***I know this might be a very strange platform to dedicate this post to my uncles, however, I feel like they’re not remembered enough, yet deserve to be. Uncle B. thank you for allowing me to sit on your lap to attempt to drive as you pushed the pedals and I steered the car. I know it was very illegal since I was young, but it was my first experience being taught how to drive, and I’ll never forget it. I miss your smile but I’m glad all my memories of you are of you smiling. Uncle A. when I was confused on where you lived you told me to turn down the street where a tree stump was on the corner of. Now every time I see a tree stump, I think of you and remember that the neighbours took that tree stump away. It was a long time ago, but I’ll never get over that. Gone too soon; thank you for everything, I miss you and love you both, and I’m sorry I didn’t say it enough.***
When the funeral was over, everyone turned to the Hamptons house for the wake. I hadn’t yet approached Daniel when the funeral was taking place. I wanted to, but it didn’t feel right. I felt like he needed time to just let his mother go. Watching the casket lower was brutal. I love people’s mothers; I love my friend’s mothers; but Daniel’s mother was different. I had never had a boyfriend’s mother accept me so quickly as Jade did. And whenever I carried that bracelet, the one that Daniel gave to me when we were together, it always felt as if Jade was giving me the bracelet as well. Now I have no piece of her, and I’d never be able to get that feeling back. I was absolutely sad; I couldn’t even imagine how Daniel must be feeling. Which was why I needed to find him. To let him know I came. To make him sure of it; that I was there for him. And for Jade.
When Carrie Bradshaw was wearing a black dress for the funeral of Miranda’s mother, I had always been so annoyed that she was showing so much cleavage. Coming to this funeral and subsequent wake, I was adamant that I dress as respectfully as possible. In such short notice, I didn’t want to just wear anything. Luckily, I bought something from Asos not too long ago that I brought with me from California. Lightly textured silk black dress that had a slash neckline, with an inch or two of lace at the neck, and semi sheer lace three quarter sleeves. The hem was just above my knees, as I originally bought this dress for nightly occasions, but it seemed to work just right since it was slightly loose and not at all scandalous.
The house, although filled with people, felt emptier than ever. People chatted in hush tones in the beginning, but eventually they settled right in. Making themselves more comfortable. I noticed, as I perused for Daniel, that most of them were much older than me. The people in their 30s or 40s and married, were speaking about how ridiculous it was to have a funeral practically on Valentine’s Day, and that they should cut the wake short. Others said they shouldn’t even have come to the wake; there was no point. Only a few were mourning. I began feeling for Jade even more; no one cared. Granted, it was Valentine’s Day weekend, but who gives a fuck?
I spotted Richard from afar talking to some blonde beauty as he held a glass of scotch on the rocks. The blonde was consoling him; I narrowed my eyes, wondering whether he was just acting to get her attention or not. Richard seemed like the kind of guy. Although, if I were mistaken, I’d be such an asshole. Because I had no idea where Daniel was, and felt like I was hiking the terrain of the house at this point, I made my way over to Richard.
“Excuse me,” I said. “I’m sorry for your loss Richard.”
Richard nodded, smiling. “Thank you.” The blonde looked deep in empathy.
Richard spoke to me with a renewed sense of politeness. He smiled widely, his eyes were kind, and he didn’t jut out his chest or box me out. It was then I realised that as he spoke to me, he barely recognised me. I guess I was the kind to be so easily forgotten.
“I was just wondering where Daniel was?” I asked.
“Daniel?” the woman chimed in. “Who’s Daniel?”
There was an uncomfortable silence. Richard seemed to be struggling for words.
“His son,” I said.
“You have a son?” the blonde beauty said, pulling back her hands from hugging his arm.
Richard flared his nostrils. “I don’t know. Maybe upstairs,” he turned to the woman and curved his brows, pouting, “probably crying his eyes out.”
“Aww,” the woman said, latching onto him again.
Richard smiled victoriously, careful not to smile too widely to announce his pride. I was ready to vomit all over this guy, and slap the girl. But I had much more important things to worry about. So I simply thanked him and walked upstairs.
I didn’t even think to check this level. To snoop around the bedrooms or bathrooms up here; I guess it hadn’t come to mind because I thought it to be too intrusive. Yet I needed to find Daniel. I went straight for his room first, certain that he’d be there, but I was wrong. After searching most rooms, I came across Jade’s bedroom. I scanned the hallway to see if anyone was near and turned the knob. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so wrong in doing something I thought was right.
At first I didn’t see Daniel. I heard some John Coltrane playing on low volume; I saw a dresser, the walk-in closet which inevitably leads to the bathroom, and a bed. When I opened fully, and stepped in, I saw Daniel standing next to a tallboy. When he turned around, in his hands was a picture frame.
“Sorry,” I said gently, “I should have knocked first.”
Daniel shook his head slowly, and cracked a small smile. It was heavy, lazy, and hard to form; maybe unnatural to feel. “No, I’m glad you came. Shut the door behind you, though.”
His voice was raspy and his face unshaven. A bit of stubble sprouted, and his eyes looked hollow. I didn’t even have to get too close to see dark circles under his dry eyes, and his skinny frame. I knew it was bad, but I didn’t it would have been this bad. He seemed to wobble from lack of energy when he walked slowly, like his limbs were made of spaghetti.
“I’m sorry, Daniel,” I said.
He smiled and nodded. I was probably the five hundredth sorry he’s heard all day. He held his hand and I took it, pulling me in closer. We came in for a hug; I rested my head on his shoulder. My hands rubbing the fabric of his suit in small circular motions.
“I’m so fucking glad you’re here,” he whispered. “I hate everyone downstairs. I forgot how much I did until they came and I realised no one wanted to be here. Then I hear they practically had to beg for people to show up.”
I squeezed Daniel tighter. “I can’t even imagine.”
“Is my Dad still with that blonde girl?”
We pulled back, but still had our arms wrapped around each other. I nodded.
Daniel huffed a humourless laugh. “Figures. On to the next.”
He dropped his hands and kicked off his shoes. When he plonked on the bed, he was walking upwards with his knees while taking off his suit jacket. Then he lay down, staring at the ceiling. I had no idea what to do or should do, so I just remained still. He then patted the side of the bed next to him, urging me over. I took off my ankle boots and followed, but didn’t lay down over the pillow as he did; instead I just sat up, my back leaning up against the headboard.
“You should eat, Daniel,” I said after a silence.
Daniel chuckled. “Food isn’t that important to me right now.”
I brushed his hair back from his forehead. “You need to eat.”
Daniel’s eyes were wide as he stared in the distance. He looked deep in thought. “Can I tell you a secret?”
I nodded. “You can tell me anything.”
He rose to sit and crossed his legs underneath each other. I faced him in the same position, pulling the hem of my dress low enough to cover me.
He started playing with my hands. “I didn’t cry.”
“That’s completely normal,” I said after some time.
Daniel shook his head, his brows pulling together in distraught and confusion. “No, no, not with someone you love deeply. It’s my own mother, Anna. I didn’t cry for Jade. How is that possible? I feel like evil incarnate right now for not grieving like a normal person should.”
“It hasn’t hit you yet, that’s all.”
“What? That my mother just died. I’m pretty sure it’s hit me.”
“What I mean is, your mind understands it, but your heart hasn’t yet. It’s shell-shocked right now. You know I’ve had friends laugh hysterically at funerals.”
Daniel scrunched up his face. It was the most energy he’d pushed out on an expression yet. “Huh?”
I nodded in assurance. “Yeah, later on she was approached by someone and she was told that it was completely normal. Apparently that person has experienced something like that before. So see, everyone reacts differently, it’s totally normal. And even though you’re not reacting now, you’ll feel it eventually.”
He rubbed my thigh, pushing back my dress slightly. “I feel you.” He looked up. “I’ve missed you.”
I bit my bottom lip, conflicted on whether or not I should tell him the same. “I’ve missed you, too.” I barely gave it a minutes’ thought.
“I love you,” he said. I stopped breathing, unable to even think. “Don’t worry,” he said, “just because I said it, and my mother just died, doesn’t mean you have to say it. I know you don’t.”
“No it’s not that,” I quickly said. “I’m just afraid, that’s all.”
“Don’t be. You’re my only family now. And I never give up on family.”
“Daniel…” I breathed, tears starting to build up.
“I’m not going to Chicago,” he said. I held my breath again. “I’m staying in New York,” he continued. “I should have told you sooner, but current circumstances seem to have deprived me of proper brain function.” Daniel chuckled. I didn’t. “Oh come on, cheer up.” He brushed his thumb along my cheek, wiping a tear.
“It’s not funny,” I mumbled, sniffing. It truly wasn’t. How was it that he was comforting me now, not the other way around? I sucked so badly at this. In the quickest time I have mustered, I regained composure. My eyes dried, and barely a spillage happened. Only that one tear.
Daniel tapped me on my nose. “Red nose. It’s cute. Need I remind you that I should be the one crying over here?”
I smiled at his effort to comfort me. “Sorry.”
I nodded, peeking up at Daniel through wet eyelashes.
“I don’t want to go back to the crowd,” he said, “but I probably should.”
I nodded again.
“Are you going to be okay?” he asked.
“Daniel, I’m fine. Are you going to be okay?”
“No, not really. It’s too soon to feel better. Right now I just feel like shit. Especially since I didn’t really spend much time with her as I should have. I was too focused on my career. Makes me realise I kind of pushed you off on the side in favour of my career. I never want that to happen again.”
We stared at each other. Daniel’s eyes intense on my mine; his eyelids fluttering, trying to stay open. Instinctively, without a hint of thought, I leaned in and placed my lips onto his. I felt the roughness of his beard, but I didn’t care; his lips were soft, yet hidden like a secret. We moved hungrily, his hands cupping my face; my hands clutching his shirt and running through his hair. I began tasting salt, and I thought it was the remnants of my tear until I felt even more wetness on my lips, skimming my cheeks as I moved. I pulled back and found Daniel crying.
He wasn’t sobbing or whimpering; in fact, he made no sounds whatsoever. It was just the sight of him that hurt. I had never seen him in such pain and torture.
He face was crumpled and tired. “Sorry,” he said, his hands still remaining clasped around my neck.
We leaned in again, this time with our foreheads, until they rested on each other. “Me too,” I said. “For everything.”
“For everything,” he muttered. “Mmm…”
***If you’d like, please comment with the name of your loved ones gone too soon, or ‘Jade Butterfly-[relation to you] (e.g. Jade Butterfly – Father)’, so that we may all think of them. This is completely optional and if you are not comfortable in doing so, or you just don’t want to\rather do it your own way, then please don’t feel as if you have to; if this is too offensive for some people, then I will remove this request. Also, if no one comments then I’ll remove the request as well.***
***For those of you who want to see Anna’s dress, feel free to visit my twitter page. I’d like to thank everyone for being so interested with my other blog, Samson and Delilah. I have reached over 100 followers and, as for all milestones, will be celebrating with a BONUS post coming soon (unless someone has a better idea; feel free to comment your ideas). As always, thanks for commenting, keep on keeping and see you soon! Soul xo***