Training Starts Tomorrow
It’s such a cliche. The rain pelts us both, and I can’t tell if those are tears on her cheeks, or just rain. My teeth still cling on the soggy cigarette, as if my life depended on it.
“Hey. Stop crying,” I say.
“I’m not…” Her weak reply forces a bad taste in my mouth. I edge closer, awkwardly favoring one leg. Blood’s running down one of my thighs, from a wound that’s worse than it looks.
“Always nice to see someone taken away from you, eh.” I give the heavens a finger. “I liked someone. She was a girl, too. Like you. Like me.”
Her lips move again. “They took Mom and Dad,” I read.
“Sheesh. Never liked my parents.” I lay a hand on her bare shoulder. It’s obviously cold, but the brimming rage and anguish underneath surprise me. I grin despite myself.
“Hey. Wanna fuck up those who did this to you? To your parents?”
And right on cue, she coughs up blood. The gaping hole in her chest isn’t pretty, a dark crimson tumor spreading across the rest of her body.
She nods, almost imperceptibly. “No matter how hard it is, I’ll endure it.”
“Oh, but you don’t know how hard I can be.” My free hand hovers before her ruined chest.
The first kindness she receives from me.
The first cruelty I give to her.
I mend it, forming heart and ribcage and flesh, until she sinks into my arms like a stricken log. Then I trudge back home.