The Softest, Sweetest, Purest Thing

I… I don't know why… but I'm still holding it. It's in my hands. It's between my two fingers. I rub it like velvet… it feels like velvet. It feels like small, soft grains of sand. It feels like the smoothest, clearest, purest skin I've ever touched. It's beautiful… and I hate that.

I never knew she would actually end up meaning something to me. I never knew she'd end up playing such a huge role in my life. Then again, there were a lot of things I never knew. And through that, more problems than anyone could imagine spawned. They didn't just affect me, either— they affected her.

She would occasionally visit my farm and pester me. Linger at my fence, careful not to "trespass" which meant, to her standards, stepping up an inch to cross my property.

Sometimes… sometimes she brought gifts. Very berry jam… my favourite. But why? I snapped at her, I threatened her, and I hated her, as far as she knew… yet she treated me like this. Like I was someone.

…Like that could ever happen.

The object dangled in my hand and I suddenly feel frail in my knuckles. I want to drop it… I am standing above a river. I want to drop it and watch it run down the stream, float away from me; vanish from existence and into the vast blue sea.

Yet… I'm holding it. It's in my grasp, and weak as I am, I can't let go. It's still between my two, trembling, pale fingers. I don't want to pocket it, I—I don't want to touch it, damn it.

But here I am… touching it. Pathetic.

I stare into the water's mirror and like a spew of waves, it forms into something I automatically contemplate. Somehow, through its surface, I see… her. I want to look away. I want to turn around and run. I want to—

What's the point? I can't. I'm frozen. I'm stuck there. And I'm staring into her face, and I want to scream.

At first, she was one of those people I hadn't really acknowledged. I knew her name, and, living in such an environment-friendly, petite town, I knew where she lived. I knew her occupation, her personality, her sickeningly sweet smile she shot me for no reason.

I suppose maybe that wasn't true… in the end, I really didn't know her. And something tells me, I never will.

Because after what happened…

I blinked as the river faltered, her mirage piecing away. My unoccupied hand twitched forward, and I felt my limbs pull and plead to go grab at it, to stop her from leaving.

Like a statue, though, I stand and watch. Watch as everything that could redeem me fade away, right below my grasp. Right before my eyes.

Right against my will…

It was a dark stormy night, when things actually sparked. When I realized I really never knew her. To start, I stereotyped her. She smiled a lot: she was freakishly happy. She was slender and bony: she was a flirt. She was energetic: she was an athletic show-off. She was also always the type of girl where I thought, 'alright, I know her. I'll get used to her.' But I never expected any intimate relationship… I never expected anything to actually happen between us. And at first, nothing did. Then the thing I feared came to life… we got closer and closer and I fell into the hellish pit I'd tried to stray away from my whole life.

I fell in love.

She was in her barn, for some reason. I was weaving my way through the cascading rain, finding guidance in the bare light of the streetlamps. The sky was dark and no help at all as I hurried to find the path home. I was desperate for the comfort of my bed, the mere smell of wood mixed with the trees' fullest batch of oxygen…

And then I saw it. A discreet light, tucked away in the distance. My eyes followed it and I found no post attached. A figure familiarized to me and I recognized a house. Immediately thinking something dangerous happened, I rushed ahead and straight into the barn.

Bloodshed, macabre, and skin-slashes were flashing in my mind. Which accounted that I was immensely taken aback when I merely saw petite arms jabbing into an indent in the wall. My footsteps led me backward toward the door and I quickly conjured an escape plan, but it was too late. She turned around and…

She smiled.

Damn it, why did she SMILE? What reason was there? What would someone like her be doing smiling at someone like me?

For some reason, her hands remained in the indent in the wall. Her head turned to face me, leaving her body in a crooked, awkward position. Yet her aura glowed bright, and mine dark and unwanted in the peaceful air.

I held my breath, waiting for her to approach me. But there she stood, totally… still.

"You," she finally said, in a voice so soft I could barely hear it through the dipping rainfall.

I stared back at her, expecting her to look away with confusion when she met my electrifying, stabbing, icy blue gaze. But her brown eyes, they just… softened more. Softened, softened, damn it… why couldn't she just stop being so soft for once? Why couldn't she be angry?

Why couldn't she just hate me, and stop confusing me so much?

"It's late… and raining. What are you doing here?"

It wasn't a gruff, interrogative demand. It was a light icebreaker— but I only wished she'd just shut up.

"Same thing I'd like to ask you," I shot back.

"Well…" She was still looking at me. She hadn't even faltered, not once. "You see, I was ignorant and forgot to watch the news last night, so I had no idea it was going to rain today. And, being me, I always feed my animals first thing in the morning and then water my plants. Today, though, my watering can was empty and so was my well… just my luck!" She paused.

"Is this the climatic bit, or am I still allowed to be bored?" I asked dryly, in a rather depressive monotone compared to her venturing, wandering voice.

She blinked. "Huh?" Then she just continued like I'd never insulted her. "So I trekked to the Blue Sky Ranch next over and knocked but then I remembered it was Thursday and it wouldn't be open. Plus I didn't want to be like a thief and just steal their water."

"Steal their water, huh? Since when did water belong to any one person?"

She blinked again, a bit more irritated this time. I almost smirked.

"So then," she started up again, a bit louder, "I went to Saibara's, but for some reason he wasn't there. And then I went to the Paradise Orchard, but all Dan did was flirt with me, so I got out of there real quick!" Then she looked at me, as if expecting me to feel jealous over her and the lecher's onesided PDA.

But I wasn't. "That's nice," I stated simply.

Her thin eyebrows descended gravely upon me. "Oh yeah? And then I passed your house but I didn't want to go there because your cranky self was there!"

My eyebrows rose, prior to hers. "'Cranky self'? Is that the best insult you've got?"

She retorted back, "I wasn't trying to insult you, stupid!"

I repeated her words in mockery. "Stupid, stupid! Cranky! You seriously need to learn better ways to offend someone because it clearly isn't working…"

I saw her stare at me, looking perplexed and furious all at once. Her hands were still stuck in the wall. She looked idiotic.

"In fact," I began, for the pure purpose of wanting to see what the sweet farmgirl was like when she was angry, "I know plenty of good ones. First, did you know that you have a huge forehead?" Her gaping mouth made my insides tickle with amusement. "It's bigger than your cow. Which I may note, is starting to look pretty fat— just like you. Maybe you should, I don't know… stop feeding it as much?"

That was when I crossed the line. I hadn't even known the damn line was there, but it didn't matter, because I crossed it. She ripped her hands out of the wall, as strange as that sounds, and stormed right up to me. I tried to stand firmly, not wanting to look intimidated (she was a small brat; what could she do?) but it didn't matter. Her nostrils flared and she jabbed a fist into my chest, causing me to stumble slightly. I bit back an "Ooh, mad now?" just to see her next move.

"You ASS!" she screamed at me, completely tossing me off guard. "You utter, complete ASS! Why don't you shut up! You don't know anything! You're a stupid, cocky, arrogant, little… JERK! I'd sack you!"

And that was just what she did. A swift kick to my groin brought me gaping.

"No, you don't get anything at all! You think just because you're a farmer you're all mighty!" Tears were looming at her eyes.

It was just a joke. What a brat.

…Of course, at the time, I knew nothing.

"Well, I'm a farmer too! I know just as much as you do, if not more! I'm just as strong! I can do everything you can so just… be quiet! Shut your mouth!!!" Little droplets were now streaming down her face.

Before I could toss her a witty remark, she advanced one more step and slapped me. It was completely unpredicted, I'd give her that. But damn, that hurt.

I held the side of my cheek she'd walloped and braced myself for another on the other side. But instead, something else happened. She clutched her mouth, as if holding in a gasp, and backed. But not like I was the monster… like she was.

"What did I do? What'd I do?" she whispered rapidly, looking like she'd just run a knife through my heart. "I'm so… I didn't just… why did I…" Her spitfire of words ended with a final burst of tears and shock. "I'm so sorry!" She fell onto her rear, bawling.

I blinked, confused and awkward. "…Look," I finally said, inexplicably having an urge to soothe her. "You never caught me as much of a drama queen. And I'd never expected the soft, sweet, innocent little farmgirl to swear and act in such violent ways, no less… but still, you gotta calm down, you brat. What's the big deal? Every chick's hammered a guy in the nuts once in a while. So stop…"

The words died in my throat. "…crying."

Because that was when I saw it…her hands and wrists. They were covered in scars… disgusting scabs… bleeding—

"STOP STARING AT ME LIKE THAT!" she shrieked, snapping away like a fiend. "You don't understand!"

I was speechless.

The sweet, soft, innocent farmgirl I thought I knew all along— the girl I always assumed was a carefree, animatedly joyous one— had serious problems of her own?

"Why?" I found in what was left in the barren wasteland of my throat.

She was panting hard now; crying still, too. "I'm… I'm… I'm so fat."

And that was when I realized she was weaker than I believed.

That was the day I realized she had a major problem of her own: anorexia was eating away at her body. She needed mental support. She needed a friend.

And even though I was a bit reluctant, I offered myself to her as just that. As… a friend. Or at least what she believed was one. I wanted her to feel better, I didn't want her to feel like a depressed and alone outer shell.

Little did I know, friends could never stay friends. Exactly one season passed— just one season. That was all it took for us to fall in love. It was autumn now.

In fact, her mental problem was not the only thing I had learned about. I'd also learned that I was partly right about her being sweet and soft and innocent— for the most part. Like, who would've guessed she used to be a rebellious citygirl who dropped out of highschool and hit the streets with her friends in a trailer? Who knew that she ran away when she realized what she doing was wrong— and stupid— and worked and worked for hours on end until she could rent out her apartment? Who knew that it was not too long later that she found the ad to our peaceful Flower Bud Village and moved here?

Certainly not me.

She was also very talented— despite her weak bones and nearly meatless body. Her love and great care of animals was very skilled, far surpassing my own. She was gentle and careful and treated them like royalty— who the hell else would spend ten minutes brushing each individual animal and sought out weeds for her chickens to snack on day after day?

Who was so mindset while she fished, it was nearly laughable? She seemed like a statue as she stood above the river and waited, nearly going ballistic when her she felt a tug at the end of her line. Then she'd reel in the fish, her brown eyes shimmering with excitement, when—

When she realized she wasn't strong enough, and she'd drop the entire rod itself, just to allow the miniscule dace to swim away with it. The sorrow in her eyes made me want to cry for her…

And that, that was when we had our first kiss. She was crying in my arms when we just looked at each other, fit our lips and… kissed.

Like her, it felt like the softest, sweetest, purest thing in the world. Nothing had ever felt so right before. I'd never felt anyone belonged in my arms as much as she did.

So why is it that one season after that I stand here, afraid and alone? My own doings stabbing at me? That after she proposed to me just because I was too much of a wimp to do it… I didn't go after her?

…It was because I was a fool. An inexperienced fool who couldn't even trust who I loved.

It was a nice fall day; a bit chilly, but nice considering it was nearing the end of the season and it hadn't even snowed yet. We were going out for a date at the Moonlight Bar. A romantic date. She had begged and begged until we'd gone here, so I finally gave in.

At this point, she was still convinced she was completely fat, and my efforts to ease this seemed to be in vain. But I knew that as long as I supported her, she'd start to recover gradually.

Little did I know, those weren't the only issues she had.

We seated ourselves across from each other on the red velvet cushioning and Eve, the beautiful blonde barmaid, swept up to us. A notebook was held in her golden grip as her perfectly shadowed eyes fluttered to meet mine. "May I take your order?" she asked in her smoky, captivating voice.

"Uh—uh, yeah."

My date must've heard me stammer because she shrank back, looking hurt and angry. I pretended not to notice, being the fool I was…

"You're a cute one, aren't you?" Eve suddenly purred, as if completely oblivious to the fact that I was on a date with the girl of my dreams.

Little did I know, it would be my last.

"Well, I wouldn't s-say that…" I stumbled out, feeling a brown glare settling on me like a dense fog. "Um, I'd like…"

"No, no, not so fast." Eve leaned in, her cleavage bulging. "Wouldn't you love to go in the back and talk?"

I blinked, a bit shocked that the beauty would ask me to talk. "Um, sure," I said, completely oblivious.

Why did I accept? Why did I give into temptation? Why, why, why… was I such an idiot?

Before I knew it, she led me away and to the back. "Um… what would you like to talk about?" I began, but I was cut off at 'talk.' Eve threw herself at me, her shirt magically peeling off as she did so.

"What are you doing?" I managed to stammer, my voice muffled due to her tongue down my throat. "I'm—!"

"Oh, shut it," she hissed, pinning me to the side. She kissed me more furiously this time, and it actually felt a bit… rough. Not soft and sweet like my girlfriend.

…My girlfriend. I remembered her face immediately and tried to pull away, but Eve grabbed me by the bottom lip and pulled me back. "Don't leave me," she cooed.


"I said, don't leave me!!" She pinned me back again and continued with her dirty deeds. I found myself relaxing and for some reason… complying.

Disgusting piece of dirt… I can barely remember that without gritting my teeth and getting an urge to strangle myself.

More because of the look of shock and anguish of a certain brown-eyed girl's face as she marched into the back room, then stopping mid-step.

"HOW COULD YOU!?" I heard her scream monstrously.

She stormed up to me. She kicked me in the groin. She slapped me across the face and swore at me. Awfully familiar…

Then she left in a flourish, crying hard, and giving Eve her choice words too.

I barely acknowledged Eve as she stared in confusion and ran out just after her, barely feeling the pain. How had I not realized? She was bipolar too. All along, all this time, I hadn't even realized.

It was what I deserved for making my advances on such a sick, diseased girl. I was such a fool for ever being with her. I thought one short month was all it took to know someone. Love someone, yes, but know someone? I felt like no matter what, no matter how much time I spent with her, I could never fully know her.

I heard footsteps amidst my empty staring and then her standing in front of me again, chest heaving. "I-I was going to give this to you," she choked out. Her hand wrenched forward and she struck me in the chest.

I thought she was trying to start a fight and my mouth twisted open angrily. But then I looked. For the first time, I looked. I opened my eyes and saw her pain. As screwed up as she never wanted to be…

She loved me.

From the very beginning, she loved me. Despite everything. She wanted to stick by me, she wanted me to stick by her. She didn't care how messed up I was, either. Because she loved me regardless of my many, many faults.

My tears were blurring my eyes and I only looked down at what she'd thrust into my chest when her figure faded. It was… it was…

My eyes grew wide, and the serpentine steel of my eyes melted. I fell to my knees, a beast released in my chest and annihilating me from inside.

A blue feather… she was going to give me a blue feather.

We were going to get married…

And I'd ruined it…

All along, I never even knew.

I never even tried to.


So I guess you could say that's the story of me and the farmgirl. Our broken love story. Then again, was it ever really true? If she were to detach us just because of a promiscuous barmaid did it ever mean anything?

Or was it my fault all along, for pining away and putting off proposing to her when all along she was waiting for it? She couldn't wait, after all; she'd made the move this time. I bet she didn't even care she'd get laughed at seeing as it was the "man's job" to propose to the woman.

…But it was a month. A damn month. So what did it matter? What did it matter if we'd spent that entire month together, learning, laughing and loving? We never really meant anything. We never really—

I couldn't lie to myself any longer. I—I loved her. I still do. I love her so much.

She was bipolar, and I knew it. She couldn't help feeling angry at me. She couldn't help it.

And I guess I couldn't help that she went and ended things permanently. I suppose I was her lifeline. The only person that cared for her; that new her. Everyone took her as a sweet person with not a care in the world; the girl who needed no more help because she had everything she needed. Why do they judge her? Why can't they see everyone is so far from perfect? We're all so demented, with so much fault it's actually rather sickening… that all she needed, all along, was help and support?

I wanted to give it to her… I did give it to her…

But I guess I just wasn't enough.

And the funniest thing…

I never got her name…

I guess she didn't feel like giving it to me.

So I never gave her mine.

Because I didn't feel like giving it to her, either.

I looked down at the blue feather one last time, and felt the sharp pain in my chest from when she jabbed it at me. Then I knelt down.

Things come… things go. People come… they die… sometimes in circumstances that are actually quite upsetting. Frightening, maybe. And it's damn annoying knowing that if she'd just been normal— not anorexic, not bipolar— we would've been married by now.

Hell, she'd still be alive.

But things weren't that way. They aren't that way. And if she weren't like that, we never would've met or started our relationship.

I suddenly found strength. The farmgirl wouldn't want to see me so weak. She wouldn't want to see me as a mirror image of herself when she was so vulnerable.

I murmured a quick prayer to her, hoping she'd receive it. Then I brought the feather to my lips, kissed it, and placed it into the river.

From there, I watched it flow. I watched it get carried away and beyond what my eyes could see. Like the softest, sweetest, purest thing in the world.