I know I'm writing another story right now, and that this is off the cuff, but I need this.

My life closed twice before its close;

It yet remains to see

If immortality unveil a third event to me.

So huge, so hopeless to conceive,

As those that twice befell.

Parting is all we know of heaven,

And all we need of hell.

- Emily Dickinson

"Dylan?" Emily spoke up from further down the hallway.

Dylan looked over at her, trying to forget the fact that they were at his grandmother's funeral. "What?" He had just come out of the bathroom, crying there because he didn't want anyone to see him doing so, and he knew his eyes were still red.

"Mom was just wondering where you were."

Then she noticed his eyes. She came as close to him as she could get and wrapped her arms around him. Due entirely to his faltering emotions, he didn't resist, but enfolded her right back. Tears pressed uncomfortably against the back of his eyes, but, even in the quite, abandoned hallway, he didn't let them fall. Dylan Mitchell was not the crying type.

"You don't always have to be so tough, you know. It's okay to be sad." Emily told him.

Because of those few simple words, a tear finally made it's escape and paved a warm trail down his cheek. He buried his face unashamedly in his little sisters hair, and wept.

"It's okay to cry." Emily whispered against him, hugging him all the tighter. "It's okay."

"At a moment like this, silence seems to be the only expression that fits."

Dylan did his best to block out the preacher's words as he spoke them at Emily's funeral. He didn't know what to think, how to act. He tended to alternate between "God, why?" and "This couldn't possibly be happening." So he just sat there, numb.

After the funeral, back at his house with his parents, he did the same thing: blocked out the words of the people who came over. From what he garnered, they all said the same things anyway.

But out of the middle of no where, some weeks later, as his father noted that he had had a good day, and that they were "gonna be all right", Dylan remembered the feeling of Emily's rail-thin arms around him that day at their grandmother's funeral. What came with it was the shocking realization that that had been the last time he had hugged her, possibly even touched her.

He said solemnly, and for the first time out loud, "I wish I woulda been a better brother."

He folded his hands in front of his mouth, trying as always not to cry as his dad looked up and over at him. When he felt his dad's arms slide around his shoulders, he remembered the words that had accompanied Emily's gesture.

"You don't always have to be so tough, you know. It's okay to be sad. It's okay to cry."

And he did. He cried for what he hadn't done with her, and a good bit for what he had done to her. He cried for the things he had said and all the many, many things that he hadn't.

He had always thought of them as things that could wait until tomorrow, but for her, for his little sister, there had been no tomorrow. Which meant that he had to be content with - and live with - what he had done that final day, and in all of the days before that.

Later that night, in his bed, he was going over her last day. Every time he had passed her, every time they had looked at each other, every word they had spoken, it all mattered so much now.

Dylan shifted from one foot to the other as he waited with Emily for the Martins to come pick her up after school.

Why couldn't she just wait for five minutes by herself? Why did his mom have to make him wait with her?

The Martins drove up to the walk and Emily excitedly pulled open the door.

"Sorry you two had to wait so long." Mrs. Martin said.

"It's okay." Dylan answered, a cursory response.

"'Bye, Dylan. I'll see you at home. Thank you. Love you." Emily said as she waved out the window as Mrs. Martin drove away.

He couldn't help but smile back. He may have even waved a little, but he knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he had said, "'Bye, Em. Love you too."

Those words, those small five words, spoken so casually, were the last words he had said to her. And right about now, those words meant the world to him.

And as for Mrs. Martin, it really was okay. And eventually, he would be too.

Please review. Please pray for my family and I. I just found out that my aunt died today. This is based off a similar experience I had with her and my uncle. I'm away from home and this is kinda my coping mechanism. Thanks. I don't feel like putting a smiley face today.