With weary eyes, I keep my eyes trained on the road in front of me. It is a nice, quiet little town, which is a good thing, because if this were a big city, I would've run someone over or get into an accident already. I sigh with tiredness.
This is the day that I dread.
I don't like to think of it, I really don't.
It's funny, when she's around, I can never remember it, she always have to remind me that it is our anniversary, or I would've just forget. Now that she is gone, I can remember it so clearly.
Yeah, she's gone.
Oh god I can't believe, it's been six months already.
It's been six months that she went away. Six months, feels like six years to me.
It is now that I wished I'd taken a better care of her. I know I wasn't that bad, I've been very good to her, in fact, but I just wished that it had been better. That I spend more time with her than in the job.
But we were trying to build a life together, a house, pet the whole thing, that's why I work so hard. Or that's what I'm telling myself every time I find myself thinking this way. Still, that doesn't help me feeling like I've neglected her.
God I just want this to end.
This feeling of helplessness...
I wished she were here with me right now. I would give anything just to have her with me again. I would take great care of her, give her anything she ever wanted.
But it's too late now.
It is too late.
It took me nearly a month just to get myself out of bed and pull myself together. The morning of her funeral I was a mess, I know, I remember couldn't look in the mirror, because I knew how terrible I would look. It took everything I have just to keep control, just to keep myself together and not falling apart in front of everyone. I'm never good at showing my emotions in front of people, she even said that to me often enough. I can't help it, this is how I deal with thing.
There, the gate of the cemetery. Oh god, I can just feel it. Like a weight, a big weight on me.
I don't want to go in. I don't want to see where she laid to rest. I still can't believe...
I take a deep breath, then another, and another. And I drive in, slowly. I know where her grave is, even though I've only been here once on her funeral, the day they laid her to rest. It took everything I had that day not to fall apart in front of everybody.
I drive slowly, looking out the window, the bright sunlight would've hurt my weary eyes, if not because of the dark sunglasses that I am wearing. My eyes search the immaculate lawn, looking for her grave.
There, I see it.
I step on the break and press down gently, the car is already slow enough that it comes to stop only a few seconds later. I turn to my left, a single red rose lay on the passenger seat beside me. I pick it up gently. She loves... no loved red roses.
She had always been the romantic one in the relationship. Always wanted the candle light dinner, a picnic, something that couples do together. Come to think of it, I hadn't been such a good partner to her. No, I don't think I'm a bad partner, but sometimes, I guess I wasn't as good to her as I should have been.
Now, though, it is too late.
I keep telling myself that I did my best to provide us with everything. Always working, making sure we have all the material we need.
After a few moments of collecting myself and exit the car. I walk up the hill with heavy heart, the sinking feeling in my stomach starting to come back, though I don't think it ever go away in the first place. My eyes focus on one gravestone, setting well away from the others.
"Hey, baby." I said softly, kneeling down beside the stone. "Happy anniversary. I brought you flower."
Placing the rose on the cold, hard surface, I swallow. "It's red rose, you love red roses. I know I never remember our anniversary when you were around, but I guess I just..." I swallow, trying to get rid of the lump in my throat that appears out of no where.
"I miss you so much."
I decide that after driving all this way I might as well stay with her for a while. So I sit down beside the grave, looking down on it, the smooth surface has her name engraved on it, I trace it with my finger, feeling so lost.
"You know, I still wake up every morning, expecting you to be there, but you weren't and then I remember that you were gone. Pretty pathetic, huh?"
I close my eyes for a minute, imagining that she answer me. Her soft voice saying that I just need to take it easy. But I can't. How can I?
"I'm sorry I hadn't come and visit you, but you know how much I hate cemetery." I continue. "It's... I don't know I guess I just don't like the quietness of this place, and... well, even during the day I can barely hear the birds." A sigh, "maybe I'm just being paranoid." And a smile breaks on my grim face just for a moment when I imagine her respond. "Yes I know, I'm always a paranoid."
I don't know how long I've been sitting here, talking to a grave, and pretending that she is right here with me. If anyone walks by they probably think that I'm losing it. Well, maybe I am losing it, when this is getting to be too much sometimes I wished that I were dead.
Finally, it is time for me to say goodbye.
I don't want to, but I have to.
I sit up from the crouching position that I was in, my back hurts a little but it is all right, it'll go away soon enough. Sniffing lightly, I wipe out the trails of tear on my cheeks.
"I better go now," I say softly.
Then I lean down to place a kiss upon the gravestone. Imagining that it is her that I am kissing goodbye. Then I straighten up, my gaze linger for a long moment one last time before I turn away.
I feel as if I just leave something very important to me behind, like I just lose a part of myself back on the top of the hill, with her grave. I guess I did. I guess I left something up there, a very important part of me.
I wonder, not for the first time, if I ever going to be the same again.
Walking to my car, the white sedan, 98 Honda Accord, It is parked in the shade, I pull out the keys, picking out the car key and walk straight up to it, pay no mind to someone that was standing at another grave ahead of me. I guess I'm not all that perceptive today.
I open the door, remembering that in my grief stricken mind, I forgot to lock the door. A good thing that there's virtually no one around this place, besides, I don't think there would be any car thief working in the cemetery, is there.
Then, just as I turn the key to start my car, I hear the engine start to turn and it stops. Frowning, I try again.
So I try again, and there's still nothing.
Great. Just great.
With annoyance, I hit the steering wheel with my palms and reach down to pop the hood of the car open, so I can get a look. This, definitely, is not my day. I knew something like this is going to happen.
I step out of the car, and walk over to the front of the car, lifting the hood up, looking inside, having no idea what I was looking at. I curse under my breath, feeling like kicking the tire of the car, then I hear someone walking up to me.
I don't really pay attention to whoever it is that walking up to me, actually I can hear the steps getting closer, and I guess somewhere in the back of my mind, I know that the owner of the footsteps is walking toward me.
"Problem?" A deep, alto voice starts.
Startle, I turn to look at the new comer.
A woman, she is dressing in a pair of loose khaki, with a polo shirt, the hem of her shirt hangs loose instead of tucking inside, she is very tall, and from the look of her cloth, thin. She doesn't look to be all that older than me, possibly younger. She pushes her expensively looking pair of sunglasses up and tucks it over her blond hair.
She has blue eyes.
She must have see the suspicious look in my face so she introduces herself.
"Alex," the stranger says, reaching out to take my hand in a firm shake.
"Jen." I say, wondering what the hell does this woman want. I release her hand quickly, I'm still frustrated and I'm not into all this pleasantries.
"Problem with the car?" She points at the engine.
"Yeah, it won't start." I shrug.
"Maybe I can help, let me take a look at it." She says it as if she is asking my permission, but it sounds more like statement.
I give her a slight nod and she walks up beside me, she leans over to look at the engine, she is only a few inches away from me, and I can smell her cologne even with the engine fluid. And I notice that she is a little taller than I am.
"Why don't you go and try starting the car."
It is clearly an order, not a request; I don't know how she can make it sound so polite.
I step into the driver seat of my car again and turn the key, I can't really see what she is doing, because the hood is obstructing my view. I try starting the engine, I hear the same thing that I heard twice before, and nothing happens. And I try again.
She straightens up and I stop trying.
"Everything seems to be fine, though I really think it's a carburetor. You have to call the garage." She told me, looking apologetic that she can not help me. I go quiet for a moment as she pulls out some sort of tissue to clean out the oil from her hands.
I groan and lean heavily against the side of the car, great, the day is just getting better and better.
"I can give you a ride," she makes an offer. "Where do you live?"
Probably feeling pity for me.
"I don't think that is possible, I don't live around here."
"Well," she says and stops like she is thinking something over. "I would drop you in one of the hotels around here, if not because I know it for the fact that every hotels around here are packed because of the holiday. Do you know anyone around here you can stay with, cause I doubted the garage is open, though the tow service is always available."
"No," I mumble, feeling very tired. "I don't know anyone around here."
"Then... I guess you can stay with me for a the night." She shrugs. "My friend won't get here for a few days, you can stay in the guest room."
I warily look at her; it is a little strange to have someone that I've never met before offers a place for me to stay for a night. I know I would never do that, not even if she looks like Sharon Stone.
"Are you sure you can't drop me at some hotel for the night?"
"Well, if you want to try, but I'm pretty sure there's no room, not during the holiday like this."
I close my eyes and groan low in my throat, God I really don't want to go anywhere with a stranger, but it seems that I don't really have a choice now. I guess I will have to take my chances.
"We can call for the tow truck from my cell." She points her thumb over her shoulder, and I can see a nice looking sport car parking on the other side of the lawn.
Finally, I give her a reluctant nod.
So, here I am sitting in the passenger seat in a car of some stranger, and what a beautiful car, too. The top is down, wind is blowing my shoulder length hair, I have my sunglasses back on now, it is still a little too bright for my eyes, especially with the top down and no shade for me to hide in.
God, I feel like I need to hide in some shades.
I don't know how long I can stand being in the light like this.
The stranger, no, Alex, I have to correct myself.
Since she is being really nice to me, I'm going to try to think of her as a new friend. My new friend is navigating through the quiet neighborhood. I can see some kids running around in front of the houses along the way.
These houses, the kids, this is looking more and more like the dream that we had.
It doesn't take long before she pulls into a driveway of a nice, two-story house. I look around before I exit the car, the lawn is immaculate, flowers are planted in strategically places, whoever my new friend is, she certainly has money.
I get out of the car as she opens the trunk and takes the backpack that I have with me out. Instead of giving the backpack to me she throws over her shoulder and gestures for me to go inside.
Once I'm inside, I don't pay much attention to the thing around me, I guess I'm just glad to be out of the sunlight. I feel like I can faith at any given moment, must be all that sleepless night and forgo meals catching up with me. I want to sit down.
I hear the door shut behind me with only slightest of noise. I look ahead of me into a nicely arranged couch with a set of impressive entertainment center. It is a very nice living room.
"Have a seat," I hear the voice from behind me, but I don't look. "Would you like something to drink? Soda, juice, wine?"
I head for the large couch and sink into it, wanting so much to just fall asleep and forget anything ever happen. "Beer, if you have it." I toss over my shoulder.
I'm being rude, I know. She has done nothing but being helpful to me and let me stay in her house even though she hasn't slightest clue as to who I am, or what am I doing. And here I am with the sour attitude, but I'm so tired of dealing with people.
One of these days I might just move to some mountain and never come down.
Right, like that's going to happen.
I close my eyes for a minute, not paying any attention where my host is, but a moment later I hear sounds of footstep coming closer to me and then I feel a tap on my shoulder. It is a little too cold to be her hand, and when I open my eyes, the first thing I see is a chilled bottle of Budweiser. I take it. "Thanks," I mumble.
She walks around to the front of the couch that I'm sitting on, she has nothing else in her hand, apparently she isn't going to drink with me. "I'm going to go and get the bed make for you, and..." She picks up some remotes from the end table and places it on the coffee table. "If you want to watch anything, go right ahead."
I just nod and she leaves the room.
"So, who are you visiting at the cemetery?"
I turn to look at her, we have been sitting here and watch practically anything that is on the big screen TV of hers, and she hasn't really ask me anything personal yet, well, this is the first question and I'm not sure how much I want to tell her.
"My... um..." I pause thinking if I should just let her know, then suddenly, I don't quite care anymore, if she wants to know, then... "My girlfriend."
She looks sadden just for a moment. "What happened?"
"It's an accident really." I say, taking another sip from my beer. It is my third bottle and I probably have to stop soon. Or I might do something I will regret later, or tell her too much. "Well, it's been about six months now... it was weekend, and she wanted to visit some old friends of ours, I couldn't go with her, because I had to work on Saturday morning, so she went by herself. When she left the weather was all right, you know, they said that there's going to be thunderstorm, but it won't last too long, then on the way..." I swallow another beer, my other hand reach up to take a hold of a ring I hung on my silver chain.
"Some idiot was going way too fast on the highway, and it was raining pretty hard, he slipped and probably stepped on the break too fast, he did three-sixty and hit her car. She was in coma for a week, and then she died."
"I'm sorry," I hear a soft alto pronounces.
"You know what the worse part is." I say. "We had a fight that morning, before I left for work. It was a really stupid fight, you know. Something about cleaning, and I kept thinking if I had been there with her this might not have happen, or if I talked her into just stay home and then wait until I can go with her. Instead I told her to go ahead if she wanted to go."
I look down, the beer tastes awful all of a sudden, so I put it down.
"Sounds to me like you're blaming yourself for something that you have no control over."
Something about that statement that made so logically angers me. I can't believe someone that doesn't even know me would say that to me, in my face.
"You don't know me," I bit off each word. "You can't sit here and tell me what I'm feeling."
My hostess's face doesn't even chance, her face is so still, like she has been dealing with something like this on regular basis.
"That's true," she finally says. "But I've seen a lot of people in the same place that you are right now and believe me, it can be very unhealthy."
I frown deeper, refusing to listen to her logic. "I think I better turn in." I say under my breath and leave the room without looking back.
She says nothing.
I lie in the strange room, trying to get some sleep, it's been tough couple of months and still I can't get over it. People keep telling me that life goes on, but it doesn't feel that way to me. I feel so trapped, and wonder when I'm going to be all right again.
I don't know what time it is now, the room that I'm using is certainly fits it's name, guest bedroom. There is no sign anyone ever use this room, no personal stuff that usually present in most house, not even a clock on the wall. And I leave my watch on top of my backpack, so I can't really tell the time.
There's not a sound outside my room, and I wonder if Alex is still in the living room, and if I have just managed to piss someone that I've just met off. I guess I can call it a gift now, since I seem to piss people off so easily, and effortlessly.
Rubbing my eyes, I feel tired and yet I can't sleep.
It is too quiet, and I can't stop thinking about her, and also I can't stop thinking about what my hostess said to me earlier. It makes sense to me, but it also doesn't make sense to me. I can't stop thinking that maybe if we didn't fight, she might have listen to me when I said to wait. If only I stop being so stubborn and learn how to back down.
It is too late now though.
"God, I just want it to stop." I moan into the night.
Finally, I fall asleep, uneasy as it is.
"Good morning," I mumble back, my head feels a little blurry. The sleep has been as uncomfortable to me as it is elusive.
When I fall asleep the night before all I have are nightmares, so many of them I lost count. When the sun shines directly through the window and in my face I grit my teeth and decide to get up. It seems that my hostess is up long before I even open my eyes.
Alex is sitting in the patio outside with a tall glass sits on the round table in front of her, the glass is empty, but from the look of the white liquid that still remain at the bottom, my guess is, she drinks milk in the morning. The observation makes me smile, I don't know anyone older than eighteen to drink milk in the morning instead of coffee.
"Would you like some breakfast?" Alex asks me politely, and I'm struck at how pretty she is.
Last night I was a little more than just preoccupied, I didn't even spare her a look, let alone noticing her face. But right now, I guess I'm a little sober up and noticing things that I should. She is sitting with one foot on the chair, her body leaning against her raised knee. Her blue eyes looking up at me, who is still standing like an idiot.
"No," I say quickly. "No, thank you. I think a glass of orange juice will do."
She makes a gesture with slight incline of her head for me to take a seat. I can see the amusement glint in her eyes. It's not even ten yet and I'm already make a fool out of myself, in front of a stranger no less.
I pull the chair toward me and sit down.
"Not a big fan of breakfast, huh." It isn't a question.
"Look," I start, looking at the tabletop. "I'm sorry about last night. I was out of line."
"It's OK." Alex smiles. "I shouldn't be telling you how to feel anyway."
"No, I'm sorry, really, about the way I acted, it was rude of me. I guess all this is getting to me, and it's becoming too much." It is becoming too much, I realize, I've never thought about it before. I don't want to feel like this anymore.
"Sometimes, talking can be a lot of help, even though it might not seem like it at first." Alex suggests, I think she is trying to be helpful. And guess what, she is helping.
I can't believe this.
All of my friends have been trying to get through to me for months, and I shut them all out, I won't give them even a chance to open their mouth before I tell them that nothing is wrong and that they shouldn't even suggest that I talk to them, because there is nothing to talk about.
And here it is a complete stranger, offer me help and I'm accepting it.
"I guess," I allow with a soft voice. I'm not sure she really wants to hear all the stuff that has been going on.
"If you want to talk about it, I'm happy to listen."
She's grinning at me, looking please at the fact that I seem to accept her help.
"Listen, I called the garage this morning and they said that your car need to be there for couple of days," and she tells me the bad news.
She was right about the carburetor, and it is going to cost me a lot. I can't believe that thing gives out of me now. Just great.
"Great," I grumble and she smiles again. Jesus, she is attractive.
"Hey, it can't be that bad. Look I'm going to have to do some food shopping today, would you like to come along? We'll go to that open market downtown. Lots of characters to see." She suggests, "I need to stock up."
I shrug, there's nothing for me to do anyway, or maybe I can just go back to my room and cry my eyes out again, like I've been doing for the past six months.
"Come on, it'll be fun." She urges, getting up from the chair.
She offers me a hand up, I look at her for a long moment and I take her hand. I guess that means yes.
"That was so much fun," I exclaim putting the large watermelon on the counter.
"Yeah, I love that place. I always go there when I come here. The stuffs are fresh, too." Alex is beside me, putting some stuff in the cabinet.
I've never enjoy grocery shopping before, this is the first. I can't believe that when she says that the shopping is done I wanted to stay a little longer and walk around some more.
What the hell is happening to me?
Why the hell am I acting like this, I've never been like this before, and why do I keep looking at her like this. I'm still in the grieving period for crying out loud. What will Diane think of me now? That I forget her so easily? I better stop thinking about this.
So I pick up a jar of strawberry jam and turn around to ask Alex where I should put it, at the same time she turns and I walk right into her. Her arms rise involuntarily and catch me in a hug as I lose my balance.
"Whoa, be careful."
"Sorry." I mumble, feeling her nose against my forehead. Her arms are still around me and I don't really make any afford to move away.
The jar in my hand is long gone, as we standing there, in that position. I think she is trying to make up her mind, while I don't want to leave her arms. Damn it, I need this. So I lift my face and kiss her.
She seems startle.
Of course she would be, here I am, brooding over my dead girlfriend and suddenly kiss her out of... I'm not sure what it is, really. Maybe it is desperation. It takes her a few heartbeats before she responds to me.
We both ignore the broken jar as Alex pushes me backward, guiding me out of the kitchen. It will be very interesting to make love on the countertop, though not the best of place to be doing it at the moment, not when there are a lot of stuff lay out.
It probably takes a lot of patience from her to guide me through the room and to the couch, I'm not really cooperative with her at the moment. Oh God, I can't really think right now.
"I've never..." I moan into her ear and she stops.
"Never what?" She looks at me, confusion in her eyes.
"I've never just jump into this with anyone," suddenly I feel very shy. "Not this fast anyway."
She seems to understand me and she kisses me again. In seconds my clothing are off and being tossed on the floor. She is incredible, her hands caress and possess me, I arch my back so that I can feel the contact of her flesh, she is as naked as I am now. I don't really know when she gets rid of her cloth, and at this point I don't really want to know.
All I know is that I want her to make love to me, now.
She bit my lower lip gently and makes her way downward, kissing my neck, sucking on my pulse point, and with her teeth she graze the hard edges on my collarbone. Oh God, she is driving me crazy, and I can hear my moaning echo in the room. There is no other sound than our own breathing, my own voice moaning over and over as she travels lower.
Alex stops for a long moment over my breasts. And she plays with them, with her hand and mouth. She takes one nipple into her mouth, the sucking and biting is enough to make me groan louder with need. I am so wet now and she doesn't seem to have any intention of moving any faster.
"Oh please," I hiss.
She isn't going to let me control the pace, and I'm starting to realize that. In my relationship with Diane, I always be the one in control, my friends think that she was the feminine one in our relationship and I guess she was. I'm always controlling the pace of everything, including our lovemaking.
So, this is a little different, when someone else is in control and there's nothing I can do but let her.
Alex continues to play with my breasts for a little longer, with one hand she pinches my nipple and I can feel them hardening and she pinches a little harder. I can't hear anything now, only the blood roaring in my ears and my heart pounding so hard I'm afraid it's going to jump out of my chest.
With agonizing slowness, Alex moves from my breasts down to my navel, she jabs her tongue into my belly button and my body jerks off of the couch, I can feel her laughter vibrates on my belly and I fall back on to the couch as she moves in between my legs.
She has such gentle hands.
She guides my legs apart, with one leg throw over the back of the couch and the other fall off the edge, giving her room to move. She rubs my inner thigh with one hand and the other hooking my thigh over her shoulder. I feel her breath on me now, and I tense in anticipation.
I don't have to wait long.
With a flat of her tongue she lick from my opening up to my erected clit.
Oh My God...
Her mouth fastens around my clit and with her fingers push inside of me, I arch my back, wanting nothing more than just being filled completely. She starts moving her fingers in and out and I ask her for more.
She gives me what I ask for.
It doesn't take long before I lose all the coherent thoughts in my head and can only feel what she is doing to me. I think I scream.
Later, I lie still in her arms, feeling slightly cold when my sweat start to dry and I fall asleep.
And for the first time, there is no nightmare.
After we wake up from our little nap, she cooks me the best meal I've had in months. We talk all evening and late into the night. In doing so, I spill out everything about Diane and me and also what I am feeling. Alex is a great listener, she interjects, occasionally, with the best commend I've ever heard. And nothing she says make me feel like I'm being pitied.
She makes me feel better than I have in a long time.
That night we make love.
And I finally able to say goodbye.
So, Alex takes me back to the cemetery, she also stops on the way to let me buy an armful of red roses.
On the way we sit in silence, but it is not uncomfortable silence like when I get into her car for the first time, this time it is comfortable, I feel like she can feel me, and listening to me.
When we get to the cemetery, she let me go to her grave alone, while she waits for me in the car.
So I walk up the hill, to where I know Diane is laying to rest, my Diane. I place the roses on the grave stone, the single red rose I brought for her is still there and I kneel down beside the grave.
"Hi baby, I'm back again." I say softly. "Guess what, I met someone. I know you would love her and you two would get along really well."
I pause, reaching up to take a hold of the ring. "I won't forget you, ever." I place a kiss on the cold surface of the stone. Caressing the engraved with the tips of my fingers. "I love you."
It is a goodbye, and I make my way back to Alex, who has been waiting for me.
Now we just have to figure out where to go from here.