"Blooming heck, Will...I knew your business was going well but...nice wheels." Then I did something really quite cheesy and wish now that I hadn't...I whistled; at a car. Smooth.
"Yeah, why have money and not spend it? My mum used to tell me that we're too poor to buy bad quality and you can't get a whole lot better quality than a Chrysler Crossfire."
I suppose he was right there, and it struck me that my own mum used to say the very same thing. I couldn't help but feel just a tad under dressed as Will, clad in expensively cut finery opened the door to his gorgeous car to let me in. Against the smooth Italian leather of the seats, my River Island jeans were practically screeching high street bargain but as always, Will made me feel as though I belonged. He turned on the stereo, chose you give love a bad name by BonJovi and sang along with me as I belted out the anthem of our youth.
As the song came to an end rain began to drizzle down the window that I was now resting my head against as we drove along. We were getting closer to our destination and the pathetic fallacy of the miserable surge of rain really was just that - pathetic. Although this wound me up it made me more grateful for Will's presence.
We weren't really talking to each other much but it was far from awkward, only the best of friends can share a comfortable silence and if not anything more than that at this moment in time Will was certainly my best friend; better than I could have hoped for growing up when I needed a shoulder to cry on. He never minded if the clumpy mascara and thick liquid liner which I was so fond of in my teen years was washed onto his shirt in a blend of salty tears. Not even if his shirt was new. I'd feel stupid afterwards but Will never made me feel as though anything that went wrong was ever my fault...all the same, he, along with everyone else, hasn't seen my cry in some twelve years now. However, as with each of these visits to my parents, the threat of being overcome with tears became ever more apparent.
The car hummed to a gentle stop in the small space put aside for parking and Will hurried to reach the other side of the car before I was able to assert my independence and open the door for myself; usually a sweet gesture but Will knew that it would teasingly get my back up. I smiled at him weakly. I appreciated his efforts to keep me smiling throughout all of this but as the heavy rain continued to fall it only emphasised the inevitability of my demise upon this day.
Will took my hand as I stumbled gracefully *ahem* over a loose cobble that stuck up from the path claiming its individuality for being different and led me to the left, across the grass. I'd been here so many times before but somehow it was just as disorientating as the first and again I found myself being so damn glad the Will was a crutch that would willingly bear my weight. Each stone looked the same until I spied the orchids I'd laid down upon my last visit here just one week ago.
I cleared away the old flowers from my parents' graves and placed down the fresh ones I'd bought the day before. How I wished I'd have been this attentive to them whilst they were here to benefit from it. I kneeled before the two marble stones and drooped my head forwards; inclined towards the dying flowers which I'd just moved away. I felt so little and helpless and I began to fiddle with the hem of my t-shirt just as I had when I was a small child.
"Hey Mum, hi Dad. I'm gonna get a new job Mum. You told me to do something that I enjoy before something I'm good at until recently, I'd forgotten that. I don't really know what yet but I promise I'll make you proud." I was whispering by the end, a shiver knocking a quiver through my voice as a breeze that had all the mercy of a juggernaut shrieked by. I thought that it would have been a bit warmer. I wish I'd have brought I jacket.
As though Will was once again taking the liberty to read the processes in my mind, he took off his own coat and draped it around my goose-bumped arms. I smiled a thank you and then continued,
"I gave up smoking Dad, just like you wanted me to; I haven't had a cigarette in two months now. You were right, my skin does feel better now." I smiled at the unimportant tone of conversation. I never had much to tell them but it was my duty to make sure that they were okay.
I kissed each marble headstone and felt the cold, biting chill against my lips before I stood up and turned to Will.
I didn't trip this time but my legs felt as though they may buckle beneath me so I took Will's hand in my own, clinging onto his strength in place of my own. I was not going to cry. I bit my lip as I got closer to the car again and blinked hard. I was not going to cry. I sat in the car and closed my eyes, forehead against the cool window. I was not going to cry. Will got into the other side of the car and squeezed my hand before whispering,
"You don't always have to be so brave Caitlyn."
I know, I thought and gazed at him with tear-soaked eyes, I know. One lone globule of salty water wound its way down my cheek before Will caught it with his free hand.