Fingers drum carelessly on the window pane, eyes half-lidded with bored misery. A wisp of unbrushed hair falls over my eyes, and my fingers stop. The commotion downstairs has drawn to an end. My name will be called soon, meaning that they’re ready to go. My chest tightens with the feeling of hurt. I can't ever get her out of my head. I want to. I want her words to disappear.
“Eli?” There it is. My name. Tightly, my eyes screw shut for one last breath. Her name is still fresh in my mind. It won’t leave, it won’t disappear, circling around to haunt me. I stand, walking down from her room and into the living room, which her family has gathered, coats dragged onto their bodies, faces dim. Her little sister clutches one of her dolls, cheeks already tear-soaked.
I ran out of tears four months ago.
I follow her family out into their car. It was a surprise that they invited someone like me along with them. I had always been a burden since that day. Grace, her sister, tells me to sit next to the car seat, so she can sit with me. Grace used to like me. She said I was like another sister. Now she can barely look at me. She blames me. She hates me, now. I wonder if she still feels love from past years.
Her parents watch me solemnly from the front seats. My unkempt brown hair blows carelessly out the open car window as we drive, fallen victim to the frigid wind. Grace clutches the doll tight to her chest, eyeing me warily. She's trying to be nice like she would've wanted. I can tell. I can tell she hates me. My mouth stays shut, sewn together by the words I never got to say. I haven’t spoken a word since that day.
“Eli. We’re here,” Her mother disrupts the quiet silence that engulfed the car ride, opening the door for me. I hadn’t realised I had spaced off for so long. It seems to happen more and more each day, for longer times. I slide out of the car, arms immediately clutching onto each other in a feeble attempt for warmth. I swallow a breath of stinging air, letting out a sigh. Stone-faced, I lead the family to her grave, tilting my head quietly as we arrive. This is it. Maybe she’ll speak to me, today. She hasn’t spoken a word to me since the day she died, since I was left alone with her coffin. She hasn't spoken to me in four months.
I long to hear her voice.
“I know this must be hard for you,” her father’s voice is deep, and gruff, and it sounds as if he is really trying so hard not to cry. As if he's trying really hard not to yell at me. It must be hard for him, as well. “I… I know you don’t speak, these days, but if you want, we can let you… let you be alone.” Her father really was always kind to me. When she first wanted me to meet him, I was shocked. I didn’t want to have her have to deal with a reaction such as my parents when I told them who I was courting.
Her father said no such horrible things when his daughter came home, dragging her tomboy girlfriend Eli behind her. He accepted me open arms. And now, while my mind is crawling into insanity, he still opens his arms. While I am the reason for all his problems, he shows me friendship. I hate him, I hate him so much. He needs to hate me like the others.
Thinking back to his past words, I nod. I want to be alone with her for just a little while. I miss her, so much.
The family nods, walking to go visit some other relative’s grave. I drop down onto my hands and knees, mouth opening and closing in pain. “Please, please talk to me,” my voice is hoarse, worn-out from disuse. I only talk when I want to see her. I only use my voice for cries of hurt.
My knees are scuffed up from the cold, snow-stained dirt I fell into. The family is long gone. So why won’t she talk to me? I need her. I need to see her, once more. She was the only thing keeping me sane.
Why are you so sad? The voice fills my mind, sad, sweet, and loving. My eyes grow wide, tears falling down my frozen cheeks. Her. It’s her. I’m always with you, Elizabeth. I clutch the sides of my arms. No. I don't want consolement. I need to know if she hates me. I need to know, need to know, need to know if she thinks it's still all my fault she's here.
“Why did you leave me? Do you really hate me that much?” My voice begs for clarity, redemption. She becomes clear now, a translucent figure of who I once loved. Who I still love. I cower, unwanting of her eyes on me in this state. Sunken eyes, which have grown dark with bags. Overgrown, unkempt hair, thin enough to be unhealthy. I cower, not wanting her to see me when It's all my fault, all my fault, all my fault she's here, and yet not here.
Her arms wrap around me, lifting my chin up. A ghost, a spirit, an undead creature, but still, It’s her, and I need her. I need her to tell me, to love me, to be back with me, again. I need that day to have never of happened.
She pulls me up from the ground, grinning at me. I have to look down to see her. She was always so much shorter then me. The tall, lesbian freak, and the small, lesbian freak. She's still so beautiful, long, dark hair floating carelessly and translucently in the cold air. The dress she is wearing passes her knees, blood marks staining her. Deathly beautiful is what she is, as she stands here, and it hurts, so much, to see her like this.
Leaving you is the last thing I wanted to do. Her eyes look downcast, before a smile appears on her saddened face. She hasn’t changed at all. Not a bit, and it hurts, but it’s all okay, because right now I’m back in her arms, and that’s all I want. I still love you, Eli, I still loved you. I didn't care. No. This is not what I wanted. No, no, no. Not her sympathy. I want her love, but I want to reject it, because I don't know if this is really her, or a figment of my mind.
“Can’t you haunt me or something? If you think it's my fault, haunt me! I need to know, I need to know, before I'm gone!" I sob out. Her pale red lips open, letting out a confused sigh.
Eli, I wish I could. I want to. But, all I can give is my love. I don't know if I think it's you're fault. I don't know if I hate you... She stares at me. I understand. I understand, but not how I want to understand. She wraps tightly around me, one last lover's embrace, before disappearing in the thin fog. I understand, and yet I don't, and I want it all to go away, so badly.
I don’t know if she was really the love I wanted so much to hold again, or if she was my mind playing tricks on me, as it always does since she went away. I want it to be the real her. I want to keep these feelings of unsureness, of understanding, that I used to have when she was alive.
Her family comes back, eyeing me warily. I know why they’re so afraid. I don’t want them to be afraid of me. I just want them, to understand. To accept me. To not see me as a monster. It wasn't my fault. Yet, it was all my fault. But she was the one who read the newspaper. She was the one who knew that my past was dark, unforgiving. She was the one who urged me to do it, with words of love and regret, and disappointment. It wasn't my fault. It wasn't, it wasn't, it wasn't.
It wasn’t my fault I killed her.