There was something off about him as he sat outside in the rain, staring off up into the sky. He sat there, motionless, not even flinching as the cold droplets hit his face and split apart, running down his cheek. He must have been cold, he had gone numb. He had a pack of, unopened, drenched cigarettes in his hand. He had thought that maybe smoking would help to ease the emptiness but in the end, he couldn't do it. The sky was grey, almost as if it were empathizing with him. It was November sixth. Every year this was the hardest day to live with, and even though it had been fourteen years to the day, it still haunted him. Simon claimed he was there for him. He swore left and right that all he needed to do was tell him when he was upset and he would help him. But that was just it. Throughout all the years that Simon had known him, he should have known that Alic wasn't the type to come to people with his problems. He would internalize them, he would hold onto them, let them simmer then boil over. Then when it got that far he would go out and do something reckless. Last time, he had gone out and gotten smashed. He knew he was being stupid with every bad choice he made. But he just wanted to feel something, anything. He knew he wasn't the only one that had lost their family, knew that some kids were worse off, but at that moment, at the park, in the dark of the night, in the freezing November rain, Alic really couldn't bring himself to care. All he could hear was his mother. All he could see was her face and that pitiful, helpless look.
"I don't want to let go," he whispered. She had been crazy; she had probably been on drugs at the time too. After all, she had just been told that her husband was dead. Sophie, one of his mother's friends that had come to the funeral, had said that she had always been a hopeless romantic. Alic hadn't known what Sophie had meant at the time. Though, now it was painfully obvious. She had chosen death over him. She had told him that what she wanted more than anything else was to be with his father more than she wanted to be with him, her own son.
"How could you let go so easily?" He threw the pack away, the anger in his voice giving way to a broken sob. He hadn't cried much since her death. He liked to separate himself from those feelings; there was nothing to gain from sadness, from bitterness or hatred. So why dwell on it? He had made a vow a few years after, when he had been taken in by Simon's family that he wouldn't cry over that woman anymore. She may be his mother, but she never acted like it when it really counted. What kind of mother, no. What kind of person would leave to go get drunk after hearing about their husband's death and leave a four year old child all alone until the crack of dawn? It just wasn't right! That night he had been strong, he hadn't cried, even though he had wanted to. God, he had wanted to cry so badly, but he knew that one of them had to be strong and it obviously wasn't going to be his mother. He wanted to see her smile again. He wanted to see her eyes light up, to tell him it was all going to be okay. He hadn't wanted to be the adult, to be the one to take care of his mother as she threw up her last meal in the living room at three in the morning. Or when she had gone crazy and suicidal and flat out told him she didn't love him enough to stay alive to love him. She had said she loved him, but every time he thought about that moment in time it just sent his stomach into knots. He knew he should think better of his own mother, but he just couldn't find it in himself to.
"Alic, if you stay out here you're going to get sick." came a quiet voice from beside him. Alic didn't need to look to know who it was.
"Maybe I want to get sick. Maybe I just want it all to go away." He bit back, his shaggy, sopping wet ebony hair falling into his eyes. His head dropped and he brought his hand to his face. "I just want it to be quiet." he whispered.
"I thought you said you were over that." Simon said as he walked over to the soaking teen. He put a towel on his head and then held his large umbrella over the both of them. Alic didn't make a move to dry himself off, but rather to use the large beach towel as a sort of blanket, wrapping it so tightly around his shoulders his fingers were white against it, the blonde sighed, but didn't do anything about it. He'd fuss over the other boy later; right now his best friend needed him. Whether that meant talking to him, or just having someone to sit with and be quiet, that was fine. Alic never answered him, but Simon knew him well enough to know that that silence meant no. That he was still very much not over the death of his mother and father.
"Did she even care?" Alic finally asked after an hour, his voice quiet and almost inaudible. Simon turned to him; he placed a hand on Alic's cold shoulder to get his attention. It did, and what he saw almost broke his heart. Alic was a mess, he was so pale from the cold that he looked like he'd keel over and die any time now. His black eyeliner was a mess from the rain and left long dark tracks down his cheek, his beautiful cobalt blue eyes were empty. Simon knew today was hell for his friend, just as it was every year. But this year, he almost felt like Alic might just give up completely.
"I'm sure she cared. She had to; she was your mother after all."
"Then why did she leave me?! Why did they both leave me alone? Was I such an awful kid; was I just too much trouble? Or was I just a constant reminder of what she couldn't have anymore? Simon, I tried so hard to be there for her, but did she ever ask me how I was coping? No."
"That was a hard time for the both of you. You were told your dad had been shot."
"Did you know I never cried even once for him? I wanted to cry, but every time I thought about it ... I just couldn't do it." Simon was quiet for a moment, just mulling it all over, trying to get his thoughts in line. He had known that Alic had been through a lot at that point in his life, but this was the first time he had ever openly talked about it with him.
"Then cry now." He offered. Alic scoffed and turned away.
"I hardly remember the man, why would I even waste my time. Besides, if I were to do anything for him now, it'd be a punch to the face." Simon couldn't help the small smile that crept onto his lips.
"You are still such a momma's boy." he chuckled as he balanced the umbrella on his shoulder and took the towel from Alic to dry his hair. Due to the rain, it wasn't exactly dry now, but at least his hair wasn't dripping freezing rain down his back anymore. Alic growled at the comment, but leaned back into the friendly touch. And even though he'd never admit it aloud, if it hadn't been for Simon, he was sure he really would have given up years ago, and submitted to his depression. Suddenly standing up Alic walked over to where he had thrown the pack of cigarettes and picked them up then threw them away.
"I'm leaving, are you coming?"
"Well since we're going back to my house, it's four in the morning, and I have a car and you don't, yes. I'm coming." Simon smiled. Alic only rolled his eyes and left the blonde in the park as he went to the car. The other was only a few steps behind him though, so when Alic reached for the driver's side door there was a strong arm blocking his way. "No way in hell are you driving my car like you are now. You look like something even the cat wouldn't drag in." He quipped. Alic locked eyes with him for a moment, his blue eyes just staring into Simon's deep forest green eyes, figuring if he stared long enough, the other would cave. But Simon wasn't in the mood to be that generous tonight it seemed.
"Fine ... but you have to get me some food on the way back."Alic conceded, walking around to the passenger's side door, opening it and sliding in. Simon sighed.
"There's food at home."
"I want McDonalds."
"Screw what you want; you'll eat when we get back."
"But like you said earlier, it's four in the morning; would your mom really want me cooking at four in the morning?"
"Fine, I'll cook for you. Happy?"
"I don't do happy."
"No, you're right; you do mopey emo kid." Simon laughed and for a moment Alic just glared at him, but then cracked a small smile of his own. The worst was over.
"Damn right I do, and I do it so well too." Alic joked back. And even though he was still upset, at least he felt better. At least, he didn't feel as empty.