Authors: Susie Kaye Lopez
The Saddest Song
Copyright © 2013 by Susan Kaye Lopez
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Who with his guitar and his talent took a fictional song title and brought it to life. It will always be my favorite song. I love you.
I killed my boyfriend. He shouldn’t have died, but he was one of four that did. It may have been their time, but I know it wasn’t his. He died because of me, because I was angry, and that drove him crazy. He hated it when I was upset with him. He also hated being so far away. So he grabbed a ride with some guys who were heading back home. He wanted to see me, cajole me out of being angry, smile his sweetest smile, the one he knew I could never resist, and put a Band-Aid on us, one more time.
The truth of the matter was that we shouldn’t have been. That old saying “opposites attract” was certainly true in our case. He was a classic extrovert, outgoing and friendly, the life of every party. He was the guy other guys wanted to be friends with, be seen with, just be. Full of life would describe him best, even now that he wasn’t. No life remained. Just like that, in a blink of an eye, he ceased to be. I missed him desperately, as did everyone else who cried through his standing- room only funeral. At one point the sobs drowned out the priest. I hope I never hear anything that heart breaking again. I hope I’m never again the loudest one in the group.
I was wadding my black dress into a ball to fit into my trash can when my mom’s voice interrupted my thoughts.
“Rainey, Caitlynn’s here!”
I tossed it in the can and stared at it as I shouted, or tried to, my voice sounding raspy and hoarse from crying.
“Okay, send her up!” The dress was covered in my tears, and the tears of hundreds of people who gave me their condolences. I couldn’t keep it, no way could I ever wear it again.
“Hey Rainey,” Caitlynn stood in my doorway, her blue eyes swollen. She was still wearing her funeral attire, a short black Marc Jacobs dress that she had bought at Bloomingdales for half off. I remember how excited she was at the time, and how she begged her mom to buy it for her, promising she would save it for something special. I wanted to tell her it was a shame she now needed to throw it away, but I didn’t. I didn’t have the voice, and I didn’t have the energy.
“I brought you cupcakes,” she stated quietly. Cupcakes were our secret weapon, they could make our worst day better or our best day complete. We had shared countless cupcakes, in a rainbow of frostings and flavors during our lifelong friendship. We tried every new bakery that opened, and even had an official rating system for them. The box she held now was serious. The cupcakes were from our number-one ranked shop, the one that was the furthest from our neighborhood and by far the most expensive. I flashed to a memory of my boyfriend holding a box exactly like that two months ago on our three and a half year anniversary. Coconut for me. Chocolate Peanut Butter for him. He had stood there smiling like he was holding a treasure. I looked down now at the tiny diamond promise ring on my left hand and remember how it had sparkled from atop the fluffy mound of coconut frosting. Fresh tears filled my eyes as Caitlynn stood there looking stricken. Poor Caitlynn, she was not good with emotional distress. I was the one who usually handled that.
Silently, I took the box from her hands and laid it on the dresser. Those cupcakes could work miracles, but raising the dead wasn’t one of them. And at the moment, that was all I needed help with. Caitlynn crossed my room and plopped onto my purple satin bedspread and held her arms out. I sat beside her and returned her hug, squeezing her petite frame and longing for his broad shoulders. I had cried on those shoulders so many times. I had never cried on hers.
“This sucks so bad Rainey. I feel like we’re lost in a nightmare,” she whispered. I nodded my head against her shoulder. “I’m never going to wake up, am I?” My voice sounded hopeless as I disengaged from Caitlynn and fell back against my pillow, staring at the glow in the dark stars that had been on my ceiling since I was twelve.
“Well, Garrett is never coming back, but the pain will get better. Remember when Gypsy died?”
“You’re comparing losing Garrett with losing my beagle?” I asked, shocked.
“Well, you loved her, right?”
“Yeah, and I STILL miss her Cait, and it’s been three years.”
“Of course you do, but now you have Lola and you love her too.” I nodded, trying to see where this was going. Lola was the cat we had rescued, and I adored her but… she couldn’t mean what I think she did.
“You don’t expect me to replace Garrett, do you?” My voice had an edge to it that warned Caitlynn to tread lightly.
“No! Of course I didn’t mean you could replace him! I was just…I mean…I was trying to say it will get better. I mean…easier.” I felt guilty as she struggled to find the right words. She loved Garrett too, and while I had lost my love, she had lost a close friend. Despite knowing better, I could feel my patience wearing thin.
“I’m sorry, I’m not good company right now Cait.”
“It’s okay,” she whispered, and we lay looking at my ceiling for what felt like forever until my dad popped his head in the door.
“Hey Lamb, how ya doin?” He asked in his concerned, devastated-he-couldn’t-make-it-better voice. Lamb had been his nickname for me since the day I was born. Not because I reminded him of one, but because my initials were L. A. M. My parents had a deal. Mom would name the girls and dad would name the boys. Except for that there was only ever me, Lorraine Alison Martin. I was named after my mom’s grandma Lorraine, which was shortened by a prearranged agreement to Rainey. Then Dad had bestowed on me the extra nickname of Lamb.
I stared at him for a few moments then answered honestly, “Horrendous.”
“Wish I could help… I miss him too.” He stood there waiting for a reply, so I nodded and he gave me a sad smile and left.
“Everyone loved him Rainey,” Caitlynn whispered. “We are all grieving with you, does that help at all?”
“Not even a little.”
I had been lying in my brother’s room since the last guest left after his funeral. The words brother and funeral in the same sentence sickened me. The whole ordeal had been obscene. Garrett dead made no sense. My brother, my only sibling, gone forever. It could not possibly be true, but it was.
I should have known. I should have been in tune enough to have felt it when he left this life. Twins are innately connected, more so than any other relationship, but I failed to feel a thing. Even when the doorbell rang at two a.m. shouldn’t that have been a clue? I’d been up, sitting in my room finishing the lyrics to a song I’d been working on. The doorbell rang and all I thought was,” Shit! They’re gonna wake mom and dad!” I ran down the stairs throwing the front door open expecting Matt or Hudson to be coming over to hang out, or maybe stay over. But it wasn’t one of my friends. It was two uniformed police officers asking to speak to the parents of Garrett McKinley.
“Whoa,” I blurted, “What did he do?” I knew that all of the football players were at the river, and I knew a few of them weren’t the brightest bulbs, but what could be bad enough to warrant a home visit from the cops? They repeated their request without answering my question and still all I felt was curiosity as I left them standing in the open doorway while I ran to get my parents.
It was only a week ago, but I was so horrified by the news that I can’t remember much more than seeing my mom and dad struggle to throw on robes, panic clear on their faces. Then the sound of my mom’s scream as the officers told us Garrett had died in a car accident. Hours passed, but they are lost to me somehow. The following morning I drove down to see Garrett’s girlfriend Rainey and tried to break the news to her gently, but as soon as she saw me, my swollen eyes and my shell shocked expression, she knew. Her dad had come to stand beside her at the door and asked me in. I must have looked really bad, because he told me to sit down and Rainey was already crying.
“What is it, Max? What’s happened?” Mr. Martin asked, alarmed.
“There was a car accident. Garrett, he’s…” I was cut off by Rainey.
“No! He’s okay. Max, please…he’s going to be okay, right?”
I shook my head and the tears filled my eyes as I watched a blurry Rainey fall into her dad’s arms, sobbing. I checked on her every day after that. My only thought was that Garrett would want me to help her. I just kept thinking if it had been me instead, what would Garrett have done? The answer was simple. He would help our mom and dad survive. So, thinking logically, I knew he would add Rainey to his list for me. I would deal with my own loss later, they needed me and I would do what my brother would expect. I wouldn’t let him down.
At the funeral Rainey sat beside me and I could still see the indentations her nails had made on my hand. The pain had been welcome at the time. It helped me to control my own grief, feeling hers. Rainey had loved Garrett, like I did. She knew him inside out, like I did. She was everything to him, and now she was everything I had left of him. I would take care of her for him, and for myself.
I must have fallen asleep during Caitlynn’s visit, or passed out from sheer exhaustion. I hadn’t slept much in the endless days since Garrett died. Either way, I awoke to the ring of my cell phone and answered it expecting to hear his voice. Max’s voice brought me back to reality. How many times over the past week had I temporarily forgotten through sleep or shock, only to be reminded again and again.
“Rainey, are you there?” Max whispered.
“Yeah, I’m here Max. What time is it?” My clock was blinking red, telling me someone must have unplugged it.
“2:30. Sorry, I thought maybe you couldn’t sleep either.”
“It’s okay, I can’t seem to sleep for very long without a nightmare waking me, so I can realize I’m living a nightmare in real life too.”
“It’s not getting any easier, is it Rainey?”
“No, it’s hell. He’s the lucky one Max. At least he isn’t suffering. You and I are the ones suffering. How are your parents?”
“It’s not pretty, that’s for sure. They keep watching me, worrying I will up and die on them too.”
Max was Garrett’s fraternal twin, but the two were nothing alike. Garrett was, as I’ve said before, the happy, outgoing, popular one. Max was like me, introverted, serious, and on the creative side. While Garrett was a football player and lived to be physically active, Max spent his time playing piano and guitar, and singing songs he wrote himself.
Those weren’t their only differences, they also looked nothing alike. If they HAD been identical, if Max had Garrett’s golden blonde hair, or his deep green eyes, I couldn’t have stood it. It would have torn my already broken, bleeding heart from my chest. But no, Max was just Max. Tall, like Garrett, but thin and lanky. His hair was longer and a rich, chocolate color, his eyes a tropical blue, nearly turquoise. Max had taken after their very pretty mother, while Garrett looked like their even more handsome dad. Caitlynn once said the twins were equally hot, it just depended on your type. Did you prefer an athletic, muscled football player or a long haired, sexy musician? I thought she was stereotyping them a bit, but I saw her point.
“What’s going to happen to us Max? How are we going to survive without him?” I asked, knowing the answer.