Tell me you love me, come back and haunt me Nobody said it was easy
Oh and I rush to the start
Running in circles, chasing our tails
Coming back as we are
Oh it's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be so hard
I'm going back to the start
Nobody said it was easy
- Coldplay, The Scientist
A little boy stood solemnly under the arch of a tunnel, sheltered by the slight rain that had begun to fall. He looked up at the sky, clouds grey and the sky darkening quickly with the on coming storm. The boy jumped when he felt a hand on his shoulder, though smiled slightly when he turned and saw the familiar form of his loving uncle.
"You okay, little man?" his uncle asked, who soon found his nephew's arms around his legs in a hug. Looking down, he saw the boy slowly nod into his jeans. He reached down and picked the boy up, holding his nephew's small, shaking frame tightly, trying to comfort him as he started to cry into his shirt.
"Uncy Mike…" the little boy started shakily, lifting his tear-strained face from his uncle's chest, "Where are mummy and daddy?"
Mike blinked back his own tears, his heart breaking at those small blue eyes, the face of the little boy who looked so much like his father, Mike's older brother. "They're in a better place, little Andy; in a much better place…"
Andy sat in the back seat of his uncle's old pick up, fiddling with the collar of the black suit and funny tie his uncle made him wear. "Uncy Mike, why do I have to wear this costume?"
Mike had to laugh at the innocence of his nephew's question, even as much as the answer pained him. "We're going to a party, remember little Andy?" Mike glanced in the rear view mirror and could only see Andy's sandy colored mop of hair as the little boy sat looking down at his lap thoughtfully.
"Is it a party for mummy and daddy?"
Mike tapped his fingers on the steering wheel with a small sigh, parking the truck. "Yes, Andy, it is." He helped his nephew out of the car seat and smoothed the sleeves of the little boy's suit. Andy took in their surroundings, noticing all the cars that had been in the procession were in the lot they were in now. He watched on as several men took two large boxes out from the back of a weird looking car, and how the people there were following the men who were carrying the boxes out onto a small path. Mike held Andy's hand in his large grasp, giving it a little comforting squeeze. "Come on, little man. The party is going this way."
Andy followed his uncle, feet moving quickly, two steps to his uncle's one. They walked down the path behind the two carried boxes. Andy watched the many weird looking stones sticking out of the ground as they passed with interest; how some were large, others small, and how some were crosses or beautifully carved angels. Eventually the group veered off the path, and they circled around two deep holes in the ground. A man dressed in black and white robes stood before them all, speaking in a loud voice and talking about something Andy couldn't understand.
Andy tugged on the sleeve of his uncle's suit. "What is he talking about, Uncy Mike?" Andy questioned.
"He's helping us say goodbye," was Mike's soft reply. Andy allowed himself to be pulled along by his uncle, a line forming to get closer to the boxes. Flowers, crosses, and stuffed animals adorned the lids, as did several pictures of the once happy family.
Andy glanced up at his uncle, watching as he brushed away tears. He dropped his uncle's hand and fingered a stuffed dog someone had left on the lid of the box in front of them. He grabbed the dog as they moved on and stood back to watch the boxes be moved into the ground. "Bye bye," he whispered, clutching the toy to his chest.
Two teenagers, girlfriend and boyfriend, sat at the end of a tunnel; their wet clothes clinging to their bodies and the hoods of their sweatshirts pulled over their heads, watching how lightning lit up the dark sky.
She sat there contently with his arm wrapped casually around her waist. She turned her gaze to her boyfriend, who seemed to be lost in his own world as he studied the clouds and the storm going on around them intently. She nudged him gently, bumping shoulders, in order to catch his attention. "You okay, Andy?" He turned to her several moments later absent-mindedly. He didn't say anything in response, and she could practically feel his eyes going over her features with the same scrutiny he had when he was watching the sky.
She took his hand and gently entwined their fingers, and with her other she reached up and brushed the sandy colored bangs out of his blue eyes. "You come here often, don't you?" The question was soft, her words wrapping themselves around him. He nodded slowly, and reached down to the book bag at his side. He pulled out an old stuffed dog; it was a husky dog, the fur worn from childhood adventures and countless hugs. He touched the spot where one of the glass eyes were missing and smiled faintly, lost in a memory.
"I got him at my parent's funeral, the dog I mean," Andy said handing her the stuffed animal. "I was little when they got into that car accident, I knew that something happened to them, but didn't fully understand the situation, really. I mean, at the time, I couldn't comprehend that I would never see them again."
She wrapped her arms around him and laid her head on his shoulder. "What little munchkin would be able to?"
He smiled a bit at her comment. "No, I suppose not."
"Did your uncle give him to you?"
Andy shook his head in the negative. "I got him off my dad's coffin, I think, right before they were buried."
They sat in silence for a few moments, the thunder echoing off the walls of the tunnel and lightning flashing. "I really admire my uncle for taking me in after they died," Andy stated. "It must have been really awkward and difficult for him; I probably asked him questions that were emotionally hard to answer."
He could feel her nod against him. The movement caused her hood to slip off and revealed her long dark hair. He twirled it around his fingers. "The dog helped you cope," she realized.
"Yeah, that and this spot. That's why I come here so often, Ashley." She looked up at him quizzically. "You see, right after the crash, I knew something was wrong, but didn't know what was going on. All of my relatives were running around my house crying, giving me pained smiles. I ran away; I came here that day and my uncle followed me. To make me feel better about it, he told me they were in a better place and that they were always going to look after me, no matter what."
A last clap of thunder sounded, echoing around them. Andy lifted his gaze from Ashley's face and looked out at the sky again. "See out there on the horizon, that patch of clear sky where the sun is breaking through?" She saw what he was motioning to and nodded mutely.
"See that patch of sky over there, little Andy? That's where your mummy and daddy are. They're up in the sunny clouds, in heaven, and will always be able to watch you."
The little boy sniffed, rubbing his nose on his uncle's shirt. "Even on the rainy days?"
Mike flashed him a smile, a sure and steady one, a smile that reassured all and any worries the little boy might have had. "Of course," Mike replied, "Because there is always sun beyond the storm, Andy. Just look to the horizon." He shifted his nephew in his arms and pointed out to the sky where the sun was just starting to peak through the clouds.
He set Andy back on his feet, holding his hand. "You ready to go, Andy?"
Andy nodded and swung their conjoined hands back and forth. "Yes, Uncy Mike. I think they're happy." With his free hand he pointed at the streaks of bright sunlight in the dark sky.
Mike turned his gaze from the beautiful scene in front of them to down at his nephew. "I think they are too, and that's just what they want you to be as well, Andy: they want you to be happy."
As the pair walked down the street hand in hand, a slight wind picked up, tickling the little boy's cheeks, and reminding him of how his mother use to do the very same.