I can't actually summarize this without giving it away. It's a one-shot.
My life, to be more exact. What have I done to better myself as a person? What have I done to help others? Have I always been such a heartless jackass? Do people like me, even? And then there was Ryan. Did he care about me? Want me around? Did he love me the way I loved him?
These thoughts ran through my had millions of times a day, but especially now, as I sat in the corner of Ryan’s living room, quiet and unseen, watching Ryan and Pete. They were being mopey and quiet and generally uninteresting. The TV was on but neither of them were watching it, their eyes blank and their minds elsewhere. This was boring. I wanted them to talk to each other and find out their thoughts. I wanted to know how they felt. Mostly I wanted to know what they thought about me. But it’s not as if I could just ask them.
I started to get up to leave, but then one of them spoke. Pete.
“Ryan…I know you’re upset. But things aren’t going to get better just sitting here. Do you wanna go out or something? You need something to take your mind off this.” Pete spoke softly and cautiously, not wanting to upset Ryan even more.
“No, Pete,” Ryan said in an icy tone. “I don’t want to go out. That would be like….celebrating. This is nothing to celebrate.” The tone in Ryan’s voice was enough to shut Pete up, and he looked back at the screen with a resigned sigh.
As the room became silent again, I stood and slipped out the door
I eventually came to the park. Oh, that park. I walked along the familiar stone path, weaving in and out of the trees, running my hands along the ones I could reach, feeling them and at the same time feeling nothing. What a strange sensation. I came across Spencer and Jon underneath the biggest of the oak trees. Spencer sat in Jon’s lap, cradled in his arms, both of them looking morose. I stood behind them, watching. They didn’t realize I was there. Like Ryan and Pete, they were silent. Frustrating silence. I wanted them to talk. I wanted to know their thoughts.
I sighed and continued on my way, lingering in the park, my favourite place. This newfound distance between me and my friends was huge, leaving everyone in a somber mood. It was weird and I didn’t like it. But there wasn’t much I could do. Lately all I’d been doing was creeping around, trying to overhear conversations about me, trying to figure out what people thought. I spent a lot of time at Ryan’s house. He never knew I was there, which I found strange. Usually you can sense the presence of another person.
I came to the playground and sat on the swing, pushing myself lightly back and forth. For whatever reason, I felt at peace.
I hardly noticed the passage of time anymore. Time didn’t matter to me. School and work didn’t matter. I didn’t go anymore. I made no attempt to talk to anyone anymore. Wouldn’t do any good. Now I just watched and waited and listened. Like I said, I’ve been contemplating my life a lot. Like a lot a lot.
I don’t know how many days it’s been since I watched Ryan last, but today he was talking. In his room, he laid on his bed, phone pressed to his ear. Talking to Spencer.
“I don’t know, Spence,” Ryan said, his voice raw. He’d been crying. “I don’t know what to do.”
“I can’t just move on. What do you want me to do, just forget about the past ten years?”
“I know I should but I can’t, okay? Spence-”
He was cut off.
Ryan sighed. “I’m just….gonna go to bed. I need to rest and think.”
And with that Ryan hung up the phone and tossed it on the floor. I was disappointed. I thought he would reveal more about his feelings. No matter. I waited until Ryan had fallen asleep before leaving once again.
That night, I found myself wandering around aimlessly. Down the street, across the bridge. Turn right. I was at the graveyard. This place used to creep me out, but now it was a place of peace and rest. So quiet and serene. I stopped underneath a huge, old tree. It was massive, the thick trunk and branches mottled with age. I smiled when I saw the markings on the bark. When me and Ryan were kids, we’d dared each other to spend the night in the graveyard. And to prove that we did it, we both carved our names into the tree. The names were probably five or six years old. I laughed softly, remembering that night, before I turned away and walked back to the graves. I walked among the rows of stones, looking for a particular one. I wondered idly what would have happened if things hadn’t changed. There was a dance coming up. Would I have had the guts to ask Ryan? Probably not. Me and Spence were supposed to go to a concert. That would have been fun. But those things weren’t going to happen now, which sort of made me sad.
I finally found the stone I had been looking for, and sat on the fresh, young grass. The gravestone was new, untarnished by wind and rain. The grass I sat on was still sprinkled with fresh dirt from the burial, though I didn’t feel the damp cold. I ran my fingertips over the words etched in the granite.
It was weird seeing my own name there.
As I thought about this, a cold breeze kicked up, ruffling my hair. I frowned. It was cold? I hadn’t felt things like temperature for what seemed like forever. Something had happened. And almost in answer to that thought, I suddenly felt a presence. I looked to my right, and there sat Ryan. But…not himself. Pale and cold and transparent like me. A pang of sadness hit me.
I didn’t speak, but merely reached over and took his hand. Ryan. My Ryan, dead. I couldn’t believe it, wouldn’t. Yet here he was in front of me, with deep, bloodless gashes decorating each see-through wrist. I stared at him, and he stared back. Without words, I understood what he’d done. Why. I leaned over and kissed his blue lips gently.
And with that, I relaxed against him, my head on his shoulder, and settled into infinity.