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Goodbye May Seem Forever
Topic Started: Jan 28 2016, 07:37 PM (261 Views)
SansaSaver
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((Oskar Pearce continued from Ice Cream Truck Beat))

It was always so eerie entering the graveyard. No matter the time of day or how many other people were filtering about the area, there were always some hollowness in the air. Oskar supposed it was the everpresent knowledge that this was a place where dreams were crushed, loves were lost, families were fractured beyond repair.

A bushel of posies clasped in one hand and a water bottle in the other, Oskar made his way across the stone pathway to his destination, bundled up in his patchwork cardigan and long, multicoloured scarf. It was still early morning - the sun was just peeking over the horizon and the weather was still bitingly cold. Only the occasional chirp of sprightly birdsong broke the dreary atmosphere of the area. He figured he’d be forced to shed his covers soon enough when the temperature began to rise once more, but the orange t-shirt he wore underneath meant he wouldn’t lose any of his vibrancy whilst doing so. Even in an area as solemn as a graveyard, he still couldn’t bring himself to dress in darker colours.

His mother’s grave wasn’t the most eye-catching in the plot, with its simple headstone and collection of small pot plants clustered around it; modest and humble, two qualities nobody could ever deny Tabitha Pearce possessed in her life.

“Hey mum,” he squatted gently beside her tombstone, placing the bouquet of flowers upon the bed of grass that coated her gravesite. “How are you?”

It was his usually way of greeting her, now; a force-of-habit he never really thought about in much depth.

“Things are going alright for me, I guess,” he continued, only intermittently looking up at the golden engraved loops that formed her name across the polished stone. “Classes are going well! Science is… pretty hard, but it’s fine - I just needa study a bit more. Can’t wait till school’s over for good and I never have to look at another one of those formulas ever again.

“I think... I think that’s, like, the only really good thing that’ll come from leaving high school. I’m gonna miss my friends so much; who’s to say I’ll ever see Juni or Jasper or Danny or Tabby again?” He paused for a moment, wondering if he ought to continue with such a downer of a subject. Ordinarily the answer was so obvious he didn’t even need to contemplate it: just keep on with the positivity and bury all those anxieties so deep he didn’t recognise them. But here, alone with his mother, the very woman who’d taught him just how to keep everything covered up, it was so easy for everything to come spilling out.

“I know everyone’s saying ‘we’ll all see each other again! We’ll keep in contact!’ But what if we don’t? I don’t know what I’ll do without my friends. I know I’ll make new ones at college - there’ll be clubs to join and parties to go to and kids at my dorm to meet. But what if they don’t like me? All I’ve ever wanted is to be liked and respected, and I feel like I have that with my friends here. What happens if the people at college don’t think I’m cute, if they think I’m annoying and a try-hard?”

As he caught his breath from the stream of babbling that had evacuated his mouth, Oskar shook his head and tried to compose himself. What was his mother thinking of him - and his inability to contain himself - right now? What would she say if her voice could pass through his ears once more? In some ways, Oskar didn’t care; just being able to hear her soft voice again, no matter the subject matter… he didn’t know just how much he’d sacrifice for that opportunity. As it was, though, he found himself able to muster the strength to push everything back, to get back on track with the idle chit-chat that composed most of their chats. Opening up was a luxury and a weakness he could only rarely afford.

“I’m sorry. I don’t mean to bring up all of this stuff. You must get annoyed with me - all I ever seem to talk to you about is sad stuff. So, I’ll… I’ll try and focus on more positive stuff for you, okay?”

“For my degree, I’m still tossing up between doing, like, English and Music or doing Public Relations. At the moment I’m kindaaaa thinking more like PR. I love the idea of studying what I love, but nothing’s gonna stop me from singing or reading if I choose a different, more practical degree, right? Just ask dad - the amount of time I spend at the library or singing in the shower drives him crazy. I guess I could do a conjoint, but that’s a scary amount of work, and you know how I get when I’m stressed.” A memory of himself, ice-cream caked around the corners of his mouth and a half-melted chocolate bar laying beside briefly passed through his mind as he continued.

“All I know with college is that I wanna get into one out of state. I wanna go somewhere big and vibrant and exciting. Don’t worry, though! I’ll come back to visit you, I promise. I’ll even go to see dad. I know that’s what you’d want, for me to check up on him. And things are actually okay with him at the moment. He’s got a couple new girls, Paula and Edie. They’re nice. Paula’s honest about… everything, which is an admirable trait, I guess. And Edie’s quite quirky - she likes what I wear! None of dad’s girls have liked what I’ve worn before. It’s only really been you that has. So I guess things are moving in a good direction.” He hesitated, pulling the brakes on his tangent as he realised the path his speech was beginning to travel down. “I’m sorry, I’m so silly! I told you I’d only talk about positive stuff and here I am rambling about dad and his girls.”

He didn’t speak for awhile after that. The silence left by his finished sentence stretched on for a long time, the only sounds in the area the wind rustling through the trees and the birds whirling above him as he lifted one of the pot plants up to wipe away the light film of dust and grime it’d accumulated since his last visit. It took awhile before another worthwhile conversational topic came to the forefront of his mind, and he almost leapt to his feet as it did so.

“Oh, another thing!” Oskar breathed a sigh of relief that he hadn’t fully forgotten, cringing at the thought of the internal chiding he’d have subjected himself to had he only remembered once he’d returned home. “I’ve got a solo in choir! It’s from Sweeney Todd, and it’s called ‘Green Finch and Linnet Bird’. I don’t really know much about Sweeney - you know me; if it isn’t Disney then forget it - but the song’s beautiful! I’d sing a bit for you, but I don’t really know the words yet, and I wouldn’t wanna give you a performance that isn’t one hundred percent!”

“I have to go now.” His voice was tinted with the hint of waver; he didn’t want to leave the comfort of this place, didn’t know the next time he’d be able to visit her. “I wanna get back before dad wakes up and asks where I’ve been. But before I do… even if I can’t sing that new song, an old favourite’s just as good, right?”

He cleared out his throat, adjusted his posture, and began. His mother had so rarely been able to hear him sing with any skill while she still lived and breathed, and he was determined to make up for it now.

And as the sun’s rays completely washed over the area and the final notes of Oskar’s song hung in the air, he gently murmured “I miss you, mum.”

That was an emotion she would’ve been okay with.

((Oskar Pearce continued in All in the Golden Afternoon))
Version Seven:
Tristan O’Hara
Dorothea Rodriguez
Ariana Simpson


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