Tony stands there looking at the dirt, piled off to one side on the grass. It's covered in astro-turf as if that will some how disguise what it is. A mountain of soil big enough to bury two people.
Tony looks at perfect rectangles, side by side, surrounded by a perfect mix of 'friends' and people who barely knew them. He feels a shiver run the length of his spine and thinks it must be cold. Pulling Obie's coat tighter around his shoulders doesn't make him warm.
Tony knows he should feel something, he knows it. There should be some sharp painful thing burning a hole in him somewhere. Instead all Tony feels is the rain creeping down his scalp, toward the collar of his suit jacket.
Of course it's raining. Maybe mother would appreciate the melodrama. Howard would probably assume the misery of mourners in a December rain was his due.
Tony can't feel his feet but he can hear the ghost of his mothers infrequent laugh, and see the crows feet at the corners of his fathers eyes. He can picture their faces, the way they had looked at the world and on occasion each other. The ways they never looked at him.
He can't feel his fingers or his face and he wonders if it's really that cold. It's December. It's New York. It's raining. Yeah, it's probably the cold making him go numb one inch of skin at a time. What else could it be?
He stands there certain he should say something but really what the hell is he going to say? Good-bye? It's not like they'll hear him now.
He wants to say “Sorry” and he even knows why, for all the fuck-ups and fucking around, for all the times he put that defeated look on his mothers face and all the times Tony made Howard so angry his father could only sputter with rage. Sorry he wasn't hard working and dedicated. Sorry he wasn't better. Smarter. Kinder. Easier to be proud of. Sorry he wasn't what they wanted.
The mourners file past. The handfuls of earth scattering across the polished wood that Tony some how missed being lowered forever into the nearly frozen ground. Their coffins. His last glimpse of parents he barely had. Maybe if he'd been.....
“Sorry” he whispers before turning away, his own fistful of dirt discarded.
He doesn't promise to do better or try harder. It's not like they'll notice now anyway.
Tony sits in the back of his father's blackest limousine and waits for Obie. The heat of the car doesn't penetrate the cold he brought in with him.
Tony thinks about all the ways he has disappointed the people he cares for and reaches for a bottle of his fathers scotch. He's cold as fuck and he tells himself it will warm him up.
Obadiah arrives a few minutes later and looks at the nearly empty glass in Tony's hand. Tony tries not grip tighter. One massive eyebrow curves upward, a perfectly articulated judgment on 17 year old boys and scotch whiskey.
“You need to keep your wits, boy. There are things we need to do. For the company. Need to keep things moving.”
Tony looks out through the rain streaked glass and thinks about how much he doesn’t want to be here. Or anywhere really. Obie pries the oblivion Tony is after out of his hand and swallows it down before Tony can protest.
“Better make it quick.” Tony says not looking him. “I have an exam on Monday.” he works very hard at betraying nothing in the tone of his voice. He works very hard at not seeing the things he knows will be in Obie's eyes, the hardest of which will always be disappointment, the thing he cannot not seem to avoid leaving behind where ever he goes.
The flight to Massachusetts is cold. Obie never asked for his coat back and Tony never offered. He pulls it tight around his shoulders on the plane and tries not to shake.
It's snowing when he gets off the plane and it's better than rain at least.
His roommate, Tim, greets Tony while entirely distracted by the text in front of him. “Hey man! How was the trip? Home fires burning bright?” he asks and doesn’t look up, misses the grimace Tony is too slow to hide entirely, misses when Tony doesn't answer.
He never tells Tim what he was doing that weekend.
Tony aces his exam. He doesn't tell anyone (there is no one)
Tony doesn't go back to New York for Christmas. No one notices this year either.