His eyes gazed on the gravestone; he didn't feel anything until he read her name. He didn't feel anything until her name flooded his mind with all the times they had. It even made a rage spring up deep inside of him, angry about the time they no longer could have. He was overtaken daily by sorrow and the emptiness he still felt, though her death had been months ago. Soon it will be a year since her passing, and though that might be grounds for moving on, he couldn't seem to move forward. Time was stuck in the same circle, just like her laugh, her voice, was stuck in his mind like a broken record.
The ache in his chest brought him down, to his knees, closer to the dirt her body was covered by. It ate his insides, devouring his being. It felt like his chest was collapsing. His body decaying before he was even pronounced dead. His fingers scratched the ground, clenching the dirt in his hand. He knew he shouldn't have come, especially not today. February 14th, of all the ridiculous days to choose. But, what better day to give your loved one their final gift?
His hair fell into his face as he stared at the grave. The ache was growing, as it often did, moving to all areas of his body. He felt weak, not being able to move on, but her death had ripped something from him, something he was unwilling to give up. It shook him worse than anything he'd ever experienced before, it changed him, molded him to suffering's will. He had changed; he didn't even recognize himself anymore. No one did, thus they slowly abandoned him, still physically present, but emotionally detached. Or was it him who had become detached? Trauma can change a person, his grief therapist had said, but nothing can really change you back, not exactly.
He was a mess, a mess no one felt the urge to clean up. It was disgraceful; he holding onto the ground for fear something would yank him away. He hadn't come here to be miserable; he wanted to show her, that he was okay, so she wouldn't worry. He'd never been able to lie to her, now was no different. He held out for the hope of an afterlife, he couldn't bring himself to believe that she was just gone. He struggled to release the ground.
"I brought you something," He said, voice shaking, when he could finally bring himself up to a respectable position. "It's not much…"
He dug through his pockets, pulling out a necklace, one he had intended to give her before the accident. He hadn't the courage to even look at it until the night before. He'd never even taken it out of the bag. It didn't help the ache, but he knew it was time to give it up. It was the last thing of hers he had, she deserved to have it. They, his friends, said it would help him move on, if he left it with her. It seemed that when someone died, everyone became a grief counselor.
He held it up, watching the sun hit it as the charm twirled around. He smiled halfheartedly, envisioning it around her neck. She would have loved it, he was certain; she loved everything he did for her. He watched it twirl for a moment longer, not truly wanting to give it away. It felt like giving her away. His fist curled around it, as he brought it closer to his body. He looked at the charm, wishing that it had some magical capability to bring back the dead. As he did, he felt a sudden weight, wrapping itself around his neck, and resting against the back of his head. He stared forward, forcing himself to focus only on the weight, hoping to prolong it for as long as possible.
It was familiar, he had felt it before, and he knew what it was. He felt warm, for the first time in ages, and the ache subsided to a more tolerable level. Still not gone, that's how he knew, this couldn't be real. Next came the laugh, the one that could always make him feel better, and the one he found himself wishing for as they lowered her into the ground. And then the voice.
"Oh! I love it," The weight gripped him tighter, embracing, as the voice echoed in his mind. "Thank you!"
The moment didn't last, she released him, and his body felt pain again. As if it all refreshed itself, and became anew. As if he had just received the news. He felt like his body was made of glass, and someone had thrown him to the ground in a fit of anger.
He had forgotten to breathe in the moments she caressed him, too focused on the feeling, exhaling shakily he dropped the necklace. Maybe from shock, more likely that his mind no longer knew what to do with itself. She had been there, holding him, and he'd lost her, again. For a few seconds, as he stared at the ground, to the spot where the necklace landed, he could see the earth change colors from mixing with liquid. It wasn't until he couldn't see that he realized he had been crying.