Changing Minds

PROLOGUE

It hurt. Small pinpricks forcing their way in, invading her skin. It hurt

even to keep her eyes fixed open as images seamlessly slid across her

vision, etched in distorted colour. She never realised it could hurt this

much.

She watched the stars fade above her; little lights snuffed out for the

sake of the coming sun’s warmth. It was cold out on the patio, the

onset of dawn bringing an icy breeze, hoping to drive her inside.

Reaching for her woollen coat, forcing down a wave of nausea, she

finally felt some semblance of peace. A chaotic peace. An unsettling

peace that she couldn’t ignore.

******************************************************

What makes people turn away from each other? How can we find

infinite connections, coexist, link, yet remain singular entities, sharing

lives yet never knowing our own or each other’s full stories? Our bare,

vulnerable selves are found locked inside, not engaging with others.

There is no hiding from such a fate. With bonds, come breakages;

minute fissures we barely recognise until our stable structure can no

longer support itself, like porcelain worn with age.

And once we realise our strength and support has limits, an idea so

remote and untouched to us, how do we keep looking away from

each other? What fixes that breakage to us; affixing a failure to

something as obviously as a tattoo. We are branded. That’s all I can

say.

******************************************************

She felt the sun warm her face, a gentle warmth. It was the middle of

summer, but the day was pleasantly cool, a crisp fragrant air about the

coloured, open fields surrounding the stone cottage. Fields of dreamy

lilac and bright bursts of golden sunflowers, inky splotches of heavy

red and pools of deep blue. She loved her childhood home;

remembering sun-kissed moments snapped amongst the blooms…or

with Peter. Peter. ‘He will come’ she thinks to herself, ‘he has to’.

It was their usual routine. From innocent games amongst these fields

and harmless daydreams, to serious commitments and sudden

whirlwinds of life, their directions have always been abundantly clear.

Losing your bearings is common to all, yet she and Peter had never

truly understood what it meant to wake and cry at losing that solid,

consistent path before them; to have to search blindly for something

that one doesn’t even know how to begin to recognise as right or

wrong.

Try as she might, however, his image was beginning to fade around

the edges. An unspoken shadow seemed to be hovering about them,

groping into the spaces they shared and taking parts away, almost

dismembering them. Any attachment is beginning to fray.

Sitting up further on the deck chair, she could see his familiar black car

parked haphazardly in the driveway.

“Mina! I’m here!”.

She placed her feet amongst the soft flowers and propelled herself

towards his voice; a surety to her movements, almost like a

subconscious reflex. It was all fluid, smooth; him briskly walking

through the field to greet her and she towards him.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t get here sooner, like I promised, but I needed to

see you. I have to tell you something. There are words Mina, words I

need to share with you…endless words I can’t bare to phrase.” His

voice was low, soft, almost choked and starved of breath. She noticed

a deeper blue in his eyes, an intensity she could never remember

before.

“What? Tell me Peter, you know I can listen to you better than anyone

else can, please. ”

“And what if I can’t say anything? What if I know it’s better for us both

if I shouldn’t?” His voice snapped. A pause, a lost moment given up to

fear.

“…Words unsaid become lost. I can never know if you can’t tell me.”

 

She could feel something icy cold begin to seep through her clothes,

brush her skin, grip her heart in a vice; well before any words came.

“…I…I can’t do this anymore. I…just…time…There is so much Mina.”

“What do you mean?”

“We have spent so much time together Mina, you and I have laughed

and cried and dreamed together for so long, I can’t imagine my

life…there would be an overwhelming, sticky absence without your

place in it. And I hate that, I can’t accept or bear it.”

“But I’m here, I’m not going anywhere Peter!”

“….I am. I…I’m in love with someone else Mina. You have no idea the

pain I’m causing you, and please know I never ever want to see you

hurt, but also that I hurt to be responsible for this. I’ve been trying to

stop myself and settle for us, just us…but I can’t.”

“I don’t ever want to give up the fight Peter. All I want is you. I knew

then, but it has only grown more keenly, the more time I share with

you. The only outcome I see from this is a dark place I’ll barely escape

from and it frightens me, when you talk this way. When you feel you no

longer have a fight in you, because you don’t believe in me. When you

can’t replace your feelings and I all I want is for you to come back to

me….”

 

A pause held between them, thin ties shifting in the breeze. Thoughts

spinning, reeling; the thick, off-taste in her mouth; heart stirring

somewhere deep then beaten quiet.

 

“Can I make this any better? Any clearer? If I run from you, you want

me, but when I finally understand I want nothing else, no other

happiness then being loved by you…YOU run. ”

His eyes betrayed him; the brighter his irises become at the

threatening onset of tears. He couldn’t hold focus anywhere, eyes

flitting and resting at the furthest distance from her he could manage.

An utter chaos on the inside, struggling to win power; it makes no

obvious movements, but slides around inside, slipping into shaking

hands and empty silences. Quickly glancing back to the car, he turned

from her. No other words existed in that moment; a car door slam, an

engine turning over. A whole future changing, a loss so deep

memories are beginning to fade to help you cope with the pain. He

left her amid the flowers, searching for something long lost.

 

*Artwork by Shawna Erback- Pinterest*

 

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