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
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
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
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
“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
“…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
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*