Wednesday, September 1, 2010

2. Sufferer

As a youth I recall being told about death, though country religions varied, even among smaller tribes. The poor had their own religion, all in the vogue- it kept them happy, don't worry about this life, second life will do, try your best. Typical. As for my family, the proud Shirokuro and their glass and mirrors, death was final. We were rich enough to afford such beliefs. The trampled everyman of our nation, not so much.

My sister was a faster runner than I was, in more ways than apparent. She had, after all, spent much of her life running, or waiting, or other unpleasant activities that involved far too much grieving for someone so young. And, yes did she run, and I fell on the spring grass, blood and crocuses, stars, reflective surfaces; my right eye seeing nothing. Her mirrors on my skin, the shards like solemn stakes.

Rihei would never be able to understand. Noa might, but Noa was the kind to understand and not care about her understanding. Myself, of course (did I understand?) - my mind interspersed with feelings of pain, regret, and more pain. I could tell I was in the hospital, but my awareness came and went. A voice here and there, the nurses and their coarse hands, bandages that itched and felt foreign.

Voices- Rihei screaming at a nurse, Rihei crying, sniffling- all for me. Don't do that Rihei, it doesn't suit you. I never suited you, but you suited me. I wanted your plainness. You wanted my circumstance. What were we then, mutual parasites? Birds of a feather regret together, though he was more of a hawk. Bird of prey- his sharp features and compact muscles. For all my fortune, my high birth, I felt like a common sparrow and wanted to be just that.

I heard footsteps, though the sound encircled my head in waves, stomping reverberations on rainy puddles. Rihei was close to falling asleep, and he had not left my side, like a dog- Father thought him a dog, really, and dogs served purposes well enough for my father. Mother thought nothing, as she usually did, her gaze an ocean's breadth. Or maybe she did think something, who would know, certainly not me.

I had yet to see them visit me here- correction, hear. Rihei, I knew- I felt, was resisting the urge to meet my skin, fearing I would break, the white cocoon of my ravaged skin shedding away, sans butterfly. What was inside then?

I noticed now, that the feet were light, too light. This could only be one person.

"Sitting beside him and wearing yourself down will not make him any better, Rihei."

"Fuck off, Noa."

"You should go back to your duties for now. Whether or not you stay will not have any bearing on his recovery."

"You don't have a heart, do you? You're just stone inside. Teratin might die, but you're telling me to go back to my duties, like it doesn't matter."

He was close to shouting at her now, I could feel it in my skin.

Maybe she wanted to speak, but Rihei was continuing regardless.

"You don't care! You don't fucking care! After all we did together, after all he did for the both of us! Doesn't it mean anything to you?!"

"I'm leaving," Noa told him plainly.

Somehow, I knew she was holding something in. That was fine. Our entire friendship, the three of us, was all about containing ourselves at the risk of exploding. Rihei was probably close enough to breaking. Noa might have been, but she hid everything. I... I am not that lucky.

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