“I’m sorry,” she said quietly. “I would have been here earlier, but I got caught up talking to Summer. She’s met someone at GCU . Her eyes light up when she talks about him. She didn’t say so, but I think it’s serious. I know that look–that smile on your face that you just can’t hide, that sparkle in your eyes when you say their name. It’s the way I always felt with you…the way I still feel.”
Phyllis pulled her coat tighter around her, the brisk winter air was brutal as it whipped through the now bare trees. She smiled, brushing the stray snowflakes off her dark coat. “I don’t mess Genoa City winters. I thought I might when I first decided to move, but there’s something really peaceful and beautiful about the snow when you don’t have to dig your car out from under it every morning. I guess it’s true what they say–absence really does make your heart grow fonder.”
She paused, the white smoke from her breath hanging just in front of her face. “You know, you’d think at some point, I’d get better at this. I’d learn how to sit here and tell you all the things I want to say, but I just can’t.” The tears felt especially warm against her face–their warmth a stark difference to the icy, unforgiving wind.
“I want to see you, to touch you…not to sit here talking to this damn stone.”
She ran her hands across the cold marble, her fingers brushing the snow off the etched letters WILLIAM FOSTER ABBOTT
“God I miss you, Billy.” She reached into her bag, pulling out the bouquet of flowers. Reaching back in, she retrieved a bottle of scotch and a tumbler. “You’re gonna make a scotch drinker out of me yet,” she whispered, pouring a bit of the amber liquid into the glass.
Warmth spread through her body as the liquid slid down her throat. “It’s hard to believe it’s been a year. In some ways it seems like it was yesterday…I feel as empty and lost as I was the second I got that call and then there are other times–times when it feels like it’s been ages since I’ve heard your voice or felt your skin on mine. I keep waiting for it to get easier, for time to heal me the way everyone says it will.”
“I left this town because I couldn’t live with the memories of you. Everywhere I looked reminded me of you and when it hit me that I’d never make another memory with you, it was like losing you all over again. So I left, I went to a new place, a place without the memories. But you know what–you know what the hell of it is? It’s not the places, Billy. It’s you. You’re in my heart. You’re in everything I think, everything I feel, everything I am. I don’t know how to do this…I don’t know how…”
She heard the cracking of fresh snow behind her and she turned.
“What are you doing here?” She asked, standing protectively in front of the stone.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t expect anyone to be here. It’s late and I didn’t even know you were in town.”
“That’s now what I mean, Jack. You didn’t want to talk when he was alive. He begged you to sit down, to hash things out, to at least give him a chance to to say his piece and you couldn’t even do that.”
She was screaming now, her pain and anger spilling out. It was all so damn unfair. They’d beat it–all the odds. They’d chosen each other over everything for this–for her to lose him this way.
“How dare you? How dare you even try to alleviate your own guilt this way?”
“Phyllis, I know this must be unbelievably difficult for you and I’m not trying to make it worse. Like I said, I had no idea you would be here..”.
“Or what, you wouldn’t have come?”
“No. No, I wouldn’t have. I would have let you have your time.”
“Oh,” she scoffed, taking a deep breath. “How big of you..respecting our relationship now that your brother is dead and will never know.”
Her breathing came faster now and she rested her hand on the stone as she felt her legs shake beneath her.
Jack stepped forward, reaching out his hand to her.
“Don’t you touch me,” she screamed. “You don’t have a right to comfort me.”
“I’m sorry, Phyllis. If I could go back…”.
“You can’t. It’s done. He’s gone Jack! And you want to know why? You want to know why Billy’s dead? You want to know why he got into that accident that night? He’s dead because of you, Jack! You killed your brother and I will never, ever forgive you for that!”
Jack watched silently as she grabbed her bag and stormed off into the night, her heavy footsteps leaving deep cracks in the fresh, white snow.