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Don't Cry

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There was not one place Aubrey could remember that was imposing as this was.

 

Stained glass windows glared down at the pews, alongside mass-produced monsters she could not describe.

 

I'm sorry for your loss.

I'm sorry for your loss.

 

Those were the only things said in this space, occasionally peeping out as the red carpet sludged by beneath her feet.

 

To her right was occupied seating, lain down with possesions.

To her left was a small hand, clasping a bowler hat against a sinewy body.

 

Mom's a little busy today...I know you miss your friend. I'll...go with you."

 

She wanted to retreat back into the cozy yellow car Dad drove for work; it seemed much brighter in there.

 

More sounds; they whittered away, pressing down on her footsteps.

The end of the red carpet approached; its golden embriodery terminated some distance before then.

 

Some steps; they led up to a slightly elevated portion of the room.

Before the pew was a box, its wooden veeners an attempt to blend with its surroundings.

It didn't completely do so.

 

A hand held her back gently.

 

"Stay back, girl...we'll sit down now. We will see him, okay?"

 

She slid her way into one of the sidings; the crepe dress' itchiness disappeared as she settled down onto the hard wood.

 

Basil.

He was one stride away.

 

His hands were clasped tight; their knuckles were wet.

Aubrey looked beyond the huddle of adults in the far corner; Dad was there.

 

She didn't know how to call out to him.

 

"Hey Aubrey."

A mellow wimper called out to her.

Hero and Kel; they settled down behind her.

 

More silence; she merely stared foward.

The box.


"My little man, down what centuries of light did you travel to reach us here, your stay so short-lived."

"In the twinkling of an eye you were moving on; bearing our name and a splinter of the human cross...we suffer; flashed upon us like a beacon.

"We wait in darkness for that light to come round, knowing at heart...you shine forever for us."

 

Footsteps; they rustled her by, towering above her.

 

The tall silhouette ascended the steps, and took his place before the pulpit.

 

He paused before the microphone; the little strands of stray hair that rose above his head trembled, even in the absence of wind.

 

"On behalf of all here...I would like to say thank you...to a friend that has moved on so early. My name is Henry Vasquez Rodriguez...a friend to Sunny Suzuki."

"In all my years, I think I would never have the fortune to learn once more...how one could be happy, even if his smiles were few."

 

It felt wrong. It was all wrong.

 

"And how one could be so willing to give...so willing to create...I might not have the fortune to meet another soul like his."

 

His delivery was steady; with a moderation of emotion belied only by a slight tremble.

Aubrey felt the air draining from her lungs; none entered.

A heat rose up from within, welling up at her eyes.

 

"He was a child mature beyond his years; where children were boisterous and spontaneous, he was silent and calm. Yet he holds the purity that fills each and and every youth."

"He cares about all those he graced...to me, he was more than just a friend. He was almost a true brother."

 

Maybe what i said back then...how could he be happy after hearing that?

 

"Even if he was gone too early...even if he could have done much more...he had done far beyond most of his age. I'm happy...that his sister was blessed with such a beautiful sibling."

 

Aubrey let in a gulp.

She felt the ribbon above her head, possibly one of the few coloured objects in this crowd.

It was meant to be worn to his recital.

 

When he would be the happiest.

 

A light wail; it was too much to think about.

 

Mari; she was some distance away, in a clouded corner of her vision.

 

She was looking down; a face devoid of tears, and a mouth hung slightly open.

 

Aubrey wiped away the beady tears coalescing; it was no use.

 

Stop this...stop this...if Mari was this strong...I can do this too.

Don't cry.

Don't cry.

 

"But sometimes, we forget that...the brightest stars burn out the quickest, and...that the sun is too, a star. Even with his last embers, his last cries for help...he has left beauty in his writing and art."

"In being tied up too much in ourselves...we let him wither away. He would never have let this happen, the other way around...never would."

"Even in his last breath, his last thoughts...I believe that he would be wishing well for us. I..."

 

Hero's hand clasped over his lips.

Aubrey did the same.

 

"Thank you, Sunny, for teaching me so much when you were here. Even as you left...you taught us to care. On behalf of Mom, Dad, Basil, Aubrey...and my brother Kelsey...thank you for passing by. On behalf of Mari...thank you for being born."

With trudging steps, he left the lectern, and stepped aside.

 

The pastor came up to his side, and gave two light touches on his back.


Don't cry.

Don't cry.

 

White egret orchids.

They overflowed from the sides of the casket; Aubrey touched a few of them lightly with the tip of her shoe.

 

Sunny's face came into view.

His eyelids were closed, as though he would wake up again.

In his crossed arms were his sketchbook and violin, the latter still lumpy from repair seams.

They were held the way totems would.

 

The face was almost the same shade of white as the petals that careesed his cheeks.

 

Aubrey stopped rolling the bracelet in her hand; silently, she slipped it onto his wrist.

 

She looked down at a similar one on hers.

 

Don't cry.

A hand showed her the way to step aside.

From behind her, a head of light gold shifted foward in her place.

 

His downcast head accompanied a hand clasping a tiny plastic bag.

 

Seeds.

 

The ones she remembered they planted together.

 

It trembled as it was lowered into Sunny's palms, outstretched, as though he was ready to thank him.

Don't cry.

 

Don't cry-

 

A slight gust of wind whiffed her face.

 

"Basil-"

 

The boy pushed through the crowd, disappearing in a hail of sobs.

 

The bewildered faces around her disintegrated with the temperature sweeping her skull.

 

Sunny remained oblivious to it all.

The collective aroma of countless orchids failed to penetrate her nose, now souring.

 

Mari remained motionless, on the opposite end of the casket.

Aubrey could not tell how different Sunny was from her.

 

Why won't you wake up?

 

Why won't you wake up?

 

Please wake up...

 

Don't cry. Be strong like Mari.

 

Don't cry...