That violet bruise
Écrit par Milie (Loverly Souris)
For Yame, as usual
And for everyone
o0o o0o o0o
It was insanely hot that summer afternoon. Nobody really wanted to go out and expose themselves to the torturing sunrays, since when somebody finally decided to do so, they immediately got a nasty sunburn as soon as they had put their heads outside the confines of their houses. There were no clouds floating on the turquoise blue sky, and only a small breeze could be felt to sweep over from time to time.
Next to the stream, a girl, who seemed to be around ten years old, was sitting. Her small red sandals were neatly put beside her in the yellowing grass while she let the ice-cold waves caress her bare feet. She was wearing a white summer dress and, against the sunshine, a large straw hat, which she had previously got from her mother who insisted on putting it on her head, not caring that her daughter couldn't stand this piece of clothing. She was playing with a long twig, drawing circles into the water, and it was obvious by the look on her freckled face that she was bored. She was waiting for someone, but this someone was late.
Forty-five minutes late already.
Nevertheless, the girl was waiting, and waiting, and waiting unwaveringly. Her ennui was now more intense than ever, but she remained patient. Ah… boys… she thought and dropped the branch into the stream. It was the very moment when she finally heard that familiar, strange swishing noise to which she immediately turned around and welcomed her long-awaited friend with a kind smile. "Hi!"
The boy returned the smile along with a wave with his hand, then joined the girl on the grass. Although he was out of breath and bathed in sweat, he was wearing a little battered thick black coat that seemed to be far too big for him. The girl didn't say anything at this. She had already got used to this strange piece of clothing worn by her friend every day of the year.
"Hi…" the boy muttered still breathing hard. With the sleeve of his coat he brushed away the sweat from his forehead while he felt the worried glances of the girl on himself.
"Something was wrong at home?" she asked. "You were late today."
On the boy's pale face a little blush appeared. Whether it was because of the girl's concern towards him or because of the shame he felt after the happenings at home, nobody knew. When he opened his mouth to answer and spoke, his voice was a bit hoarse. "I… I couldn't find my coat."
Yes, it wasn't entirely the truth. But he would never tell her, his best and only friend the real reason of his delay, even if they... they tortured him to death. Never.
"Okay" she said and although she knew that this was nothing but a weak excuse, she decided to leave it at that.
Silence surrounded them for several minutes which made the boy feel uneasy. One could almost hear the ticking of the gears in his brain searching for a topic to talk about, anything.
"And…" he started, a bit more self-confidently, "what's up with you?"
The girl, who meanwhile laid down onto the dry lawn and seemingly wasn't bothered by the silence, suddenly directed her green eyes at the boy from the clear blue sky, turning towards him. "Guess what! Yesterday I could finally drag Mum and Dad to the pet shop!" she beamed at him, her worry evaporated in a second. He smiled at her.
"Yeah! And they bought me a kitty!" And with that, she started to enthusiastically talk about her newly-got little cat called Soft, who was almost totally black except her nose, a big spot on her stomach and her right ear, because they were white, and she had bright yellow eyes, and she was extremely small, her father could hold her in one palm, and she was very-very cute, the cutest kitty in the whole world. The boy also laid down onto the grass on his side while he was listening to her and he could feel that every bad feeling, every physical and mental pain slowly disappeared in him.
However, as he laughed, his chest still ached a little.
"Why don't you come over? You want to see her? I'll show her to you! And after that, we have a snack! You like strawberry shortcake? I do!"
The boy nodded happily, his mouth already watering at the thought of the delicious cake. But, of course, his true happiness wasn't really rooted in the promise of the sweet treat. In fact, the real reason of his heart beating faster was that he could spend some more time with the girl. The strawberry cake was secondary.
He was filled with joy, such an unclouded joy that he could almost fly away. He jumped up as if he had been lying on springs.
"Come, let's run!" he exclaimed with a smile on his thin pale lips. This smile was extremely rare, so rare that he usually gave it to only a few people. Or more like to one single person.
A girl looked at him strangely while she stood up.
"Wow, what happened? You don't even like running!" She grinned. "Ah, you want the strawberry cake… aaalright."
"No!" He blushed again and held out his right hand towards the girl. "Now, we run, or what?"
Despite of her bad feelings, she finally grabbed his hand, or rather the sleeve of the coat, since it was too long and the boy's hands were entirely lost in them. She had a very unpleasant apprehension about all this in her head which she couldn't really place. Was it because of the strange behaviour of her friend? He hated running, especially in this hideous coat in which he looked like a scrawny bat.
But as they dashed up the bank, the wind blew away all her bad feelings, and after a short while, she was the one who was running ahead, pulling the boy with herself.
On the top of the bank leading to the houses, there was a bad old road, nearly impassable because of the big rocks embedded in it. The two children followed this road, running, flying freely like two birds in the sky. They laughed, the neighbourhood echoed with their voices, but they didn't care. The boy was finally free from his problems, worries – he let the girl drag him, as he closed his eyes and turned his smiling face towards the sun, feeling the breeze playing with his black hair.
He didn't pay attention to the road. And then, it happened.
A stone. He had no idea when it had got in front of his foot – nevertheless, it was there, embedded in the hard soil, but sticking out enough for the boy to trip over it, lose his balance and fall. And he pulled the girl down simultaneously as well, of course not deliberately.
The boy's right shoulder reached the ground first. He almost cried out in the sharp pain he felt. Strange. The thick coat ought to have subdued the hit.
Only as he glanced down he noticed that the coat slid down, and since he was wearing one of his father's sleeveless shirts in order not to be so hot, his shoulder was practically bare. The girl must have accidentally yanked the piece of clothing off when they had fallen.
"Are you alright?" she turned to him and her eyes went wide at what she saw.
The boy freed the sleeve of the coat from the girl's grasp instantly and tried to pull it back onto his skin, but it was already too late.
She had seen it. The large violet bruise that covered, monopolised, poisoned his whole right shoulder and a part of his upper arm. The bruise he tried to hide so desperately with the big black coat.
The bruise because of which he had been forty-five minutes late for their meeting.
"Oh my God!" she cried and knelt closer to the boy immediately. She grabbed the collar of the coat and, not bothering with his fierce protest, she yanked it down again to examine his injury.
"It's… the fall, you know… I fell onto my shoulder…" he started to explain himself, but it was no use. The girl didn't believe him. This bruise didn't seem like one gets after tripping and falling.
I knew something was not okay.
"Come, can you stand up?" she asked and carefully helped the boy up. After taking some unsteady steps they could walk normally again, although not towards the houses, but down on the side of the bank, back to the stream. They stood next to it. "Now, sit down here and don't move" she ordered him as she pulled out a bit crumpled but clean, red and green dotted white handkerchief from her dress-pocket. The boy obeyed her and watched attentively as she bent down, put the material into the water, wrung it and returned to him.
"Why didn't you say a word?" the girl asked on a stern but kind, motherly tone. The boy didn't answer – he didn't say anything. He only hissed a little when the cold, wet handkerchief touched the bruise. He didn't let out any sound apart from that. He stared directly in front of himself avoiding the slightest contact with the owner of those greenish eyes who just tied the two ends of the material in which she temporarily wrapped his arm. She tied it tightly, but not too much.
As the girl finished, she bent closer to her work and placed a small kiss on the knot. Then she looked up. "Better?" she smiled at him, and he quickly brushed away his tears.
"Yes… thank you."
The girl was now grinning from ear to ear while she stood up from the grass and reached out for the boy's hand. "Come on, Soft's waiting for you impatiently. I already talked to her about you, and she can't wait to see you. And you still want some cake? Because I do!"
He smiled back at her and he grabbed her hand. But only after tucking up the sleeve of his coat.
They returned to the top of the bank and slowly but surely, they started to walk on the road leading to the houses. Hand in hand.
o0o o0o o0o
It was dark in the room. The darkness was intangible, still he could feel it surrounding him tightly, and it was thick, so suffocatingly thick that all of his demons came to life in it.
The boy was lying with the blanket and the pillow on his head for he didn't want to hear the noises from downstairs, but he couldn't shut them out entirely. Yelling, arguing, clashing of the shattered bottle, slaps, crying, sobs, pain.
It'll be over soon… they'll go away… it'll be over soon…
He was crying – silently, without a sound the tears poured from his black eyes. The noises were constantly stabbing him in the heart like invisible knives and his demons just wouldn't leave him alone in peace. Under his face the wet stain on the sheet was getting bigger. Slowly, gradually.
After he could finally drive away his thoughts from the noises, the happenings of today came into his mind. What a wonderful day it was! One of the best days in his life – to be honest, every day he spent with the girl could be the best in his life. But scarcely could he evoke that happiness he always felt with his only friend, another clashing was heard, a much louder one than previously.
Unwittingly he reached up and touched his right shoulder, already clenching his teeth to bear the burning, tormenting pain, yet it didn't come. The pain was gone, at least the physical one. He was so surprised that he even forgot to cry for a moment. He pulled off the blanket and the pillow from his head and sat up.
On the bedside table there was a small lamp – he turned it on and the light drew a yellow circle onto the part of the bed where the boy was sitting.
The handkerchief was already dry when he untied the knot. His eyes went wide. The bruise didn't hurt because it wasn't there anymore. It was nowhere. His shoulder looked like just the same as before he had been hit by that bottle this afternoon.
The boy smiled as he covered himself with the blanket, laid back onto the bed and lifted the girl's handkerchief to his cheek.
"Thank you " he whispered, and in the pale light of the lamp, with the dotted piece of material still next to his face, in the sudden silence he slowly drifted off to sleep.
His demons had disappeared without a trace.
And so had that violet bruise.
A/N: Reviews make my day brighter.