Send me flying.

Above, beyond, over and under, I fly beside you. I am here, I am there, I am not anywhere you can conceive. The grass and dirt hold my name and the stars release it, only to be pursued by the sun. I am laughter in your mouth and grief in your eyes. I am lost in the depths of a thousand lakes, found in the shallows of a million puddles. The air is my carriage, the wind my voice. You will not see me except in the beat of a sparrow's wing, the tremble of a leaf, the motion of the clouds.

But still I live and still I die, always and forever tied to this world and a world not of this world. I will remain here, waiting, waiting for you. I remain here hoping, wishing, and not being.

I am here.

I am here.

I am here.

Ella looked up as Sean finished reading the words scrawled on the crumpled piece of paper. She saw him finish and stare at the paper unmoving until her brother came up to him and put his hand on Sean's shoulder. He let his head drop and carefully folded the piece of paper, holding onto it as if it was his only way of surviving. Maybe it was. Sean pulled the microphone closer, scooting aside a bunch of white roses.

"That was written by Maria, a few weeks ago. She asked that I read it to you today to go along with my uh, speech I suppose you'd call it," he laughed shortly, a bit manically," Maria was everything to me. To her mother and father. To Ella and Donovan. To all the people that ever met her, Maria was special. She had a feel of life about her that- that I know we'll all miss," he paused, trying to clear his throat." She loved dandelions and the fluff on them after they've died. She loved to watch the sparrows hop around in the parking lot and always tried in vain to domesticate them," at this he smiled as a tear slid down his gaunt face." She would always watch football with Donovan and me on Sundays. She would ask which team would win and then she'd root for the losers. She would take magic markers and decorate my binder during class, always smiling and answering very straightforwardly when the teachers asked what was going on in the back. Maria loved purple socks and notebooks and pillows. She hated ants and dirt and paper towels. She was extremely kind and intelligent, never mean to anyone. She was mischievous and fun-loving but also compassionate. She was at once innocent and yet she knew the horrors of the world. Maria wrote notes and stories constantly, and read everything she could. Maria," Sean's voice cracked," was my world. She will never be forgotten by any of us here today."

Ella looked straight ahead, holding back tears. She wouldn't cry. She wouldn't cry. Sean was having a hard enough time with this. He didn't need to comfort her too. She looked over at Sean standing next to his mother and their family. Donovan stood close by supporting Sean, who looked a bit unstable. She got up out of the pew after the ceremony was over and headed over to the group of friends and family that she loved so much, now one less in number. Her black shoes clicked on the floor of the huge church, the place Maria had always wanted her funeral to be, the entire place covered in white roses, the scent of growing things thick in the air but not cloying.

She walked up to Sean, and took his hand," Sean," she said simply before hugging him. He clung to her and closed his eyes, overwhelmed with grief," Oh, Sean. Everything will be fine. I promise you."

"Maria promised not to leave so soon," he reminded her hair.

"She didn't have a choice Sean. He asked her. She had to go. You know that. Besides she's not dead yet," she whispered, a slight smile in her voice.

"She might as well be. We won't ever see her again Ell," Sean said rather forcefully," She won't come back. You and I will never speak to her again. There won't be midnight phone calls or 'study sessions' on Saturday or Sunday football or after-school soccer games. There won't be anything."

"Sean-"

"There's nothing you can say to make me feel any better Ella, so don't even try," as Sean turned to walk away from her Ella grabbed his wrist and tugged him back towards her.

"There is one thing-"she faltered," One thing that can be done. I know you'd do anything for her."

"Of course."

"But would do everything for her? To have her back once more?"

"Everything and anything."

"Then in that case we have some things to discuss."

"Would the Moon marry the Sun? Could that work out?"

"What do you mean?"

"I really don't know."

"Do you think I can still be saved?"

"By who? God?"

"No. That's not what I mean. I don't really know what I mean. I'm drowning, Sean. I'm drowning in this life."

"What about the next?"

"I don't know."

"…I'll save you."

"I love you."

"Are you sure?"

"I think so."

"We could get married. If you wanted to."

"Okay."

From:

To:

Hola senorita!

We are all very excited to see you this weekend. I sent Sean to come get you so don't be surprised when he shows up demanding you get into the car. Your dress is over at Alejandra's house right now and they're altering it to go with those heels of yours. Speaking of which, the church is all booked for us, but unfortunately those idiots at the flower arrangement place have said that they have rethought their offer to supply us with dandelions and roses. Bastards. Soooooo….Grim and I have a lovely surprise for you when you get here.

No, I will not tell you.

Then it wouldn't be a surprise.

Tsk tsk.

I can't WAIT to see you! Call us an hour before you get in to town so we'll be at the house to meet ya'll.

333

Ell

"Well, I do have a dark soul."

"No you don't."

"You don't know me."

"I guess you're right. I don't."

"We are all of us only trying to live in the light."

"No one lives there forever."

"No….no they don't."