Solace [Rose & Soda]
The air was cold and wet, the grass still muddy and damp from the night’s rain. The sky was gloomy and it seemed to fit the mood. Her heart felt like it was in her throat as she slid out of the car. She took a deep breath, fixing her black skirt as her mother rounded the hooded of the car. She was dressed in all black, face solemn as she gently herded her kids up the hill towards the gravesite.
It didn’t seem real and her knees were shaking but Rose didn’t reach out to grab her mother’s arm.
Two-Bit’s face was stone, not a hint of his goofy smile on his face. She never could read him but at least he had always been goofing around when he blocked everyone off. But this…this was unnerving.
The Curtis brothers were already there and Mrs. Mathews took Pony into a large hug, holding him tightly as she pressed a kiss to the top of his head. Just as Mrs. Curtis was to Rose, Mrs. Mathews was to the boys. Rose couldn’t look them in the eyes as she took her place by her brother. She felt Soda’s presence beside her and it was unnerving, nerves jumping in her body like sparks of electricity.
She had found such comfort in him during the last week but as soon as Pony and Johnny had come back it was like she had been slapped in the face, realizing she had found joy when she should have been mourning and worrying. When in reality some of the moments she had simply forgotten and allowed herself to smile slightly and laugh with him or fall asleep on his shoulder.
Steve and Evie eventually joined them in the middle of the cemetery lined with trees, the old tiny church just a few hundred feet from where they stood.
The hearse finally parked in the gravel lot and Rose closed her eyes, unable to keep her tears at bay. For the first time she wasn’t able to avoid or stuff things down inside of her. She had to stand there and face the wooden casket that was being unloaded.
And Soda being there was just salt in the wound.
Why had she been so stupid?