"Knock, knock," I laughed as I opened the door to Ben and Ro's house. It smelt like burning cinnamon and seemed quite dark and smoky. I closed the door behind me and walked around. There were so many photographs of the two, with smiles plastered on their faces and fake happiness. As I looked around, I realised that Ro even wanted her home to look loving and welcoming for any visitors. She still wanted to paint her life as being perfect and amazing.
"Hi," I heard a husky voice say behind me.
I stroked the top of a photo frame as I turned around to see him. Ben. "Hey, I did knock. I'm Pix... Dusty."
I reached my arm out for him to shake. He decided to shake it. "How did you get in here?"
I laughed. "The door was unlocked. Jeez, you should probably remember to lock that thing, anyone will come waltzing in!"
Ben sighed as he looked at the floor. I know it is awkward for him as he probably knows twisted stories about me. "So you're Dusty Evans then?"
"Pixie," I smiled, "if Ro never told you, Dusty was my nickname. Pixie is my real na-"
"I get the gist," snapped Ben as he looked at me, "what is it you want? To talk to me about my wife? She's gone, okay? We just have to face that!"
I looked at him with a dropped jaw and wide eyes. I'd never seen him snap, especially not in public with Ro. "I-I'm sorry, I don't think I understand."
Ben shook his head, "I'm sorry. It's just not been the same without Ro."
A tear fell down his cheek so I went in to hug him. I held his body in my arms as tears rolled down his cheeks. He joined in and hugged back. Ben's hugs were warm and welcoming which is nice. I see why Ro liked him. "I understand, trust me. I've had my fair share of losses." I could feel him nodding his head as he kept hold. "I only came because I thought you might want to talk to someone. It could make you feel better?"
He wiped his face and pulled away as he weakly smiled at me. "I'll put the kettle on. You can look around if you want. I don't know why you never came over when... She was here."
Ben dashed off to the kitchen to make us some coffee. I looked around more at the photo frames and the pictures. Then I noticed one of us at graduation with our black gowns and tall hats. I smiled as I stroked our faces. I can remember how happy we were and how proud we were of ourselves and each other. Well, I was happy, but the truth is Ro never was. It was a shame really because she should've been. Her English was amazing and if she had lived her life properly, she could've done something amazing with it.
Ben came in with two mugs of coffee. I smiled as I took a cup from him and sat down. He copied me, blowing into his cup to try cool it down. "So, how are you coping?"
I frowned at him for a second until I realised he was talking about Ro. "Not too great," I lied. The truth is, I had been fine. Mainly because I didn't believe that she was dead. But I couldn't tell Ben that as he'd kick me out.
"Me either," he laughed weakly. I could tell her hadn't slept for weeks due to the bags under his eyes.
"I'm just sorry this happened to you. The stuff you've been through together..." I stopped myself before Ben's eyes swelled up with tears. Their relationship hadn't been the best in all honesty and I didn't want to draw him back to the memories he'd have.
The memories that would scar him for life.
"I get through bad things. I've gotten used to it," Ben sighed into his cup as he continued terry and cool it down.
I had no idea what else to say. God knows why I wanted to visit Ben. I couldn't think of any conversations. My initial idea was to fish for information, but after seeing the sadness in his eyes, I knew I couldn't do that.
I stayed for about an hour. We didn't always talk about Ro. I tried to talk about work and the house, but his responses were lousy and uninterested. To escape, I lied and said I had to go to work. I left him with my phone number and told him that he could call me whenever he wanted to.
I took a drive up to the graveyard. I placed one single red rose on her grave. It still seemed weird. Hers was the smallest grave there and it was tucked up in the corner. It was probably because there wasn't an actual coffin and what was the point in taking up a large part for a tiny box? Many people probably found it creepy how they couldn't find the body, but nobody looked at Ro's diary and tried to figure it out. I placed the rose down slowly and nodded at the grave as I walked away.
My next stop was the cliff. It was extremely windy so I couldn't go as close to the edge as I wanted. I walked past the two big stones on my right. I could just picture Ro sat on them, scribbling her diary as she looks at the edge of the cliff. Next I see the tree on my left. It is really thick and tall. It is quite easy to climb up it as there are many holes to slip your feet and hands through. I can imagine her climbing the tree with one hand as she grabs the bottom of her dress with the other, trying to climb up to the fifth branch. She always liked the number 5. It was her favourite number for some reason. Also, the fifth branch was the thickest. I would say just like she was, but Ro was never thick. Not intellectually anyway. Perhaps emotionally as she had little comprehension of different emotions. I took a deep breath as I looked down at the world below me. I could never imagine Ro jumping off this cliff. It wasn't her.
I blinked back the tears. I wasn't crying because I missed her. I was crying because I wasn't able to figure out this mystery like I wanted to. I decided I would never need to visit the cliff again. I didn't need to. There was no mystery to solve. Maybe the reason I've clung on to figuring out a mystery is because I can't seem to let go of Ro. Maybe I do really miss her, deep down inside. Maybe I just need to accept the fact that Rosie Lewis is dead.