Chapter 3. The end:)
It's not a far walk to where he's going, even though it's the opposite direction of his house. He doesn't care; he won't be long. He can only hear his own footsteps on the concrete sidewalk. He reaches his brother's place in only a few minutes, with the grass neat and trim as always. He isn't surprised.
Someone else is standing there, facing away from him. She's staring down at the ground and muttering something quietly to herself. He can't understand what it is, but he recognizes her and softly says hello. She lifts her head at the sound of his voice and turns around slowly, because it sounds familiar, / too /familiar. She realizes it isn't who she expected and feels her heart sink. He asks if she's okay, and she says yes, she's fine, just tired is all.
She kneels and places the flowers on the grass. He knows she's trying not to cry, and he feels the knot tighten in his chest as he, too, tries to hold back sobs. She stands and looks at him, seeing the resemblance. They always did look similar. Too similar. She suddenly embraces him, crying hysterically into his shoulder and asking why it couldn't have been him. He wonders the same thing.
Eventually her tears stop, and she says she's sorry, she didn't mean to say what she said. And he says it's okay, there's nothing to be sorry for. She walks away.
He kneels by the gray, chiseled stone in front of him and simply stares at it, running one pale finger over the words and numbers again and again. He still doesn't believe it. He/ refuses /to believe it. His brother isn't there, six feet beneath him in a wooden box, staring up at the sky. He's at home, practicing on his bass guitar and eating sushi. He's back at the bar, waiting for his older brother to come back so he can finish telling a story from when they were kids. He's with her, telling her not to cry and asking if she wants to dance even though there's no music.
His little brother is anywhere but here.
He feels the bitter tears start to come and asks why he had to go. It isn't fair, he says, to any of us. We all miss you. You have to come home; we're all waiting for you. Especially her.
He stands and turns around, slowly walking away through the short, wet grass. He feels someone staring at him, but when he stops and looks back there is nothing there. He shakes his head sadly and continues walking. A melody suddenly comes to him, and he takes the worn piece of paper out of his pocket. He always keeps it with him, just in case he should think of something. His eyes widen. It's perfect. The song he had written what seemed like ages ago will finally be completed.
He quickly writes down a title and smiles at it because it looks like it should have been there all along. He scribbles a few short notes about who to dedicate the song to, even though he knows he will never forget. He carefully folds the paper back into a small square and continues walking down the street. He's almost home. He hums the melody to himself so he won't forget it.
He can't wait to tell his friends. Tomorrow, he thinks to himself as he stops walking and looks up at the stars. Tomorrow I'll tell them. And my brother.
He's going to love it.
And he swears there's someone looking back down at him with a calm smile.