Lost In The Shadows

I’m Brooklyn Addison. I prefer to be referred to by my middle name which my dad gave me: Malia. Brooklyn screams your typical stuck up, bubbly and full of life teenager but that was the old me...

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20. Lost and Happiness.

Chapter 20

 

Two weeks later…

What was appropriate funeral attire? Yes, I knew wearing black was the biggest rule in the book, but what else? I thought to myself as I carefully examined my clothing choices in Mason’s mirror. “The funeral car is here, sweet pea! Whenever you’re ready.” I heard Mason’s mum gently shout from downstairs, her voice trembling slightly. Mason’s funeral was being held in his hometown in San Francisco so Doris, Mason’s mum, insisted I stay with her. A few days before I had travelled into town to buy something for the funeral, I found nothing. In the end, I had to borrow one of Luna’s pencil skirts. The outfit didn’t seem too bad, I had paired the skirt with one of my old detailed blouses and Mason’s leather jacket. It was like I had a part of me with him to get through the day. Rushing out of my trance, I tucked a piece of my barely calm hair and closed Mason’s bedroom door behind me.

The church was enormous and regal, Doris was a hardcore catholic so I wouldn’t have expected any less. It was filled with faces I had never seen in my life, I didn’t know Mason knew so many people. He hadn’t even gotten to introduce me to his family yet, no wonder I didn’t know anyone. The only people I recognised were his friends who sat in the row behind me; Lucas, Luna, Camille, Eli and Sky. It looked like the whole town came for him, they lived on a hill only half an hour away from the centre of San Fran so there weren’t many people that lived here but compared to how many people I assumed I would have at my funeral, it was a lot.

“We are gathered here today to celebrate the life of Mason Willows, who had now returned to his home with god.” The priest bellowed from the stand.

The idea of funerals baffled me, people said how the purpose of them was to ‘Celebrate the victim’s life’ but everyone knew it was just to help the suffering people left behind. I had agreed to saying a few words for Mason not knowing how many crying people would be in this church, watching me, judging my every move. After I heard the priest say my name, I felt a shock of pain run through me. Anxiousness. Next to me, Avery, Mason’s little sister gave my hand a little reassuring squeeze.

Shakily, I took the crumpled piece of paper out of Mason’s jacket pocket and began to read. I promised myself I wouldn’t look at his body in the casket; I wanted the last image of him in my mind to be of him peacefully in my arms but I couldn’t help it. Stuttering wildly, “I’m- I was Mason’s girlfriend…” It didn’t feel right talking about him in the past tense because that meant that he was truly gone. “Mason was…” see, that word again. Everything started to double, the words on the paper were blurry and my eyes kept drifting back and forward to Mason’s rotting body and the huge crowd gawking at me. “I-uh. Can’t do this, I’m sorry.” Before I knew it, my uncomfortable heels were bashing against the hard church floor. My legs didn’t stop, I didn’t even feel the pain of my toes squeezing together in the black stilettoes as I ran up the hill.

I didn’t know how long I had been there for, I just lay there on Mason’s bed staring up at the white ceiling. I had spoken to Doris and she understood that I wasn’t going to be able to make it to the reception.

The doorbell rang. Confused, I ran down stairs to see Lucas running his fingers through his thick blonde hair as he waited for me to open the door.

“Lucas? Why aren’t you at the reception?” I asked.

“It’s fricking horrible, seeing people dance and be happy like they’re there for a party. One of the best people on this planet just died and everyone’s acting like nothing even happened.”

“Come in.”

**

We played one of Mason’s Rock records on full blast, I could barely hear my own thoughts. I loved it. Lucas and I took turns at taking swigs at his small bottle of Jack Daniels. The floor wasn’t cold anymore, we had been sitting there for ages.

“Lucas…”  I sat up, taking the last sip out of the bottle. “When will it get better?”

“Well, do you want me to tell you the truth?” Lucas asked, now sitting up too.

I nodded.

“This will never get better. This aching pain will never go away, in time I suppose we’ll just learn how to deal with it better.”

“I hope so.” I sighed. “But now, I think, all of this time between now and death seems pointless. Why should I live a life that I know I’ll never be happy in again?”

“Alright, I can’t tell you that you’re ever going to be happy again or that one day everything will be great because I’ll just be lying to you but you know what, Mason would have wanted you to find happiness again and in this period between now and death, that’s what you need to do. Find some happiness.”

**

Sky’s voice echoed all over the bar from the huge speakers, “Thank you to everyone that made it to this special show in memory of our amazing friend Mason. Today marks a year since his death, but tonight we aren’t here to be sad. We’re here to rockkkk!” she screamed over the microphone. Quickly, she took two steps back and reached for her electric guitar. “The band and I are going to sing a song from the new album that we hold very close to our hearts, ‘It’s never goodbye’. Enjoy everyone!”

Luna came rushing over with several glasses in her hands. Lucas, Camille, Eli and I all took a glass each. I sniffed warily and got a strong whiff of Scotch, Mason’s favourite. “How?” I asked Luna, trying to shout so she could hear me over the music. None of us had turned 21 yet so it was kind of illegal. “Oh, Larry said it was for Mason.” Luna screamed pointing over to a man, who looked about 6ft, standing behind the bar.

After the funeral, I had decided to stay in San Francisco. In a way, it felt like I was closer to Mason by being around the people he loved most. I had gotten closer to everyone in the friendship group anyway so it now felt like home.

Eli nudged Lucas and whispered something into his ear, I couldn’t quite make out what it was because of the booming music. Lucas said no to whatever Eli asked him and carried on jumping up and down to the music. Eli shouted something else to him and this time I heard, “Oh come on! Look at them, they’re both beautiful.” Eli was now pointing to the two girls that stood at the bar. “You’ve had this massive crush on Malia for ages now, get over it.”

Shocked, I carried on dancing and pretended I didn’t hear anything saving both of us heaps of embarrassment. It was wrong on so many levels; it couldn’t have been true. First of all, Lucas was one of my best friends. Second of all, he was also Mason’s best friend and lastly, a relationship was definitely not on my list of things I needed right now.

Sky jumped off the stage and came running to us, “Did you love it or did you love it?”

I laughed, “Of course! Mason would’ve laughed it Sky.” Everyone else agreed and put their glasses out. “To Mason!”

“Alright guys, come on!” Sky screamed, leading us out of the bar.

“Where are we going?” Luna asked.

“Umm… You’ll see.”

One by one, we all jumped out of the taxi to see one of the best beaches in San Francisco. “Oh god, we’re jumping off of there, aren’t we?” I shivered, pointing to the huge cliff.”

Sky smirked, running to the back of the cliff.

We were at the top of the cliff already, looking down at the dark ocean. Hanging out with all of these crazy people was a death wish, but I didn’t mind. Speedily, I stripped down to my underwear. “Guys, I don’t know you know. It looks a bit risky!”  

“Oh, god Malia, that’s the point!” Lucas laughed. He held out a hand and we stepped off the edge together. It felt so refreshing, it only lasted for a few seconds but it felt like an eternity. The adrenaline rush was something I had gotten used to this last year, it felt like a drug that I craved. We quickly landed into the freezing water, bubbles created all around us as we exhaled into the water.

**

The Next Day

I sat down on the wet grass in front of Mason’s grave, placing flowers in front of the headstone. “Hey Mason. I don’t know what you say, happy anniversary?” I took a deep breath, holding back the tears. “I’m not as bad as I thought I’d be this time last year. The anger has settled down, I’ve started eating and sleeping again. I think about you all the time and now, it doesn’t hurt as much. I’ve been doing really well actually, I think you’d be proud of me. As for happiness? I think I’m on the journey to it, Aiden and Charlotte were found a few weeks ago. They’re now in police custody, I have to go back to LA soon. You’ll have your justice soon baby. I’m doing something I love, I’ve started getting back into drawing. There’s this art program in San Francisco that I got accepted into recently. Oh, I passed my driving test! Love? I don’t know if I’ll ever find love again after you, maybe I already have. As for now, I’m good. I’m surrounded by people that all loved you and now they all love me too. I’ve finally found the family I’ve always wanted. Maybe this is the love I needed all along. I’m not sure how heaven works, you know I haven’t always been religious but if you’re watching over me. Don’t worry about me Mason, I’m good, as good as I can be.”

I heard footsteps behind me, I hadn’t even realised It was pouring down with rain. Lucas asked if I was ready to leave, I nodded and took his hand. He placed the umbrella over my head and rested his arm over my shoulder.

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THE END.

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