Author: thesewords PM
This is a sad short story about life and love, and how deep the human heart really is. Complete. Please r&r. constructive criticism welcomed.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Angst/Drama - Words: 1,805 - Updated: 11-10-07 - Published: 03-20-07 - id: 2336539
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Brian can't see who I am. He doesn't understand that his touch feels like ice, that his voice is as fulfilling as an old song with no words. But I know he loves me.
Brian can't see through to my heart. He takes me in his arms and doesn't feel the way I freeze within his embrace. But I know he loves me.
A long time ago, when I was eighteen, there was Jason. Jason was both sad and happy, both strong and weak, both dull and extravagant. He was everything. And I know I loved him.
Jason and I used to sit by the lake and tell stories until we had no more, and then we'd just make them up as we went along. He always would say things like, "Julie I hope the world never stops, because then magic would stop, and without magic you can't have a world." It was like him, to say those kinds of things. The kind of things you can't make sense of, but they sound so deep that you just can't dismiss them as fool's talk.
He'd play jokes on me too. Foolish jokes, like one morning he put a fake note from my friend by my bed telling me to come down to the lake once I got dressed. Course I went down there and it was only him and a chilly bucket of water. We swam all afternoon, laughing at nothing, his black hair blowing softly over hazel eyes. It was sorrow didn't exist. There was no sadness, no pain when we were together. But that wasn't true when we were apart.
I remember one summer night on his daddy's porch, about that time right after the sun sets and the air is warm but not too cool. We were laying down in the hammock, my head on his chest in complete content. We just swung back and forth back and forth with no words between us. The air around us clear of noise as he ran fingers through my chestnut hair. I turned and looked up at him, my brown eyes met his and there were no words. We said 'I love you' with no words. I could have lived in that night forever, with no words.
And there was more laughter, and more joy. We planned on getting married one day when life got easier. It wasn't always like those sweet days in the lake, or those nights on that porch. His home was broken and mine was practically no where to be found. All we had was each other, and together, there was no sadness. But that wasn't true when we were apart.
Other than me, Jason only had his daddy, Scott. I think he used to beat Jason as a boy, but, Jason never would talk about it. He didn't like his daddy much, called him names and said he'd like to give him a piece of his own medicine. The neighbors around always told me not to go in that house 'less I knew for sure Jason was there. He never would talk about it though. Not once.
The summer I turned nineteen, I spent with Jason. We'd go to the lake, walk around town, tell old stories and remember old memories. But in those weeks, I felt like Jason was drifting, though I didn't know why. Nothing had changed, nothing had happened. He would have days where he'd almost never smile, his bright hazel eyes all washed and faded. Then others he'd joke about anything, and everything and we'd laugh for hours. I never understood why he was so up and down. One time I didn't at all mean to hurt him, but I said something about him being a big cloud in my sky, bringing me down and he just left. Got up from that spot next to the lake and I didn't see him for the rest of the day. He was so strong, in my eyes, I couldn't imagine what could be tearing at him so easily.
A few weeks after that he started talking about what death must be like, and if I thought we'd be together after this life. I kissed him on the lips and told him I couldn't imagine existing without him. I stared at him for a moment, and he at me. It was almost like each other's thoughts were written in foreign languages and we were just trying to translate. And then he actually smiled. He hugged me so tight I could almost feel desperation in his embrace. "I love you, Julie." And there were words this time.
Six days after that night Jason and I were planning on driving to historic deerfield. It was late October and the trees were gorgeously colorful. We were going to walk hand in hand down bright autumn streets splashed with reds, oranges and yellows. I came by to pick him up at his house that morning, but he wasn't out on the porch waiting for me like usual. I'd never went up to the door without him with me so I waited. And waited. Scott came out about twenty minutes later, in an old, stained white t shirt and carpenter jeans. I'd never really given a close look at him until then and I realized how young he was. He couldn't have been over 40. It must be awful to be younger in life and have experienced so much pain. The kind of pain Jason had never talked about.
"Julie." He walked with a limp up to my car. This was one of the only times I'd seen him, and I certainly had never been that close. I couldn't help but feel slightly alarmed, I wanted Jason there with me. I answered him and he leaned to the car window. "Jason's dead. Hung himself late last night. In his own bedroom." His tone was moderately sympathetic, but he sounded as if it were all a big inconvenience, really.
"Found this on the floor" He handed me a note. It had my name on it, in Jason's handwriting. I stared at it for what felt like a lifetime. I felt like I was floating and spinning in the air at the speed of light. It was like everything in my life was suddenly wrong. I hated the world, I hated God if there was one. I hated Jason for doing this, and myself for not being able to stop it. I hated Scott for not caring about his son and whether he was dead or alive. I hated the neighbors, for turning their eyes from what went on in that house. I hated that lake. I hated that town. I hated the air, I hated the sun, I hated everything. I kept looking at that bright white envelope with my name scribbled on it and wished it would blind me. I wanted to shut my eyes and sink inside myself forever.
Scott must have lost interest and stepped back, starting his way back up the walkway. But, as if pulled by some moralistic force, I saw him half turn out of the corner of my eye. "I am, you know, sorry," He paused, "for you." He turned back and kept on walking. I never saw or spoke to Scott again. I've never drove near or around that house since that moment. It's hard for me to even work up the courage to go back to that town even to this day.
I put that note in a drawer of mine, unopened. It sat there for eight years before I finally gave in and opened it. Brian had found it underneath some index cards in my old desk and brought it to me. Probably thought it was work related. But really I'd hidden it there and thought of it everyday. I didn't open it because, well, I don't know. Maybe I was afraid of what the letter said, or, I didn't want to finally admit he was gone. Who knows. What Jason and I had between us was so beyond words and so outside the kind of empty love people settle for, I couldn't imagine how he'd be able to say goodbye.
At first I got angry with Brian for touching it. I felt like he'd broken into this locked place in my past and I couldn't handle that. I shot up and snatched it from him, desperately wanting to put it back where it was, in that stuffy old drawer. But I knew I couldn't. I opened it and read what Jason had wrote, "Julie, I'm sorry. I know we were suppose to go look at the beautiful world together today, but I can't. I would see nothing but pain, because that is all I feel. You are my only love, and my only joy. And to keep you, would be selfish. I am setting us both free. But I'm not really gone. Keep telling stories by a lake somewhere, you know I'll be there listening to every word. Live your life, for both of us. The life we should have had together. And please remember, that love doesn't die, only people do."
I cried for hours and never let that note leave my hand. Brian tried to comfort me but I bitterly pushed him away. He was not Jason, and Jason had my heart. I couldn't love Brian. After a few days I slipped it back in it's drawer and I've thought about it every day since.
Today, Brian can't see why I'm so hard to get through to. Sometimes he tries to get to close and I shut him out. I can't help it, but I know he loves me.
Brian can't seem to ever fully give up. He does little things that sometimes make me smile. It scares me because they're so unexpected and I feel like I'm betraying Jason somehow. But in those few and happy moments, I really do care for Brian and I appreciate the man he is. Jason was everything to me. He was strong and weak, happy and sad, dull and extravagant. And he died. But life went on. When he disappeared from my life, time didn't pause and the world didn't stop, so that must mean there's still a little magic left out there somewhere.