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You'd always remarked on how small my hands were, in comparison to yours. You didn't say much about me otherwise; silence is your staple. But sometimes, sitting together on a bench, or riding in the backseat of a musty taxi, you'd take my hand and spread your fingers across it. You dwarfed me—your hand was paler than even mine, crisscrossed with veins strong and blue. You have ice running in you.
I must have been so small, so collapsible, like a kitten in your palm. When you planted your kisses right under my ear, when your arm pressed against my skin and lit it up like an electric flame, I could not speak. I could not even breathe. My breath hitched lightly and I could've suffocate right then, quietly asphyxiating before you lifted your lips away.
What exactly do they say about May-December relationships? I don't remember now, but I'm sure it's along the lines of "they never last." You and I know first hand that they don't last: they can't.
You were heading your company when I found myself in an internship in Singapore. You came to the airport. You kissed me. And then you turned and just walked away; I watched you until even your distinctive pale hair disappeared into the crowd, disappeared into the tears that blurred my vision and made every color sharper, gem-like. I don't remember the time of that flight. I don't remember the airline. I do remember swathes of heartbreaking blue. Blue you could sink into.
I didn't shed a tear. By the time I touched down at Singapore, I had nothing more to say. I folded you up like a paper crane and tucked you away next to my new job portfolio and Rin's parting gift. You slipped from my mind elusively, gently edging yourself away from my thoughts until only a feeling of what-was-almost-love lingered at the back of my mind. You lay dormant within me for nine years.
Rin looks beautiful in that dress, doesn't she? A western style wedding, a brilliant white gown, orange lilies spilled across the chapel. She's twenty-seven, she's radiant, she's not yours any longer. You are now older, yet still the same. I still get shivers when you slide your hand around my waist and sway on the dance floor. You dance only once at these functions, I remember. Only once, and this time with me.
They look at us, you know, the eligible women and the eligible men. They wonder about us, Kagome and Inuyasha especially. But you make no move to kiss me and I make no move to speak, so here we are locked in a two-step, moving in perfect synchrony—like a couple would.
We've ceased being a couple a long time ago.
Parting, they say, is such sweet sorrow. But parting from you tonight will induce no tears, only a faint wash of regret staining my hands where I have touched you and my cheek which you gently kissed at the end our dance. You and I both know that after tonight, after Rin has been swept away and the guests all pretty much gone, we will remain and watch each other from opposite sides of the room. I will burn the memory of you into my memory, like a tattoo at the base of my spine. If you touch me again, I will vibrate in harmony to you and that almost-love I have forgotten will rise up from the base of my spine and flood me, flood every inch of me from the monsoon raging in my stomach, until I melt into you and we pick up where we left off.
But you do not touch me, and I do not touch you, and we sit on opposite sides of the room and watch each other, daring the other to make the first move.
I give. I rise out of my seat, tuck my purse under my arm, and walk toward the door. Before I leave, I smile for the last time at you. I pretend I don't see my longing reflected in your expression, in your eyes. God, your eyes.
The night is brisk and autumnal, the sky overcast. I know you are sitting still in your seat, wondering and wondering. I'm doing the same thing. But life has a slovenly habit of moving on, and as clocks tick us closer to our graves and further from each other, you and I both know that there's no point to going back to the beginning. There is no handy Restart button.
And as once again I leave you, as once again I am the one that starts the car and drives into the night, that seats myself for passage to Singapore and New York and Prague, you slip away slowly, like fog rolling out of ports in late morning, or the gradual evaporation of a standing pool. We both knew we would never see each other again. That is the truth caught between our stares tonight. But, Sesshoumaru, no matter how I may wish you had said more to me than a few syllables of greeting, or that you had come forward and kissed me and engulfed me back into the mysteries and secrecies we'd held about us, I'm glad it didn't happen. We've left that crossroads.
I wander the world now, in search of a home. I go through Mediterranean islands and down into Arabic embassies. I take stints in giant metropolises and find work in rural settings. I am content, all alone. But when I find a home, Sesshoumaru, when I finally rest my feet and nestle my heart down—I won't forget. I will shed a single concentrated tear for you.
And that will be the end of that.
F I N
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It's done! A year to the day, too.
Thank you to Eloise300, Cold Kikyo, Azn Kikyo the Kutee, Lieberisse, and EnigmaticArsenic for reviewing the last chapter, and advance thanks to reviewers of the epilogue.
I decided that there would be no happily ever after in this story, unlike A Garden Variety Love Story. Reality is bittersweet, after all. Just not painted as bloody-purple as I have here. A little backstory on why I started Storm Song: last year at about this time I found myself in love with a guy three years older than me who was going across the country to college. By exaggerating the age difference and transplanting the emotions I felt with him onto the first couple chapters of Storm Song, I found myself with something actually pretty good. Since then I've gotten over him. But there is something magical about this story, about these select moments that jump out and resonate with me. I think in the end, I'm pretty satisfied with it.
Thank you to everyone that reviewed or read this story. Thank you to all of you who've put it on your alerts and favorites. I hope it has satisfied.