My thumbs gently rubbed across the top of Basil’s hand, who was sitting beside me under a nicely shaded tree. It was summer, which everyone would be getting out of school and going on vacation. Around the first week, all my friends would plan a picnic to which I’d happily accept to join. Because there really is nothing better than getting together with old childhood friends.
The first time everyone had agreed to do this was awkward; Feelings toward one another (or at least to me and Basil) were still being sorted out. It’s unexpected that Kel, Aubrey, and Hero wouldn’t have forgiven us so easily but- We all began to talk things out more. We all had to break the tension and open up to one another, despite how gut wrenching it was to discuss what happened all those years ago. But it felt good. Good to get on better terms with everyone. Good to dissolve the suffocating bubble of hate and resent. It felt good to lift more of this burden that plagued me for so long.
“I always appreciate getting together like this..” I mumble, staring out to the scene of a bright blue sky and vibrant green trees. Out by another tree not too far away, Hero was attempting to defuse the situation of Aubrey and Kel’s bickering. Even as they all grow up, some things still never change do they? Basil, who had been reading at the moment, looked up from his page of his book and to me with a smile. “It’s nice, isn’t it? It finally feels like things are returning to normal..” The blond slipped a bookmark on his page and closed it, setting it aside for later. He takes the hand I’ve been caressing, only to fully grasp mine.
His hands were soft, and felt fairly warm against my typically cold palms. It was pleasant to have our fingers intertwined as we held hands, because it’s not like we could do this often. Sometimes it gets frustrating living away from the flower boy, away from all my friends- But that’s why I need to cherish every single moment I get to spend with them. My attention diverts from the others and onto Basil, ready with my own gentle smile. Except he wasn’t there. Instead, beside him sat the ghostly image of Mari. She faced me with a grimaced look, and I immediately froze up.
However I still yanked my hand back, and even managed to scoot away as she stood up. “ Sunny.. ” No.. No, please- Please go away. I always had these hallucinations everyone once in a while (guess that’s the price to pay for so much trauma), and they still terrified me. The sight of my dead sister before me was still enough to get me to sweat. I could feel my chest tighten unpleasantly as I watched her body float up, towering over me with a deathly expression on her face.
“ Do you really think things will ever go back to normal? ” Mari asked, the familiar image of jump rope appearing around her neck. “ After you and Basil have done this? ” Was the last sentence the ghost spoke before staying limp in the air. Her body swayed lifelessly in the air, her long black hair flowing against the blood red sky as a breeze flew by. I could feel my chest tighten uncomfortably as my breathing began to quicken. Mari wouldn’t have said that, because she forgave me didn’t she?
Yet, I still haven’t forgiven myself. At least, not completely. But why would I? Why would I forgive myself for taking her away from so many who cared for her? Why would I forgive myself from taking her away from all her hopes and dreams for the future? Why would I ever forgive myself for killing my sister, who meant so much to me? It's been years since she passed away, yet I always find myself still missing her. I wanted to let out a scream, but instead I cried.
Tears formed up on my good eye as I scooted myself farther from the scene. Mari’s body remained there the farther I got, but I tried not to look at it. If I did, I knew I would see Something. Because Something was always there, ready to haunt me despite thinking I got rid of it for good. But trauma and bad memories just don’t go away so easily. “Oh- Oh go- Mari- I’m-” I choked out, sobs getting stuck in my throat as I fell to my side. I curl up, trying to hold myself together as I wished I could get myself away from this hell.
I felt sick as my stomach churned uneasily, feeling unsettled with the image of Mari hanging before me. I never liked it. I never liked these hallucinations. Everything around me felt like it was getting dark; Like something was going to swallow me whole. It was so hard to breathe. “ ...ny! ” I want to forget this memory oh-so badly. “ ..nny! ” I want to finally forgive myself fully to remove the crushing weight off me entirely. “ ..unny! ” I want to move on and actually be at peace for what happened. I need someone to save me.
“Sunny! Please, please - There’s nothing there, I promise you!” I continue to let out choked sobs as Basil looms over me by my back. A hand rests upon my shoulder as the other hovers over my body, a panicked expression on his face. “Sunny, it’s okay! Nothing’s there, and I’m here. I’m here and.. And Mari... isn’t there.” The flower boy’s faltered a bit at my sister’s name, but kept on going. “It’s okay, there’s nothing there.”
The darkness began to recede as my sobs began to dissolve into whimpers. Basil’s words gave me a sense of reassurance, slowly bringing me back into reality. My chest still hurt as I got myself to sit up, wiping hot tears off my face with a sniffle. I still pulled myself close, bringing my knees to my face as I wrapped my arms around them. “..You okay?” The blond asked, only receiving the slight shake of my head as a response. He frowned at my answer, yet pulled me into a gentle hug. I remained put, burying my face in the soft fabric of his shirt as I breathed in his familiar scent. Comforting smells of grass and dirt, mixed in with the sweet scent of a variety of flowers. This is something I would never get tired of.
Minutes pass as I relax, and Basil finally pulls away much to my displeasure. I pout as I already miss being held in the embrace, yet the flower boy could tell I was feeling some-what better already. He doesn’t speak as he holds my hand again, and nods his head towards the others with a small smile. I look to the group for a moment, contemplating if I should enter the busy atmosphere of Aubrey and Kel’s arguing (while poor Hero still tries to be the meditator). It might be nice, as it helps take my mind off things even when I’m with Basil. I squeeze the blonde’s hand as I continue to stare off, and he nods in return.
The both of us got up, soon departing from under the cool shade as we soon felt the warm rays of the sun. It was so good to be outside- Outside talking and relaxing with old friends to take a break from everything. I squeezed Basil’s hand again, to which he squeezed back with a bigger smile. A smile cracks onto my lips too, although not a very big one. Things may never feel like normal, at least to me; And I may never forgive myself for what’s happened as well. But that won’t stop me from enjoying and living in the moment.