest, warm in their own way, and that is more than enough.

He suddenly bursts out laughing, much to Yomiel's surprise. To his own cautious attitude, his laugh might stand out as an example of not very fine manners; however, he is an engineer, and his understanding of this kind of people goes far beyond common sense.

"Come, make yourself comfortable! There is much to be said."

They have a seat together, and he comes to know, for the first time, the true concept of family. Jowd's lovely girl waves a hand at him, far from the kitchen table where her mother is cooking dinner. It feels weird, talking with just a slight sense of doubt with the people who - he thought - had ruined his life, and whose existence he had ruined in return.

Still, in the end, he has been alive for a very short time. He has got to learn lots of things, all over again. He already sees how the warmth in houses comes from their families, from the people living in there. He, too, will get used to that eventually.

Yomiel smiles.

They talk about old times, and new – they do feel responsible for him, and he shakes his head slightly, at peace. He already knew about their pain, but he can see it clearly now.

There are so many things that can blind humans, he thinks. They were all blinded back then.

"I still have no words to express how peeerfect my stupidity was, baby. I'm glad -"

His voice shakes, accompanied by the most serious expression he is capable of.

"I am truly glad nothing worse than that happened."

Yomiel is still surprised at how ironical destiny can be. Cabanela doesn't know how important the words he has just spoken are, and Jowd exchanges a significant glance with him. Their destinies were always connected – now, even more so.

"You don't have to care that much, Inspector. We were all different ten years ago."

He grins. His sunglasses give him the same unfathomable look as ever.

"It's all gone now."

This time, it is Lynne to accompany him to the front door. He can't help noticing she has grown up to be a really nice girl. She does show some unusual behaviour, sometimes; in the end, however, it only makes her company more enjoyable.

She looks puzzled now, almost scared of something.



"I- we have something for you."

The envelope is small, but its content feels thick, and is neatly shaped beneath his fingers. Yomiel accepts it with curiosity, wondering what his new present has in store for him.

"If it doesn't bother you," she adds, her voice almost trembling with embarrassment "I – I'll ask something in return. Of course you can say no, but-"

"Tell me, Lynne."

Her gaze is firmly lowered on the ground – he really doubts this is a common reaction from her. Whatever it is, it really must be important.

"Will you please come back sometimes? When you feel like it."

He did not expect such a question, but he acknowledges he should have. After all, this large family of theirs is undeniably connected to him – their existences have been changed mutually, in any case. He nods.

"I don't see why I shouldn't," he answers, spying on her gleeful expression. "I will, and gladly for sure."

"Thank you, Yomiel."

She doesn't close the door yet. He laughs subtly, and turns to her with amused patience.

"I'll tell you a secret then," she murmurs, in a relieved, almost joyous tone. "It was my request, but - Jowd told me to ask you in the first place. He made this gift, and he told me… he'd like you to come for the sake of someone. Someone, he said… who will always be waiting for you."

He struggles to hide the shocked look in his eyes. He knows Jowd is honest, and loyal to the ones he loves; still, he hadn't imagined how dearly he would value the most precious thing he had lost that fateful night. He always does his best to hide his emotions. Out of habit, he guesses. And fear.

"I have no idea what it means," she admits with a clueless smile. "It just felt right to tell you. So- see you again, sometime."

The door has been closed for a few minutes now. Yomiel stands still. He cries.

A colorful photo shows through the ripped envelope. Three happy faces and a muzzle are beaming at him, without a shadow of sadness. Under them, a small rectangular piece of cloth caresses his fingers in bright red.

The doorbell calls back a slightly surprised Jowd.

"Pardon me, detective," he says under his breath, his eyes shining behind the dark glass. "I'd love to say hello to your cat before going."

"Oh, how wonderful!"

He enters his house, with Sissel tight in his arms. Her dress draws beautiful waves, as her black curls swing with the deepest delight.

"So, dear. Is this little thing really going to stay here with us?"

"Yes, Sissel," he smiles. "Only now and then, though. Some friends asked me for a favour."

He would never have pictured this scene before today. Sissel, with the adoring glance belonging to her love only – Sissel, with a bright red collar, leaning against her kind chest.

"Hello, cutie. What's your name?"

"It's Sissel, darling."

A long meow follows their words.

He loves the way her eyes are always shining with laughter. It is the most beautiful, haunting memory he has ever held of her – in the old times, when it actually was just a memory.

"Sissel? Really!" she exclaims gleefully, lifting the kitten in her arms. "What a lucky coincidence."

Yomiel laughs in return. In a way, he really does believe in destiny.

"Indeed," he answers. "Look, darling. He adores you already."

"Half past six? Hmmm."

He stretches his arms in a long yawn. Sometimes, even software becomes too stubborn for Yomiel's tastes, and the clock turns into a round useless thing on the wall. These days, luckily, someone is there to check on his working timetable.

Sissel's meows are always insistent enough to stop him.

The cat is on his knees even before the white light of the monitor fades. Yomiel runs long fingers in his black coat. So bright, so terribly cold.

"It's been ten long years," he whispers with joy. "Anything to tell me about?"

Sissel stares at him with calm yellow eyes. Being truly alive is such a unusual feeling – Yomiel doesn't even need a core to know how much wisdom his little animal has gained.

He finds surprising how time has changed things, even without existing. They have all grown up somehow; and, without a doubt, the photos on the wall are the greatest proof of it.

He studies them very often. They make him feel a rush of bizarre affection; in the past, they would have portrayed nothing but his worst enemies, along with the furious pain for his once only love.

Time has passed – he really couldn't wish for a happier life. But with him there, Yomiel feels so complete.

As any good cat does, Sissel refuses to understand his words, choosing instead to caress the man's neck with a continuous chant of satisfied purrs. Yomiel surrenders, and soon his eyes are closed, his smile bright.

There is so much to be said, that silence is better.