Darkness. Deep. Impenetrable. Complete. That is how I feel. Cold and empty inside. I am wrapped in my heavy blankets, cocooned in my bed. Darkness inside of darkness. Alone. I float in the abyss, unable to think beyond this oppressive, all-consuming sadness. My heart beats slowly, my breath almost non-existent. I can’t even cry. I can’t see past this darkness. It is my prison.
Three days later is yet another funeral. I abhor the thought of going, yet I am compelled to pull myself out of the abyss long enough to attend. The weight crushes down on me with every pained breath. I am barely aware of the clothes I don, barely conscious of Mother walking me to the limo and helping me into the back seat. The drive passes by me in a distant haze. It is raining. Or maybe that is merely my perception.
The Martins are a private family, so the ceremony is private. I see snatches of it, moments that last forever while all else speeds past in a blur. The crowd is small and familiar, like a grim family reunion. Andrew is in a closed casket of rich black wood adorned with the family crest. Mother leads me past him without stopping.
Everything is distant, unreal. Brianne and Tyler are here. I can see their faces amid the haze. No smiles. No nods of support or understanding. Their faces hold a look I cannot decipher at first because it is so unexpected and out-of-place: accusation. Mother whisks me away from them before anything can be said.
Words are spoken, stories of his kindness and his character. Witnesses to his contributions. Fond tales and childhood memories. No one mentions how he died. They do not even offer excuses. Have none of them any idea why he did it? Did they all know what he was? Could I really have been so blind about him? That explains Brianne and Tyler. They must think I knew. Or maybe they blame me for what Lady Fabulous did. It doesn’t matter now, does it? I can’t change what happened, though I would if I could. At least then I wouldn’t be so alone. Then I would have something beyond the encroaching darkness.
The day passes in pieces of eternity, seconds that take hours to pass and hours that disappear. The drive to the cemetery is instantaneous, yet the funeral itself lasts a century. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. We commit Andrew Tiberius Martin to the earth. Mother is holding me, otherwise I might collapse. I have no strength for this. At least they don’t need heavy machinery to lower his coffin.
A snowflake shatters the fog. I watch it drift down slowly from a stony sky. I lose sight of it when it gets closer. Then I feel it land on my forehead, a drop of cold that melts on my skin. It brings forth memories like demons summoned by unholy power. Flashing before my open eyes are moments of joy. A smile. Laughter. Ice skating and sledding, snowmen and funny shaped snow angels.
All my heightened senses awaken in a terrible rush. Colors and figures come into sharp focus. The smell of wet dirt and death jars me and every sound attacks like an ice pick. It is just too much all at once. I back away from the yawning black void, the heavy stench of so many graves, wrench myself from Mother’s grasping hands. More snowflakes swirl down to send jolts of electricity through my memories. Boyish grin and the laughter of children. An embrace when most desperately needed.
I make it back to the limo before my legs give out. I brace myself against its polished hood and take some deep breaths. Something liquid spatters on the shiny black paint. Huh. I suppose I am finally crying. One drop. Two. They fall to join with the growing number of snowflakes. Suddenly, I miss the abyss. At least it held no pain.