I thought that I'd know.
She'd been my first love, and of course I'd know when she'd died. I'd feel it in my heart or something. Maybe a pain through the chest or a strange aching in the knees even. I'd loved her first. Surely that had to count for something.
Buffy always knew when something bad happened to Angel. She tried to hide it, but we knew that she was dying inside. We liked to pretend she was successful, but sometimes I'd catch her staring into the night sky after she got back from patrol or watching the television blankly, as her mind wandered to LA and her lost lover.
Willow knew when something was wrong with Tara. She just knew. Even Giles said that, looking back, he remembered feeling the strangest sense of foreboding when he came home that terrible night to find Ms. Calendar.
So, why didn't I feel something? Anything? Was it because we didn't care enough? Because I didn't love her enough? Because we were over?
All I knew was that when I got that call from LA, I didn't know what Wesley was going to say. I almost put Buffy on the phone, thinking he could only be calling for her, but he told me to hold on. And then he told me.
That my first love was dead.
And it was a shock.
How could she be gone? My Cordy. That annoying, selfish cheerleader Queen C, who I wronged so many years ago. I had been too ashamed to ever talk with her after graduation, but she was just Cordy. She was bright and lively and everything that a corpse shouldn't be. She was fun and loved to talk about shoes or about how much she hated me and Buffy and everyone who wasn't as cool as her. But she was special in her own way. She didn't have any powers and she had a whole bunch more to lose than me (like popularity), but she fought with us all the same. Begrudging and bemoaning, sure, but she fell in with the good fight like we all had.
And that was what did her in. In the end. Some wacky possession by this weird demon-y thing. I didn't quite understand it, and I had decided that I didn't want to know ages ago. But I had just assumed that she would wake up one day.
Maybe I fantasized about her having amnesia and having forgotten my betrayal. I'd have to come and reassure her about her lot in life, and by the time she regained her memories, we'd be in love again. Sure, it was unrealistic, but far less realistic was the idea that I'd never see her smile or laugh or cry or joke or sneer again. I'd never get to apologize to her. I'd never give her that one last hug I was too scared to give on graduation day. I'd never see why she loved working with Angel in LA so much.
I felt somewhere in my heart that I should be mad at Angel. He had caused this, as he always caused problems with the people I loved. But I couldn't find the energy to blame him, not when I'd driven her to LA. And not when I had done so much of the wrong in her life.
I wished I could say all of the words unsaid to her. To hold her for one minute and tell her what she meant to me. She was my first love and will always have a piece of my heart.
But how big could it be? I didn't even feel her die.