The grass feels soft under his fingertips. The air is chilly against his skin and Mario really should be wearing a scarf or gloves or a coat, for that matter, but he's stopped bothering with that for a while now. What's a bit of cold compared to the numbness he feels inside? If anything, he longs for the feeling, longs to feel anything at all. The sky is clear blue and the rays of sun caress the trees. It's almost unfair, really, how the weather isn't on par with Mario's mood. He would feel angry if he didn't know better, or had the energy to.
"Hey, how are you doing? It's been a while hasn't it? Almost a month. I'm sorry I couldn't come earlier, Thomas put it upon himself to babysit me so I wouldn't come to see you; he doesn't like it when I come here alone. He doesn't understand us, I guess. The guys say I should start a hobby or something to get my mind off of things but nothing interests me anymore."
Mario's throat hurts when he talks and he has to stop to cough a few times.
"Sorry, I think I got a cold; I didn't dry my hair the other day before going for a walk and I've been feeling woozy since then. Mats says I should go to the doctor because it's been too long for a normal cold but I haven't got the time nor the inclination to do so. It just brings bad memories."
Mario turns his head when hears a couple talking between them a few meters from where they are, and a little girl cries while grabbing the couple's hands. He turns back again, feeling like he's intruding on something personal.
"Uh? Yeah, I guess I'm good but nothing's really been the same since the accident you know? The guys don't really get it because they weren't there and they don't understand what that kind of thing does to you. But you were, so I had to come see you because you're the only one who always gets me." It's getting colder as it gets late, the sun no longer shining through the leaves. The little girl has stopped crying but Mario still hears it in his head. His friends were crying too, the day of the accident. He was only with Marco at the time, and he had suffered the worst injuries, so he was on the ICU, but Mario only had a bruised head and a broken arm so he was resting on a room, and that's were their friends found him after a police officer had phoned Thomas, who was listed as his emergency contact. They were relieved to see him well, even when he frantically asked for Marco. They told him Marco was still being operated on and that the doctor would come for them when they had stabilized him. Of course that hadn't reassured Mario, but they told him he was going to be fine, and his head still hurt so he didn't even remember falling asleep. His friends were still there when he had woken up, and they were still there when the doctor told them that Marco hadn't.
Mario has a lump in his throat now and his eyes don't feel as dry as they were before.
"I started to talk to myself a lot lately and waiting for responses because I've been so used to you being there but now you're dead and," Mario's cheeks feel wet and he chokes around a broken laugh that turns into a sob. "Oh, look!" He says humorlessly. "I'm crying over your grave again!" Mario pats his cheeks forcefully, erasing the trail his tears left behind, displeased at not being able to control his own emotions. "I guess that's turning into a kind of routine for us, isn't it? I guess that's why Thomas doesn't want me to come. But he doesn't understand that I need this. The prospect of talking to you here is the only thing I look forward to. And I know that's not healthy but I don't really care. I just want to be able to talk to you even if you won't ever answer me back." Mario's voice breaks and he takes a deep breath to calm himself. "Even if I won't ever hear your voice again."
"Bene said it was normal, that he gets it. But how could he? How could he get it when he gets to go home to Mats everyday? All I get is an empty apartment filled with memories that hunt me at every single moment, they drown me. The only place I feel like I can breath is a fucking cemetery and that's only because you are here, but you're not. Not really. I would give anything just to see your smile again." Mario is angry now, unreasonable, but he can't seem to contain himself. And why would he? He has no reason to. "How could you leave me like this?" He growls, his fist hitting the ground beside the flowers he set down earlier. "How could you leave me behind? Why did you cover me when we were hit? Why couldn't you let us both die?" He's shouting now and he knows he should control himself because the couple with the little girl are still here, and he knows that they've probably heard him but he just doesn't care anymore. "How could you think that I could live without you? Don't you understand that this is hell? I can't close my eyes without seeing you bleeding on the car seat. I can't hear loud noises because it fucking brings me back EVERYTHING BRINGS ME BACK because you were everything to me. And now I've got nothing." Mario knows he still has his friends, and however damaged his relationship with his family is, he knows they're there for him too. But it's not the fucking same. It won't ever be the same again.
He feels a tap on his shoulder, and he whirls around thinking maybe Thomas has found him and heard all the things he said, and he feels guilt start forming because Thomas doesn't deserve the things he's said, not when he does everything he can to-
But it's not Thomas who tapped his shoulder. It's the little girl who was crying earlier. Mario looks back at the couple, finds them sitting on a bench facing them, and turns back towards the girl. She peers behind him for a moment before looking at him again, seemingly reading the name on the tombstone.
"Was 'Marco' someone you loved?" She asks, trembling. Mario notices her eyes are red and puffy, much like his own eyes must look right now. She continues without waiting for an answer, "My grandpa was a person I loved. And he left me too." She stops and bites her lip, glancing towards the couple for a second. Mario can only stare; his words have left him. "But my mum told me he's in a better place now. Somewhere where he cannot feel pain anymore. I'm sure your Marco is there too. "
Mario clears his throat, doesn't really know what to say, feels the tears escaping his eyes again.
But the girl doesn't seem to mind his silence, she's looking down at the flowers now, and Mario is glad she doesn't see him cry. She stays quiet for a while too. "But I'm also sure that he would hate to see you cry. I know my grandpa did. He would always hug me and give me candy from his secret stash when I was sad."
"Marco did too." Mario says when he's found his voice. The girl peers up at him, and he sees that she's crying too. "Hate it when I was sad, I mean." He clarifies when the girl says nothing. "He didn't give me candy, though. He would hug me and we would watch my favorite films and he'd make stupid comments just to make me laugh." Mario's eyes burn at the memory and he has to clear his throat again before continuing. "I do hope he's in a better place. I just can't think of anything better than being with him."
Maybe he's saying more than he should to a little girl, that she won't understand what he means, but he's so very tired and he can't really believe that a kid is comforting him right now but.
She nods anyway and lifts her hand to grab his own. "My mum also said it'll get better with time." She squeezes his hand before letting go, and hurrying back to her parents.
Mario watches them stand up when she reaches them, the girl grabs her dad's hand before continuing down the path; she turns to look back at him before they're out of sight.
He stands up, and brushes his hands over his jeans to rid them of the dirt. He glances at the tombstone and he feels the familiar numbing pressure on his chest when he reads 'Marco Reus ~ 31/05/1989-20/01/17'.
His phone rings and he knows it must be Thomas. Mario looks up at the sky and notices it's almost dark. He glances at the flowers and says, "I guess I've got to go now. It won't be as long until I come next time. I promise."
He turns his back to the grave and starts down the path the little girl went down before towards the cemetery exit, feeling like a part of him is left behind.