September 18, 2014
The first brown leaves of autumn flutter down from the trees, scattering across the dirt path where they are crunched into a thousand pieces by the heel of Sam’s boot. The early evening air is crisp and a whirling wind ruffles Sam’s long, graying hair. He dips his bare hands into the pockets of his black pea coat, they will be much warmer there.
The forest is beautiful at this time of year, all the leaves and trees changing into brilliant oranges and yellows, turning the rich green forest into something out of a Thomas Kinkade painting. Sam feels at peace here amidst the trees and wildlife, the whooshing of the wind through the branches and chirping of the birds as they swoop down towards the forest floor is soothing. He understands why Dean and Cas loved it so much.
Sam continues down the narrow, winding path, shoes scuffing against the dirt. Overgrown brush intrudes across the path, long vines that could’ve tripped him if he hadn’t been paying attention - he’s going to need to cut those down sometime soon. Clearly, in his yearly absence, things have grown. A few clusters of wildflowers grow along the path, Sam bends down and scoops up two small bouquets of the flowers, placing them gently into his pocket. He looks up ahead to where the trees arch, making a canopy over the walkway then vanishing completely and the pathway opens into a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean. He sighs heavily, everything still looks the same as it did last year and the year before.
It’s kind of funny, Sam thinks, how human life can change drastically in twenty-five years yet the world seems to remain, to continue on turning despite death.
The path fans out into a large circular area where two gravestones stand side-by-side, looking out over the cliff and across the horizon to where ocean meets sky.
“Hey Cas, hey Dean,” Sam says softly, a sad smile on his face.
He kneels down in front of one of the gravestones, resting his hand on the top of the cool marble, staring at the name printed on the stone.
“I can’t believe it’s been twenty-five years, it seems like it was yesterday.”
Sam takes in a shaky breath, pulling out the small bouquet of colorful wildflowers he picked along the trail and lays them across Cas’s grave.
“Twenty five years that you’ve been dead, Cas. It doesn’t seem real. Jess and I… we miss you guys everyday. I wish you two could see our daughter, her name’s Ellen and she’s… she’s beautiful. You would’ve loved her Cas, she likes the stars just like you did.”
Sam pauses, swiping a hand over his face to wipe of the few tears sliding down his cheeks.
“I bet you two are happy up there, at peace and probably frolicking through tall grass or something. I am sure you and Dean are up there driving all the angels crazy with how horribly in love you are. Anyway, I hope… I hope heaven’s treating you well. I miss you Cas, I’ll see you next year.”
He rises to his feet slowly, leaving one last lingering glance at Cas’s grave before moving a few feet over to stand in front of his brother’s. Sam brushes his fingers along the top of Dean’s grave reverently, blinking back tears.
“Hey Dean, I’ll be back in a few months to see you. I love you.”
Sam smiles softly, glancing back and forth between his brother and his best friend’s resting place. His eyes rise up to the horizon, soaking in the slowly setting sun. With a heavy sigh he turns around and retreats back into the forest.
His duty is done, for a few months at least.