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  • Willow Reid

Last Spring

I’m not sure if I will ever forget it, I’m not sure if I can. No matter how long I live it will always feel like it happened yesterday. Even now as I feel the life bleeding out of my body, spilling onto the pavement like rain after a storm. I hope he’s waiting for me to join him, I only hope that he forgives me for everything that happened between us that last spring.

Our last spring.

Since I could remember I felt different; as though there was something surrounding me that would never allow for true close contact. I thought I was untouchable and was determined to stay that way forever, that this was for the best: if you never get too close, you’ll never feel pain. Waving your hands through the heat haze that surrounds you and knowing that what can burn others will never do the same to you, because it just can’t, because you’re stronger than those simple concepts. You always have and always will; nothing can get too close to you.

The haze around my eyes shifts and shimmers and nothing looks truly clear, like I’m seeing the world just a bit further away than everyone else. Everyone feels further away and yet there I was, in just the same place as the rest of them, unable to see that. This would be enough to drive some people to insanity, spiralling downwards instead of upwards. Sure, I was alone above everyone, but I loved the view. Until I found a view I cared for more than that. The day I met him it was as though the haze had cleared and I could finally see someone. In a way he felt different to the others and maybe that was what drew us together, like the first blossoms in February, torn apart by April showers with only the skeletal petals smashed to the pavement as a reminder.

I was half right: there was something separating him from other people, however, unlike me, he didn’t view this difference as a gift. Although he had never told me, and I had never asked him, I could tell that for him all of this was nothing but a curse. I imagined that while nothing could come close to hurting me, everything would come too close to him, sticking in his skin like shards of glass - yet no blood would come out, burning like acid yet nothing looked painful, so nobody paid it any mind. I just couldn’t see it, because I was blinded by the possibility that there was someone who could understand me in any way, someone I could see clearly.

I could physically feel as we grew closer and closer, like the two lines making up an ‘X’. That closeness scared me, as though I would never be that close to him, or indeed anyone, ever again. I guess the moment our lines crossed was one night in particular: he had come back from being sent somewhere by one of the teachers and although nobody had seemed to notice it, the look in his eyes grew distant, as though he was merely looking through the world rather than at it. The distance became so apparent, the darkness stretched out infinitely, looking into those eyes was a glimpse into the nothingness that faced me now. Dark, black nothingness like the night sky.

What threw me the most was the cut on the side of his mouth, a perfect scarlet line forming a tiny trail of deep red dripping down his chin. My instincts took over and against my judgement I rubbed the blood off his face.

“Are you okay?”

“Honestly, I’m fine, it just looks like a lot”

How typical of him, to say everything was fine as blood dripped from his face - it was just that which drove me half-mad. No matter what happened to us, he would stay the same.

At least I thought so…

But in that moment, his calmness made me feel warm in the rainy March evening. On the inside I could feel something inside of me change to the colour of a setting sun. I felt everything at once. It was really nothing more than a quiet desperation which filled me faster than water fills the lungs of a drowning man. I wanted to ask him something and yet the words caught in my throat, threatening to choke the both of us. That night we fell asleep in each other's arms and the words which had hooked themselves in my throat began to ache a bit less as our heartbeats lined up.

Ever since that night I couldn’t help but notice that something seemed off about him. There was a distance growing between us, as inevitable and uncontrollable as the sun setting. In the end that’s what he reminded me of; light and warmth slipping through my fingers. At least I could try my best to remember what it felt like to be with him, even if it was only for a split second.

There were so many things I needed to say but any time I did the words would catch in my throat like thorns on a rose, digging in deeper and drawing blood. I choked on my words then, and even now I can feel them in the back of my throat as much as on the day they stuck themselves there. I could’ve said something and none of this would’ve happened; if only I was able to speak in that moment maybe he wouldn’t have left like that.

Years later I saw him again. Something about this made my heart sink deeper than I thought possible and, although my eyes told me it was him, my heart knew otherwise.


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