A long sigh escaped her as she stood at the plot of her parents' graves. It was bitterly cold outside, with the usual dreary overcast weather that she'd grown up with in England. She'd almost forgotten what it had looked like, with the unseasonably warm weather and clearer skies in America. She hugged her coat closer around her, her breath coming out as a cloud of fog from her nose. She couldn't fight the feeling of guilt that she'd been feeling lately, for...well, everything, anymore. Her marriage, her heart, and the fact that those two things were no longer one solid black or white, but rather a strange, fuzzy grey. Letting her business fail. Not coming to see her parents. The latter was being remedied, albeit an entire month late.
Beth took a seat on the cold ground, next to the grave marker that held her parents' names. She leaned a shoulder against it, feeling the warmth of her shoulder get sucked away by the cold, hard concrete. The silence was long, before she spoke again. "I need you," she said quietly, her voice barely squeaking out past the end of her nose. She felt a tightness in her chest, slowly crawling up her throat, and she let out a strange cough hiccup. "I never thought I'd ever settle down, Mum. I never had the chance to ask you about love, about marriage." She looked down at the palms of her hands, the skin dry and cracking. "You always told me I needed to marry my first boyfriend," she added quietly, a small smile inching on her face. "I never had the guts to tell you that I was in love with his twin sister." A small laugh escaped her, another cloud of fog from her breath. "Remember when we spoke on the phone last? You told me you'd seen him at the market, gave him my number without my permission." Her voice rose in pitch, and she couldn't tell if she was crying or laughing at that point. "You'd invited him over for Christmas, later that month..." Her sentence trailed off, her eyes on the horizon, at nothing in particular. "I'm sorry I missed the day, Mum. I've just been so wrapped up..." She shook her head, looking down again. "I know, you always hated excuses. I let time get away from me, for selfish reasons. I've not even come home just to see you and Dad, either. More selfish reasons."
Though she shivered from the cold, her hands tucked up inside her coat, she remained on the ground as she talked to her deceased parents, as if she were in a confessional at church. She found herself spilling her guts about the things that had been going on in her life, even things she hadn't talked about for years. At some points, laughter had escaped her, while other moments found her crying. She hadn't noticed other people coming and going, visiting their loved ones. All she saw was the setting sun, the rising moon, the fog of her breath in front of her face, and at moments, the palms of her hands. All that mattered to her in that moment was spending time with the parents she couldn't see any longer.
Her phone rang, and she let it go to voicemail. Whoever it was could wait, she thought. Her eyes looked up mid-sentence as she spoke, seeing a familiar face approaching in the dark. Her breath caught in her chest as she examined the face before her--a face she hadn't seen in a long, long time. She stood up, brushing the grass away, her eyes not moving for a second.