I slowly opened the small, cream-colored envelope. It was smooth in my trembling hands. It looked like a plain, old letter, one you would receive from an old friend -asking how you've been, but the feeling of dread that coursed through me told me otherwise. Greasy Sae dropped it off two days ago, but since then I've been too afraid to open it, seeing as it was addressed to me from my mother.
I wanted to throw it away, to never look at it again, but something about it made me just shove it into a drawer and save it for later. I didn't know why, but I could tell it was important. Today, I finally got up the nerve to open that drawer back up and read what was inside the plain envelope.
When I pulled out the fine slip of paper, I help it up to read. My eye's skimmed it at first, catching a few words and a name I haven't heard for a long time. After seeing it, I wanted to shove the letter back into the drawer and lock it, but I didn't. Instead I started to read:
I'm sorry to be writing to you after so many years. It's been to long since we last saw each other, but there's something I need to tell you. You may not want to hear this, maybe you don't even care, but I feel it's something you need to know. I received a letter yesterday from one of the Hawthorne children and he informed me on recent news dealing with their family.
Please understand what I'm about to tell you Katniss, I'm sorry to say, but Gale has passed away. He died of an illness that went around District Two. I thought you deserved to know what happened to him, but please don't get mad at me for bringing him up. I didn't know how to tell you this. There was a small funeral, just his family - I didn't attend - and a few friends of his.
I'm sorry you had to find out through a letter, but I didn't know how else to tell you. I miss you Katniss, you are my daughter after all. Please visit me soon. Gale's death made me realize how short life can be. I don't want to live mine without my daughter.
I love you,
I tightened my grip on the letter - causing it to ball up a little in my hand - and turned to grip the counter. I looked out the small window that gave me a view of Victor's Village. I didn't speak, I didn't cry - I just stood there and stared out the window. It was the afternoon, Peeta was in town buying some food and other things we needed.
I don't know how long I stood there before I heard the door open and close.
"Katniss?" Peeta's voice reached me in the kitchen. I didn't look his way when I heard his footsteps walk down the hall and into the room I was in. I listened as he put the bags on the table and started pulling the contents out.
"I got everything we needed for dinner tonight. I also picked up some cookies for desert. I got the bread you like, I hope-" he cut off as he saw me standing there.
"Katniss? Are you okay?" I swallowed and plastered a fake smile on my face before turning around to face him, hiding the letter behind my back.
"Yeah, thanks. I think I'll jut go out hunting for awhile, you know, to get some fresh air." He nodded uncertainly, but didn't say anything against the idea. I walked over and placed a kiss on his cheek before grabbing my dad's old hunting jacket from off the back of the chair. I made my way through the town with the letter shoved into my pocket. When I finally reached the woods, I took off sprinting.
I didn't know where I was going, but my feet must have found their way on the old, familiar path because when I stopped, I was at Gale's and my old spot. The one over looking the valley. I stood there for awhile, just staring at the view. I coughed and it turned into more of a choke. Before I knew it, tears were spilling down my cheeks. I wanted to wipe them away, to leave this spot and all the memories, but I found myself frozen. Maybe it was because of the shock, or maybe it was because I just didn't know what to do.
I couldn't go back home and risk Peeta seeing me like this. I didn't want to go anywhere in town for fear of running into someone. I just wanted to be alone. So, instead I just sat down in my old spot and cried. I cried for never seeing my mother, I cried because my old best friend was dead, but mainly I cried because I never did anything to fix my relationship with him. I just blew him off, trying to forget everything that had to do with my past. I blamed him for something he had no intention of doing.
The last time I saw him was when he gave me the arrow that symbolized the end of the rebellion. That was the last time I was ever going to see him.
I placed my hand over my mouth, trying to stop the sobs that threatened to release. I lost my best friend. The sad thing is that his death wasn't the only thing that made me lose him. That wasn't the reason why I will never see him. No, the real reason is because I made it so. I didn't try to fix anything, I didn't try to see him, or to ask him how he was. I just sat back and forgot. I forgot one of the only people who ever knew who I truly was, one of the only people who I could confide in, who I could trust.
The rebellion split us apart; I split us apart.
Gale was mine.
I was his.
But maybe that was just too unthinkable.