Willow Adams hasn't said a word since her mother's death, but when Gerard Way comes into her life and tries to become her friend, her life becomes full of pain and somehow, brighter.
“Willow, are you ready?” I heard a knock on the door, and my father walked in my room.
My back was to him as I sat at my black vanity. I heard his footsteps as he came closer, and felt him hug me from behind, and yet I didn’t raise my eyes to greet him. He kissed my hair and sighed.
“Happy birthday, sweetheart,” He said. “It’s time to go.”
I nodded slightly, and when he left I stood up from my place at the vanity. I looked at the mirror, smoothing out the black dress I was wearing. My breath got caught in my throat as I choked back my tears. I was grown up. Or so it seemed that the little girl inside of me had died.
I left my room and went down the stairs to greet my father and my little sister and brother. All were dressed in black. My siblings ran up to me, hugging my legs since their little five year old selves could barely reach my hip. I gently hugged them back.
“Happy birthday, Willow!” Cassie said softly. Jack gave me a small grin, his dark brown hair falling into his eyes.
I glanced at my father, and he nodded as a signal for us to go. I held my brother and sister’s hands as we walked outside to the car. I helped my father buckle in the two, and then we got in ourselves.
It was cloudy, seemingly making the morning more depressing than it really was. Dad started the car, and we drove down the road. I looked outside, my forehead pressed against the cool windowpane, listening in on the quiet chattering of Cassie and Jack. The car stopped, snapping me back into a reality I didn’t want to be in. I reluctantly got out of the car and we walked up the small pathway. I looked up at the sign above the iron gate: Newark Cemetery.
People who had already gathered there greeted us, giving us small sad smiles and handshakes. The pastor was at the podium speaking to a couple, and some were seated at the display of chairs. I walked passed a ditch, six feet deep, and shivered. I didn’t dare look to the other side of the ditch. I didn’t want to see what stood there.
Don’t look. Just don’t look.
I sat in the chair at the front row as my family followed suit, and started to grow cold and numb. Everyone took their seats as the pastor started the ceremony. I didn’t listen to what he was saying; all I could hear was the wind and the crows in the distance. I felt a hand lace with mine, knowing that it was my father’s. I finally let my eyes gaze up, seeing what I didn’t even want to see, be put into the ditch. My father led me and my siblings towards the shallow ditch, each of us taking a handful of dirt, and throwing it onto the mahogany coffin. A melancholy grave.
“Dear God,” The pastor said, “As we stand beside this open grave, in this silent city of the dead, we commit this body to the ground, and we commit the spirit, together with every sacred interest of our hearts, into your keeping, praying that you will deal graciously and mercifully with each of us, until we too shall come to our final resting place, through the riches of grace in Jesus our Lord. Amen.”
“Amen,” The group and my father said softly. And with that they filled the dark depressing hole with dirt, patting it smooth. Again my throat ached.
Everyone left but my family and I, each one giving their condolences and blessings. I stood by the freshly placed grave marker, running my hand over the smooth marble.
“Willow, we’ll be in the car,” My father said softly. “I’ll give you some time alone.”
I nodded slightly, and with a last sigh he, my sister, and my brother made their way to the car. I stood there at the grave, and the wind started to pick up as the clouds began to bear light sprinkles of rain. I gazed at the grave marker, the engraved letters mocking me. I didn’t even notice a tear run down my cheek.
With a sigh, I turned back to the car. Looking over my shoulder, I whispered softly, “Goodbye, mommy.”
Those were the last words I ever spoke.
A few days later…
I lay in bed with my eyes closed, and yet the few rays of sunshine still managed to blind me. I sighed, and threw my black covers off. I cleaned myself up, brushing the tufts of black hair and brushing my teeth. I dressed into a black pair of skinny jeans and a gray t-shirt. I threw on an oversized hoodie, and slipped on my shoes, grabbing my notebook and sharpie as I walked out of my bedroom.
I slowly walked down the stairs and turned to the kitchen to see my father, Jack, and Cassie sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast. My father looked up and smiled, saying, “Morning, Willow.”
I smiled slightly in response, sitting right next to Cassie as my father placed a plate of eggs and bacon in front of me. I took my notebook and sharpie and wrote, Thanks.
There was a short silence as we ate, and then my father cleared his throat as we brought our eyes to look at him.
“So, I’ve been thinking,” He began. “That maybe perhaps it’d be best if you all didn’t go to private school anymore.”
“Really?” Jack chirped.
Father nodded, smiling a little at Jack’s eagerness. “I’ve decided that you’re all going to attend a public school now. And you can’t really object anyway, seeing that I have already registered you.”
“Yay!” Cassie squealed. “No more uniforms!”
My father smiled at the twins’ enthusiasm, and turned to look at me. “Willow, are you fine with this?”
I shrugged, and wrote on my notebook, I guess so.
He nodded in approval, and said, “Well, how about we all go out and get some new clothes for you
all? Mall sound good?”
I shrugged and the twins said yes. I took everyone’s plates and put them in the dish washer. I went back upstairs to grab my phone, and then back down to see my sister and brother putting on their shoes as my father stood by the door, keys in hand.
“Come on, you guys!” He said. “In the car!”
I got in the front seat of my father’s Lexus as the others climbed in. He backed out of our driveway, and onto the road. We got to the mall, and they walked in front of me while I tagged along behind them, hunched over with my notebook in hand. We walked into a Children’s Place store and I took Cassie while my father took Jack. I went into the girls’ section with her as we picked out clothes.
“Do you like this?” She asked me, holding a pink shirt with a ballerina on it that had puffy sleeves.
I scrunched my nose at it in distaste, since clearly it was ugly. I shook my head, and she put it back on the rack and I kept looking.
“What about this?” Cassie held up a black shirt with little grey and blue designs on it. I smiled, and nodded in approval. She beamed as I took from her to hold.
“You’re just like your mother,” Someone said from behind me, and I turned to see my father.
I cringed as he mentioned my mother. I took my notebook and wrote, Please don’t bring her up.
“Why not?” He asked.
Because I don’t want to think about her anymore, I wrote back.
“It’s hard since you look so much like her,” He said, picking out a few things for Jack.
I sighed, and continued looking through the racks. He was right. I do look like my mom. We both have the same facial features, black hair, and icy blue-grey eyes. They could tell I was her daughter, Melody’s daughter.
My father could sense my unease. He always did.
“Tell you what,” He said. “How about we go to that Hot Topic store you like and I’ll buy you all the stuff you want from there?”
I smiled faintly, and wrote, Okay.
After that, we paid for Jack and Cassie’s clothes, and went straight to Hot Topic which was a few stores down. I looked through the racks of tee’s and pulled out what I liked, my father by my side. I then went to a rack where hoodies were hanging, and picked out many and put them in my father’s outstretched arms, all of them being twice the size of me. I liked it when my hoodies were huge so I can wallow in the warmth.
“Sweetie, don’t you think you have enough hoodies?” My father asked.
I rolled my eyes and wrote, No.
He smiled, and let me take the hoodies anyway. I looked around some more, and then the twins ran up to me.
“Willow, do you want these?” Jack asked. He held up an Anthrax CD and Cassie held up a Misfits t-shirt. I smiled and nodded. They grinned and ran back to my dad where he was at the counter paying for my clothes.
I looked at a display of studded belts when I felt a tug on my shirt. I looked down to see Cassie looking up at me.
“Willow?” She said.
Taking my notebook I wrote, Yes?
“Do you miss mommy?” She asked.
I bit my lip, and my throat ached; I pushed it back and wrote, Yeah.
“I miss her, too…” She said softly. She looked up at me with big eyes, and I gave her one of the most sincere smiles.
She smiled lightly, looking down at her feet. Taking her hand I walked back out with her since my father and Jack were waiting outside for us. Funny how Cassie still thought about the mother she knew for such a short time.