The sadness was all persuasive, wrapped around them like a blanket of fog, holding them all together. Alone they would have fallen and quickly. Together, they managed to prop each other up and hold the grief at bay.
“Why?” was Susie’s endless question.
He just wanted to go home and be alone. This was something he didn’t like or want to share, this sorrow. It filled him full, leaving no room for kind words or reassurance of hope and continuation. Dead was dead. The mere fact of the matter took away the last traces from his life. Soon even the memory would be gone, the sadness over.
Maybe, if he hung on tight enough some sprinkle of memory might remain; colored sugar on a cake.
“He was a good man,” Macy said, wiping raccoon eyes. “He never judged me like the fathers of some of my friends.”
“He always supported us in everything we did,” Susie agreed.
They both looked at him so he nodded. “Never said a word when I bought my bike.” The bike that lived in his living room so he didn’t forget. The father who lived with him so he remembered.
“He was hoping you’d get over stupid on your own,” both of his sisters said and laughed.
If only they knew. He hadn’t ridden the bike in over ten years, not wanting to risk more loss. The Doctors couldn’t tell him why the accident wiped away only part of his memory, only that he was lucky. At least he had something left, some memories, some hold on the world of his past. Not people, but events. Some didn’t. Some people with similar brain injuries simply forgot everything. He might have been left with only 15 minutes of everything. Or 15 seconds. Or nothing.
Lucky meant he only forgot people once they faded from his life. Like birthdays. He remembered the day, the cake, the presents but not the people. He knew people had been there, but they no longer existed. Bare walls bracketed the memories; he the last person alive. Childhood. Christmases. Lovers. Nothing.
The funeral was over. They hugged, kissed, promised to keep in touch before another funeral brought them together again. They wouldn’t, but they pretended for him. He looked at them, his sisters, aching to commit them so deep in his memory he would never forget but eventually, inevitably, he would.
Turning, he walked away. Why the heck was he in a cemetery anyway?