The Language of Loss
Armani watched tentively as a leaf of the colour seen at the end of a sunset began to fall. The autumn air bit her skin as she sat on the park bench. The park was deserted as colour and sound began to creep through the stillness, re-starting the world making everything anew. All before people left the comfort of their beds. She could almost imagine the wind was whispering secrets to her as it broke through the layer of tranquility surrounding the park.
This is when is she saw her; Lexi. A black beanie adorned her blonde head, she was rubbing her hands together to futilely fight of the cold. She was always fighting. From their enemies at school to her cancer. Armani had refused to even acknowledge anything was wrong with Lexi. She just pretended. It's what humans are good at; pretending. Problems didn't have to be real as long as the truth remained unsaid. Everyone simply pretended. Until words like terminal escaped and hung in the air, made heavy with shock and sadness.
"Lexi, shouldn't you be inside?" Armani's voice sounded anxious and the girl inwardly winced.
Lexi's smile was soft, accepting, "I'm just going for a walk, I want to commit this feeling to memory so I can remember, when I can't just get up and do it"
Tears lay unshed in Armani's eyes, she wouldn't cry. Not yet. Armani stood to leave and Lexi caught her arm.
"I need you to remember something for me" Lexi's voice was gentle. The way you spoke when you didn't want to spook a horse. Lexi leaned in and whispered words into Armani's ear.
Armani's tears spilt over, as she hugged her best friend. As if the tighter she held on the longer Lexi would stay.
"Promise me" Lexi whispered.
"I promise I'll try."
Later that night the phone rang and Armani knew without having to be told, knew she was gone. Knew it by listening to the sound of her mother's hushed voice. Knew it after just one look at Lexi's family. The red eyes, the stunned faces, the faces that showed no emotion at all. Yet no one in this room was alone, each person understood the other. Knew how the others felt without a single word having to be uttered. The pain etched on their faces telling a story. Their silence their words.
Later Armani stood in front of a sea of black, sadness threatened to buckle her knees, grief made her brain slow. All eyes trained on her, as if the 17 year old could provide a life raft. Pull them from the emotions they seemed to drown in. She opened her mouth and out came the last whispered words she'd ever hear Lexi say.
"Live. Because you can."