Holy frick guys. I think I just died.
I'm so behind on EVERYTHING I think I'll just crawl in a hole and die. ;-; My God, and I haven't even re-read the ending of this yet. XD And I don't even like the beginning of this. And...and...and...*is shot*
THIS IS THE SECOND CHAPPIE TO YOUR B-DAY FICCIE MAH ANGEL BABY, WHO CAN WORK A LOT FASTER AND BETTER THAN ME, AND EVERYONE KNOWS IT. XD I LOVE YOU FOR BEING THE FUNCTIONAL HALF OF LUCKY-ANGEL135. THE HALF THAT ACTUALLY CAN AND DOES WRITE. XD
Okay guys I'll stop screaming now. :T ENJOY, DA?
Disclaimer: There are three things I don't own in life. They are, in no particular order: Obama, Russia, and Hetalia. Everything else is made in China anyway. ;D
My playlist as I was writing this piece of crap: Tears of an Angel, RyanDan; Daughter of the Solar Eclipse, Leo Perez; Through the Kaleidoscope, Steven Cravis (WHICH IS WHAT LTAK WAS NAMED AFTER YOU LTAK FANS XD); The Day We Met, Jim Brickman.
I hadn't grown up like other little kids.
Other kids, as I've read in books, seemed to be happy all the time, jumping off of swings and climbing up slides and seeing who can jump rope longer. They pranced through childhood without knowing what they were really doing half the time, and eating ice creams and cakes the other half. The girls dreamed of finding a prince charming—with the glittery smile and the white horse, and the boys were intently focused on the little spider crawling up the wall, which would soon be siting on a small twig in a confined glass jar, soon to be forgotten under a bedspread of Spiderman or the Hulk.
Although I may have looked just like them, running around completely carefree and innocent, what was going on inside my head then was nothing like the aura that my physical appearance had suggested. Deep inside, my memory, even back then, had been deemed by doctors as 'irrevocably damaged', and no one could explain why. The most popular hypothesis was a birth defect—my sister liked to tease that I must have been dropped, hard. My mother, then, had burst into tears when she had heard that her youngest son, one day, was going to forget completely about everything.
I suppose that she had been one of the main players in my life that had helped me shape out to what I became when I grew up. Throughout my life, in her fear of me forgetting my life, in forgetting myself, she had started leaving sticky-notes everywhere, reminding me to do this or do that or that I have a soccer game at this time or I had to go pick up some more snacks that day. Of course, back then, my memory had been giving the appearance of any other child's, so I had remembered to do those things and was quite peeved that my mother irritated me to such ends. All of my family had relaxed slightly, thought that maybe the doctors had been wrong—that I truly was just another normal child.
They thought that until I woke up on the morning of my tenth birthday and was unable to recognize a single member in my family.
My mother was past distraught, crying and weeping and throwing fits in the living room, disturbing the neighbors and worrying the milkman. I, my brothers and sister told me, was acting just like her—crying in a corner and asking where my mother really was, who my mother really was. They told me that Mother tried reaching out for me when I was crying, but I would slap her hands away, screaming, "You're not my mommy! You're not my mommy!" Eventually, my family had to leave me be, allowing me to cry myself to sleep that day without eating or drinking anything.
Apparently, the next morning I woke up, I had regained all my memories.
I would never remember my lapse in memories after that day had passed, but that wasn't a major worry back then. After my family had taken me to a doctor's after my first memory-loss attack, they had declared that although it seemed terrifying, the number of times my memory would 'reset', as they called it, would remain in the low numbers, at least until I had reached adulthood. The lady who was assigned to break the news especially for me described it to painting different pictures—my canvases changed, but the image that I would be holding would somehow follow me through the years. It made me a little more reassured, that even times when I would forget, a piece of me, somewhere, no matter how dormant, would still retain everything so I could remember it the next day. However, it frightened me. I had then solidified a thought—if I didn't throw too much on the painting, then I should loose less, right?
The doctors had been right. The times that my memory would lapse, according to my family, was once every other year or so. They had also begun to record what I was like those days with my older brother's video camera, showing me the day after everything that I had done. To say the least, I was terrified. It was hard to believe that the boy on the television screen, despite having my name and face, was crying in a corner, refusing his favorite foods and best friends, who, soon after, weren't such good friends anymore. Everything had suddenly began to seem so real after that, so I had started doing something after my 13th birthday.
I had one amazing friend back then who I would confide in and who was one of the nicest, but quietest people I've ever met. His name was Kiku Honda, a quiet exchange student from Japan, who had been one of the only people outside my family that knew about my memory problem. He had accepted me as I was, not shunning me as others may have, and was my companion through the end of middle school, even offering to stay in the United States just for me, his mother crossing the ocean to act as parental care for him.
Kiku had kept his Japanese culture and heritage with him, despite the harsh cultural clash of America. He often entertained me with old Japanese folklore, which I was always sure to pen down on papers and save them in a folder, labeled 'In Case of Memory Loss'. However, there was one story that I had penned down once, twice, thrice, all in an effort to never forget it. The day that Kiku told me that story, he was sitting upstairs in my room, head dangling off my bed as his legs rested gently against the wall. I was on the computer, playing Starcraft, and was quite pissed that a friend of mine was killing me with remarkable speed. It was only after I groaned in exasperation gave up, allowing my head to fall weakly into my shoulders, did Kiku say quietly, "Arthur-san, have you ever heard the story of Sadako and the thousand paper cranes?"
I didn't bother looking up, but I could tell that Kiku noticed the interested gaze as my eyes flickered over at him. "A thousand paper cranes? That's a lot of paper cuts. But no, I don't recall anything about that. Is it a well known legend?" Kiku had smiled wryly and continued, rolling around so he would be able look at me right side-up. I lifted my head as well, and spun around in my office chair until my legs were straddling the back of it, my chin resting on the back of the chair.
"It's very well known," Kiku pointed out, flicking his head so his bangs flew gracefully back into place. I kept staring at him with wide, innocently curious eyes before he smiled softly and began. "This story takes place during the end of the second World War, when America had made the hard decision of dropping nuclear weaponry on the city of Hiroshima." I had felt my face somber slightly—talk about that subject in History class would always make Kiku more quiet. "There was a family—the Sasakis, who had lived far enough away from the explosion to not be wiped out, but not far enough to where they didn't suffer the consequences. They had a two year old daughter then, who was named Sadako. She was beautiful and vibrant; the role model for all of those people who wanted to do good in the world. The mother of the family was so proud of Sadako that she remained her favorite, even after there were other children born into that family.
"She was but twelve when she was diagnosed with leukemia—a side effect of living so dangerously close to the bombing site. She had suffered severe radiation poisoning from the atomic bomb, and needed to be immediately admitted into the hospital. It was said that while she was being treated, she had begun to fold paper cranes, telling her parents in her happy, normal tone of voice, that everything was going to be okay, and that once she folded a thousand paper cranes, she would be granted one wish. Her parents worried of her over-stressing herself with the constant folding in her critical condition, but Sadako just laughed it off, like the cheerful girl that she was known to be, and promised that she would finish folding, just for her parents.
"She believed in the legend so much that she continued folding, even after a thousand. She smiled and told everyone in attending that it was okay, it might take a while for the actual blessing to take place. However, it was not to be. Two months after her being admitted into the hospital, one hundred paper cranes over one thousand, she had passed away—early in the morning, but surrounded by her loved ones. And although she hadn't succeeded, Sadako has since become a symbol of peace and hope for everyone in the world."
There was a silence that began to grow after Kiku finished his story. I had spent that time comparing myself to Sadako Sasaki—the girl who had believed so much in her thousand paper cranes, who had spent her life folding not only magic, but hope. She, too, had known of her impending doom, the day when everyone that she loved would be undoubtedly hurt beyond her protection. Everyone who wasn't in a position similar to the one that she was at, unlike me, would probably think that she was doing it simply in an attempt to save her life—however, those who can see the line of death looming in the distance think differently. The cranes might be a sign of hope, but they also would be something for her family to keep of her after she passed on, her essence and everything that would make her, her—all packed together into a box of over a thousand paper cranes.
Over a thousand paper memories.
That was when I first got the idea. Kiku had helped me in the beginning, teaching me how to fold the small origami birds and helping me with which side I should pen down a memory on, so sometimes the words would peek over the wings. I would write down everything that I could remember, from the first birthday that I could recall to the home run at the school's baseball game, and then crease and bend the papers gently to form a long, slender body and a crisp, sharp beak. I kept all of my paper cranes in a shoebox, but soon found that I needed to store them in more than one, as the number of paper cranes continued growing as the years went by, the colors expanding and so varied that it looked like one was looking into a very detailed rainbow. From a distance they might look very ordinary, just a box of paper origami, but they truly held so much more than that to me.
There was a crisp, slightly bent crane with the blue pen on the side stating, first day of freshman year in school. Of course, with the passage of time more than my memory-loss, I had already forgotten what happened that day, but I do recall the relieved laugh and tears when I found that Kiku didn't have to move back to Japan after all.
A pale pink one with a cherry blossom print—first date. I remember Kiku having written that one with me, in the restaurant that we were eating at, his pretty Japanese characters running along the wings in small, neat script. He would never tell me what it said.
There was a crimson red one that was always found next to that one, scribbled 'first kiss' in almost illegible writing.
I remember that relationship very well. It was always so happy from the start, since Kiku and I had been such good friends before we began going steady. It almost felt like I was married, in a way. We had spent afternoons just hanging around cafes and parks, never feeling any pressure to become someone that we weren't. We were who we wanted to be, and neither of us nagged on the other to do something that we knew he wouldn't. We accepted each other, helped each other, and built on each others' personalities.
I had forgotten, then, about my previous promise to myself, the promise about not throwing anything on the interchangeable canvas that was my memory. If I had stopped and remember that, I might have held back in loving Kiku though, so now, as I look back, I admit that it was the one thing that I should have, and did, forget.
Time passed, and we entered our final year in high school, both of us prepared to go to high rated colleges. It was just like a dream come true, with both of our acceptances into the schools that we wanted, and although we had come to terms that we wouldn't be able to see each other as often, we made promises to come together after college and possibly build a family—a topic that always had Kiku flushing a brilliant pink. After all those years, we had still stayed the same. I was the slightly prissy boy that everyone thought was destined to have a future in a mental house, and as time passed and we were going into the summer before college, still together, Kiku had gotten results that he had a large tumor in his brain.
We had only found that out after he tried to kill me, hallucinating that I was a murderer.
The fairytale shattered. He was immediately hospitalized, and had a operation date set for the removal of his tumor. It seemed like life was starting to get back on us for living too happily, fate laughing at us for our naivety. No one spoke about his chances, it was just too obvious that he wasn't going to make it, and that his parents were doing this just for confirmation. It was just another way for them to wake up from a nightmare, I suppose; it must have been easier for them to admit that their son was dead and in a better place than for them to see him sitting in a hospital bed, smiling sweetly through his pain and telling them that everything was going to be okay—he would make it out before Christmas and they would all go and celebrate the holidays together.
I spent every single day by his bedside. I left my sticky-notes, all of them reading something along the lines of 'get better soon' and 'I love you' all over your hospital room as if they would bring us good luck. We folded paper cranes for the memories that we made together, penning out the time that we had forgotten from our earlier childhood. More than once, we would find each other in tears, and the rest of that day would be spent hugging each other and whispering false words of comfort, which might have just made things worse than they would have been, now that I look back at it. The number of cranes that I had kept in my box kept increasing, the difference between our respective paper cranes indistinguishable. The day before Kiku was to be wheeled into operation, we had made a final count. 838.
"Not enough to make a wish," I remember choking out, the familiar feeling of tears starting to well up again in my throat as I forced out a smile, looking down at my battered and cut hands. "Looks like we'll have to rely all on you then." Kiku said nothing as my voice cracked, along with my final thread of hope—he just wrapped his arms around my body and lent me his strength, falling asleep with me wrapped in his arms.
The next time I awoke, it was two days later and I was back in my own bed.
My brother told me what had happened. Apparently the next morning, before Kiku's set operation, I woke up before him with another one of my one-day memory lapses. I couldn't remember a single thing about my best friend; my first love. I had screamed in panic at finding myself in the arms of someone I didn't recognize, and jumped up, waking up Kiku in the process. A patient next door had commented on how it sounded like someone in the room was comforting me, how it sounded like Kiku had tried to reason with me.
Kiku, it seemed, had tried to re-enlighten me on who he was, what was going on, why he was in a hospital. However, it seemed that I wasn't taking in a single word that he had been saying, screaming incoherently about how I wasn't insane, I just wasn't, I couldn't possibly be, who were you, who the fuck were you, why were you keeping me trapped in here. The list went on and on. The last thing I had ever said to him, the last thing he had ever heard from me, was a loud and panicked, "You need to go die and burn in hell, bitch!"
And the next thing anyone knew, there was a loud shattering of glass, and a boy in his late teenage years, with beautiful porcelain pale skin, hair as smooth and as dark as the night sky, and what had once been sparkling, chocolate eyes, was sprawled, broken, on the street below.
I had never made a paper crane for that incident.
Perhaps it was because I was dying to forget it, because I never wanted to admit that it was actually me who had slammed Kiku—weak, sick Kiku, out the window and threw him to his death. I had been hoping that maybe, if I was lucky enough, my brain would throw that memory away after another lapse, knowing that I would subconsciously try so hard to forget it. I didn't show up to his funeral, and spent the next few days crying in my bed, nursing a broken heart and a broken innocence. I had killed someone; I had killed the only person I had every loved like that, then, in my life. I was devastated, and it was more than once that my family members caught me trying to take my own life.
"Just let me do this!" I screamed as I was forcefully dragged away from every noose, every knife, every windowsill. "I need to do this! I don't want to leave Kiku waiting anymore! I have to apologize to him! I have to save you guys from becoming what happened to him! He might have survived the surgery if it wasn't for me!" But my brothers and sisters, bless them, never listened to a single word I was spewing.
I tried to reason with Kiku's parents, telling them that I was their son's murderer, and that I should be put to death like any righteous murderer should. But they had looked at me, with Kiku's piercing gaze, and said, "And is that what you really want?" I went home, bawled, and lost contact with them forever. I regret that decision now.
I became deathly afraid of making any more precious memories after the 'Kiku incident'. If I had anymore loved ones in my heart, then wouldn't it just kill me more the next time something back happened? If I couldn't recognize them again? If I accidentally hurt one of them too? With this reasoning, I tried to distance myself from everyone I knew, but my family was a persistent bunch. They soon became the only ones that I looked at. My years passed with me only making dotted, scattered drippings on my canvas with only one color of paint. The world had dulled in color, Francis, to where everything was just a boring, but safe, shade of gray.
It was a nice, spring night when I met you. I still remember clearly. I had never gone to the top college I was supposed to have gone to, deciding instead to ghost through the rest of my days, floating, but never quite touching the ground. I had snuck out of my window again when my mom, who was now at an age when she shouldn't have had to worry about anything other than knitting by the window, had brought me my dinner. I remember dodging lithely through fences and gates, before I reached a pretty little house with a pretty little rocking chair lying there, innocently, on the back porch.
Your expression at seeing me sitting in your rocking chair, humming a cute song in the pitch black of midnight, was something that I had never wanted to forget.
I should have known, then, that this relationship would be nothing like anything I'd ever expect.
The first night that I spent on your back porch, I remember you crossing over from the door and sitting down silently by me, letting your peaceful breathing and the groaning of the chair I was rocking on be the only thing that disturbed our silence. And then, to my utter surprise, you turned and asked me, with a very straight face, how I've been doing all these years. At first I thought you were joking, or mistook me for someone else, because, damn, I just met you and you already claim to know me? However when I asked you, you only laughed.
"Oh, I know your type all right," you joked, smiling at me so happily I wanted to, I'm not going to lie—punch you. "You look like a living nightmare. What was it? A breakup? Some tragedy?" I stiffened in your rocking chair, the gentle creaking from it's old wood frame stopping, to let the true sound of the night overtake us. "Oh come on, don't be like that. You look like the terribly sensible old-man type of person, I highly doubt you've always been like this your whole life."
"Why would it matter to you what happens in my life?" I finally managed to say, proud that there was no noticeable waver in my voice as I started moving my legs again, that irritating creaking noise rising above the crickets. "As far as I'm concerned, you're just some stranger who's rocking chair I'm borrowing for the night. And besides, you're annoying. It was nice and quiet out here before you came." You grinned again, though this time it was at the darkness of your yard.
I was shocked when you sighed softly and shifted your body so you were resting your back on my legs. I fought the urge to shove your head away from my knees, and instead just stopped my rocking. You wriggled a bit, giving a satisfied exhale before turning back and looking at me, still wearing that pacifying smile. "You look lonely. I think I'll stay out here for a while with you."
We stayed like that for the rest of the night, until we both fell asleep. When I woke a sore neck but a calm heart, for the first time in a long time, I had noticed that you left your post by my feet. I sighed and stood, stretching out my arms and popping my back, stepping down lithely from your back porch and making my way back to my own house, not before leaving a 'thank you' post-it note, of course. I climbed back in my window and moved over to my desk immediately, pulling out a pre-cut square sheet of colored paper and scribbled on it, the night spent on the rocking chair. My fingers had folded it deftly and I stored it in one of my boxes, at that time, thinking of it just as one of my other pointless memories. In the time that Kiku had left me, the memories my paper cranes held became significantly less meaningful. One of my cranes even held what I ate for one morning. It became less of a goal to remember myself, and more just to reach that number of one-thousand.
Unknown to me, the first dab of another color was added onto my abused, gray canvas. The first dab of color that I've ever had in a long time.
The second time I ran into you, it was at Kiku's grave. I was sitting by him, playing with the bouquet of lilies I brought for him, when I spotted you crossing into the cemetery with a friend, your hands clutching a bunch of white roses. Your friend looked like he would rather be anywhere else in the world but there, but you looked so much more morose than the last time I saw you, I had to check a few times to check that it truly was you. After you crossed over to a large, grand tombstone, your friend finally clasped you on the shoulder and said something along the lines of "ghosts" and "meet you in McDonalds", before he almost tripped in running away from the gravestones.
I watched as you dropped the roses at the foot of the elaborate stone before you crumpled to the ground, burying your face in your hands. I had stared your tears, fascinated, for a few moments. Was this truly the happy, bright person I had met that night before? But that pale skin was so different, those bleak eyes ancient. I eventually sighed and gently set my flowers by Kiku's side, pushing myself up with my arms and automatically making myself towards you. You either didn't notice my presence, or you didn't bother to acknowledge it. I simply stood there, for a few moments, before kneeling down behind you and wrapping my arms around your shoulders. "You look lonely. I think I'll stay out here for a while with you," I whisper softly, letting my chin drop on your shoulder. And again, just like the night a few weeks ago, we sat there in silence far after your sobs ceased.
I remember how you followed me home after that day, and after you heard from other people in the area about the incident with Kiku, which you liked to call my 'teenage crisis', you became more stubborn, instead of running off like everyone else in the town. You would show up at my house every morning, determined to drag me through the door and stuff me with food, even if strangling me was the only way to do so. Those first two meetings, it seemed, revealed so much about our inner selves that we instantly became best friends, somehow quickly learning how the other would react to certain situations. It quickly became obvious that you enjoyed seeing me angry, but would back off immediately if I began to cry (or pretended to), while I soon found out that you had been visiting your mother's grave that one day in the cemetery.
"She was beautiful," you said randomly one day as we were walking down a street to get smoothies.
"My mother. She was happiest and purest person I've ever met." I couldn't help a surprised glance over at you. You simply twiddled your thumbs and looked up at the sky, and then back at me, smiling again. "She always told me, when I was young, 'Life is a canvas, Francis, that's why you throw as much paint on it as you possibly can, until everything's all dripping around and it all turns into a beautiful mess'." I smiled.
"I've heard of a saying like that before."
And then, I had realized that it was true. The canvas of my memories had become colorful again, not with the dark but calming colors that I had when I was with Kiku, but with bright colors that clashed together but looked like they hurt your eyes but shined in ways that you wouldn't think were humanly possible. The difference, this time, was that I was fully aware of what I was doing. I wanted to make more memories with you, because I started believing again. I started believing that my illness would stay away.
Too bad I didn't learn the first time.
I don't know when I began to fall for you. It might have just been spending every night at your house, on that one rocking chair, falling asleep to you mindless humming. It might be after you dragged me outside while it was raining, twirling me around at the intersection in the street, screaming in joy about how beautiful the rain looked like when it was falling, how it was a sad comparison to your own eyes. It might have started with chortling loudly as I tripped coming inside because of my wet shoes, but becoming instantly concerned after I gave a sneeze and a sniffle. It might have started when we first waltzed through the downtown area, me laughing at every offer you made to buy me chocolate ice creams.
"I hate chocolate, Francis!" I remember snorting every time with disdain, though not even that could hide my slight smile as I clutched that waffle cone like it was my lifeline.
You should love it though, because you love me, right?
That quote from you is on the wing of a single bird alone.
It was painful at first—confessing, because of how casually you had always addressed me with those three little words. I was frightened beyond belief when I dragged you out back to the porch, where we had first met, and twiddled my thumbs nervously, coughing and muttering quick little words under my breath. It was incredible, really, how you've always been able to read me perfectly before that. I think that my subconscious was warning me, that entire time to not be nervous, because it was you, and you always knew what I wanted. Therefore, I really shouldn't have been worried at all, because your eyes softened and brightened at the same time as my trembling began to increase, my fists beginning to clench harder as the words in my throat began to suffocate me.
You just laughed softly—melodically, before wrapping your arms around me and whispering in my ear, "I know, Arthur, I know." And as I was too busy setting my face on fire, you had gently lowered your lips to brush, feather-light, against my own. It felt like sweet acceptance—a promise that I felt I had been waiting for my entire life, and it relieved and touched me so much that my legs gave out under me as tears began coursing down my cheeks in rivulets. You held me that night as I cried my heart out, pressing light kisses to my eyelids and temple, laughing softly and teasing me that if I kept crying, I would die of dehydration. We fell asleep in your backyard, lying on the grass, smothering each other with body heat, only the moon to serve as witness to our fervent promises to never part.
The next day, I wrote on a crane, Francis. I didn't need to write anything other than that—it served as plenty enough.
Our love was something completely different than what I had with Kiku. With every day that I spent with you, it felt like I was slowly turning back the clock, becoming more and more young as the times passed. I never moved in with you officially, since my family members didn't even need to try and convince me that that was a bad idea. It was obvious—what would happen if we woke up one day and I had a one-day memory-lapse? The consequences would have been nightmarish. However, that didn't stop me from staying at your house during most days, and my things eventually began to migrate over to your place.
I visited the cafe that you worked at often, spending afternoons and occasionally nights on a stool in front of the counter, or, once in a while, the storeroom hidden behind the shop. I remember how that one friend, Alfred Jones, who had gone with you to the graveyard, would laugh loudly at finding us in compromising positions during your breaks periods or lunch times. He would always jeer at us, take a picture for Elizavéta, a frightening waiter at the place, call out to his own boyfriend, "Hey, Ivan! Babe, why don't we ever do that?"
And then the large Russian would turn and smirk teasingly at Alfred's direction, calling out over the sound of chatter in the always cluttered tables, "Because, honey, you're not nearly flexible enough!" No matter how many times you heard that phrase, you would always laugh and demand for Alfred to close the door before you found your boss's gun and shot him down, though it was more than obvious that the wrath of Ivan would most likely disintegrate you into small, bite-sized pieces.
The workers at your cafe became almost like my second family that I was shoved headfirst into. Elizavéta became the mother of the large bunch, laughing and teasing half the time, but screaming and nagging the other half. Even Vash, who owned the place, was terrified of her, and made failed attempts to stop his younger sister, Lili, from communicating with her. Alfred and Ivan quickly turned things into a competition between all of us, seeing who could screw in more imaginative places and ways than the other. You seemed to be very proud of winning more than half the time, but I suppose that's just the French in you. No one minded that much, because it became a sort of sport that Elizavéta was very fond of and threatened to decapitate Vash if he should put a stop to it. There was Yao and Matthew, the main pastry chefs, along with Toris and Feliks, who were very good at cleaning up, if and only if they weren't too busy doing...other stuff. I made sure that I threw my mark down on the cafe too—I stuck my signature post-it notes everywhere in the kitchen and in the back of the counter, reminding those airheads everything that they were to do, because it seemed like though they had perfect brains, they were more forgetful than me.
Do you remember, then, about your surprise birthday party that we put together? I had to bitch slap Gilbert before he could manage to convince everyone that stripping me and tying me up in a single bow was a good idea of a birthday present, though, if I really think about it, you would be the type to like that kind of thing, wouldn't you, Francis? Do you remember the large cake fight that followed after Alfred and Ivan decided that you would look good if they slapped an entire tier of Matthew's vanilla and lemon creation in your face? That was a good day.
The next day wasn't so good.
For the two years after I was with you, my memory didn't lapse—not once. My family teased me as much as I joked around it, claiming, "God gave your memory back because he felt bad that you kept looking like shit." Of course, that's what they said. They could have pinned my cranial success on the Olympics, and it still wouldn't have hidden their relieved tone of voice. I pretended not to notice, and they did likewise. Times were becoming good, and no one wanted to jinx it, because we were all afraid of dropping a pebble in the clear lake and shattering the peace that we had gained. Everything had been right in my life for two years. You made everything right.
But no matter what happened, we were still human.
The day after your birthday, I forgot again. I woke up with Peter's eager face above mine, and I screamed and screamed and screamed and begged for someone to come and get this stranger out of my personal space. My family members came running, shocked, their expressions quickly saddening when they saw my familiar hunched silhouette cowering against the corner of my bed, as far away from Peter as possible. It was impossible to get me to calm down again. I had spent that day like I had spent those nightmarish days before. You kept calling my house, Francis, and texting me, wondering, and eventually demanding, to know where I was. That day was such a nightmare, and the worst thing that happened that day?
I didn't forget about my memory lapse the morning after.
I remember waking up the next morning, two days after your birthday, with complete memory of what had happened the day before. I had curled up in bed and cried softly until Peter came into my room again, tentatively, whispering, "A...Arthur? Is that you?" Those words were so painful. I finally realized what my family had been trying to show me about all of this time before—that I truly wasn't myself.
"It's me, Peter, it's me," I sobbed, curling more into myself. I felt him tiptoeing into the room, treading softly on the clothes that I had thrown around in frenzy last night. He sat on the edge of my bed, his eyes wide with what looked like tears that were ready to overflow.
"Arthur...Arthur, why're you still crying? I thought you said that you were better now."
I raised my hands over my face, not wanting Peter to see me like this. In those two years that you had healed me, he began to look up to me just like a little brother should look up to an elder brother. I was so proud of that fact, I didn't want him to see me like this. "I...I am better, Peter. I am. But I remember. I remember yesterday. And I'm so, so sorry about your arm." Peter hesitated, his bandaged arm that he tried to hide from me shifting a little bit more out of view. "I'm so, so sorry for everything, so sorry that I could never be the big brother that you always wanted, I'm so sorry that I couldn't fix myself..." And from there, Peter let me cry myself back to sleep.
The rest of my family found out quickly, so after I woke up that day, they were all in the living room, all of the cuts and scars that I had given them all those years out for me to see. I saw how my mother's eyes took on their burdened expression once more, how I finally noticed all of the band-aids and scratches on my brothers and sister. It was painful, it was humiliating, it made me realize how hopeless my situation was again. It took me all that I could to not break down in front of everyone, to scream and ask them why the hell they've wasted all their love and caring and time on me, when I truly didn't deserve it. When I was more trouble than I was worth.
I went back to you, Francis, after the third day. We hadn't been separated for that long since we started going out, so I was touched and pained to see that desperate look in your eyes. I accepted your kisses and touches, but I couldn't help think in the back of my mind what would happen when that one day came. That one day, when my canvas would go missing, never to be found again. We spent that day with our family at your cafe, with all those other people that I had grown to love. And thinking about parting with everything, unwillingly, only caused me more heartache.
The next week, I forgot again. And again. And again. And I remembered each time.
You called me outside one night, a week later, your jaw set and your eyes radiating sadness. I stood across from you, shivering with my arms drawn around myself. I was scared to touch you—you became like a mirage these days. I was terrified of chasing you, scared of holding you, because if I did, I was scared you were just going to disappear. You looked like you were going to cry, but I wasn't going to let myself give in, my bottom lip trembling as my fingers twitched with fear. "Arthur," you whispered. I wanted to give in, to run and hug you and confess everything, but I couldn't. I just couldn't. I shook my head, stumbling back a step. "Arthur. Arthur, you need to tell me why you're breaking. I just want to help you, Arthur, I love you." I shuddered at those words and shook my head violently. "Do you not believe me? After all this time, do you still think that you're not worth it? Arthur, dammit, look at me!"
I didn't realize I was crying until I saw the translucent spots on my white arms. You looked like you were being torn apart from inside out, but I couldn't help the strangled cry and the drop onto my ass when you tried to get closer to me. I covered my face with my hands just like I had with Peter. "P-Please, Francis, please just...just go..." You were always the stubborn type, though. I felt my hands being pried away, but that just made me cry harder.
"Why are you crying?" you said softly. I realized you were shedding tears too. I wanted to kiss those tears away, but I wasn't worthy of that. You deserved someone that could grow old with you, Francis. You deserved someone that would live past this year, not someone that was about to die. And I was. With the increase in memory lapses, my time was officially running out. You brought your fingers along the bottom of my eyes, flicking my tears away, completely oblivious to what I was thinking for once. "You're so beautiful. You're so beautiful, please, Arthur, stop crying, you're killing me. I love you so fucking much, you don't even know. I would die for you, baby, you need to tell me what you're going through, or I swear to God I'm going to kill someone."
I could only shake my head furiously, unable to any anything other than to keep my arms wrapped around my torso, crying out every ounce of liquid in my body. I couldn't respond to you at all that night, and in the end, you simply carried me home. I grabbed the front of your shirt like it was a lifeline, our tears mingling together that night with the moon and the stars. When we reached my house, you ignored my family's offers to help and carried me into my bed yourself, hesitating and kissing me once before turning around and leaving, the door shutting with a final click.
A week passed without you.
And then came the day that everyone was waiting for.
I forgot one of my siblings.
My family allowed for me to transfer into a hospital that afternoon, after I had asked what that strange boy was doing in our kitchen with us. They had tried to show me pictures of Peter to try and get me to recognize him again, but that boy was no longer found in my memory, anywhere. I was due to arrive at the hospital in three days, and I was to say my final goodbyes before then. I didn't want to say goodbye to anyone though—maybe it was the thought of them forgetting me gradually that appealed to me. Forgetting things slowly was something I wasn't capable of, but I was proud of all of our friends at our cafe at doing that. Maybe one day they'll look at a sticky-note and think of a young man, a young man who had used to be a regular there, but what was his name again?
I spent that night wrapped in a cocoon of my blankets, crying myself to sleep. My worst fears were coming to life, Francis, and nothing would stop them. The one thing I feared most, the one thing that haunted my nightmares almost every night, was for me to forget you. I couldn't imagine knowing a world that didn't have you in it, and just imaging your face contorted into an expression like Peter's that day was, to say the least, heartbreaking. I fell asleep with your face embedded in my mind, clutching my sheets as if that would help me remember you. I'll admit it, Francis. I was selfish. I didn't care what I did, as long as I could remember you as you were before I began to forget again. I didn't want you to be here the moment that I forgot you. I didn't want to break your heart like that. So I decided, then and there, that I would do it another way. A way that I hoped would be less painful than having your beloved not recognize you.
The next morning, I woke up strangely calm. The first thing I did was leaf through all of the paper cranes that had been collected in my shoeboxes. Nine-hundred ninety nine. How cliché. I pulled out a sticky-note and folded the last crane, penciling in my message before dumping the cranes, all one thousand of them, into a gigantic cardboard box. I noticed how a few of them were crinkled and a few more of them were squished, but I could care less. I knew that I no longer had anymore time, it was finally the end. I silently handed the box to my mother and told her that I needed that to be delivered to Francis in a year after I died. A year was enough time for him to get over me, but not enough for him to forget me. It was perfect. I turned away and walked out of the house, trying as hard as I could to not notice her tears.
I wrote a letter the day before, writing and sealing it hastily because it wasn't as important as the box of paper cranes. I asked my siblings to leave that at my grave, for the day that Francis would visit me after I died. I would make sure that he would visit me after I died.
And then I went to do the hardest deed of all.
On the day that I was to be admitted into the hospital, I rode to your house in a taxi, not thinking at all of what would say to you as I packed up everything I had left at your house. I spent the entire ride there in silence, staring out the car window, fingering my hair, wondering what I would look like to you. What did you see in me that made me so special? I couldn't understand at all—your logic completely baffled me. Out of all the beautiful, special people out in the world, why was I chosen? I felt honored, touched, and very, very saddened by that. Oh Francis, you have terrible luck. Out of everyone that you could have picked, you had to pick the one person in the world that has my memory problem.
The taxi driver let me off at your house, and I hesitated in my seat before stepping out. The driver noticed this and peered at me with the rear-view mirror. "You look like you're going to kill someone, kid. Don't stare at that house like that, you're creeping me out."
I paused again before saying quietly. "You're kind of right. I'm going off to kill someone's heart."
The cab driver hummed in understanding. Why the hell was I talking to him anyway? "You want me to wait here while you go get your stuff?" I nodded briefly and stepped out of his cab, taking a deep breath and reaching into the flowerpot on your porch, pulling out the key. I reached down to unlock your door, but it flew open before I could. Suddenly, all I saw was a flash of blond before I felt your arms wrapped tightly around my waist. You didn't say anything but I could feel you trembling softly, I could hear your soft, soft sobs. I don't want to do this either, love. I don't, I really don't. But what can I do? I have to leave. I have to go.
I can't let you see me die.
"I'm so sorry," I whisper, kissing you on top of your head before gently untangling myself from your arms. You fell to the ground, completely defeated, and it took every single ounce of self-restraint to leave. You. There. I heard your voice as I walked into your bedroom...our bedroom...to grab my things.
"Why? Why, why, why, why, why?"
Your voice echoed from the hallway, sending glass shards into my heart every time you spoke. I grit my teeth so hard that it was unbelievably painful. My tears stained the cardboard of the box that I was putting all my things in. I couldn't trust my voice enough to speak, so I silently packed and stood up again with that accursed box, sidestepping your fallen figure to walk right out of your house. I felt a light tugging on my pant leg which caused me to hesitate briefly, but I shook my head violently, jerking myself out of your grasp with a broken sounding, "No, Francis!"
And with that, I practically ran back to the taxi. I didn't look back. I didn't deserve to look back.
I might not have deserve it, but I did. I found myself back at your house that night, an house before I was to go to the hospital. I carried with me a stone heart, a packet of post-it notes, and my favorite pen.
You know what I did that night, Francis.
I left the sticky notes that I usually had in your house, the reminders all over, nagging for you to clean up and dust here and wash your clothes once in a while, for God's sake. And then I wrote new ones, ones that I knew you wouldn't find until you started moving on from me. Because, in the long run, all I wanted was for you to forget about me, just like everyone is destined to do, and find someone that's worth your love. I hesitated before leaving a last one on our rocking chair, leading directions to the cemetery. By the time you find this one, I should be long gone.
And I was right. I was hospitalized, and just as I had guessed, everything fell apart in less than a week. I quickly forgot everyone, including your name, Francis, but the warm, feelings of your love still remained with me and filled me in ways that I didn't ever think were possible. I had looked at your picture, clad in my hospital gown, with tubes running everywhere in and out of my body, turned to my mother, and with the mind of a seven year-old, said innocently, "Mommy, I think I love this person." She had cried. Soon after, I forgot my mother too, and after that, my basic motor skills. I became a newborn baby in an adult's body. The only thing that kept me feeling safe was the instinct that one person on this Earth, a person who's name and antics I've long forgotten, had filled me with something so pure and beautiful that everything was going to be okay.
Everything was going to be okay.
I'm no longer of this world, Francis. That night, my heart finally forgot how to beat, my lungs forgot how to take in oxygen—my canvas was finally burned. All those colors, all those beautiful colors that had been washed away with water, were lost forever in nothingness. I had become just another name on a tombstone, just another person that passed away that day, along with many, many others. Now I'm part of something bigger, something that I can't even name, a feeling I can't even describe. But I'm happy, Francis, I'm happy.
And I'm so proud of you. So, so proud. After that first year, you picked yourself up so well that I felt swelling pride. You touched me by reading every single crane that I had made in my life, wiping your tears away at the same time but smiling your way through it all. It's been three years—she's so beautiful, Francis, her soul is so pure and happy and joyful. I approved of her after I saw her scrunch up her nose in disgust after you offered to buy her chocolate ice cream. I felt satisfaction, knowing that you were in good hands. He's very cute too, Francis, Gabriel is. He reminds me of Peter, in a less naughty and sweeter way.
I'm so proud of you, Francis.
...I love you so much—I don't regret a single thing.
Taped to the wall of the master bedroom in a bright, cheery house was an old green sticky-note with lines all over it, as if someone had tried to fold it into origami and then unwrapped it later. A small, five year old boy looked up at it with curiosity, wondering why his mom and dad never bothered to throw that old thing away. He slowly spelled out the words on it, displaying his new literacy skills that he was terribly fond of. "Don't...forget...ab...ab...about...me. A. K. Ack?" Gabriel frowned at those words, not comprehending them, before he heard a soft rustling sound to his right.
Gabriel gaped as he saw a petite figure standing by the window, framed in sunlight with pure golden hair and luminous, purely innocent green eyes. The figure smiled at him, a crinkle-eyed smile, before lifting a pale hand an d wiggling his fingers at the small boy, as if in greeting. Gabriel squeaked. The strange figure opened it's mouth, as if laughing silently.
"Gabe!" a man's voice called from the doorway, causing the child to tear his eyes off of the window for a split second to see his father holding up his coat. "Gabe, come on! Your mommy's waiting for us."
"Wait, Daddy, but—" Gabriel trailed off, turning back to the window. Nothing. "Daddy...Daddy I saw someone by the window. He was a boy, and he looked really pretty!" He became indignant at his father's doubtful expression. "No! I'm sure! I'm sure that it's not my made-up-ination!" The man's face relaxed and he chuckled softly.
"Imagination, Gabe," he said sweetly, beckoning the small boy closer and slipping on his oversized winter coat for him. Gabriel jerked his coat out of his father's grasp to do the buttons by himself, just like a big boy would. The father laughed again and ruffled his son's hair. "And don't worry, I believe you. I see that pretty boy too, sometimes." Gabe looked up in surprise.
"Do you really, Daddy? Who is he? Do you know? Is he a ghost?"
"He's definitely not a ghost. I'm not sure what he is, Gabie, but he's not going to hurt you. You can think of him as a...a guardian angel for our family."
Gabriel nodded solemnly, taking his father's hand as it was offered to him. "So he's like a fairy godfather?"
Francis laughed. "You can think of him like that, I suppose." He smiled and took Gracelyn's hand as she offered it to him in their living room, her endearing smile warming his heart. He still remembered that boy that had once been his sole reason for living, but he had two now. And he knew that wherever that boy was, he was still watching over him. Arthur will never truly disappear. Don't worry, I won't ever forget you.
A light, beautifully melodic laugh blew up with the breeze from the window and followed the family of three out onto the streets, as if blessing them.
It sucks. It sucks balls. But it's finished. XD Heck that makes me so happy you guys don't even know. This is probably the first that I finished in a long time. BLEARGH. NOW ALL I HAVE TO DO IS WRITE THE REST OF MY FICS. ;-;
Leave a review. Do it. GUMMY BEARS FOR THE FIRST FEW PEOPLE? 8D ...IF ANYONE'LL REVIEW AT ALL? ...ANYONE?
...*crawls in emo corner and decides to stay there*