They came back to lay flowers at the spot every year. I always stood a few meters away, behind a tree and watched them as they came through the gate; their heads hung low with sullen looks on their faces. They always wore the same black clothes and carried the same type of flowers; a dozen yellow roses, one for every day before the inevitable had occurred.
When they reached the spot, they would stand there in silence for a minute or two, each expecting the other to say something but nobody ever said anything so they would go on to lay the flowers starting with the eldest.
He stepped forward with a paper in his hands on which I guessed he had written something. He started to read what was on it but stopped midway as he choked on his tears. He fell to his knees, pressing the flowers against his chest. The others looked on but nobody went to help him up. They knew better than to comfort him at this time. After a few minutes, he looked up at what was in front him and with a sigh, he lay the flowers, got up and walked away; hands in his pocket.
Next came the twins, they wore matching black t-shirts as if their resemblance was not enough to tell the whole world that they were twins. The girl had always been the stronger of the two and so she held the boy as they stepped forward. His eyes where already filling with tears as he drew closer to the spot. They stood there, holding each others hands, eyes transfixed by the same object and after what seemed like an eternity of the boy quietly sobbing to himself; the girl stepped forward and stooped so she could lay the flowers. The boy went ahead and did the same.
Last in line was the 16 year old emo girl. She dressed the same way everyday since that fateful day and so today was not really different to her. ‘Same day, different things to do’, she had told herself that morning as she prepared for this annual trip. She did not have a paper with any written words on it neither did she need someone to hold her. She was not the emotional type and so she was not going to cry and leak any emotion whatsoever. She stepped forward and stood there for a moment. She sighed, dropped the flowers and walked away.
‘Interesting’ I thought to myself.
I followed them as they left. They got into the car and drove off. I hailed a taxi and just when I got in, some man came rushing in and sat next to me. I tried telling him that the taxi was already booked but he ignored me so I decided to ignore him too. The man beside me said something about where he was going but I quickly told the taxi driver to follow the car that had just pulled into the road and without a moment’s hesitation, he stepped on the ignition and sped away. The man engaged the driver in a conversation about soccer, the weather and other current affairs; I did not feel like talking so I shied away from joining in and decided to busy myself with watching the people on the streets.
The car with the people I had earlier been watching came to a stop in front of a restaurant, they got out and reluctantly went in. I told the driver to leave me there but he ignored my request and kept driving. I tried telling him again but it seemed he was not going to budge so at the next traffic light, I quickly got out after rolling some money into a ball and throwing it at him just so I could show my frustration.
I quickly ran back in the direction of the restaurant so I could see what they where up to. As expected, they had booked the corner table and where all perusing their menu’s trying to decide on what to order. I watched them through the window as they painstakingly did the same things they had done the year before and the year before and two more years before that. Sometime between their feigned indecision over what to order and my judgment of their annual routine, it started to rain. It started as a rain drop on my forehead and by the time I was looking up, it was pouring hard, I quickly walked into the restaurant as people behind me started scampering looking for shelter.
I found a table that was two tables away from where they sat and slid into the chair so that I could be within earshot of their conversation. A waiter went passed me, I tried to stop him so I could order a drink but he went on like he had not heard me. “What is happening to me today? Am I invisible?” I thought to my self.
The maitre d’ escorted a couple to my table and they sat opposite me. I looked them over and decided that I would not talk to them.
My subjects at the other table had ordered and where now quietly savoring their meals. I heard the weaker twin say something which attracted a disapproving look from the every one else at the table. I strained my ears so I could hear what they were talking about.
‘but why?’ I heard the weaker twin ask
‘I do not answer to you so I will not give you an answer’ the eldest replied
‘its not fair’ he replied as he put his knife and fork down and started to sob
‘now look what you have done’ the stronger twin said to the eldest as she patted the weaker twins back
‘let him cry’ the emo said ‘I am actually surprised he made it through without one of us having to hold his hand the whole way’
The eldest started saying something in reply to what the emo had said but I couldn’t hear as my table was surrounded by 3 men playing violins. I looked at the couple seated opposite me and the man was on one knee, facing the lady holding a ring in his hand.
‘will you marry me?’ he asked his girlfriend whose eyes where filling up with tears.
‘oh my gosh! Yes! I will’
I felt my stomach churn so I quickly got up and left the restaurant. It was still raining outside but it made no difference to me as my mind was filling up with questions about the conversation I was earlier listening to.
I decide to retrace their steps and so walked back to our initial meeting place.
The place was deserted by the time I got there. There were no people or animals in sight. I walked to the spot where they had earlier broken down, bared their souls before laying down a dozen yellow roses.
I froze in my steps as I looked at the tombstone. There it was etched into the stone:
My year of birth
My year of death
Every other label the world had given me.
I was dead.