The rain, ever symbolic, beat down upon the earth and stone below. It'd almost be picturesque, Kate mused, were it not for the lack of monochrome umbrellas. The forecast had lied to today's funeral attendees, and so hastily gathered hooded sweatshirts or the spare neon umbrella from one's car simply had to do. Kate didn't even bother- her short hair soaked thoroughly from the downpour. It felt appropriate.
A man who'd never met Sara preached on about her holiness, or faith, or goodwill. Anything to make her dad's side of the family happy, Kate supposed. Eventually, the man in black wound down his recycled speech and the empty wooden box was put in the ground. Kate almost wanted to roll her eyes. Sara'd said that she wanted her organs donated and what was left cremated, but her dad was insistent on a burial. They just put the ashes in the full coffin and called it a day. Most of them, anyway. Kate's fingers curled a little tighter around the vial in her right pants pocket.
The house sat quiet with what must have been the funeral equivalent of the afterparty. People Kate barely knew walked softly and spoke even softer, as though raising their voices would in turn raise the dead. Kate sat silently in the corner, almost invisible to the home's inhabitants, or so she thought. A shrill voice ripped her from that notion.
"She hated you, you know."
Caroline Miller, always the most respectful of the two siblings. Kate glared at Sara's sister for just a moment, trying to ascertain she hadn't misheard.
Caroline smirked almost imperceptibly.
"She talked about you as an obligation. Someone she had no choice but to put up with."
Kate sighed. She promised herself she wouldn't do this.
With great effort, Kate forced a neutral tone, although the growl must have been noticeable.
"I'm sure she did, Carol."
Caroline clearly knew she had an opening.
"It's true. She never told me directly, but you know how she got on the phone. Yelling to her friends about how 'this time was the last time.'"
Carol paused, contemplative.
"I guess this time it really was."
Kate pulled her hand from her face to make eye contact. She prayed to whatever bastard was up there that Carol saw it as a warning.
"I'm surprised she even invited you. It'd been two months since your breakup- I'd figured the lesbian phase was over!"
She couldn't help herself.
"It wasn't a phase."
Kate had hoped her muttering would be too quiet to hear, but Carol's ears were as sharp as her tongue.
"Of course it was! It always is with you d-"
Carol turned her head to the side and smiled.
"You don't want to hear me say what you are? Fucking dykes?"
Kate's hands freed themselves from her pockets in the first time in hours. She closed one fist around another, something Sara'd taught her to stay calm during the second or third family visit.
Kate stopped herself. She'd raised her voice, and a few wayward glances were already thrown her way. She was powerless, and she knew it.
"We're not doing this."
In an instant, Kate grabbed her coat and headed onto the Miller home porch. Too many memories in that house, too many people, too much Caroline. She closed her eyes and leaned against the bannister, drops of rain angled perfectly to strike her recently-dried face.
In the static faux silence of a quiet rainstorm, Kate felt grounded for the first time. Her phone sat like a fucking rock in her left coat pocket, a brick weighing her down, all because of a few texts.
Three rules she'd written for herself before coming out today.
One. Don't interact with Caroline.
Two. Don't cry.
Three. Don't read the texts.
Number one. That one was a bust. She should've known Caroline would approach first. She'd set her hopes too high. Number two. She didn't think she could break that one if she tried. Too much happening. Number three. She couldn't. She knew she couldn't, not now, but the allure was nearly magnetic. It was as though her fingers were lined with metal, the phone pulling them along the buttons, navigating to messages. It took everything not to fling the tiny flip-phone into the street, seemingly the only way not to read.
It was time for a compromise, Kate reasoned with herself. She could read the texts again so long as she refused to cry. One out of three wasn't too bad.
s: hey kay. you didn't pick up when i called. any of the times, even though i know you're up.
s: i figure you're probably still mad.
s: or you think i am.
s: i guess i still am. doesn't really matter right now.
s: i don't really know what to say here. what hasn't been said.
s: i guess i'll keep it simple
s: you always told me to do that, when we were fighting, when i was crying
s: wish i could cry right now
s: this is all you're gonna hear from me, kay.
s: mom took the pills. she didn't say anything but i know she did.
s: it's been a few days since they disappeared
s: i looked, i promise.
Kate paused for just a moment to take a ragged, deep breath. She'd been depriving her lungs. Sighing, she grabbed the plastic bottle lodged in her messenger bag and took a swig of old water mixed with a few drops of vodka.
s: i think what made me most miserable isn't that everything is worse
s: now that i'm in withdrawal or whatever
s: i think it's that it seems the same
s: and maybe the fact that i have a knife on the desk next to me proves it's not
s: it's crazy cheap to buy knives
s: and easy
s: and like
s: you'd have said something by now if you were reading these
s: so i don't have to dance around it
s: i'm gonna kill myself
s: no reason not to say it
s: honestly it is kind of liberating
s: like wow i said it, i'm locked in
s: a little bit of that big decision already made
Her hair was nearly dripping again, the winds pulling the droplets right against her for a little too long. She barely noticed.
s: i'm taking too long
s: i guess i am still nervous after all
s: lets get to the point
The front door opened. Its creak tore Kate back to the present, a canary's song announcing the arrival of Mr. Raphael Miller himself. Kate merely nodded in acknowledgement. Raphael simply grunted and pulled out a cigarette.
If there was one thing Kate could respect about Sara's father, it was his disposition towards silence. Between them there was only the smell of tobacco and mildew.
"I never got it, you know."
Kate remained silent.
"There was nothing to see in you. Had it been another woman, maybe, but you?"
Her hands returned to her pocket.
"If anyone was going to make her disappoint God the way she did, it wouldn't have been you."
Kate bit her tongue to keep herself from talking. The pain let her focus.
"In the past, I'd thought it was an act. That she wanted to rebel."
The phone's screen turned dark from inactivity.
"More recently, before she left us, I went astray. I had thought she had felt something genuine."
Kate's fingers nearly slipped, for just a moment. She had almost cracked.
"But in one final act of rebellion, she took herself from us."
"That's all it ever was."
Silence overtook the man once more. The air hung still, a lull in the wind bringing tranquility to the tension
"She used you. I'm sorry for that."
His cigarette burnt out.
"May the Lord be with you."
Kate glanced back at her phone for just a moment, before returning it to her pocket. With a hefty sigh, she pulled herself from the rail and walked down the creaky steps towards the street.
She took one last look at the Miller place before getting in the car and driving home in silence.
s: the reason i'm texting you isn't to get you to talk me out of it
s: i don't really want that
s: especially cause i'm nearly out of minutes anyway and the bill is gonna spike after all these messages ha
s: i just wanted you to know why
s: i made something up on the note already
s: the pain being too great or something
s: but i know you wouldn't buy something that simple
s: you know me too well
s: knew? that sounds right you knew me too well
s: anyway here goes
s: i hurt, sure
s: dont we all
s: but just hurt wouldn't drive someone like you or i to do something like this
s: i've been thinking about my reason
The roads are empty for a Sunday evening. Kate considers her options.
s: i think i'm just out of things to say
s: they never listen you know
s: nobody except you i guess
s: but you're not listening now so
A drawbridge raises itself, one last barrier to rest back at home.
s: i'm just mad now
s: you know how that is you're always mad
s: for you though its like righteous
s: anger for someone else
s: i'm just mad i can't get through
s: i'm mad for myself
s: just like you wanted
It lowers, and Kate drives home. It was never all that far.
s: and so i was thinking and thinking
s: trying to figure something out i guess
s: something to make them see me for me
s: and i just dont think i can
Were it a normal day, Kate would linger in the driveway, texting or listening to music. Today, she doesn't hesitate before pulling the keys from the ignition and heading up the flights of stairs.
s: so what then?
s: we won't work out
s: my family doesn't understand
s: our friends all went up north
Kate fumbles with the keys for just a moment before heading inside.
s: so i decided earlier today
s: i'm just going to hurt them as much as i can
She kicks off her shoes and leaves her coat on the carpet.
s: but i'm telling you now
s: as much as i hate them
s: hate my parents for plugging their ears
s: hate our friends for leaving
s: hate my sister for every single damn thing shes said
She falls onto her bed.
s: i don't hate you
s: every time i said i did i lied
s: i couldn't hate you, no matter how much i ever wanted to
s: and so when i do this
s: when i kill myself
s: i need you to know i did this for everyone except you
She knocks the half-full pill bottle onto the floor with a stray arm, along with the remaining contents of her nightstand.
s: i love you kate
s: see you whenever you end up joining me down here
Kate falls asleep with the knowledge that she'll have to wake up the next morning, and many mornings after.
She's never felt more despised.
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