He stood at the edge of the beach, where the ocean rose to meet the sand, bringing with it seaweed, plastic bottles, and seashells.
Above him the sky was the color of cotton candy, deep pink swirling amongst the blue sky and the fluffy clouds.
“I guess this is your stop babe.” Jeff said, looking down at the golden urn.
It had been only a few hours since Clyde’s funeral. The two-and-a-half-hour service and celebration of Clyde’s life were brutal, like lime being poured over a thousand paper cuts.
“What room will you keep his ashes in?” Denis, a friend from college asked a few days before the ceremony.
“Oh I bet he’d look stunning on the mantel!” Claire, Clyde’s sister said.
Then why didn’t she fucking take him? Everyone was talking as thought Jeff were supposed to keep Clyde in his house, in a place where he’d see him everyday, and be reminded of all the ways in which Jeff had failed the man he loved more than anything.
They were in their twenties; no one thinks about dying in their fucking twenties.
In the blink of an eye, Jeff and Clyde went from having long winded conversations about where they’d move once Jeff’s business was stable, and then, BOOM, just like that, Clyde was becoming a Skelton.
He was dying, Clyde was dying right before Jeff’s very eyes; and instead of making the most of the time they had left, Jeff thew himself into work and convinced himself that if he just made a little more money, they could afford better doctors, better drugs, and everything would be okay.
Clyde went from healthy to always a whisper away from death so fast, and Jeff almost missed it; He’d spent so much time trying to stop time, Jeff almost wasted his last few months with the man he loved more than anything.
But luckily, Clyde had enough strength to tell his boyfriend that he’d had enough. He was tired and didn’t want to waste any more time.
So instead of chemo and experimental drugs that left Clyde weak, and bed ridden, the men stayed home. They built pillow forts, watched shitty movies, and talked for hours. They read books, and made paintings, music, and even stop motion films. And in the wee hours of the night, while Jeff was sleeping, Clyde wrote Jeff letters. Sometimes he’d write three, four, or even five pages worth of thoughts, feelings, and hopes and dreams of what he wanted Jeff’s life to look like. All the letters were handwritten in a five subject notebook that Clyde made Jeff go out and buy one random night.
And after Clyde took his last breath, Jeff was grateful for that notebook. For Jeff, having that journal was a happy medium between keeping Clyde’s memory alive whilst allowing Jeff to accept the fact that Clyde was gone and never coming back.
For Jeff, having Clyde’s ashes would drive him mad and probably end with Jeff having to be admitted to a psych ward. But getting to read Clyde’s words, getting to see Clyde come to accept the inevitable, that would be enough comfort for Jeff. Jeff could hold on to that journal, and on the hardest of days, when the guilt of all the time he’d wasted would begin to nibble at his soul and his mind, Jeff could read Clyde’s words and know that he was loved, and Clyde died knowing just how much Jeff loved him.
“I love you, forever and always.” Jeff said, slowly removing the lid from the urn.
Tipping the urn, Jeff released Clyde’s ashes just in time for the wind to pick up and carry Clyde away.
As tears spilled from his eyes, Jeff remembered his boyfriend’s last words.
“You’re amazing babe, and you’re hot, really fucking hot. So don’t pull that ‘I’ve had my love and now it’s done bullshit.’ Take your time, grieve me. But promise me, you’ll get back out there and find yourself some good dick.” Said Clyde.
That night, as Clyde laid in the hospital bed, he laughed, but Jeff knew by the look in his eyes, Clyde was dead serious. So, Jeff promised him, he promised he’d find ‘the second-best dick’ as Clyde put it; and though no one would ever compare to Clyde, Jeff knew he had to keep his promise.
So, with that Jeff put the lid back on the urn and made his way back up to his car where he made the hour long drive back to a place that no longer felt like home.
Are you crying? Cause i’m crying. As always, I hope you’ve enjoyed this story. If you did, could you do me a solid and hit that star? If this is your first time on the site, have a look around, and when you realize you love it here, follow the site so you never miss new stories. If you’re already a follower and you wanna show a little bit more support, consider buying a cup of coffee! A single cup is just four dollars and goes a long way in terms of helping out the site. Thanks so much for reading this- C