The EdWin Chronicles
Written By - Stripe
Excerpt 17 - Back
For as long as I can remember, I've been watching his back.
Those many years ago, I recall him tapping me on the shoulder and running off, not looking back, as a playful "Tag! You're it!" trailed behind him. I didn't realize that this simple action would set a precedent for our relationship. I chased after him, of course.
It was just a game, wasn't it?
It was only a few years later that I stared at his back with tearful eyes, watching as he held back his own tears over his mother's grave. I felt for him; he hardly remembered that I -- or anybody else -- was there. I reached out to comfort him.
It was what a good friend would do, right?
Before long, he had regained his footing. He decided to leave on his own -- training, he said. The last thing I saw before the train swept him away was his back. I recall crying - I was just a little girl losing her best friend. He was too young to leave home. I was too young to let him leave home. I watched the train pull away until it was nothing but a speck on the horizon.
He would come back, wouldn't he?
He came back, of course. He had promised he would.
Then he injured himself, and hurt his remaining family with him. Then, he left it to my family to heal him, as we always did. For a time, I didn't see his back. I helped nurse his wounds. I comforted him. I told him everything would be alright. He listened.
Then he stood on his own two legs and turned his back to me again. He left home -- left me -- again. Claimed he had to right his wrongs, correct his sins. He refused to listen to logic, determined to carve out his own path. I let him go, holding back my tears. I didn't want to cry
Surely one day he would realize that he had done nothing wrong.
From there, I saw him sporadically. There was a three month gap here, half a year here. Ironically, it wasn't until I finally decided to move away and move forward that I began to see him more often. Still, I seemed to be a few steps behind him - perpetually following his back. I followed faithfully.
Somewhere along the line, I realized how broad his shoulders had become.
It seemed that no matter where he went, danger followed. On more than one occasion, I found myself walking alongside it, and we exchanged pleasantries. He tried to keep us separated. He tried to keep himself separate from me.
One image remains clear in my head. In a time of crisis, he leaped to save me, putting himself between me and his own demons. He faced them, arms stretched out in front of me. This time, I let the tears fall freely. Because of my own incompetence, he had risked his life to save me. Save me. I commited this image to memory.
It didn't escape my notice, however, that his back was facing me as it always was.
After that, he made a promise, just as my own train was about to depart. He stared me in the eye, and declared it loudly as possible. I will never forget his face; never forget his voice.
"Next time I make you cry, you'll be weeping tears of joy!"
We left each other after that. Whenever we did meet up again, it was but for a moment before he had to leave again and turn his back to me again. Finally, we both found ourselves in our hometown once more. We were at a crossroads. He was about to face the battle of his life; I was simply coming back home. He made me promise to wait for him -- had the audacity to ask me to stay as I was. I watched his back recede once last time, this time with dry eyes. I kept my promise.
Now, it has been nine months since I last saw him. I've done as he's asked. I've waited for him. That simple promise has kept me tied to this town for nearly a year. I refuse to leave.
I will not allow my last memory of him to be his back.
This was done for creative writing, actually, hence the utter lack of names. We were supposed to incorporate symbolism into a short story. And I ended up writing a fanfic. But yes.
There are four symbols in this that I meant to use. Two are obvious, two not so much. Can you find them?