Round 2 of our Flash Fiction Challenge, hoping for the first time in forever to make it to round three.
A girl hangs out at a familiar spot to honor and remember her boyfriend.
“It looks like we have a murder on our hands,” Adam said.
I looked at him as if he’d lost his mind.
“The crows, a bunch of ‘em together like, that is called a murder.” He pointed over to a few blackbirds pecking through the garbage cans. There were three or four of them. I wasn’t sure if that equaled a murder or not.
We were on top of the hill overlooking the tennis courts, our usual hang out after school. Adam and I had met here almost every day, I figured why stop a trend.
“How long have you been holding on to that? Waited all day just to have someone to hear it?” I asked.
“I had to wait, you were late.”
“Mr. Kelly always tries to talk to me now, keeps me after school,” I looked down at my shoes. “Today he and Miss Moss wanted to see how I was holding up.”
“How are you holding up?” Adam asked. I could feel his eyes on me but I didn’t turn.
I shove my hands into my pockets as a cold wind picked up and blew the dried leaves around. Indian summer was long gone.
I shrugged for a reply.
He reached out a hand but I moved before it could land.
“Come on,” I said squeezing through the chain link fence that surrounded the school’s tennis courts. There was a lock on the gate and a gaping hole right next to it. The courts hadn’t be used in ages, the nets had been taken down ages ago. We had the place to ourselves, as usual.
We walked and sat down on the far court. Adam took off his jacket and put it around my shoulders while I dug through my bag
“Still think it’s a little fucked up,” he said watching me while I tried to roll the joint.
“You know, Keith Richards said he snorted his father’s ashes after he passed. I saw some lady eating her father’s ashes on a TV show, at least I’m not that crazy,” I said.
“How’d you even get ‘em?” he asked, looking down at the two plastic bags in my lap. One held some of the best marijuana I could get, the other had about a tablespoon of ashes, what was left of Adam.
“Your mom was pretty upset. When she was having a breakdown in the bathroom I decided to help myself.”
“I’m surprised she even noticed I was gone. She didn’t care much when I was alive.”
There was a crack in his voice. I stopped and looked over at him.
“It’s only been two weeks. We’re all still dealing.”
I reached out to put my hand on his but it was his turn to pull away and turn his head. I don’t think he wanted me to see him cry which was weird. I was the one who found his body and the mess he had made.
I finished rolling the world’s crappiest joint and looked for my roach clip. The best I could come up with was a clothespin.
“What are you gonna do with that thing? It’s too big,” he said. He tried to grab the pin out of my hand.
“Fuck off,” I said and tried to clip the joint in. It didn’t work out and I gave up.
I took out some matches. A while ago Adam and I had found a box of ‘strike anywhere’ matches in his garage, we were pretty sure they belonged had belonged to his dad. Before we knew it we had blown through half the box lighting matches on the seat of our pants, with our thumbnails, and trying (and failing) to light them off the scruff on his chin.
I scratched the match across the baseline of the court. I touched the tip to the joint and inhaled.
“I still think it’s weird,” Adam said.
People may have thought it weird to smoke your boyfriend’s ashes but I wasn’t worried. The only two people who knew were me and Adam and Adam didn’t talk to anyone anymore, well just me.
We sat in quiet consultation while I went all lightheaded and got cotton mouth.
“Ever think maybe you could have stopped me?” Adam asked breaking our silence.
“Wha?” I wasn’t ready for this conversation even if it were in my head.
“I mean you drop this huge drama bomb on me and then just expect me to be okay with it.”
“I didn’t expect you to be okay,” I said. “I just didn’t think you’d take it where you did.”
“So now it’s my fault?”
My head lolled to the side. “I don’t want to play the blame game.”
“You just don’t like when the blame’s on you,” he said.
“Fuck you, Adam,” I said loudly scaring myself and the murder. The birds flew away. I could hear their papery wings from where we sat.
We went quiet again.
This wasn’t the first time I’ve had this conversation with Adam. I beat myself up all the time thinking about how I could have broken the news to him differently. How, if I had just kept my big mouth shut, he may still be alive today. There may have been a question as to whose baby I had been carrying but I guess I didn’t need to tell Adam that. If I hadn’t said anything or even waited until he was in a more stable mindset, would he still be alive? Probably, maybe, I don’t know.
It didn’t matter, there wasn’t much I could do about it now, Adam was gone and going over everything I did was making me sick.
“I miss you,” I said as a tear rolled down my cheek.
“I miss you too,” he said.
“Why do you come back here?” Adam asked. “Just to remember the past?”
“No,” I said. “I’m just hoping never to forget you.”