This will never be what it was in my head, but
I can't fiddle with it any longer; therefore, posting recklessly.
Thank yous go to Trish, for the early beta, Ali for listening and
such, and Doqz, just because he is himself. Archiving: Ali/Luba, if
you want, it's yours.
Maerere, "to lament"
"He spoke, and laid his hair in the
hands of his beloved companion,
and stirred in all of them the passion of mourning..."
--Homer's Iliad, Book 23.
You aren't surprised that most people don't realize nothing has changed.
To your eyes, nothing has changed. The plants are mostly dead, but
this can be fixed, eventually, with enough time and a lot of luck.
You hum as you gather up the stalks of plants, carefully, to see if
they can be mended. The humming has no tune.
Bobby has avoided you all day, because looking at you makes him hurt,
makes his face crumple and his hands come up to cover his eyes. You
know that he is hurting by the way he carries himself, as if each
step is almost too painful to make. You've watched that step often,
in many people, and you know that Bobby's pain is fresh, that Bobby's
wound is raw. You can appreciate it, even as you can feel your own
steps betraying how numb, steady, you are. Things haven't changed.
You aren't walking jerky at all.
Your steps take you to the kitchen, where you put down your full
basket to pick up an empty one. You hear, "I'm worried about Lorna."
You pause, trying to tell yourself that you don't care what comes
next. You peer in, and see Domino flicking the knife she's using into
the basin of water, laying out the steaks on the chopping block. Nate
is scowling at his own hunk of meat. He says, irritated, "Why?"
Domino scowls right back. "She hasn't said a thing since Alex--"
Nate cuts her off. "She didn't say anything before him. What fucking
difference does it make?"
His voice sounds tired, you know, and you know that something happened
to Alex. You haven't been thinking about it, because until someone
tells you, you can pretend it didn't happen, just like you were ignoring
him before it happened. Nate's right, when he says you didn't speak
with Alex while he was here.
Domino is trying to comfort him, with a laying on of hands. You slip
out, knowing his anger covers something, and being afraid of it nonetheless.
Your knees tremble all day.
You can't feel. It's not in your nature any more. You pick up the
apples, carefully, methodically, and chant inside your head, you can't
feel. You don't care.
That Alex was not your Alex.
When Bobby comes through the garden, eyes darting left and right,
you hold out a piece of fruit solemnly. His eyes are rimmed red, and
you can see into him -- straight through him. This Alex belonged to
Bobby, you think, and you would pity Bobby except, you can't.
He takes the apple, and it bruises a little in his grip. He says,
You don't say, "You're welcome."
People don't notice that you don't speak. You like it that way. People
generally say, "Lorna, would you do this for me?" and you go off and
do it, and that's the extent of it. Nate is sometimes cruel in his
looks, but not today.
He doesn't speak to you at breakfast, or lunch. You're grateful.
The cutlery you hold clatters gently on your plate as you rest it
down. Kitty glances at you once, but is wrapped up in her own thoughts.
You saw her locking away Irene's pages, earlier, and shoving them
under her bed while she was crying. Now, at lunch, she is distracted
and more alone than ever. You know Kitty has given something up, this
day. Her crying confirmed it.
You don't look at Bobby either, because he seems to want to be alone,
even in this crowd. That's maybe the one thing he wants that you can
When you hear about the death, officially, it's at dinner, because
you're sitting around the table and spooning grey liquid into your
mouth. Nate opens his mouth, and after expounding heavily on the work
that you all have to do to rebuild, he says, "Someone should go out
there. To see if there's a body."
Bobby's hands tremble, eyes shiny, and he says quietly, "I miss him
You keep eating, for approximately a minute and a half. Kitty is
talking about not knowing him well.
You say shakily, "I knew him well," though it's not entirely true.
Bobby does not refute your claim, though he seems lost in his own
thoughts. You put your palm, flat, against the table, to push yourself
Quietly getting up from the table is easy, and going into the room
Kitty and you share is easy. Your feet take you to your bed without
effort. It's what comes next that's hard, because you find yourself
sitting on the bed and staring at the walls. You slowly remember Alex,
his smile. You can remember a lot of years of Alex, they're all stored
in your head, and they all replay themselves. A cold arm wraps around
your stomach, and dimly you recognise it as your own.
You sit, and remember Alex the way you didn't let yourself while
he was still alive. In your throat, deep in your throat, you think
you start keening. Really quietly.
Some time passes. It always does.
That's how Bishop finds you, sitting cross-legged and dry eyed, and
chest hurting so much you can't breathe. Raw.
He takes you up in his arms, and lays back on the bed gently, and
you curl into his side and ball your hands up in his clothing. You
breathe shallowly, hyperventilate into his neck, and your eyes are
hot and tight and hurting, too. Still relatively dry. No sobbing.
Your back curls so you can touch him, and he puts arms around you
and lets you lay however you want, lets you whimper, lets you kick
around and move and try and get away from whatever it is that holds
you down. He holds you close.
He holds you close and you press against him, keening. You may be
speaking. You may be saying things, low and wet and harsh, in the
back of your throat, but it all sounds like "I can't," in your ears.
You aren't sure.
He kisses your forehead, and then, eyes wet and hurting and tense,
you kiss his mouth, feeling your hands clench and your arms clench.
He strokes your back, kissing you softly -- letting you move restless
against him while he lays on his back, still and quiet and wonderful.
You're tasting him, kissing him again, and you press your body against
his. When he touches you now, you moan high and desperate, and it's
still quiet -- but now you want to be naked beside him, your body
has a bit of flame within it. Your eyes are wet, and he doesn't speak,
makes little 'shhhing' noises into your hair. His lips are so soft
He rolls the two of you over, your feet kicking uselessly, and covers
you with his body, and you can feel it, the fire in your chest and
throat, face wet and salty. You're warm, the tension draining away
slowly with skin against yours. You press against him, wanting more,
gasping with it, and you're tumbling, falling, tumbling.
You want him badly. You might be sobbing.
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