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For Anthony
Izumi
caitlin_chan
A dream: I see you standing there, in the middle of the common where we played soccer. The grass is dry and brown, and the trees have withered and died. The sky is dark and stormy, and lightning flashes in the distance. I call your name, but my voice is lost in the wind, and I try to run to you. The distance between us stretches on forever, and I can't get closer no matter how fast I run.

A memory: you're in your room in your old house, from when your parents were still together. I'm visiting you with part of my family, and I go see you in your room. I've just turned nine, and you patiently answer all my questions. There is a small smile on you face― I think you think I'm a cute kid. I want to be more to you than just a cute kid; I want you to know that I love you unconditionally, the way only children can. You're my cousin, and you're older and so cool, and I idolize you. I want you to see me as a person, not a child, even though I am.

A dream: you're in the hospital because you're a danger to yourself― you tried to commit suicide. Even dreaming, I remember Mum telling me that; I never saw you in there, though. In the dream, I see bandages on your wrists, but those might be wrong. No one ever told me how you tried it that first time, or the time― times?― after. My imagination is filling in the blanks. There's a word for that in psychology, but I can't remember it. Perceived reality, maybe. Something like that.

A memory: hazy, ghosts of images. A church with no roof near your old house when I was three; a picnic with your family and mine. I didn't like pop, but I think you did. Your brother, William, would remember, even though he was barely a year beyond my three. Summer sun, green grass; a cloth spread across the turf, and maybe a stone building behind us?

A memory: I'm nine again, and it's you and I, your brother, Jonathan, and his friend. On the common with a soccer ball, I have no hope of keeping up but it doesn't matter. I'm laughing too hard to notice, and Jonathan is, too. You slow down to let me catch up, that same small smile on your face. You don't laugh, but that smile has seeped into my mind, will remain there forever. We play for ten minutes or an hour; I've lost track but I don't care. You're out of your room and look like you're having fun. Your mum calls us in for supper, and she looks happy. She smiles at me when I walk past her into the back garden.

A dream: the common again, and you're standing in the middle. The grass is long and the trees alive; the sky is bright and clear. You look at me, smiling and happy, and I know that this will be the last time I dream of you; you never looked that happy in life. Again I run to you, but this time I reach you. I bend forward, hands braced on my knees like I have to catch my breath, but I don't; I'm dreaming. I look up at you― of course 'up', you've always been taller than me― and I say goodbye to you, my cousin, Anthony.

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I don't know if it's appropriate to comment, but I suppose I will anyway. That was beautiful. Just beautiful. I'm not good at consoling or emotional matters, so all I can say is that that was a gorgeous bit of writing.

If I didn't want comments, I'd freeze them.

Thank you for the compliment.

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