Chapter 12 : Lilacs and Violets
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Dreams of yesterday
Better give them lots of love
For soon they’ll fade away
My heart is overflowing with the joy of my blossoming relationship with Neville, and I can think of nobody I’d rather share that joy with than my Susan. Susan, who opened me up to just how much love I am capable of. Susan, whose smile out-shines the sun, and yet somehow makes it seem brighter. Susan, who somehow never fails to be exactly what I need.
I knock on the door of her flat out of habitual courtesy before unlocking it with my own key. “I brought peppermint cocoa and popcorn!” I announce as I slide inside.
The flat is dark and unusually quiet, the characteristic songs of Susan’s soul missing from the air. I instinctively quiet my breath to match the surrounding atmosphere, entering on cautious tip toe. I arrange my gifts on her small kitchen table, set out to greet her on her return.
As I turn to take my leave, I stop mid-pivot as I recognize the tussled heap of blankets on the bed as Susan. I take a moment to process than it is her and that she is awake. I am caught in my tracks, at a loss for what to make of this situation.
“Susan?” I whisper, approaching her with uneasy caution. “Are you alright?”
My question seems ignorant in the face of the obvious answer. I do not expect a response and she does not give one.
I cross to the bed and pull the distressed hair out of Susan’s eyes, my fingers tenderly cupping her face. Her eyes are wide, as if waging a staring war with an unseen enemy. Her lips are chapped and her cheeks hold the marks of recently dried tears.
“Charice left me,” Susan reveals, her voice faded to an echo of its typical radiance.
I have no words to comfort her as I stand above my love, her heart aching with the pains of rejection. Her despair seems to leak out of her, soiling the surrounding space with stains of insecurities I’d never thought to look for in her eyes. It soaks the blankets, drips from the mattress, seeps across the floor and into my flesh.
Even as I grieve at seeing Susan in such intense pain, my heart is also touched by the awareness that I am seeing a new side of my dear one, as intense in her pain as she has always been in her joy. Her pain is not beautiful, but her unguarded heart is. Even in her suffering she offers me that heart in all its vulnerable honesty.
I open my mouth to comfort her, but anything I can think to say feels woefully insufficient.
Instead, I step out of my shoes and climb under the covers with Susan, wrapping my body tight against hers. I want to ask her if this is what she needs, but my voice can’t seem to break through the density of the air around us. All I can give her is the beating of my heart pressed against hers.
Susan clutches at my hands and pulls my arms tighter around her.
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