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No body was found after the accident, so Mr. And Mrs. Weizstein were a bit troubled on how to stage for a funeral service. It wasn’t as if his will asked for his body to be cremated. They couldn’t bury what wasn’t there. Never had they dreamed they would watch their own son pass away.
They pulled off a memorial anyway. The Weizstein family all gathered together in a humble but clean dining room with lights dimmed. Candles flickered, and I watched will mild interest as I saw the chemicals tango together in the flame. I had made it, not wanting to disrespect the nice invitation handwritten and addressed to Ms. Eric Dreyfus, but this whole affair failed to ignite anything in me.
I had shed my fair share of tears before, but now it seemed irrational to cry.
I couldn’t imagine how anything at all could even be alive, so I couldn’t imagine how Billy was dead.
Minds were strange creatures. I was imagining things, with no chemical reactions to see things in my head. It seemed to go against everything the accident had taught me. When I closed my eyes, I could see Billy when he was all together, Before his matter turned to energy. Before he made millions cry and thousands die. When he was just a sweet, awkward boy with a big heart and a lot of potential. It sounded so cute, but it just made me sick.
I never claimed to know how to deal with this.
My sincerities went out to the family, I gave reassuring smiles and hug to those who needed it, threw on a coat, and made my way out the door.
There was something I needed to feel. I wasn’t quite sure what is was, but I could tell my bones were aching to get it. As my mind drifted to a million places I couldn’t comprehend, I swung myself into my car and decided to forgoe my seatbelt. My body needed to move.
I drove into town, and once and while caught a smile in the rear view mirror. Something in me was excited and peaceful, as if I had waited a lifetime. For what? I had no idea.
The scenery outside my window shifted in a languorous way, and not because my speedometer read 30 mph. Everything was so calm a perfect and distant that it made my heart ache in a more satisfying way. The road began to almost crescendo as more energy decorated the sidewalks. A glance at the sky showed pink melting into tangerine as marshmallow fluff camouflaged a blushing sun. I caught another smile in the rear view mirror.
Exhaling Albert Einstein and inhaling Julius Caesar, I began to remember all I had forgotten after Billy went up in smoke.
My mother stroking my hair as a little girl when I cried at my birthday party with cake covering my frilly pink dress.
Winning a spelling bee in the third grade with the word hippopotamus, and the smile I beamed out at the audience as my father snapped a photo.
Billy giving me a dandelion when I was six and asking if I would marry him.
The plush fur of my tabby cat as I tried to touch her dead body, and the way my mother pulled back my hand.
My friend Katie’s backyard, where we tried to sled in autumn.
The scream I let out when I got my first period.
How strange it felt when Daniel Lancaster gave me my first kiss on the playground.
The way C10H14N2 made me jitter as Katie offered me a slim, threatening Marlboro. And as the smoke filled my lungs, I wondered if I was disappointing anyone.
A card with some lame joke and a five dollar bill I handed to Billy for his fifteenth birthday.
I felt my hands get shaky as I pulled over the car into a deserted parking lot. There was a pretty little lake nearby and I liked watching the moon reflect off the subtle waves. Unlike gamma waves, I understood the lake.
Getting dressed up in something satin and purple for my junior prom, and blushing at a white corsage from my date who was just a friend.
The acidic vodka that slithered down my throat at the after party.
Focusing my eyes on a blemish on Mike Ciccone’s right cheek as I distracted myself from his tongue in my throat.
How I couldn’t stop my body from shaking and shivering when I lost my virginity.
Calling Billy afterwards to tell him all about it.
I turned off the car and open the door with conviction. That something my heart was beating for seemed closer than ever.
The time I was stroking Jason’s muscled forearm as I noticed my phone rining.
Ignoring Billy’s call once again.
Instead of seeing my smile in the rear view mirror, I revealed a grin to the whole world. The sounds of the world around me, music and shuffling feet, laughter and aggression, all acted as a call to action.
The time I hugged Billy and told him he had a great life ahead of him.
The sweat dripping down my face as I watched the explosion unfurl on a television.
During none of these memories did I recall the chemicals flickering, the atoms being empty, or the electrons jumping around. I remembered only raw sensation and bare emotions. Up until the moment I realized Billy was dead, none of these equations and theorems puzzled me. I simply lived.
Science had become poetry at that moment. It all flowed to a rhythm, and it’s mechanics were used to make me feel something unadulterated and real.
My shoes came off without issue as I pulled at them. My jeans put up more of a fight, but they were on the ground soon enough. As I pulled off my shirt, my eyes were on the goal.
The splash hit me like a bullet. There was nothing tenuous in the impact. Water licked my skin and I laughed for the first time in weeks. Chemistry and physics no longer matter as I felt myself enveloped in whatever some hydrogen and oxygen make. I didn’t care what it was, all I knew was that it cleansed me of regrets and lies and all the things I tried to change.
There didn’t have to be a God to make me feel so renewed.
And I laughed again.