My 2006 NaNoWriMo novel. Woo! Note: since I am posting as I go along, the storyline is backwards. To read this, start from the oldest post and read to the newest.

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Location: Los Angeles, United States

I am an awkward, stubborn, slightly insane woman who would rather talk Plato than Prada, rather watch Frank Capra than Carrie Bradshaw, and rather listen to Norse myths sung in Icelandic than anything currently on the radio. Yeah. Told you I was weird.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Chapter 17

On December first, I did what I hadn’t had the courage to do for a month and a half. I went by myself to the cemetary, to visit Hannah. I hadn’t been there since the funeral. For all my talk about facing death and being aware of the harshness of life, I hadn’t actually spent any time by her grave.

The grass had grown in between the seams of the sod they’d laid down that first day. You’d never be able to tell how long she’d been there without looking at the headstone. I’d never even seen what epitaph was there.

I put a small red carnation in a jar by the headstone, and bent down to look.

Hannah Billings

b. 1989 - d.2006

“The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

It seemed so small and stoic, so resigned. It wasn’t sentimental, like so many gravestones, but that seemed to make it all the more pathetic. I sat down on the grass in front of the stone, wrapping my coat around me. It had gotten cold in earnest now.

“Hello Hannah. I…I’m sorry for not coming sooner. I guess I was too focused on myself, too selfish, too…well, too scared. I didn’t want to admit how much the sight of that Valley of the Shadow had scared me.”

I laid a hand on the grass. It was cold, but warmed quickly to my touch. “I wanted you to know…I don’t know if I loved you. I think, given time, I would have. You were one of the prettiest girls I’ve ever seen, and you were so gentle and sweet. I guess maybe a little too sweet; couldn’t you have shared some of that anger and frustration instead of bottling it up? Anyway…I miss you. I miss that pink sundress you used to wear. I miss hearing you point out the silences every twenty minutes. But I won’t make the same choice you made. I can’t take that way out anymore. You never saw how much pain we felt when you left us. You never saw the hole you left in us, Hannah. And you never saw what you could be. I’m going to go forward now, I’m going to really live, and try to find out what makes it all worthwhile. Because something does; something must.”

I reached up to brush away a few tears that had begun to fall, then changed my mind, and let them slide freely down my face. “I don’t know what anyone’s purpose here is. I don’t know if I’ll find that reason for life. But I wish you could be here, to look for it with me. I hope that you’ve found a purpose wherever you are, and I hope that you’re finally somewhere where you know how special you are and that you are loved. I’m not going to forget you Hannah. I’ll come and visit you. And whatever I figure out, I’ll come share it with you, ok?”

I sat back on my heels and looked up at the sky. Palm treets swayed overhead, fronds shaking in the wind. The sky was grey and overcast, but soft, like the feathers of a dove, wings spread over the world.

“Requiescat in pace, Hannah.” I bent and kissed the top of her headstone, then got up, and walked out of the cemetary.


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