Dedicated to my angst king, @bunny-yams. You aren’t just dude. You’re my dude.
Soft sunlight flowed through the air, a stillness falling over the graveyard as the steady grey rows of tombstones were interrupted every few steps by a bouquet of flowers. The color popped out from behind a grave, resting on another one, being all that was left of the memory that someone loved a person now gone. Sighing softly, Thomas reached his destination and sat down in front of the grave he had come to see. The soft dirt snuck under the corners of his fingernails and blades of grass bent gently as he rested, closing his eyes and taking in a deep breath before opening them once more.
A small bouquet of wilted flowers caught his eye. They were daisies- well, they had been daisies. Bright white shining in the sunlight reduced to nothing more than a dull yellowed brown, like tea-soaked parchment. Thomas brushed the dying flowers aside and placed a pink rose on the grass where the daisies had been laying. Alexander had never been particularly fond of daisies, anyways.
He could almost hear Alexander now, berating him for thinking that daisies, of all things, would be an acceptable thing to place on his grave. And Thomas would laugh softly before reminding Alexander that the dead have no choice whether or not daisies get placed on their graves. Then maybe he would hear Alexander mumble a soft thanks for the rose. If Thomas closed his eyes, he could almost imagine the soft breeze passing by was Alexander pressing a kiss to his forehead. Almost.
“I miss you,” Thomas stated, not opening his eyes as he spoke to the gravestone in front of him. “I know that you don’t expect me to, and I know that I don’t want to, but I miss you.” Thomas could feel the world turning back time around him, and played with the idea of days and weeks and months passing by in a flash, leaves floating back up to trees and returning to a vibrant green instead of a bold scarlet.
He could feel the grass beneath him like the way it had when he’d rushed over to Alexander after the shorter man had fallen from a tree. ‘I don’t need you to help me up,’ Alexander had said, cheeks blushing a soft pink, and Thomas had chuckled and extended his arm anyways, which Alexander gladly took. Steadying himself, he’d flashed Thomas a shy smile and held his hand tighter. Thomas reached his hand down and tightly gripped the grass beneath him, desperate to remember the feeling of Alexander’s hand in his.
Thomas took in another deep breath, the cool air sharp on his tongue like the taste of that awful mint bubblegum Alexander had liked to chew while he worked. Thomas couldn’t even attempt to count how many times Alexander had blown a bubble only for it to pop in his face and get in his hair. He could barely even keep track of the creative swears Alexander would use. After all, you never truly attempt to memorize something if you don’t know you’ll never fully experience it again.
He could still hear Alexander yelling, if he let his mind wander far enough. Yelling at him in meetings and arguments about small issues- big ones, too. Things only one of them did that both of them regretted for entirely different reasons. Alexander would always punctuate his words during arguments by throwing his arms up into the air, showing off the many scars he’d received over the years. He knew every scar on Alexander’s skin, each story behind them more hazy in his mind than the last.
Sitting at Alexander’s grave in the mid-September sunlight, Thomas came to a conclusion. Life was like studying for a test. You read and review the major parts, let them chase through your mind like Alexander chased through the halls of the office when he had a startling idea. But the small details? The specific flavor of mint gum, or the exact words spoken in your last conversation to a loved one? Those were the things you overlooked. Those were the things you wished more than anything you could remember. Wish that you could somehow go back in time and tell your past self that this, this is important, this is the thing you need. Because soon enough you’ll wish you were able to remember it. And you won’t.
Thomas opened his eyes and smiled sadly at the inscription of the gravestone before standing and turning, walking away. Life was a test. And death was simply realizing you didn’t remember quite enough of the memories you’d taken for granted.