She sighed, running her fingers over the final resting place of someone she held dear. She wasn’t arrogant enough to think it held meaning to others, but she hoped it did. Even if they knew nothing and never would. She wanted to cry but of course, she couldn’t. It was impossible. It wasn’t the time nor place for her sorrow anyway. What was once lost was lost. She knew that there was no turning back. From the moment she made her decision, she knew. She knew… It would all end up this way.
She watched as they wept, mourned, prayed, and some even stared coldy and unfeelingly at the stone slab. She couldn’t find it in herself to hate them. After all, their feelings were probably justified. Although, why did they come, she wondered, if they cared nothing for the person who laid beneath it. She watched as her beloved walked by, kneeling beside the cold grey stone and fought with himself for control and ultimately failed. It happened every year for the past ten years.
She could only watch, wishing she could bend down and embrace him, but she couldn’t. She shouldn’t. She wouldn’t. That broke the rules. For those who broke the rules, they were punished. Painful, but not deadly punishment—punishment that she wasn’t sure was worth. Maybe she was being selfish. Maybe she should risk it all, throw caution to the wind, and just do what she wanted to do. But she knew she wouldn’t. Once rules were broken, punishment was dealt; not only to her but to those she touched. Maybe she wasn’t as selfish as she thought.
One by one, they silently left; some with their heads bowed, some laughing, and some smiling a melancholy bitter smile, and she watched as they went. She smiled kindly when he finally left as well.
Following from a distance, she continued watching as everyone piled safely into their vehicles and sped off down their chosen roads.
Rain. How befitting of the situation.
She walked back to the resting place of one who was and is important to her. Running a hand over the rough slab, she smiled, bittersweet.
“You know, Elena… If you knew that it would turn out this way, would you still choose this path?”
Silence answered her like it always did; nothing but the stray breeze and rustling of leaves. Like always.
She continued talking anyway.
“You probably would, wouldn’t you? Despite all the pain.”
“…Despite all the pain,” she repeated in a whisper.
The rain was pouring down now, everything darkening under the wet onslaught. She smiled. Refreshing. Autumn was fast approaching and all the rain washed in death to make room for new life every spring. She turned and glanced over her shoulder once more at the grey stone.
There were no more words other than that. She hadn’t wanted any. She was sure she still didn’t want any. No, she definitely didn’t want any. It was better that way.
Her hair blowing in the wind, untouched by moisture, a pair of gossamer wings spread and in a storm of feathers, Elena vanished into the sky. She would return later to watch again; to watch over her loved ones. It was her chosen path to become a guardian. She could not touch nor could she speak to them, but it was worth it all to protect them. This was her new life after death. Her decision.
Death was her rebirth and it certainly wasn’t the end, but it was the end to many things.