Written for ysabetwordsmith's prompt on a mourning ceremony for Charlotte.
Slowly Anna looked around the room. After seven weeks it was beginning to feel like it was hers in some small way, but the ghost of Charlotte still haunted her. Items that she had bought were scattered around the room mixed with things of Charlotte's Anna didn't feel comfortable getting rid of. Other people were still clinging to the thought that her memories would just magically reappear like they did in some films. Anna knew that it wasn't going to happen. If they did return it was going to be a very slow and painful process, one that she wasn't sure she wanted to go through.
The small black candle in her hand was a gift from Vitali. When Anna thought of him she smiled, glad that she had met someone who didn't treat her like she was broken. It had been his idea to use Samhain as a mourning ceremony for Charlotte and it was a good idea. Charlotte had died on the day of the accident, even if her body was still walking around. Anna tried to remember what Charlotte was like, but there was nothing, and with every attempt Anna was letting someone down. Breathing deeply, she pushed away her thoughts.
When she lit the candle she felt calmer because she knew what she needed to do. Crossing the room she turned the electric light off and then returned to the chest of drawers. Staring at the flame was soothing, as was the sound of the ticking clock in the background. With every second Anna felt more sure about the choice she'd made. If she was ever going to make a life for herself then she had to let go of Charlotte and everything she felt about Charlotte.
Nothing that had happened was Anna's fault, but she felt like she was being punished by those who had cared about Charlotte for not being the girl they wanted her to be. Charlotte's parents couldn't let go of the memories of the girl they had raised, which was understandable, but Anna needed them to see her. There was no doubt in her mind that retrieving her old memories wouldn't made Charlotte magically return. After living as Anna for seven weeks, gaining memories as Anna, and dealing with people who could only see her body, she knew that there was no way to let go of who she had become. In the same way that Charlotte was a part of Anna, Anna was a part of Charlotte, and that was the way it would always be.
Breathing deeply, Anna looked at the candle flame. The most recent picture of Charlotte, from just before the car accident sat next to it, as did the picture Vitali had taken of Anna. Anna hadn't been able to look at them because she knew what she was going to see. As tears welled up in her eyes she wondered if people didn't remember their past lives because it would make it too hard to let go of them and live the new one. With a shaking hand she picked up the picture of Charlotte but still couldn't bring herself to look at it.
© K A Jones 2011
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