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It’s not Him. I feel my heart fall. It’s starts beating rapidly. I don’t know why I got myself so worked up. The Other Boy is here. I don’t know why. We weren’t ever that great of friends. The Other Boy is best friends with Him. Did he get lost on the way to His room?
“Liz.” He starts. He’s here for me. I don’t know why.
“What do you want?” I’m taken aback. We got along really well before, I’ve even thought that there could be something between us, but he never showed any interest in hanging out with only me.
“You said something today… at lunch.” He looks like he’s been crying. I can’t figure him out. Why is he here?
My heart’s still beating rapidly. “What? Spit it out.” I’m snapping at him. I don’t know why. I feel bad. But I can’t help it. I’m out of control.
“You said… you asked if anyone knew where your brother is.”
I nod, rolling my eyes.
He shakes his head, tears now really rolling down his cheeks, “Liz, you know where he is. Kyle died two weeks ago.”
I wake up and I’m lying on my bed. He’s sitting on my bed next to me, holding my hand. I try to move away. He won’t let me.
I suddenly remember what he said.
I shake my head violently, “No, no, he’s not dead! He’s not!”
“Liz, you saw the coffin…” He trails off.
He looks guilty. I know why. I remember. I’ve remembered the whole time. But I haven’t believed it because “I never saw the body. I never saw it. It was just a coffin.”
The Other Boy looks at me with hurt in his eyes. He can’t believe that I don’t believe him. I don’t want to. “Liz, I saw the body. I was there… I was there when it happened. He’s dead, Liz. Kyle is dead. He’s not coming back.”
I break down then. Tears steam down my face and I’m crying louder than I ever have before. I still shake my head, “I can’t believe it. I won’t.”
“Then come with me.” He starts leading me from the bed. I follow.
I know Adult #1 and #2 heard my cries. I know that they chose to ignore them. I ignore the empty feeling I get in my stomach.
We’re in his car driving. I realize where we’re going. I don’t want to. I claw at him, trying to get him to turn the car around. He won’t. He’s determined. He has child locks on his doors so I can’t escape from the inside.
I’m helpless as he pulls in through the iron gates.
Death is everywhere. It’s surrounding me. The stench is nauseating. I swallow the bile that rises in my throat. He turns off the car and exits the driver’s side seat. I hate him. How dare he? I’ve been avoiding this place. Yesterday, on my way to the pawn shop I came near here. And walked a mile out of my way to avoid it. I hate it here.
He acts like my fights against him don’t matter. He holds me close to his chest, ignoring how my fingernails are scratching at his skin and how I’m kicking and squirming my hardest to try to get him to let me go.
He finally does. I look up; only to see the one thing I feared the most.
Kyle Valenti Parker
Loving Son and Brother
June 17 1990 – March 27 2008
No. This can’t be happening. It can’t be real. I avoided the burial because I didn’t want to acknowledge that the entire world was acknowledging his death. I didn’t want to believe it.
But I can’t deny it any longer. It’s real. It happened.
My best friend. My twin brother. My other half. I’m never going to get to see him again.
And as much as I hate The Other Guy, I can’t help myself. I run backwards into his arm, my sobs of sorrow practically screaming in his ear. I pound my fists on his back as he draws me into a hug.
I’ve never felt more lost in my entire life.
My life is capsizing.
More importantly, I’m hyperventilating. My world is going black again. I can’t breathe properly. I’m trying so hard to breathe, but I can’t. My own tears are choking me. I’m full-out panicking. My twin brother is dead. Dead! I will never, ever see him again. I will never, ever get to talk to him again. And I have this empty space in my soul that I had reserved for him. We were connected.
I believe that he’s dead, I can feel the lack of his presence in every fiber of my being, but I can’t handle the fact that he is.
The Other Boy comforts me as best as possible, but it’s hard for him to do. I can tell. I feel tears coming from him dripping slowly down my back. He needs someone to comfort him, as well. Kyle was his best friend. They were almost as inseparable as Kyle and I.
“What happened?” I croak out.
I didn’t want to hear the story when they told me he was dead. People tried to tell me what happened to him, but I wouldn’t let them. All I ever heard was ‘tragic accident’ before I bolted completely.
We sink down onto the ground together. He’s still holding me. I still have no idea what to do.
He starts shakily, “We were camping… and Kyle kept saying how it was important for him to get back in time to see you guys perform…”
My heart hurts. My head hurts. I’m exhausted, but I know I won’t get back to sleep tonight. I need to hear this, even if I don’t want to. I’m overwhelmed. Tears are still streaming down my face. I don’t know how I have so many in me.
“It was raining pretty hard and I kept telling him that we should pull over, but he… he was so determined to get there. He didn’t want to disappoint you or anyone else. You know how Kyle is.”
I laugh bitterly, “How Kyle WAS.”
He ignores me and continues, “And the car… it started hydroplaning. We didn’t see how much rain was actually on the road… the car went out of control and skidded into a tree. His side hit. He died on impact, Liz. He didn’t feel a thing.” His voice is breaking the entire time he says this.
He buries his face in his hands and chokes on his words, “I… I got away with bruises. But I still… I… God, I should have done something. I shouldn’t have let him get in the car.”
My grief is only the second wave that’s hit. The first time, when the sheriff walked through the door, I didn’t want to believe it. It was worse that night than it is tonight.
I shake my head. I scream at The Other Boy. He doesn’t understand. I yell at him to take me home. He silently gets up, takes my hand rather forcefully and leads me away from Kyle’s grave.
I don’t look back.
I don’t even look at him as he drops me off at my house. I ignore whatever it is he tries to say to me. I’m numb. I can’t feel anything. I can’t think anything.
I spend the night staring at the ceiling.
Tonight, I know that Kyle will never again open the door to the end of the hall to be either on time or late for school. I know he’ll never open it up again with that goofy grin on his face and have some lame joke waiting for me.
I also know that I will never see him again.
I’ve lost my best friend.
And that hurts more than anything else ever will.