Chapter Six from Waiting on July

Need to catch up on Chapter Five: Click Here.

His body looked to have more life in it than it did when he was alive. The make up on his face made him look almost as though he would be warm to the touch and there were no track marks or signs that he was ever in pain. It was almost like he was just asleep, like any moment now he was going to wake up. I knew that wasn’t going to happen, I knew that he was dead and he was going to stay dead. Everyone was dressed in black, I was wearing one of my dad’s old sport coats and black pants that were just a little different shade of black. Some guys from the soccer team including Tristan stood in the back of the room. Max didn’t show up, but if I was responsible for the death of someone I wouldn’t have shown up either. 

Watching his mom made me hurt. Watching her sitting down next to the open coffin for most of the funeral. I put my arm on her shoulder with my eyes filling with tears and she looked at me. For a second I thought she was relieved and then she pushed my hand away from her shoulder and stood up.

“This is all your fault!” She pointed her finger into my chest as Hendrick’s dad pulled her back. 

“I…” I started to speak but she stopped me.

“You and your entire druggy family. If it wasn’t for you, my baby…” She started crying and her head collapsed into Hendrick’s father’s shoulder. I was in shock and didn’t know what to say. I just looked up at Hendrick’s father and he looked at me, or through me. 

“I think you should leave Canaan.” Hendricks’ father spoke softly and dragged his wife away. I stood there for a minute wondering how I could tell her it wasn’t my fault. But a part of me knew that she knew it wasn’t my fault. A part of me knew that she was just in so much pain I was the outlet she could let it out on. I knew that she knew me better than that. As I pushed open the door to the funeral home the wind pushed the biting cold air into my bones. There was snow in the yards, some along the street began to turn black from the sludge on the roads. I walked home, the funeral home was only a block away but it felt like forever in the winter air. The sky was gray and the air was dry. Winter always smelt so pure and clean. When I got back into my room I laid on my bed and turned my head to look out the window. I couldn’t see much except a few other apartment buildings and a street light. In the sky a few snowflakes began to fall. Gradually getting heavier until all I could see was snow falling outside my window. I went back outside. The air felt warmer even though I knew it wasn’t. As I stood on the sidewalk, a snowflake tickled my nose. My mom used to tell me that whenever a snowflake tickles your nose, an angel is letting you know they’re with you. I smiled even though I was beginning to shiver. A moment later another one in almost the same spot. I knew it was my mom and I hoped the second one was Hendrick forgiving me. I laid down on my back in the snow that covered the little bit of grass on the edge of the sidewalk and crossed my arms. I kept my eyes closed as the snowflakes continued to fall landing all over my face but only two seemed to touch my nose. Maybe I made that up in my mind or shut off the sense of touch on my nose so that I didn’t feel any more but I know that was all there was. I could feel the snow covering me and I just let it. My back was wet from slowing melting the snow beneath me. It felt like I was out there for hours with my eyes closed. It was peaceful and the sound of the city just washed away. Until I heard footsteps make their way just inches from me.

“Hey bud.” I looked up to see my dad standing on the sidewalk next to my feet. 

“Oh, hey dad.”

“You alright?” 

I sat up slightly in the snow and looked around me. I could now feel how cold it was. How numb my hands were and how wet my pants were. “I mean my best friend is dead, his mom thinks it’s my fault. Mom’s dead the same way that my best friend just died and I haven’t talked to my other best friend since the day she told me my best friend is dead. So yeah, I mean, could be better but overall things are definitely looking up.”

“You know, you don’t always have to make things a job Can.” 

“But life is just so funny.” 

“Come on.” He reached out his hand and pulled me up. “I’m out early, I picked up some subs on the way home.”

“Italians?” I said dusting the snow off the sport coat. 

“Italians…” 

We both looked at each other and at the same time said, “with hots.” I smiled for a second and he smiled back. It was a weird moment. It was almost like we were bonding over a sub order but it felt good. It was comforting in a way to see him smile even though I could see the pain behind his eyes as he looked at me, knowing that he was seeing the same pain in mine. 

I went back up the stairs to the apartment and took a shower before eating. Now in my sweats I made my way out to the kitchen to see my dad sitting at the table. The table that my mom was sitting at when she died. In the kitchen that neither of us ate in for a year. He was sitting there with two subs. His was opened on the white wrapper in front of him and mine still sitting in the wrapper in front of an empty seat. My mom’s seat was empty and I remembered what it used to be like to sit here with the three of us on days like this. I felt like it was a test. A part of me stood there telling me to take the sub and run. And although I was probably standing there for an uncomfortable amount of time staring at a sub my dad just made a soft gesture for me to sit. I began unwrapping the sub and my dad took the first bite of his. We didn’t really say anything but I didn’t feel like we had to. We were silent and eating but it wasn’t awkward or uncomfortable it actually felt more normal then things had been. I hoped that he felt the same. I think he did. I think he felt good making this choice to not go right into his bedroom. I think he felt strong not being too scared to be in this kitchen because of all the pain we felt in it. I think he felt that he was really trying to show me he was here.

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