World So Cold

Love is never simple. Love is never easy. There is more grey than there is black and white. Zayn Malik Fan Fiction

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15. When things have changed

Zayn

“Most of you knew my brother, some of you knew him all his life, most of it, or just the last few months of it. But it didn’t matter how long you knew him, he made you feel like you were lifelong friends.” Carlos Fuentes stood at the alter behind a cherry wood stand, a microphone at level with his mouth. “I wont stand up here and lie to you all, these past few days, I cried and I cried a lot. Most of you may have known Paco as trouble, but when the day was over, and the lights went out, he was just my brother, my hero” he pauses and looks into the sea of people that had crammed into the tiny church to say their final goodbyes. The air in here is heavy for December, and it smells of different colognes and perfumes. Sitting beside me is a woman who resembles Paco’s mother. They had to be related somehow. But Paco’s mother sat in the first row, beside her was a girl who looked twelve at most. The first two rows had been for family, and then I catch sight of Olive’s thick framed glasses. Beside her is Giancarlo, and there is a black and blue cloud around his eye. In the row behind her, center, Siobhan sits with her parents. Her long brown hair pinned into a twist, and a black rose pinned near her ear.

“My brother always told me to make my life something worth remembering. He used to grab me by my ear when I did something wrong, and he would tell me in both English and in Spanish that whatever trouble I got myself into, it wasn’t worth it in the end. He served as our protector, and he took pride in that”, Carlos pauses and clears his throat. “Mi hermano, my brother, we miss you” he bows his head some and then finds his way back to his mother.

The seconds that pass seem to go by in slow motion. All around me, people are crying, they are mourning, and it is normal. This is what people do when they are at a funeral. Damien had died, and it had been way too soon, but Paco’s death…I was starting to think life had a bitter sense of humor. It seemed to much like a sick joke because somewhere inside of me, I knew Paco had good intentions. The story Olive tells me, its downright horrible, but its honest brutality. He died fighting for his piece of freedom, he died because he wanted both vengeance and he wanted protection. He went down in flames, but he still had his integrity intact. In the beginning, I was unsure about Paco Fuentes, but the night he called me, I became certain that I wanted him to succeed. Why is it that the people who deserve to live, die, and those who deserve to die keep on living? I cant help but think that maybe I could have helped him, somehow.

“My son, my warrior…” its his mother, and she is looking to the ceiling because she knows somewhere that he is watching. “Paco graced my life for eighteen short years, but I count my blessings everyday that I was able to have those years. You see, it isn’t time, it’s the quality of time, and he made those eighteen years…special” a smile creeps onto her lips and she looks peaceful. “These last few days have been hell, hijo, but we did, we got the bad guys” her smile fades, and her dark eyebrows pull together. “We got the men who did this to you” she takes a deep breath and looks into the crowd. The woman beside me is sobbing, wiping the corners of her eyes as if not to ruin her elaborate makeup. “When Paco was sixteen, he asked me…mama, what’s one word to describe me. And I looked at him, and I told him stupid. On his eighteenth birthday, he asked me the same question. Mama, what’s one word to describe me…and I said, unbreakable. Mi hijo, you are unbreakable. And he smiled and took my hand and said ‘I get it from you mama’. What Paco failed to realize, is that I am breakable, very breakable.” she looked up again and blew a kiss. “Te amo Paco” and she made her way back to the pew where she sat.

Six speeches later, and when his coffin is lowered into the ground( in a spot beside his father), people start to leave. It is just Olive and Siobhan now, both of them holding hands, and when I approach them, Olive leans into me for a hug. Somehow, everything in our lives have changed, but we remain the same. Olive will always lean on me, and I will always be her spine to support her. Like a brother to a sister. And Siobhan will always be complicated, because that’s how she is. She is gentle and happy one moment, then she is fire and her words hurt like knives the next. But as Olive parts from me and leaves us alone, she looks at me the way an animal looks at someone who has inflicted harm on them. Her eyes are filled with uncertainty, and everything her and I experience together comes back in a film of memory. The good and the bad, and then the bittersweet moments where we made a mess of her sheets and our limbs were entangled.

“Siobhan I-”

“Olive told me everything” she takes a deep breath and puts the flowers she holds on the dirt with the others. She turns to me and I can tell she is trying her best to keep it together, not to cry. Maybe she had done enough crying, I still felt the sting in my eyes from the tears. Anyone with a heart would have cried at that funeral. That’s something about funerals, they have a way of bringing everyone to tears. Final goodbyes were never easy. “She says he called you” her face relaxes.

“He did…he knew he was going to fight for what he thought fit” I take a step to her and she observes me closely. “He-”

“He knew he was going to die” she says and looks at his headstone. “He wanted to make sure I would be ok”

I nod and chew the inside of my bottom lip. “And do you think you will be?”

She lets the thought marinate and my words sink. Her eyes become glassy with tears, and she shakes her head. “No, not really”

“But I’m here if-”

She cuts me off again. “You’re here now, but people always leave. Especially people I love. So tell me Zayn, how much longer till you go away again?”

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