When his body was found hanging from a tall tree along the Ninth Street Canal, blowflies had already laid eggs in his eyes. Shortly afterward, he was buried, and there was no funeral. Although, Maya wondered if there was anyone other than her who would have attended. There was a note found in his pocket, scrawled across the paper in a hurried hand;
I’m sorry, but I’m beyond redemption.
Even as time passed everyone moved on, to the point of all but forgetting names and events, she found herself still sometimes coming to his grave. To a degree, the act itself puzzled her; it wasn’t as though she had been in love with Erik, even as far back as what might have passed as a beginning for them. True, he sometimes could make her feel safe and pretty, but he could also make her feel cheap and used. She knew he had a chip on his shoulder after Caroline died, which probably dated back to when she was told she was terminally ill. Maya knew there was a special well of negative emotion within him that he blamed on Tyrus.
Standing at his grave, as cold rain came down and fog rose like restless ghosts all around her in the pre-evening gloom, she once again questioned why she there. Perhaps she thought standing there the lyrics of a new song come to her. Maybe she wanted answers; Erik disappeared when Raphael and Morgan died, only to be found hanging with a cryptic note so much later. Something didn’t fit. It could be she somehow wanted his phantasm to materialize before her and explain it all a way.
Nothing happened. Nothing ever did. With a shrug, Maya turned away, thinking of a warm cup of chai to ward off the chill of the rain.
Tyrus was standing behind her, causing her to jump and stifle a scream. His gaze seemed to go straight through her, to the point she wondered if he really even saw her, making it that much harder to regain her composure. He had not been out at all lately. In fact, the last time she could remember seeing him was that night they all had dinner at his house.
“You startled me,” she said, taking a small, tentative step forward. “But it’s good to finally see you.”
“Perhaps it was inevitable,” Tyrus mused.
“What do you mean…?” Maya started to ask, but then noticed how his gaze was looking beyond her, to the very headstone she’d been standing at. “Oh.”
“I suppose it’s too bad,” it was as if he was speaking to himself, or perhaps the occupant of the grave. “Caroline would probably have not have been surprised, but it’s still disappointing.”
“He really resented you because of her,” Maya said. “Because of me too, I think.”
“You have always seemed to know a lot of things, Tyrus,” Maya began as she closed the distance between them. She placed a hand on his arm, but he didn’t react. “I guess it’s one of the reasons I’ve…admired you.”
“I am nothing to be admired.”
“I disagree. Say, do you want to go get coffee and we could talk?” Maya felt simultaneously courageous and terrified as the words left her mouth. “I think there’s quite a bit for us to discuss.”
“No, there’s not,” Tyrus said, pulling away and disappearing back into the rain.