Good Enough to Trust

By: Zara Stoneley

 (Good Enough, Book 2 - Going Back)


Prologue


It was damp and it was cold. The kind of damp that creeps under your defences, seeps into your skin and wraps itself around your heart. The kind of damp guaranteed to make you feel sad and alone even when you aren’t.

I glance back over my shoulder to the lone tall figure standing by the cemetery gate and he half raises a hand. And I know I’m not alone, not really alone. Maybe I never have been, I just haven’t been prepared to accept it.

Even shoving my hands deeper into my pockets doesn’t stop the little shiver running down my spine as I turn back to face the way I’m heading, and I pick my way along the unfamiliar path to the two graves which mean so much to me. One slow step at a time. I’ve only been here a couple of times. I mean, you don’t have to be hanging around the headstones to prove to someone you loved them do you?

But, if I’m honest, it isn’t anything so simple keeping me away. Fear is the thing that has stopped me coming here. Fear of being wrong, and fear of being right.

I was here on the day they were buried, watching as their bodies were dropped into the dark, unwelcoming earth and the pang of guilt spearing my gut was so sharp it released the sharp tang of bile into my throat. I’d hated him then, my dad. Hated him with every tender, sore part of me as I’d clenched my hands into fists in my pockets. But I was still a part of him, he was still my father, if not often my dad. And I’ve realised now that he probably did love her, the woman who will lie next to him forever. Two people never to part. My parents. It wasn’t a love I could understand, or forgive. But he did, just as she loved him back with an unerring passion and devotion that was as bad as it was good.

After the funeral I’d not been back for a long time. I hadn’t wanted to face the fear I suppose, but I guess now I was finally starting to understand, to accept. I’d been frightened of the truth. The fact that maybe they had meant it to happen, that I’d been kidding myself I could have made anything any different. Been kidding myself that it was all my fault, and if I’d never tried to live my own life it would never have happened.

Nothing like an ego eh?

But I’d finally realised I wasn’t that important. One tiny action of mine hadn’t changed the future, hadn’t changed anything. If they hadn’t done it then, they’d have done it another day.

One day, any day.

I guess once you’ve decided that death is the only way out, then it’s hard to find a way back, isn’t it?

I stoop down in front of my mother’s grave, let the cold, brittle stone dig into my knees, and for the first time in far too long I can actually hear her voice, she’s speaking to me, saying out loud the words from her goodbye letter. The suicide note that I’d never let myself believe she could have written.

Before they’d always been someone else’s words to my ears, but now I realise – or rather accept – the truth. They are her words, not his; the pattern, the tone is all hers. Maybe she’d been crying when she wrote them, maybe she’d not quite known what to write, but they still ring true.

When I came back here at New Year I’d not heard anything, but maybe I’d been shutting my ears. I’d stood, looked at them, and just wanted, I mean really wanted, to understand. And I just couldn’t, which was why I’d gone away. I could see now that I’d needed to open more than my heart. I’d needed to open my mind.

“I worked it out, Mum.” I picked up a daffodil from the small vase on the grave, ran my fingers up the stem. My little sis, Megan, had probably been here, she’d always accepted it. Not like me. But then she hadn’t blamed herself, had she? She hadn’t been the one running away.

“No one’s perfect, are they? I guess though I’d always thought when I was little that you and Dad were. I mean parents are, aren’t they, perfect in every way, the people we want to grow up into? I’d never grown up and realised you weren’t, but I think I’ve finally got it.”

There was the faintest hint of spring when I held the trumpet of the flower up to my face, the softest velvet as I stroked the subtle, lemon-white petal between finger and thumb.

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