The silence choked me, It pressed onto my shoulders, weighing me down.
The others in the room were staring at me, No, they were staring at the white casket, the one with the lilacs, Red roses, Daffodils, White roses, and lilies.
They were staring at the Girl in the casket.
Her name suited her in Life, and it suited her in death as well, I suppose.
Tears streamed down my cheeks.
She looked like she was sleeping.
Except her makeup was too thick, She never curled hair, She liked her nails filed to a point, not round, and she liked one bracelet on her right wrist, not her left.
The only thing they did a good job on was the dress.
A light lilac, silk spaghetti strap dress.
Her face was so pale, like wax almost.
Everyone stared at me and the dead girl, as I gently brushed my fingers against her hand.
I realized I'd never get to see her open her blue eyes again, or even smile like she used to.
I was suddenly sobbing, leaning over the casket, the white satin that she would lay in forever.
Suddenly, I realized that I knew the most about Grace here. The others felt like intruders, Strangers spying on the last moments of goodbye, the end of a friendship, and the loss of a sister.
I could feel her hand in mine, as though it were yesterday that we were smiling and laughing, Joking about The future.
We had spent so long together, that spending my time without her seemed an impossible feat.
I couldn't breathe, I had not eaten in days, hadn't slept. When I did sleep, I was plagued of dreams of her, nightmares almost.
"Aha. You're so funny." She mocked playfully, Her hair flowing behind her.
"I know, I'm amazing, no need to remind me!" I laughed, We began laughing harder.
"I'm going to leave soon, We should do something fun soon."
The dream always the same, She would say that, then stare at me for a few moments, then she would fade slowly, no matter how loud I called her name, No matter how far I reached, She would not stay, and she would not answer.
"Adele, it's alright, please stop, please."
Whoever said it knew that they could not come near me.
This was my final moments with a best friend, If they came near me, I would snap.
It was as though time had stopped, and I could stay like this for ever, never having to say goodbye.
I could feel the warm summer sun peek through the windows, and I remembered the way Grace would skip through the town laughing, like a small child.
I was the only who knew she wanted to find a man who would love her, who would protect her.
Only I knew that she loved Lilacs because it was the first flower that The boy she had liked given to her. I knew Grace had one day wanted to have a child, she would name it Addie, 'After you, Adele, and if it's a boy, I'll name it Adam.' She had always Said it with a sparkle in her eyes.
I knew that she hated her hair curled, No matter how nice everyone said it looked.
We used to sit with each other and watch movies and she'd lean on me and I wouldn't let anything hurt her.
She loved the sunset, and she always watched the sunrise, I'd wake up sometimes to her on the walk way in a pair of shorts and a tank top with a cup of coffee, barefoot, Watching the the sky go from a mix of colors to a blue.
Grace had been a beautiful, fragile girl, She had also been strong, yet gentle. She had been a friend.
A one of a kind girl,Who wanted nothing more then to live her life, and had so much to live for.
For a few moments, the tears were not sadness but anger.
How could they take her away from me?
Grace had been my sister, if not in blood, then surely in soul.
And watching her die had killed a part of me. A big part of me, at the same time, A new part of me came alive.
A hand was placed on my shoulder and for a moment I squeezed my eyes shut, getting read to say something when they spoke.
"She wanted to name her Addie, I was going to let her."
The tears I had just gained control of came spilling out again, this time I didn't think I'd be able to stop them.
He was silent for a moment, then he spoke again, "I'll never be able to look at lilacs without thinking of her again. I won't be able to do a lot of things for a while, I might break down."
I tore my eyes away from the dead girl and looked at him.
He looked like he belonged in a casket to.
His eyes were red, and dark circles gave them the appearance of sinking into his face, He was pale, almost a waxy color, I knew he hadn't eaten anything, at first I remember forcing him to drink water even.
I remember him staring at me, He asked me why I couldn't let him die, he called me a hypocrite because I didn't eat breakfast.
He had worse nightmares then I did.
"You should let others see her too." He said, and I nodded. He led me to the side of the casket, and people began to file into a line to take a peek at the dead girl..s.
I swept away in a fury of "I'm so sorry," "You'll be alright," "She's in a better place."
My eyes never left her, laying in the casket.
Somehow, in all the sympathy and hugs, his hand met mine and we shared our sympathy with each other, giving other one armed hugs, if I let go now, I may never get a hold of something again.
I preferred the silence, The thick choking silence that made it seem as if the world would not turn.
The gently streaming sunlight seemed to float through the windows and land on the sparkling jewelry and watches of the "grieving."
More then half of them were only here because it was the polite thing to do.
Old school mates, teachers, doctors, dentist, and 'friends' all wore somber faces and black clothes but they would go home and smile, laugh and joke around with others.
Only those who truly knew her were crying, or trying not to.
Our neighbor sat in a corner with her daughter, who was wiping furiously at her eyes.
I realized then and there how much my life and routine will change.
Now, I'll get up in the morning and go to make Our neighbor breakfast before her daughter comes to check on her. On Sundays, I'd drive Mrs. Jay and Mrs. Bryant to church and sit and visit with them after doing some errands while they prayed to a God I have no faith in.
I would no longer watch Grace walk out the door to do those things, and I would no longer live my daily routine of running to the store for more coffee and would no longer go with her to lunch after spending the morning on my computers and scanners.
And finally, everyone was silent as I said a few words, then Jay, who stood next to me, still holding my hand. He was shaky from fatigue and malnourishment.
Then we left for the graveyard.
When they lowered her I began sob once again, the sun still shining down in golden rays.
I stood there, after everyone had left besides me and him. With shaking hands I laid a single white rose on the grave, then some lilacs.
I guess that we never really see how short life can be. Or how many people who we leave behind when we're gone.
********Four years later*****
I stared at Jay from my spot at the table, He was next to me, Holding my hand tightly. "We have to go." I said, Staring at the people who Smiled and laughed, It took me a year to smile, a little bit longer to laugh.
Still, I had days were I would stop and think about Grace, and I would cry, and Jay would cry with me, and then, somehow, We would smile as we remembered everything that made Grace Grace, and all the things we did together.
It hasn't been the same without her, It never will be, I guess.
Jay had been tormented by her memory in his home, and I had been terrified of the emptiness of mine.
I invited him to stay, we comforted each other.
Comfort led to so much more.
I would never be Grace, and he understood that. I also understood, and admired, that he still held a strong love for Grace in his heart.
So I kneel here, at her grave, lilacs laid neatly before the gravestone, Jay's hand on my shoulder, and my hand on my stomach.
The sun was shining down in soft golden rays, The day was absolutely still.
Then a breeze that tickled the back of my neck and made my hair flutter softly along with the leaves on the trees. I glanced down at my stomach, then to the sky.
"I'll name her Grace."