Hold on to me.
Crying out, out into the darkness. A cry never returned or heard.
I glanced at him, holding my eyes up to his face a little longer. Just long enough, then looked down again. Why can't you hear me?
He took the ear bud away from his head for a split second, pausing, and looking out- listening, then put it back in without a motion more. Am I not loud enough?
I bit my cheek to the point where it hurt. He is quiet, always quiet, I'm quiet too. We're both in silent agreement on that. But I know, I know, that neither of us are as quiet just inside our skin. Just inside our shields.
I closed my eyes, listening to the words that I couldn't hear. He is speaking them, not with his mouth, not at all with his mouth. I wish I could hear his words. I wish he could hear mine.
"Wake up we're here." A slightly rough jolt to the shoulder opens my eyes again. The tram slows. I wasn't sleeping.
People get up, tired, and slow. I stand up too, staring at the back of his jacket, at the back of him, something I've never not seen before.
The doors open with a slight gust of air, and the outside sounds become heard. In no way though, are they any loud to the silence around us. Nothing is every louder than that.
We leave the tram with no words, just the quiet lull of footsteps. I keep staring at his back, the only thing I can see in front of me, and I don't move any further from it. Hear me.
He walks swiftly, faster than me, but not faster than I can go. I hustle up to his side and he acknowledges me without looking at my face, but I stare up at him. Nothing he can see, but everything I can.
I see his eyes, tucked under the rim of the hat only I've seen him without. His dark eyes that stare out at and further than the road ahead. The gaze that he never takes off.
We walk, I forgot where, but we walk. And when my legs sting I don't say anything, not aloud. Nothing that he can hear.
I stare ahead too, but not at what his eyes are on, I stare at the space in the air, the space that I can't see. The noise that no one hears. And I close my eyes, knowing that I'm beside him, and he is beside me. So I can't stray.
We walk further, he says nothing, and I say nothing, keeping my eyes closed until I force myself to open them. Until my mind pries my eyelids back and exposing my eyes to the grey ahead.
There's some part of me that wants to talk, some part that is screaming a silent sound. But I say nothing, instead I just try to hear him, I try to hear his scream.
It's louder than mine, I know that. I've never hear it but I know it. His scream is the loudest I've never heard.
I breathe in a slightly bigger breath of air, the cool of the space chilling me inside of the red of my coat, making me shiver and move my ears.
Can you hear me? I ask nobody, and nobody responds.
I look up to him again, at his eyes, at the wires from the music in his ears. I've never heard his music before. I've never asked to, he's never responded.
"Are you going to keep looking at me like that?" He asks, not moving his gaze. I look away quickly and press my lips together. I put my cold fingers on my cheeks to cool the warmth, warmth of words.
With a small glance up, I see the small smile on his face, not in any mean way, never in any mean way, in a nice way. A faded blue sort of way.
I look back down again and we keep walking. I'm quieter now, in my mind, quieter as I think about small things. A leaf, a snowflake, a kitten, me. Small things calm me.
"Just around this corner." He says, and I look up to the bend in the sidewalk.
The wind blows by again, I hug my arms around my coat and pull my warmth close. I can see the red tip of my nose in the bottom of my eyes. I must look like a doll, a quiet doll.
The trees drop their leaves on the streets, on the people, and on the ground. One lands on my shoulder.
I blow it away with a puff of air.
We turn the corner, I remember the pain in my legs. It's gone now, numb. Numb and quiet.
A small light glows ahead, from a shop window, I smell something sweet in the air. Something nice. Pastries.
I smile, not to my cheeks, but I smile in my lips. I look up to him and he is looking at the lit window. The light gleams on his face in a pretty way.
"Just in here." He says and pushed open the door, bells on the handle jingling. I stand for a brief second, just in front of warm air. "It'll be quick." He says again and I hurry in. The door shuts and the bells jingle again.
I watch as he rubs his hands together in front of his face, blowing on them too. I hold my own hands together, trying to ward the cold off of them. He pulls his arms back through the sleeves of his jacket and takes the dark coat off his bright shirt. I see him leave it on a hook and I stare at the hook for a few seconds. I know this place. I think to myself.
We've been here before, not long ago, back then and it was just as quiet. I blink.
My hands are taken away from each other, into warm hands. I look up and he pulls my hands close to his face, cupping my red fingers together. He blows on them gently and I watch as the cold starts to sting, but a warm sting.
He lets my hands down but I keep them together. "You can take off your coat, it's warm in here."
I nod, separating my hands and slinking them back through the stiff fabric. I pull off and hold it in my arms, folded neatly.
He picks it up and puts it on the hook right next to his. I watch the coats there for a while, they are quiet, and I'm amazed at how much they resemble their wearers.
I look back and my heart stoops for a second as I see nothing in the place where he just stood. I glance around the area, pressing my hands to my chest when I find him checking through the bookshelves.
His eyes scan very carefully up and down, quietly.
I trot over to him, it's not in my interest to be anywhere else and stand close to him. He does not look towards me, instead he pulls a book out of the shelf. I tilt my head to read the title but it disappears under his hands when he holds it up at his chest.
I gently tilt his fingers to the side of the spine of the book, and rotate my head once more, staring at the title.
SILENCE, it says, in big bold words.
He closes the book so quickly it makes a sound when the covers collide and puts it back in the shelf. I watch as he slides it back along with the rest of it's book friends.
What was the book?
He moves down the isle scanning the shelves again and this time I wander off. Out of the walls of books, I never really liked small spaces, they were far too loud.
I look around at the rest of the place, a few more bookshelves, some chairs, a fire pit, a small counter, a display of pastries hidden behind a glass pane, and an elderly woman seated at the counter with her nose tilted down to a book on the table.
I slowly walk past the chairs and look down at the small desserts, I don't have to look down far though, I've never been tall.
There were a small assortment of them, each very very quiet, like a tiny squeak. Some with little hearts dotted on them. "Are you interested in a small treat?" Asks the lady, as she looks up hesitantly from her book. "We have some of the best cream puffs."
I shake my head keeping my eyes on the desserts, then he walks up behind me.
"Oh hello again, young man. Back again so soon?" She says, her tone of voice turning friendlier with familiarity. "Yes mam." He says placing a small stack of two books down on the counter.
"Oh my, the second and third. A little ambitious are we?" She asks, sliding the books close to her and reaching for a scanning gun. "Well, I went through the first one quite quick last time, so I thought it would be a little more convenient." He said.
"You certainly are a reader, I wish more young people would be like that." She said wistfully and smiled. "They're all into their 'hip' and 'gangster' things now a'days."
She spoke the words like a foreign language and chuckled a little sliding the books back to him. "Well you enjoy alright. And make sure you're little lady friend here doesn't freeze, she looks about as close to an ice cube as a human can get!" She said and laughed in good manner.
He smiled and waved a goodbye to her, then gently took my hand and lead us away, passing in front of the fire and over to the coat rack.
His eyes went back to normal, no longer the strange cheeriness that takes them over when he talks to older people. I saw the bud of one of his ear buds sticking out from his pocket and wonder whenever he took them off.
He takes my coat off the hook first and gives it over to me, to which I take quietly, and then he pulls his own coat on, wrapping it around his shoulders.
I push my arms through the sleeves and shiver from the left over cold still stuck in the cloth of my coat. But I wear it anyway.
He tucks the books under his jacket and glances down at me, as I look up to him quietly. He reaches over my head and presses the door open. I walk through the exit and he follows close.
Then the door closes and I hear the quiet of the bells from inside.
We start to walk, back in the way that we came. Back along the path that I've already forgotten.
He walks close to me, I can feel his warmth radiating off of him, like a little lamp. I scrunch my fingers close together but they've already started to cool again. I take my hand from my pocket and hold it against my nose, feeling the cold tip like an ice cube. I shiver.
He looks up and I glance up at him, watching as his eyes dart over the clustering clouds that cover the city in cold. He shivers too.
I suddenly feel a hand on my shoulder and he is looking down at me. "It's getting cold, are you alright?" He asks, and I nod.
He licks his lips and I now see that his own face is slightly flushed, I watch him to see what he does, but he keeps walking, me by his side. He's taken his arm off of mine and stuck his hand away in his pocket. I can imagine he's loud right now, but I don't know why.
So we walk, and walk, back along the same route. The same sights, same trees, same streets. The sky is getting colder, my legs are stinging more, getting more tired. A few times when I put my foot down my knee would go loose and I would stumble. But I was still alright.
We finally came to the tram, the same place we came out of maybe an hour ago. The silence here is much louder now, there's more people, more people not talking.
I close my eyes, they are tired, and I want to lay down. I stand like this for a while, next to him, with my eyes shut.
I suddenly feel someone in front of me, I want to open my eyes, I really do but they refuse.
I feel two arms wrap around me and pick me up, pulling me close to them and holding me up. I feel myself get shifted around and feel a warm back under me. I lay my head down, not knowing what on.
After a few minutes my eyes obey me and they reluctantly open. I see black hair first.
The back of his head, and the back of his jacket, I try to move my own head, but that is where it draws the line. So I don't and rest with my gaze off to the left of his shoulder just a bit.
I feel tired. When I'm tired I'm quiet, it's lovely. But right now, it's not quiet, and it's not me.
So close to my head is his, and from here, I hear his scream. Faintly, like from a fishbowl, but it's there. I close my eyes and listen, listen to all he has to say.
I'm surrounded by his screams, the screams that I hear coming from his ears, at the end of two wires. Two wires that connect to his phone.
Yes, he has a loud scream.
My breathing goes even and I fall asleep in the loud sound of the silence and the scream of his mind.
I love you.