sixty nine

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Death is a weird thing.

It's like one day, you're having friendly conversations with this person and the next day you hear that you're never going to see them again.


On the 23rd, a mass text is sent that Gabi is no longer with us, she'd be buried at her grandmother's house in Italy, but a gravestone will be available for her at The Oratory Cemetery.

I'm annoyed at how they couldn't announce her departure in a different way compared to everyone reading a text on their iPhones but what was done had been done.

On that same day, it doesn't snow. It rains.

Although snow is still all over the ground outside, it's water droplets that pour from the sky.

It seems like anytime someone dies, mother nature has a way of crying, even if the weather forecast says otherwise.

I hand a five dollar bill to the old lady who works at the florist shop close to my house, and collect a single white rose from her and my change but I just leave it in the small bucket that says, Help the children in need today!

I pull my black umbrella from the door and plop it up, walking to the cemetery.

When I get there, it's empty and the dark clouds hover above the entire area.

I know where the gravestone is- well, I have an idea where it is considering people spent most of the day uploading on their snapchat stories when they visited Gabi.

I crouch down beside the marble slab that reads,

Gabriella Maria Villanueva
Life is for the living.

I drop the rose on it amongst the rest of the coloured daisies, lilies and roses, but my flower seems to stand out.

The quote from her headstone follows me home, and I can't seem to shake it.

Life is for the living, and I should try and make the most of mine, rather than hiding in my house and being embarrassed; dwelling on the past.

Nonetheless I stay inside for the rest of the day, and Alex comes to visit, bringing me a Christmas tree.

"Well, you could've told me before I bought it." He laughs when I tell him my flight is tomorrow.

"Sorry." I laugh, while I use my phone to play the game Episode .

"I'm gonna miss you." He smiles at me, leaning on the tall cardboard box that holds at 7ft snowy green Christmas tree.

"I'll miss you too Lexi." I tease him, opening the fridge and tossing him a soda.

"Please don't call me that." He smiles, raising his left hand in the air.

I'm unsure whether to bring up Gabi or not, so I just keep quiet and we continue talking about our plans for the holidays and whether I'll come back from London next semester.

"I doubt it." I answer honestly, while How to get away with Murder, plays on the TV in the background.

The option to stay with my dad had always been there, I just enjoyed being in Washington too much to accept it.

My parents weren't divorced; work and school were always just two different issues that always divided our family into two, sometimes three countries.

"But if you do decide on coming back, I'll be here." He ensures me, as we walk to the front door together at seven o'clock.

"Yeah, you'll be here till you go off to college next fall." I remind him and we both laugh.

He offers to drive me to the airport tomorrow, and I accept, having a strange feeling that's the last time I might see him.

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