Taryn McGraw, Staff Reporter

Grey. Everywhere I turned, all I saw was grey. A steady beat echoed through my ears, my umbrella keeping me dry. Everybody had their heads down, all facing the forward towards the priest as he spoke words of mourning and loss. Each wore their emotions on their sleeve, fake or not. Some had their eyes closed to hold in their tears or had a stoic face on while others dabbed the rivers flowing down their cheeks with a handkerchief, not caring if anybody saw. 

My parents embraced each other tightly, my father allowing my mother to bawl into his chest, trying her best to keep as quiet as possible as to not disrupt the ceremony, but I could see everybody flinch with each strangled and agonizing gasp she let out. 

The priest moved away from the center as some of the attendees stood up one at a time to go to the front and gave a speech. My parents were taking each speech the hardest. From where I was seated, I could see how hard my father was trying to stay strong in front of his wife, but the feelings were too overbearing as I watched tears trickle down his cheeks once in awhile, but the redness in his eyes were clear enough.

Me, though. I remained strong and determined. I wasn’t going to allow the strong mask I put up crack or falter. I refused to let anyone see how I was feeling, neither changing my apathetic face nor acknowledging others as they tried to talk to me, apologizing for my loss.

Some called me heartless, cruel, and all of the harsh words for my reaction while others gave me looks of disgust and disappointment, but I brushed it off like a leaf on my sleeve. They couldn’t get to me as I detached myself from reality and just stood in my spot. One could think I was a statue of the real me and for a moment, I almost believed it.

I broke out of my trance when I found two familiar figures standing in front of me. I glanced around to find nobody else, not even the priest. Without a word, my mom waved for me to get going with them, but I calmly shook my head. As if understanding my unspoken words, my parents nodded and told me they were going to be heading home.

Once they left, I slowly walked to the large grey stone sticking up from the ground. It was less dirty than the others and the grass was fresh, but very soggy from the constant rain, causing my feet to sink in, drenching my black high tops. 

In one big inhale, fully focusing on the inhale and exhale, I let all my barriers down. Tears came down my face like screaming rivers. My heart sunk deep within my chest and it felt like it would just shrivel up and never come back. I Dropped my umbrella to the side and looked at the sky, which was mimicking my mood perfectly. It began raining harder; I could barely see the headstone in front of me.

A shiver ran up my spine as my knees shook before giving out, sending me to kneel on the ground. I stared at the headstone until the words were engraved into my brain. I mentally cursed it and the person beneath me.

They say that you were a hero; a source of light and inspiration. You were going to get into a great school and become the most successful; more successful than I ever would. You were thoughtful and selfless; too selfless, though.

If only you hadn’t ran out into the road to save the little girl, only to be hit by the truck racing by. If only you weren’t the hero that everyone knew and loved. Then, you would still be with me. I dropped my head and hit the ground weakly with my fist, my eyes blurred with unstoppable tears.

“Why did you leave me, big brother?”