Author’s note: Gary, be my best friend! XD
It was October 25, 2049.
Kina and I stood in front of their grave in the setting sun, seeming like vessels devoid of any soul.
Their parents had asked that their remains to be buried together, so that in death they would never be apart. I touched the edge of the cold, cold tombstone, replaying vivid images of the boy who saved me not only once, but twice. He was a Hero through and through.
I glanced at Kina’s empty, lifeless eyes, and I still could not believe what she had confessed to me all those years ago.
At that moment when I fell back safely on the platform, I was not able to stop Sarielle who had jumped into the tracks to embrace her beloved. My brain had been hollowed out, my heart feeling like a lump of iron in my chest.
Their bodies had been too dismembered for an open casket during the wake, and the many students of Avalon Academy paid their respects to the coffin that sadistically reminded me that they were both indeed dead.
In the midst of the sorrow, Kina had confessed to me in tumultuous tones that she had, in all honestly, wanted to hurt Sarielle in order for her to gain back the boy she lost.
I was overcome with such anger that I could not even speak, as I stared at her with such incredulity that her sobs wracked her body intensely. What had she done. How could she.
And yet, my anger fizzled out just as soon as she looked back at me with eyes so puffy it was tickling a funny bone I thought almost disappeared. It was no use dwelling on the past. It was not my position to forgive.
I was also wracked with grief, as I saw both Sarielle and Ryle’s parents sob almost ceaselessly on the sofas. I wanted to apologize.
I bowed in front of the Knight family, bowed so low I almost reached my knees.
“I’m sorry. It’s my fault,” I said as the tears dripped down to the floor.
Mrs. Knight stopped sobbing, her cold hands raising my wet chin to look at her.
“Dear Gary, you didn’t do anything wrong.” Her dulcet tones were still conceivable in spite of the slight hoarseness.
“It’s our son’s disposition,” Mr. Knight added with a sad smile. “How could we hold that against you? If anything, you should live life to the fullest after being saved. I’m sure Ryle would want that.”
Yes, yes he would.
I cried harder, the snot and tears intermingling, yet I didn’t care. Mr. Knight gave me a hug, and I was drawn to the couch to be comforted by the two parents who even felt greater heartbreak than I.
Kina had confessed her crimes to Sarielle’s parents, but the parents could not believe it, as many of the teachers had spoken that it was accidental, and she was confessing out of guilt. Sarielle’s parents forgave kina, and did not question why their daughter leapt into the tracks after her fiancée, as they clearly knew how she loved Ryle dearly. This was an unfortunate circumstance that they had to bear.
It was a rather morose yet sweet love story that circulated in school, and Sarielle and Ryle became a legend that was passed down from generation to generation in the Avalon Academy. For lack of creativity, they were called The Legendary Lovers, and no one in school did not know of them. Even after thirty-three years, their tale was still spun, of a Hero and his wife, two tragic fates dying together.
Tim and Edrie, who were now both teachers in Avalon Academy, would oftentimes boast about how they were great friends with The Hero. Their students would ask a barrage of questions which Tim and Edrie would answer with glee, and The Hero was given an actual character in the hearts of the students. He was not only a hero, but perhaps even the greatest friend who ever lived.
I stared at the epitaph on the tombstone in front of me.
“To the greatest people one would ever meet.”
Kina walked to me slowly, placing a hand on my shoulder, she whispered, her eyes filled with fresh tears once again, “I lost a great friend in her.”
I nodded my head imperceptibly. If only Kina had not been eaten away by jealousy, then perhaps she would not have done that. But I could not say this, as I did not want to add even more guilt to her conscience.
“She was a lovely girl,” I said, remembering how Sarielle would not even rebuke or tattle on Kina whenever she was rude and mean to her.
“She was so nice to me,” Kina said through sobs. “And all I could do was to chafe at her, and she didn’t even retaliate!”
“Yes,” I said while patting her back, encasing her shivering body with one arm.
I rummaged through my satchel for a tissue, and my hand caught something else. From the inner pockets of my bag, I retrieved the Polaroid picture taken all those years ago on the mountain.
I had been such a goofball, with my lips puckered to kiss Ryle’s armpits with loving eyes. I shook my head, a wry smile on my lips. Yes, I was still madly in love with the boy in my memories. He was like the star that shone brightly in my sky, the sky which I thought would never be in color. Indeed, the brightest flames burned out fast.
Upon turning the picture over to check the date I had inscribed at the back, a little note was folded and pasted on its back.
“Kina, did you put this here?” I patted her head, and she looked at the object in my hand with swollen eyes.
“Huh?” She brushed away her tears with her fists as she hurriedly peeled off the note from the picture.
With trembling fingers, she unfolded the papyrus-like quality paper, and opened it, raising it high for both of us to read. The handwriting that met our shocked eyes was too familiar.
Is everyone doing well? How are you Gary? Still eating? How about you Kina? I hope you’re not crying over me! Tears don’t taste very good.
And how about me? Well, I’m doing great! Just recently got hitched to Sarielle in Heaven, so I’m in a pretty good mood. Sarielle says hi btw, though she’s actually a guy in Heaven. No, stop thinking of yaoi! I’m actually a girl! Lol! Crazy, huh? But we can talk about that stuff some other time.
I just wanted to leave this note. I think you guys are pretty down about our death, and we just want to tell you this: IT’S NOT YOUR DAMNED FAULT.
GET OVER IT DAMMIT.
There. Whoo, that felt great. Jin is laughing really hard. I mean, that’s Sarielle in her real form btw.
I’ve also made a note for my parents, but it isn’t as immature as this, so you can be at ease. I’m glad that they’re still safe and still going strong. Can you please hug them for me?
I wish you all the best in life! Stop grieving, it’ll only make you look old. Let’s have a reunion in Heaven, okay? I’m not going to say “I’ll see you soon” cause I don’t want you to die yet, lol.
Both Jin and I will be watching over you guys, so live life to the fullest! We’ll be waiting here.
P.S. Since I know you probably won’t believe I’ve written this note for you, I left some things on our grave for your eyes, Gary. It’s a secret I know you never told anyone. Hohoho~
Juju and Jin”
A line was crossed over the names, and two names appeared below, “Ryle and Sarielle”.
After reading, I turned to the grave, and beside the many bouquet of flowers that surrounded it, there was a pile of manga.
On the cover of the topmost manga, there was a man being fondled by another man.
“Ryyyyyyyyle!!!” I called out, mixed emotions of amusement, embarrassment, pain, love, sadness in my heart.
I didn’t know what else to do besides cry.