This story is one of the October Writing Challenge entries chosen to be a featured story.
There’s a famous question.
“Which hurts more: the one who lost their life, or the one who lost their love?”
You can ask the question any way you choose, but the message never varies.
Either way, someone loses.
I thought I lost. I soon realized I didn’t. I’d take all his pain. I’d bear it so he wouldn’t have to. I wish I could, but I know it doesn’t work like that. And I’m sitting on his bed now, and his head is in his hands, and he’s crying. He doesn’t try to hold back. Does he know I’m here?
He gets up, walks to his desk, and slams his hands down on it. Hard. I can tell it hurt him, but not anything close to what he’s crying about. He screams, and my heart breaks for him. He walks over to the bookshelf and pulls out a battered black book. A diary. I recognize it.
He flips through the pages, sometimes stopping to read what’s written there. He eventually stops at a page where I can see something sticking out of the bottom. I wonder what it is. I can see his eyes moving from side to side, reading. It’s hard to see how he feels, though. There are so many tears. Can he even see the words? He turns around, goes to stare out the window, the diary still in his hands.
I can see, now. It’s a flower.
A daisy, it looks like. Crushed from time shut in the book, but still beautiful. It still carries a soft kind of energy, and I know it has sentimental value for him.
Then I remember.
We were in the park, him lying down staring up at the clouds, me picking daisies and putting them in my pocket. He looks over at me. “They’re common, you know. Nothing special. Why are you saving them?”
“They’re still pretty. Still worth something.”
Our eyes meet, and he grins. “You’re so weird.”
I grin back. “It’s why you love me.”
“True. That I do.”
“I love you.”
He doesn’t respond in words, because we both know he doesn’t have to. But he smiles. I pick up a daisy and hand it to him. He takes it gingerly. I lie back onto the grass next to him. He reaches for my hand, and we stay there for a while.
Savouring the moment.
I always thought he forgot the flower at the park, or maybe took it home and threw it out. Or maybe it was lost. But no. He saved it, and now he’s staring at the dried flower that had once held such meaning.
We both know we won’t have something like that again.
And he’s left with the pain.