My funeral lies in a beautiful, spacious chapel. Hanging from the ceiling are rows of chandeliers, with a luminescent glow against the dark, starless night. Poppies and daisies are placed around the room, grouped in bouquets. Scented candles fill the empty spaces on every surface. Plastered on the wall is an array of floral letters that spell out my name. A collage of my pictures through the years is draped across the cream wall. My best pictures are situated on a circular wooden table, to the far left. It is amazing how easy it is to spot the point where my genuine smile became tight and forced.
A faint sob rises above the muffled voices. I turn around to see Mom and Dad standing in the front row, their shoulders slumped. I take a deep breath and smile sadly. As I walk slowly across the room, I feel the tears well up immediately. Mom’s kind and gentle face is replaced by a shattered look. Dad is shaking his head slightly, letting the tears roll down his eyes. They are both holding each other, silently mourning.
A single tear falls down my own cheek as I close the gap in between us. I shut my eyes and embrace them hard.
I keep my arms wrapped tight around them for what seems like forever.
The huge door of the chapel creaks open noisily, catching my attention. Mia walks in, carrying a bouquet of roses. She is wearing a beautiful black dress, with decorated seams. Her chestnut hair is curled, and situated in a complicated up-do, complete with a dark fascinator hat. Her arms are hunched forward, and her head is slightly casted downward.
I cannot see her face.
Out of habit, I sprint towards her, squeezing her hard. I can almost feel her warmth against my body. Ages go by before I finally let go. A lump forms in my throat when she does not hug me back.
I swallow hard. I know I cannot be seen. I know I am not there. Yet, it stings much harder than I anticipated.
Mia starts walking, her feet slowly dragging behind her. She is heading for my casket. My casket.
I stop in my tracks. My heart immediately starts racing. I can’t do it.
I can’t bring myself to look at what I’ve become. Who would want to? I have been a constant disappointment. Not just for the people who cared about me, but for myself.
I let out a desperate sigh. I shake my head, and follow Mia before I can stop myself.
As we come to a stop, I feel ready. No. I will never be ready.
I blink back tears before looking at the lifeless body in my ivory casket. Her hands are clasping flowers of her own. Bright pink lilies. Quite a contrast to the white lace dress that delicately frame her body. Her motionless face is unnaturally pale. Her thin lips are blue.
They are lying when they say she looks as if she is just sleeping. It does not look like that at all.
Not even close.
I can’t help myself. I start sobbing. My sobs are loud. They are annoying and obnoxious. They almost sound like the desperate pleas of a young child, who has wandered too far at the local market. Unwanted worry builds until they are in the arms of their own.
For once in my life, I am glad that I cannot be heard. I am so caught up in myself that I almost forget Mia sniffling softly beside me.
My heart stops as I finally get a glimpse of her. Her eyes no longer sparkle.
I have never seen Mia cry. I have never even seen her frown. She has always been the one to lighten the mood in any situation. She always stood by me in my times of need, and not once did she give up on me.
Her beautiful face is now swollen, stained with tears. Mia should not be like this. My parents should not be sullen either. In fact, no one should be weeping. Not for me. They should be rejoicing. I was only a complication, a burden. I was a problem that needed to be solved.
Nevertheless, something doesn’t seem right.
My breathing suddenly becomes shallow.
I almost don’t notice the crowd beginning to swell. One by one, people start to gather inside the chapel. I never imagined this many people to come to my funeral. I was popular at school, but of course, for all the wrong reasons.
For a long time, I kept my head held high, ignoring the comments, and fighting back the tears. I couldn’t tell anyone, not to anybody. It was not fair to my friends, my parents, or any adult for that matter. They already had too much problems of their own to deal with. I put my feelings inside a bottle and closed it firmly, locking it away. Unfortunately, after ten months since it started, the bottle cracked, spilling everything. Every day, another small remark hurt me a little more than the previous day. I couldn’t take it anymore. It was just too much.
The service has finally started, and the minister is speaking. Eulogies are made, by my mother, by my father, by anyone who cared. I have waited so long for this moment. But everything is slowly dimming down to a blur. All I hear are the sound of faint voices that grow weaker, and eventually, every sniffle, low chatter, and shuffling are all drowned out. My head is pounding, and I can’t think straight. All night, something was nagging in the back of my head, constantly interrupting my thoughts.
A loud bang brings me back to reality. My mom is knocking on the bathroom door, but nothing seems to process.
I barely hear her ask, “Are you okay in there?”
I stare at the five Oxy pills in my hand. They are small. It would be so easy. Painless. Fast.
But it is simply impossible to leave this all behind. I can’t explain it. It just is.
I take a deep breath, and throw them away.