I'm glad I'm not standing as the doctor tells me this or else I might collapse.
But despite the fact that I am sitting and I have this advantage, my legs and arms turn to wobbly little noodles and I want to slide out of my seat onto the floor. It feels like I'm gripping on to the seat handles for dear life. It's not until Damien turns to me to embrace me in a hug that I realize that I am gripping on for dear life.
The doctor apologizes and walks away, leaving Damien to bury his face in my hair and me to stare at my still white knuckles hanging over his shoulders. I'm usually not a hugger, but right now, I don't want to move. I have absolutely no energy.
I mean, I spent so long planning and so much time and effort trying to save Veronica, and it's all gone to waste. And it's probably my fault. It is my fault.
"We tried." Damien whispers in my ear, and that's all it takes.
I cry puddles and rivers. I cry lakes and oceans. I cry enough to drown a whole city and enough to drown the whole world. I cry waterfalls and white water rapids that spiral around forever. I cry one tiny drop that is so lethal to an ant, yet so insignificant to a human. But not to me.
Damien leans back out of the hug, but still holds my shoulders. "Why are you crying? You know that none of this was your fault, right?"
I try to communicate with him some way, but I'm crying too hard to speak, and way too hard to make any facial gesture or even nod my head. He continues to reassure me that none of it was my fault, but I already know it wasn't, that's the thing.
When I finally calm down, I wipe my eyes with my sleeve, not even caring how I look right now. And after everything that's happened, I'm pretty sure Damien could care less, too.
"I'm crying because I know that none of it was my fault."
"Why would you cry about that?"
Somehow I work up enough energy to manage a small smile. "It's just nice to know that for once something's not my fault."
When I get home, all I want to do is sleep.
Of course, that won't happen.
Right as I walk through the door, my parents rush to me, demanding answers and telling me about the story about Veronica on the news but all I hear is blah blah blah and my head is spinning and hey, so is the room and my mind just keeps going back to thinking about one thing: Adele.
I guess she's gone for good? I mean, I guess. You can never be sure anymore.
"-but you're alright, and that's all that matters." I barely catch the end of my mom's speech as she squeezes me so hard my eyes might pop out.
When she lets go, I take a few step backs just to look at them: my parents. My annoying, old-school, grouching, caring, wise and funny parents. God, I love them. I love them for their pros as well as their cons.
"I know I have some explaining to do, but I really need some rest."
My parents nod in unison, both smiling softly and both standing hip to hip. I smile a real smile back at them, because they look like they're taking a picture. I head upstairs, but before I retire to my cave, I turn into my sister's room.
"Hey Ava, I was just about to go downstairs to see you." She slowly steps off her bed and walks towards me. She opens her mouth, probably to ask something, but who cares right now. I capture her in a hug, catching her off guard, but she doesn't protest.
We stand here for a while in silence, neither one of us daring to speak and ruin this loving moment.
Because that's the thing. Words can comfort and show appreciation. They're good to use when you want someone to know how you feel or what you want or anything else that words can do. But as I slowly walk away from my sister, and a smile magically appears on my face, I know that words aren't always necessary.
Love knows no boundaries and, when you really mean it, you won't have to tell someone that you love them. They'll just know. Because love is amazing like that.
And as I snuggle into my bed and shut my eyes, I know that this completely true. Love is so much more comforting than words.
A feather light hand envelopes mine and an angelic voice whispers in my ear: "I'll always be with you." And I know exactly who it is.
Well, most of the time, at least.