*Trigger warning: This is not a happy story and may be upsetting for some audiences*

The flame dances on the end of the candle, purple wax dripping onto the chocolate frosting. Chocolate cake and chocolate frosting, her favorite. I blow out the candle. “Happy nineteenth birthday, Melody.”

Piles of vibrant flowers cover the headstone, but they grow paler each year. Less people come. People forget. I wish I could forget. I wish we’d never met.

When you get a call after midnight, it’s never good. I tried to come up with excuses. The roads had been slick that night. She’d only had her license for a few months. She hadn’t seen the deer until it was in the road.

But they had found alcohol in her system. She was “lucky no one else was hurt”.

I set the cupcake on her grave and wait. If I wait long enough, she’ll wake up. “Why didn’t you take me with you?”

***

I wore my itchy tights to the funeral, focusing on the discomfort. Friends paid their respects, tried to talk to me. I let my eyes slide past them. I’d nod in all the right places, even smile.

Mom kept reminding me to eat. She was afraid to leave me alone for too long.

I only looked at her coffin once. Her hair was dull rose, not the wildfire color that it usually was. Her face could have been anyone’s face.

***

The empty pill bottle falls out of my hand. Even as I swallow the last one, I know it won’t be enough.

 

If you’re looking for something a little more happy now, here’s a link to a short, romantic poem: http://www.wedbushwrite.com/almost/

Fiction

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