Hello once again to another one of my back burner pieces, except this one is actually really recent so I’m pretty proud of that fact. And yeah, I really like this piece as a story itself. It’s pretty simple now that I’m rereading this, really entails only a very short part of the many interactions these two characters have, but I think it encompasses it enough that you understand what kind of relationship these two characters have. Was just a “tad” bit inspired by “Into the Forest of Fireflies”, which is an amazing film that everyone needs to watch. Of course I couldn’t help but make the story not as obvious as it should, I think, at least, I did what I could to make some of the major points not so well known, like for example, who the narrator is. Just something I feel like I have to always do, is all. Other than that, well, one more thing, I actually haven’t been up and around to making any new original short stories because of real life reasons and being generally busy with real life things and problems, but after tomorrow, I will finally get a breath of fresh air, and finally have time to make new short stories rather than picking out the old dusty archive, which I’ll still do because there’s some really great pieces in here. But anyway, here you go, “He and Her”.
“If someone told me this five years ago,” he stopped. Then breathed, took a long pause, and then continued.
“I might have believed them,” he finished.
“Five years? That short?” He considered the question. Was five years too short, or was ten years too long? He thought. Why five, and why ten, he thought as well. Those questions remained unanswered but he did answer.
“No, that’s not short. Five years is a long time,” he said with pride.
“Only to someone like you.” He smiled, then his eyes drooped. His expression lowered, and his breathing slowed.
“I’ll miss you,” he said.
“I know.” He wanted to cry, or perhaps, he wanted not to let go. He wanted that feeling to last, and he wanted this time to last. He was stubborn, awfully obstinate, and for no good reason. That stubbornness will be his undoing, and he knew that.
“Goodbye. Wait no, forget that.” He stumbled, and laughed. He was happy that he heard laughter, and he was happy that he was able to lighten the mood. He was truly a mess.
“I don’t believe in goodbyes, right?” He said, and asked, for some reason.
“You’re asking me?”
“No, I mean–” Laughter resounded in the air again, and he smiled again.
“No. I don’t believe in goodbyes. So, I’ll see you later, okay?” He received a nod, and then waved, hugged, and then waved. That was that. Five years ago.
“Hey!” And this is now, ten years ago. He had just came to visit the town during winter break. Rather, it was a vacation, his family had family and they liked this town. It was beautiful in the spring, bountiful in the summer, and nice and cold in the winter. Truly a hexing town.
“Wait up!” He was chasing a cat, strangely enough, long enough for the cat to roll up and freeze.
“Hey!” He continued to chase the cat, until the cat had jumped on top of a wall and scurried off, away from him. He looked down casted at the notion, and seemed to stare at the footprints beneath him. The snow that day was very light, but it was snowing nonetheless. Beautiful sparkling snowflakes drifted to the earth like moths to a flame.
“Ah!” The boy said as a gust of wind blew by, scraping his face. The cold winter winds were truly harsh, but the boy didn’t care. He loved winter, almost as much as she did him. It was cold, and at the same time, for some reason, he felt warmth. Despite the sharp winds, the harsh earth, and the freezing of the crops, winter was still very nice.
“Oh! Hey!” The boy said as he noticed the staring.
“Hello,” the boy almost couldn’t hear the voice that almost didn’t reach him.
“You came! Again.” The boy received a nod, and then grabbed a hand, and began running towards the crop fields. He laughed all the way there, with a laugh beside him as well.
“Where are we going?”
“The fields!” He answered. The boy knew that the fields in winter were a beautiful sight. And when he arrived, with hand in tow, he saw it. Bright fields of white, glittering for all to see, like a million diamonds in the sea. It raced for miles, and for miles there was beauty. It was truly a sight to see, and as the cold winds ripped across his face again, he didn’t budge. He simply stood, admiring the view, and smiling all the way.
“It’s pretty,” the boy heard. He nodded, “Yeah!” He saw a smile, bright red cheeks, and a slow breath. He smiled, then grabbed a hand, and ran again.
“Where to now?” He heard.
“You’ll see!” He replied. And so he ran, with hand in tow again, running across the cold sharp winds, running across the snowy earth, listening to the crunches of boots. He ran and turned heads, and he ran without care for his own constitution.
“Gran!” He yelled. It was slang, for grandmother, or in his case, an old lady, whom he loved as much as his own grandmother. She appeared before him, in a shop, a candy shop, it was small and comforting. Apparently, these shops were very cultural, or so the boy has heard. He smiled at her appearance, and so did she, who knew the boy very well.
“Would you like some hot chocolate?” The lady asked. The boy lit up, his smile bright despite it hurting and replied with energy, “Yes!” The lady smiled and left to an inner room in her candy shop.
“Eating candy in the winter is weird,” the boy began, “But gran makes the best hot chocolate in town!” He received a smile, and then asked, “Do you like hot chocolate?” He received a nod.
“You don’t like me?” He asked, his eyes focused, and his voice trailing down.
“No! Why would you ask me that?” He heard the reply, it was tinged with worry, that escaped reddened cheeks and long silky hair that flew in the wind as they ran. The reply escaped a mouth that was small, like his, from a body that was frail and weak like his, from a person just like him. He received a reply as bitter as his own thoughts, and as bitter as the salt he tasted on the sea. That was the essence of his being, salt.
“Because you were just smiling, and nodding, you weren’t talking!” The boy pleaded. His eyes dilated, and his hands began shaking on shoulders, he was urgent, for some reason.
“What do you mean?”
“My parents, they always say that if a person doesn’t like you, they won’t talk to you.” He received an inquiring pair of eyes, and he received a light smile.
“Your parents aren’t wrong, I guess. But, there are more ways than one to show that you like someone.”
“My parents told me that words are the most important things in a relationship.” The boy didn’t let go, and he truly wanted to find his own answers. However, much like the voice he received, he too was very naive. The only thing he would receive is a light smile, and a light giggle. And as the hot chocolate came, then he would receive a reply.
“Words are important,” the boy heard.
“Almost as important as silence,” the boy listened, while sipping on the dark liquid.
“You can never come to appreciate silence, until you have it.” The boy listened intently to the information that he surely found strange. And at the same time, it was information, that he never figured he would hear. It was information that the voice found strange as well, but knowing the voice, it was information that was long thought of.
“How do you appreciate silence?” The boy asked.
“By appreciating all the little things in the world, and by appreciating all the things that haven’t been given a second chance.” The boy gave a questioning look.
“My parents said this to me.” The boy switched his look to an understanding look.
“But I think I get it.” The voice stopped and thought.
“My mom always makes things easy to understand, and she told me something very easy to understand,” the voice the boy heard was innocent.
“If there is a cat that does not meow and no one ever knows that it ever lived, it must be very sad, right?”
“Yeah,” the boy replied.
“You would feel bad for that cat right?”
“I would. I love cats.”
“It’s like that! You would love that cat, even though you didn’t know it, right?”
“Yeah. I guess.”
“Appreciate the silence. The things you don’t see or hear, are the things you usually don’t know that you need. Is what she said. It’s like the cat!” The boy thought about it, then realized something.
“So what about you?” The boy asked, “You always do that, you just smile and nod sometimes, not talking.”
“Sometimes, I don’t need to say anything, and you still understand me, right?” The boy thought about it again.
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Then it’s like that!” The boy gave another questioning look, which only enticed a giggle. Deep down inside, though, he knew what the voice had meant. And he was glad it was like that. It was still bitter, though, because he loved the voice, and he loved the voice’s voice. It was bitter, much like the ocean.
“Should we go now?” The boy was done drinking, and he was all warmed up for another run. He received a smile.
“Yeah,” he smiled at the voice. The boy spent his days like that, always coming back to the town in winter, coming back like it was his mantra, and coming back like he had always been there, which he had. Those days were short, and those days were long, in the winter. They were cold, yet for some reason, they were always warm to them.
“Yes.” And this is one year ago, the boy was back in the town, except now he was in a room, covered in white walls with a machine buzzing in the distance, and two people standing in front of him, one holding a clipboard.
“I know what will happen, I understand. Everything.” The boy said. His parents were in the room, devastated by the news, but he was proud. He didn’t have tears in his eyes, he had salt.
“I’ll miss you,” the boy said.
“Yeah.” The boy received the reply with a bright smile. Once all the people had left the room, the only sound he could hear was the sound of buzzing, but even then, as the buzzing dissipated into nothingness, he heard a voice.
“Appreciate the silence.” The boy smiled again, there was never a time where he wouldn’t appreciate the silence that he has been given, and the silence that he will be giving. There will never be a time in his life that he will ever appreciate what he has except now. What he has now is everything.
“Silence?” The boy said with a smirk. He received a nod. It was at that moment that he understood that everything in his world would only ever be silence, but that silence was something he could come to love.
“I love winter,” the boy said, tears swelling up in his eyes.
“Why is that?”
“Because the cold isn’t so cold, and the warmth that comes with it, is so magical.”
“Maybe, you’re crazy.” The boy listened to the sarcastic reply, but knew it was all out of playful joy.
“Maybe I am. But I love being crazy. At least then, I could justify this for nothing but dumb fun.” The boy saw tears, and he received a hug, and a pat, and his head lowered, looking at the tiled cold white floor. The buzzing resounded in his ears again, and that was when he knew his time was up.