The sun broke over the horizon, blazing white and bringing blistering heat with it. The light shimmered off the mirror-like water of the bay with tiny waves lapping gently against the hulls of the hundreds of boats that had travelled out. In the distance the outline of a city could be seen through the salt mist and heat haze.
Sweat dripped off Garrick Oak’s nose as he set the boat’s anchor down. He could feel the salt mist slowly encrusting on his face. He leant down, wiping his forehead with the edge of his t-shirt. He couldn’t complain though, not considering what day it was. Far below them lie the ruins of Old Vermillion City, decimated in an instant when Arceus descended, and like a meteor, blasted a crater into the earth. It seemed strange to think that it had been almost two decades since the Legendary War began – he had been so young when it first happened, and yet most of his life had been taken up by it.
“She’s going to call me soon. We should take some photos to email to her too.” Garrick turned towards the other man in their group who was hanging off the side of the boat looking ill. “It’s this calm and you’re still seasick, Matis?”
The man flapped a hand at him, urging him to leave him alone. Garrick rolled his eyes in response.
“How’s she been going, by the way?” the woman asked. “It’s been more than three months since she left for Kalos and she hasn’t called me once.”
A loud gong rang out through the air indicating it was time for the ceremony to begin. Garrick picked up the floral wreath he had brought along and leaned over the side of the boat to gently place it atop the water. He watched as it drifted out quietly, bumping into the thousands more that had been set out along with it.
He forced a smile during the minute of silence, trying to think of the happy times he’d been through rather than the sad. The depressing feeling he felt in the pit of his stomach made his expression falter though, enough that the older woman beside him put a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
“It never gets any easier no matter how much time passes,” she whispered in his ear.
Garrick stared across the flower-covered sea before him. Despite the amount there weren’t nearly enough wreaths to acknowledge how many died. “I know, Sabrina… It’s just…”
A second hand heartily clapped him on the back. Matis leaned down, wiping the edge of his mouth with a glove-covered hand. Garrick was pretty sure he’d just added his own ‘special’ acknowledgement over the other side of the boat. “It’s kinda weird it being just the three of us for once, right?”
Sabrina put a finger to her lips, encouraging him to whisper while the minute of silence was still going. They stood together for the remaining few seconds listening the water lap against the boat rhythmically. The gong sounded once more to signal the end. Garrick subtly shrugged the hands off his back and shoulder.
“The last time Eva called, she said she got caught up in some ‘scam’ by Professor Sycamore,” he finally replied to Sabrina’s question. “Something about him not being finished with testing the Mega Stones, so she had to agree to replacing him on some job he was meant to do teaching kids out in some remote village in the meanwhile.”
Matis raised an eyebrow at him. “Teaching children? Can’t imagine she’d like that. She never liked kids even when she was a kid.”
“Oh, don’t worry – she told me all about it,” Garrick groaned. “When she got there she found the cottage she was supposed to be staying in was damaged, so she had to stay with one of the students and their mother. The girl doesn’t like her at all by the sounds of it: Eva said she ran away after she got there and created a huge mess for her.”
Sabrina chuckled to herself. “You know, whenever she calls, it seems like she calls you to complain about stuff and she calls me whenever she needs a slap to the face.”
Garrick paused for a second to think over her words. No matter how he thought about it though, it felt like she was right. “I wish she’d let me do that for her…” he muttered depressingly.
“What? Slap her in the face?”
He scowled at the woman’s wry expression despite knowing she was simply trying to stir him up. “You know what I mean! She hides things from me, she always has.”
“It’s only because she cares about you, Garrick.”
Feeling a sense of defeat over the subject, Garrick turned back towards the ocean. Water droplets splattered across his face. The ceremony had moved on to the next phase already. From the hundreds of gathered boats people released their water Pokemon to send various attacks up into the sky. The sunlight sparkled through the spray and bubbles, sending a rainbow arching across the sea of flowers. He gently sighed to himself as he took in the sight, a feeling of calm washing over him. The minute of silence had been depressing, but at least there was always this part of the ceremony to look forward to in order to chase the ghosts of the past away.
No wonder Eva said she thought this memorial day felt the least miserable of the lot.