It was like waking from a long nap. Not that I had taken many naps. Gems don’t need sleep, but I never deny myself the pleasures of earth – sleep being one of them. When I opened my eyes, I saw many familiar things.
Pearl was staring at me, her blue eyes wide and nearly bulging from her head. Her face was so close our noses were almost touching. Amethyst and Garnet were also hovering over me, though a much more comfortable distance away. Amethyst was side-eyeing me more than she was looking at me, and though Garnet’s eyes were hidden behind her signature shades, the way she held her mouth was just as revealing as her eyes would be. Her lips were tight, pursed in what I could only guess was disappointment. Perhaps even pain.
I turned my head to the side and found myself in an unfamiliar place. It was all stark white. The light reflected off it harshly, to the point I wanted to just shut my eyes and fade back into unconsciousness. I still felt intangible, like at any moment, my form would fall into pieces. It was scary but invigorating. It wasn’t an unfamiliar experience either. It was then I remembered another face I expected to see:
“Where is Greg?”
It was then that Garnet turned and marched out of the room. Amethyst sighed and wasn’t far behind her. Even Pearl moved farther from me, standing up straight and casting her gaze off into nowhere. When she didn’t respond, I said her name:
She winced as if I had threatened to hit her. Finally, after a few more moments that felt like an eternity had passed, she met my gaze again. This time those big blue orbs were filled with tears.
“He’s gone, Rose.”
Though somehow, deep inside myself, I knew he was gone – human lives are so short – part of me hadn’t expected that answer. My eyes shut of their own accord, holding back the flood of tears that begged to force their way out. It wasn’t necessary, but I wanted to ask:
“A long, long time.”
Pearl’s voice wavered. I could hear the tears in her voice, even if I didn’t see them. Though this knowledge padded the hole that Greg left inside me, there was another part of me that still felt… empty. I felt like I was missing. I had woken up, but some part of me was still asleep, or, perhaps, that part had left me behind while I was sleeping. I couldn’t seem to recall what that part of me was. It wasn’t until I opened my eyes and met Pearl’s gaze again that something stirred in me. It was a vague and distant memory, carried off by the missing part of me wherever it might have gone.
“Steven is gone, too.”
Steven. That name was so familiar, too, but I had no face to go alongside it. Yet, even as I thought this, that empty side of me burned to life, reacting to that name as if it were its own. Even as it burned, though, it wouldn’t reform. Whatever part of me that had answered to that name was gone. All that was left was me.
Rose. Rose was all that was left of Steven.
It was then that Pearl crumpled onto me, wrapping her arms around my delicate form. Her tears soaked my chest, and though my arms still felt as if they might wilt away at any moment, I still wrapped them around her and held her close.
While it was a positive sentiment, it sounded more like a mourning wail. It was as if Pearl was telling someone ‘goodbye’ for the last time.
Only then did I let the tears fall from my own eyes.