A Kiss Farewell
The light of the moon filtered in through the windows of the church to land on the silent, unmoving face of the man lying on a pew in the front row. His eyes stared at the ceiling without seeing, and his lips were slightly parted though he took no breath. Gently, the fingers of his hand were intertwined with those belonging to another; the figure kneeling beside him sighed heavily and turned, letting a strip of the moonlight fall across part of her face.
Though the light seemed to illuminate her hair, her expression remained troubled. She was lost, so very lost, and she didn't think there was anything in the world that could lead her back to being 'found'.
Just the night before, at about the same time, she had been found. Or at least, that was how she felt. Only one person in all of France—in the entire world, for that matter—could claim to have seen, found, believed in, and loved the woman she really was. But why did it have to be that way?
There were no flowers, no sheets, nothing to cover what she both could not bear to see and could not bear to be parted from. She had tried reasoning with herself, had tried to ignore the feelings that burst from some deep recess of her heart every time she tried to walk away from him.
She wasn't abandoning him! She wasn't leaving him all alone! She wasn't hurting him… All that she had now—all that was in front of her, lying prone—was a corpse. She gazed at what was left and ran trembling fingertips over the scar that just barely showed over his left eye. A corpse, perhaps… But it looked like André; the lifeless shell had his kind eyes, his sharp nose, his soft lips…
It even smelled like him, she realized as she pressed her face into his chest. It was him, there was no doubt about it!
"Don't look at me like that, André," she whispered, threading her fingers through his slightly tangled hair. But he did not have a choice, and he continued to stare at the ceiling of the church until she slowly forced his eyes to close for him.
Tears began to slip down the sides of her face; with his eyes closed like that, his death only seemed more real to her. "Why did this have to happen to us?" she asked him, and though she expected no response, she was still disappointed when he did not answer her. It was just a part of life, she thought, her fingers still in his hair. One was born to live and then eventually die, but nobody knew how much time they actually had to live. André's time to live had just been…shorter than expected.
She had not minded death. The thought of death coming to her was not something that worried or confused her. The concept was relatively simple. André was not afraid of death, either, if his wish to die before her was any indication. He'd gotten exactly what he had said he wanted.
Even if it's only for a moment, I don't want to have to see my love's death if I go second. It'd be too painful to bear.
They were strong when facing death themselves… but they were nothing but cowards when it came to the death of the other! What would she do, now, without him? She was without rank, without title, without a job…without him. She had nothing but a military uniform and a broken heart.
Why hadn't she said anything to him earlier? Perhaps they could have gone away, just the two of them… They could have stayed in Arras, they could have lived and loved and recovered from years of heartache. Oh, but it was too late to regret now! What good were simple regrets when he was dead?
Dead… The word echoed in her thoughts as she turned her head and coughed into the rough fabric of his French Guards uniform. She didn't even bother to check and see if she had smeared blood on his clothes—she knew that she had.
What was there to do, she wondered. Her men that remained needed her, but she did not feel able to lead them to any sort of victory. All she felt like doing was finding a way to go back to when she and André had been much younger so that she could change what she was seeing and feeling right in front of her.
"I'm sorry," she told him, caressing the side of his face. And she was.
She sat with him in silence for a long moment. Perhaps a few minutes had passed, perhaps an hour. She didn't know. It would never be enough time. Why had she been allowed to grasp happiness for only a split second before it had been taken from her?
Where was her happiness, now? Why did she feel so empty? Was this how he felt every single time he looked at her and she had not seen him?
She rubbed her nose against his lightly, her tears splashing onto his face. "I love you! I love you! I love you!" she said, she thought…she didn't know, didn't care. He had to know! That was more important than anything. The Revolution itself paled in comparison to André. He was everything to her, and he was gone. What was she without him? "I love you…"
Her lips brushed against his tenderly as her fingers threaded through his hair, the soft curls soothing her troubled heart. "Au revoir, André," she murmured as she kissed him again and again, each time gently, with care, with love, with affection…with everything she had.
And each time that he did not respond, her heart broke a little more.
Wow, this took maybe an hour and a half to type… A rough draft was written first in my notebook, but… Yeah. I think this turned out pretty much how I intended it to, though it feels a little…boring. Constructive criticism is appreciated, as always. Thank you for reading!