Here’s my hand, hold it, and let’s get out of this sorrowness together.
The days pass all in a blurry sequence of events, all the same sticking to the same script over and over again. Some days a burst of energy passes through me urging me to do something and get out of the house. But these are just brief periods of time. Almost everyday I sink in a deep well of sorrow that seems to never end. It sucks the life out of me, all is left are my bones and my horribly patched skin.
And so every day I stick to the same script, in order to gain a morcel of sanity. Survival is a strong instinct. Even thought I may desire death, somehow my body and mind fight to keep me here. It’s a mechanism I can’t stop.
Wake up, clean myself, try to eat whatever Sae has put under my nose, walk, sulk, sleep a bit more, avoid social interactions, eat again, walk like a ghost. Maybe hunt. Then back home to cry a bit more. And once in a while, Peeta joins me.
He doesn’t come everyday but when he does he silently joins me. We don’t speak or do anything in particular. We sit in reverent silence, lost in our minds, drowning in dark thoughts. Sometimes if Sae is here she forces feed us. I don’t know what Peeta wants and I certainly don’t ask. I don’t have the will to and I have caused so much suffering to Peeta that he can do anything he wants, ask me the world and I would provide. He deserves so much and I have so little but this little that I still own I would gladly give him. But he does nothing of the sort.
I suppose he is here in search of human comfort. I can see it. He is not well, definitely better than last time I saw hin in the Capitol but he has a long way to go before he can be considered healed.
Not that we will ever heal completely from what they did to us. Maybe one day he will be okay.
Not me, never me, I don’t deserve to get better. He does, thought.
The boy with the bread, who has no more a bakery or a family or his sanity, is still fighting to come back. I can see part of his old self pecking behind the torment look in his eyes, in the way he faces the day.
At night I wait for him to scream but there’s only silence coming from his bedroom a few houses down. How can he still not scream after everything?
Perhaps like me he has decides to not sleep. Who knows. I certainly cannot ask.
I miss everyone, Prim, mother, father, Gale, Peeta. I miss my old life, the one I desperately attached myself to after I came back for the first time. I did yet not understand that the girl who hunted to feed her family had died when she set foot on the stage. We all are dead when we hear our name being called. Dead men walking, pigs for the slaughter. Or so much worse.
I envy the girl who came back from the first game. She still had a little bit of naiveté, the futile hope to gain what she would never get back.
I hate her who had still a lot but cared for little. I was and still am a selfish creature. I only look out for myself and I cannot see what’s under my nose.
This has been my life for more than six months, an endless circle of nothing. The sadness eating me alive from the inside, like a cancer festering on my organs consuming my will to live. The small tentatives at normalcy are more like false alarms than anything else.
And then one day Peeta broke the circle. As always, he is the brave one.
We were sitting on the chairs of the kitchen table trying or faking to eat our meal, I cannot recall clearly what we were doing. Everything is foggy in my mind. But there was something off that day, like I could feel in my bones the wind of change, predict that something monumental was going to happen. I don’t know why I think that but the first sign came from Peeta. He was behaving differently from what I could have expected. I was sure it wasn’t the hijacking, his eyes were clearer than I had seen in days but he was so nervous like on the verge of doing or saying something. Tapping his fingers on the table, never looking me in the eyes, glancing away like when he was a schoolboy. I had never seen him so unsure.
He made me nervous too.
He could still influence me.
Peeta was the only person left alive who I still cared for deeply, even in my darkest days. I had lost all my strength after what had happened to my beloved Prim, I had lost that hate that fueled me in those last months of the revolution.
I cannot lie to myself anymore. I love Peeta, maybe since forever. There is not point to try to hide it but Peeta is another matter.
I was blind for so long. I couldn’t imagine myself in love, I had others importan things in my mind. Love could not be part of the equation, just a silly distraction and on top of that being in love was not practical or necessary for my survival or Prim’s. So any feeling that were born towards Peeta were swept aside by me searching for that old girl lost in her woods. But they were strong and when I let my guard down just for a second they came back growing without my consent, unnoticed. And when I did finally take note of them it was too late.
Foolish as always.
In the arena, that last fateful one, when I thought that was it, that there wasn’t going to be a future for me I let those feelings consume me even if I could yet not understand them, at least not properly. But they existed and because of them I suffered. I had never felt pain like that, not knowing Peeta’s destiny was torture. His memory was my only consolation.
It wasn’t enough suffering yet. We weren’t done with this tragedy. It amuses me that people, especially those in the Capitol, think of what Peeta and I had as romantic. There was no such thing as romance. How could it be? Death and corpses haunted our days and nights. We never dated properly. We ended up from perfect strangers to enemies to friends to marriage. I must not forget the lies and the act. Not a perfect romantic story, at all.
Just sad and terribly tragic.
After he came back I swallowed my feelings so deep that they could not be touched. I let hate fuel me for months. I moved in search of vengeance. How could anyone corrupt someone so kind? How could anyone think of hurting him? I did hurt him, though.
Then Prim happened.
The hate died with Coin, it had lost its oxygen.
Only pain stayed. I had nothing else. Mother never came back from dad’s death and Prim who tied us was no longer here. Gale had committed the worst thing he could ever done to me. Not matter if true or not the doubt would be there for ever.
And Peeta was lost to me. Maybe I had thought he would have recovered enough to live well and go as far away from me as possible.
I should have known better. There’s this kind of elastic string between the two of us. We always come back to the other, somehow we found each other in the moments of our greatest need. Our relationship was always something special and hard to understand. In theory we should have never happened. A girl from the Seam and a boy from town? Hardly fetched. Two tributes of the same game? Madness. Add the fact that I had no intention of marriage and my different mentality, we seem oil and water. We don’t mix. In theory. However we bonded and somewhere along the line I fall in love with that kind boy with too long eyelashes. With time I realized there was so much more to him than goodness, he had grown up to be a complex men who still had one of the greatest heart I have ever seen. He is the strongest person I have ever met. All I need is to know that is to see how good he still is.
But I am too tired and hurt to do anything right now.
My stupid heart knew everything, of course. It waited for him, hiding it from my mind that wanted me dead but kept me alive.
I cannot tell if he feels anything towards me, may that be pity, affection or he simply stays here because he has nowhere else to go and I am someone at least familiar to him even after all that happened with the hijacking.
After a long while, when the food had gotten cold and almost untouched, he made his decision.
Breathed in and out, gathered his courage, muttering to himself that he could do it and then lowered his clutched palm on the table.
He was holding something tightly on his fist.
And then he started talking.
“Hey… I wanted to give you something, or well I mean to give you something back that you lost. I hadn’t realized you cared for it so much but I was told differently.” He looked like a child scared that his parents were going to yell at him because he caused mischief. He spoke quickly and nervously, looking everywhere except directly at me. Instead, I was staring at him like he was some kind of specimen or a weird occurrence.
“I also thought to create a necklace out of it so you won’t lose it again.”
He opened his hand and my pearl was there. I thought I had lost it somewhere in the Capitol. Crushed by the feet of those who were running to safety, lost in the flames that took my sister, in someone else hands, down in the sewers eaten by rats,lost in one of Tiger’s furs. I had played a thousand of scenarios in my head and every single one of them was worse than the previous. Just the thought that a capitolite might had it made me burn in anger. They didn’t deserve to have this other piece of Peeta.
The pearl in my mind was supposed to be his last gift, my last tether to him, my anchor in thirteen.
And here it was forever encased in a small circle hold by a thin golden chain safe in Peeta’s hands.
He left it on top of the table. There in the middle between us so close to me. An offering of peace or a token to remember that Peeta is here that he perhaps he remembers.
I snatched it away, grabbed it my greedy hands like Peeta were a thief who was asking for forgiveness. I clatched it tightly in my fist and brought it to my lips to feel once again its cool kiss. A kiss that I will never receive again.
I am so scared of forgetting the feeling of his lips on mine.
“Thanks”I mumbled against its shiny surface.
I had talked even if in a small whisper. Words, lately, come out of my mouth rerely than ever. I was never one for words but now they seem to elude me, run away, stick in my throat, as cold as the surface of my lake in winter, frozen and never melting.
Peeta and I had berely talked since his return, and when we did he mostly did the talking.
It seems that he has decided to imitate me. He uses words seldom in my presence. Perhaps he perceives my need to stay silent or he may feel the same. That was certainly the longest conversation we had since the war.
It felt like the beginning of a new chapter, a slow return to us as partners, pillar of strength for the other, one step forward. First the primroses and now the pearl.
That was the start of our silent companionship, maybe one day when we will be better it will evolve in a friendship. People who have gone through the things we did feel particularly close because they can understand the incomprehensible pain and the ugly scars life left them. It’s all I can hope for. In the meantime I will keep my love tight in my heart and one day perhaps I will be ready again to show it. I’ll wait like he did for eleven years and if nothing happens I will always love him.
I wonder what will come next.