On the nights when he was with her; when she would stay awake waiting for the inevitable. Just waiting for his terrified eyes to meet hers, waiting for him to mutter about guns and friends departed. She would trace the faint white lines lining his back - new stories that she would never gather the courage to ask of. He always looked so confident in his uniform, but when the clothes come off she would see the damage that lay in their wake.
The first thing you'd see is a typical honors kid - large dark eyes behind blue rimmed glasses, holding all the bookish knowledge. The girl's curious eyes asking for more, conflicted with the tight smile silently begging to be left alone.
She'd wear her dark straight hair up in a ponytail, with a pink baseball hat. With the pink sports backpack, she'd deceive anyone. But her scrawny figure in an over-sized men's sweatshirt, underneath a denim shirt from Goodwill, with a pair of jeans ripped from overuse - told a different story. So did her punk boots picked from garage sale.
She hid her scars under thick spike bracelets, another piece that did not match with the silver heart locket hanging from an unusually long necklace.
Even with all the pieces roughly glued together, she had yet to find out which was her real face.
Give me that dawn declared by the cockerel's calling, give me the moments that stretch out with each stirring of leaf and grassy wand. For then on that farm, cozy with dreams that fly through the rafters to the sky above, I can awake and keep my dreams with me until the stars return once more.
In my craft I fashion a thing that time cannot wear down, a product no person may consume; yet my craft elevates the soul by consuming the poison of emotional indifference and medicating with love. My words are part of our societal immune system and that makes me proud to call myself a writer.
I sigh, closing my leather journal and setting it (along with my pen) aside in my small, light cerulean blue satchel. The satchel has been my best friend ever since I first found it in the antique store five and a half years ago when mom and dad had given this to me as a kind of early birthday gift. It was the last thing both my parents had given to me before passing.
The leather used to be new, polished, smooth even. Now after five years of having this satchel it's finally starting to look timeworn, but it's that kind of oldish, worn out look makes it all the more appealing for me.
The blanket was art, a creation in vibrant wool, an expression of nana's love. When Nate watched television I could see his emotions by the way he held it, the sensations of pleasure and tension told in how he either held it softly in his hands or else pushed his fingers though the holes, twisting and grasping. When he was happy it was his covering for games of "ghost," or else it was his invisibility shield. Some days, when it rained, it was our indoor picnic blanket. Other times it was his cape when there was superhero work to be done. It was his best toy, his comfort, his woven rainbow and keeper of his memories. And as he grew Nate would once in a while comment that he had thought the blanket was bigger and ask if it had shrunk somehow.
Something flashed beneath the surface of his hardened expression and I hurried to investigate the sudden shift. It was too late, the emotion disappeared before I could identify it, like reaching desperately for an escaped balloon; the string dangling so tantalizingly close but the wind pushed it away and it's lost forever.
My puppy is like "Groot," but instead of saying, "I am Groot," he only says "woof." Yet in each expression of his limited vocabulary there is a different emotion, a new thing said. It is everything from "Come play with me," to "Hey, I want some of your dinner!" And so I do my best to be a good interpreter for my little guardian of the couch.