But I'm in Love With You

If I could burn my memories, I would. If I could take a lighter to a series of photographs and words and music and everything I associate with him, I would. And if I could show you everything I’ve seen, you’d burn them too.

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13. #13

Scarlett

Two months later

Due to my mother’s wishes, the funeral did not actually take place until several months after her death – something about experimentation involving her particular cancer cells. All I really knew was that it involved slicing her up, and after that I seemed to have lost interest.

Even after shoving several clothing items into a bag, leaving the hotel to catch a taxi and somehow wangling a flight ticket at the airport for the next flight to Heathrow and therefore putting over three thousand miles between us, I still could not escape. After the release of ‘Take Me Home’ at the end of the previous year along with the Comic Relief single and the announcement that they would be releasing a movie, their faces were splashed across billboards; television screens; magazines. It is not without regret that I fled, but at the time I saw no other alternative. Even now, I still could not.

I had managed to get a job at a local hairdresser’s and so spent my days washing the blue from elderly ladies’ hair or clipping their greying locks into curlers. It was not that I needed the money for I did not, but because I couldn’t bear to sit around with my own thoughts tumbling around my head, clanging and clanging and clanging until I could no longer see straight for the migraine that had blackened my eyes.

I had sent few invitations to my mother’s funeral: only close family and friends, although saying that my father did not get an invite. I suppose he took that with him when he got up and left. I had set it for a day in early September for I remember my mother once muttering beneath the cloud of sleep that autumn was beautiful, and that autumnal colours were just so bright. Perhaps it featured in her dreams that particular day.

Zayn had called on many an occasion – along with Harry, Niall, Louis and Liam – and it was on approximately the fiftieth call in succession that I decided that perhaps that was the moment to purchase a new mobile phone.

**

An autumnal leaf of the oak tree looming above the churchyard cascades from above my head and near about skims my nose. I reach out to catch it but of course I do not.

‘Scarlett?’ a croaky voice says, and yet again I am engaged in a conversation of someone’s name that has slipped my mind and yet I know them to be significant for otherwise they would not have received an invite. This continues for another twenty minutes before the next one comes up – the cycle seems endless. That is, until I watch as a man of perhaps fifty wanders away from me, handkerchief in hand, and whilst I wait for the next bombardments of the sympathies, they do not come.

I wait awhile, watching the mills of people chatting and smiling and laughing – perhaps exchanging fond memories of my mother, perhaps just catching up on gossip. Eventually, I realise that this would perhaps be the time to take a rest and so I fall onto a bench beneath the branches of shielding oaks overhead. Listen to the soft chirrup of wood pigeons. Close my eyes for a brief moment, crimson flooding the insides of my lids beneath the warm sunlight.

Someone approaches, the scuffing of their shoes scratchy on the pebbled stone, but I do not open my eyes immediately. I’m not sure that I wanted to. A long period of silence passes, and I wonder briefly whether the person had retreated when they kick a stone – clink, clank, clonk. It hits the side of the bench. Clink, clank, clonk: another hits the side of the bench. Clink, clank, clonk–

My eyes snap open.

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