Run, Girl (If You Can) - Chapter 227 - Conflicting Emotions[Updated at: 2021-01-11 19:16:07]
The rest of Saturday consisted of Keeley trying to distract her dad. They watched movies, played board games, and went out to dinner at one of their favorite hole in the wall restaurants. The sadness in his eyes lingered but at least she was right there with him. She hoped it was making some sort of difference.
Sunday was different. On the anniversary they always broke out old photo albums, talked about their memories, and visited the graveside. It wasn\'t a time for distraction; it was a time to embrace the pain by celebrating the lives that had been cut short.
When they arrived at the graveside, she noticed that there were some wilted flowers. They couldn\'t have been more than a week old.
Keeley glanced at her dad. How often had he been coming here on his own since she moved out? He must have been even lonelier than she thought.
Something struck her as she knelt in front of her family\'s graves. Aaron said he buried her with her family after she died and visited her every week. How many times had he knelt here just like she was doing now?
Her heart ached. In a way, he was a lot like her dad. Aaron lost his best friend and a child too, though it was a bit different because he never even got to meet it.
Twenty-seven years. If he truly came every week that was around 1,400 graveside visits. He spent more time here than Keeley did when she was alive in both lifetimes.
Was it because of guilt or love? After what she had seen over the past week…she was willing to bet it was some of both.
Had he ever sat here and tried talking to her the way Keeley and her dad did with Monica and Kaleb even though they would never get a response? Did he miss her that much?
If he did…his overbearingness when they met up again in high school made perfect sense. In fact, it was amazing he didn\'t do worse when they met up again. If Keeley had been able to see her mom or Kaleb again even once, she would have held them tightly and refused to let go.
Tears filled her eyes. She had been so unfair to him. It must have been devastating being pushed away by someone you missed that much. No wonder he acted like a jerk.
Robert, mistaking the cause of Keeley\'s tears, placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. "It\'s okay, honeybun."
Was it? Would it ever be okay? She was so confused. She had pushed so hard against Aaron, firmly believing there was no way to go back but now she was wavering just because she had tried to think of things from his perspective.
She buried her face in her hands as she sobbed even harder. What was she supposed to do? Her conflicting emotions threatened to crush her alive, not to mention her grief on this already difficult day.
Keeley had to get a hold of herself. Now wasn\'t the time for this. She hastily tried to stop the tears that continued to flow in spite of her best efforts.
"Hey Kal, my research is coming along well. The gene therapy is working on the mice. Maybe someday it will work on kids like you too," she sniffed as she reached out to touch his headstone.
"And I went on the Twister a while back with a friend. It made me think of how you always urged me to go faster until we both got dizzy. I miss you. I miss you both."
She broke down crying again. Aaron had been there as she talked about her little brother that day.
Why couldn\'t she ever get him out of her head? Was this her fate? Would she be tortured like this forever if she didn\'t accept it? There seemed to be no escape.
It would be easier to give into the madness but she didn\'t want to. The question was why. Was it simply a matter of pride? That she didn\'t want whatever force was messing with her to win?
Keeley had loved him once. If he kept being good to her…she might fall for him again. It had been one of her main arguments against moving in with him in the first place.
Her dad liked him. What would her mom or Kaleb have thought of Aaron? Would he have been able to fit in with them?
Probably. He had done it with Robert because he loved her. He had even worn those silly reindeer pajamas. Her mom would have thought it was hilarious.
Once again she experienced anger at her situation. If she had to be reborn, couldn\'t she have been reborn the day before that doctor\'s appointment and convinced them to stay home? Why did only she qualify for a second chance at life?
Monica had been in her thirties just like Keeley had been when she died. Kaleb was only ten. Why didn\'t they deserve to live again? Why did she have to go through the grief of not having half of her family twice?
It wasn\'t fair. This stupid rebirth seemed to have happened with the singular goal of putting Aaron and Keeley back together. How did that qualify as a sufficient reason when her family didn\'t?
She wanted to get angry at him for this but it wasn\'t like he chose what was going to happen either. He was just as surprised as she was to get a second chance at life.
He didn\'t even die traumatically. Weren\'t reincarnation scenarios supposed to be for people who died traumatic deaths only? Death by mugging definitely fit those parameters!
She wiped her tears again and leaned against her dad\'s shoulder. He didn\'t know how conflicted his daughter was. If he knew that she had been reborn but Monica and Kaleb hadn\'t…would he be angry too? Would he feel as cheated as she did?
Keeley tried to push those thoughts aside. They wouldn\'t help anybody. What happened was already done, whether it was fair or not.
People died all the time and she had never heard of anybody other than her or Aaron getting a do-over. She had to make the best of it, whatever that entailed.
The problem was she couldn\'t decide whether or not that meant accepting Aaron\'s sincerity or living the life she thought she was supposed to lead without him. Right now she was leaning toward accepting the inevitable. If she was going to get pushed toward him again and again by fate, wouldn\'t it be less troublesome to just let it happen?