Chapter 20:



I spent my twenty-fifth birthday in the cemetery. Drenched from the rain and heavy from burdens. Mum, Dad and my sister were only in their thirties when they died. Why did they have to die so young? I was blessed to have a loving family, even if it pleased God to take them away.

"I promise I will stay strong for you all..."

Here lies Bailey Fishman

1957 - 1995

His wife Sapphire

1960 - 1995

And their daughter Kathleen

1980 – 2015

Lovely family forever missed

A promise I had forgotten all about. A promise that I was reminded off. I'm thirty-one now – Kathleen's age when she died, and it still feels surreal being without my family.

My fears have been conquered: now it's Todd's turn. It's a long walk to Kathleen's grave, but the fact that Todd is able to keep his cool is courageous enough. He gives me the worn-out picture of Kathleen from his wallet and I pop it in a bouquet.

"How are you feeling?" I ask him.

"I'm getting there," Todd tells me. "It's taking time to get used to."

I make a turn to the left. "I think it's this way." It's easy to get lost in this grave and it's doubled in since Kathleen's burial."

"Not surprised, she did die ten years ago."

It feels like we've known each other for years. Hard to believe that he's the one that rescued me. Now I'm helping him conquer his greatest fears. Every step feels like it's taking an hour.

A cold wind blows on my face. Todd's forcing his hat down with his hands. When I stop by on my family's grave we say nothing. We don't need words. Todd and I share the tension. It's like we can read each other's minds.

The flowers drop out of my hands and on Kathleen's grave.

"If it makes you feel better, I think my sister would have liked you."

Todd nods and he kneels by the tombstone. "I've been in love with a dead woman. Possibly a child abuser. I can only imagine what anguish I've caused you. Sorry, Bobby..."

We spend so much time together now that Grandpa Lucas asks us if we're a couple. I don't see us as the bromance of the century, but I see Todd as a soul mate. We're there for each other when we're sick. Even though we both have a long way to go, I'm glad he embraces the truth. It's been overdue.

Todd accepts my plans to return to church. He hates it, but he tolerates it like I tolerate his wind at two in the morning. Father District's delighted. He comes up to us in the cemetery with a warm smile on his face. "I knew you'd come back!"

"And you've waited all this time."

Father District nods."God taught us to be patient."

"The good Lord taught you well."

"Congratulations Bobby, " Father District says. "I've never seen you so happy."

Am I smiling? He is right, I'm overwhelmed with joy. Despite everything that's happened, I hold Todd's hand and realise how lucky I am to be alive.