Killing Loneliness


I noticed her from day one. She moved in beside the shop on the first day of spring, dragging bags of luggage down the street and shouting obscenities when her arms gave out. I was surprised Duke and Manna didn't come out of their place and yell at her for making such a ruckus. Actually, surprised doesn't even begin to describe my initial impression of her. More like completely shocked.

I didn't think much of her at the time. She was just some girl that made me lose focus from work. Not that she was especially pretty or anything, but because she was so damn noisy.

She always left her farm at exactly eleven. Like clockwork, a flash of blond would pass by in this amazing speed. The first time I didn't pay any attention to it, but as the days passed I always noticed it. And I hated how I noticed it. It reminded me that there was two more hours before I could leave this hellhole.

Before she came to Mineral Town the days passed by quickly and now it was like time stood still.

x

It was on a Thursday and I finally finished work at the shop. I left right away, anxious to see her. After all, Mary was the only reason I managed to get through the day.

I remember the first time I met her like it was yesterday. It was a few days after I first arrived in Mineral Town and my first day off. I wandered around the town feeling depressed and alone. Working with Gramps was probably one of the worst experiences of my life and I already wanted to go back home.

After walking around the town twice, I looked up to see the library's sign. I was never big on reading, but I just needed some place to kill time. With the flick of my wrist, I came face-to-face with the girl that would change my life forever.

She sat at the front desk with her nose buried into a book. I stared at her for at least a full minute before deciding to make my presence known. The clear of my throat sent her jumping in her seat accompanied by a tiny shriek.

"Y—You scared me half to death!" She squeaked after setting her book down.

I studied her face. She had long dark hair twisted into a ponytail and behind her thick glasses were large eyes. I felt my slightly flush and I brought my hand to the back of my head. "Sorry...I didn't mean to surprise you. I've been standing here for awhile now..."

She shook her head three times. "No! I mean, it's okay! I've been too preoccupied with reading to notice..."

We laughed and before I knew it, we were standing in one of the aisles talking about everything from blacksmithing to farming. Just when I thought we ran out of things to talk about, she asked, "Will you come by tomorrow?"

And before I had a chance to mess up, I replied with, "Yes."

Feelings of nervousness always got the best of me on the walk there, but when I entered the library it all seemed to disappear. This day however, when I opened the door my heart sank and all chances I had of talking to her alone flew out the window. There she was chatting with the 'oil-to-my-water' blonde farmer, Claire.

"Gray, it's nice of you to come by." Mary smiled. Even though she said that everyday, I could still feel my cheeks flush at her words. I looked towards the ground to hide it. I didn't want to give myself away. Especially in front of the new farmer.

"It's no big deal..."

"Did you need help finding any books today?"

I looked up and my eyes locked with Claire's. I never noticed before how intense her eyes were. "No...just looking around."

"Well, if you do need any help just let me know." And with that final sentiment she went back to talking.

I browsed through the tall bookshelves for what must have been the eighth time. I was trying to wait Claire out. I had been looking forward to talking to Mary today and damn it, nothing was stopping me now.

There was nothing in particular that caught my eye, just some books on forging and jewelry making. It felt like I had been there for an hour, but it was probably twenty minutes at most. I heard Mary's mother Anna call for her and Mary excused herself to Claire. It was just like her—always so polite. I let out a sigh.

"You like her, don't you?" I jumped and turned around. It was Claire. Damn, she must have been a ninja or something because I didn't even hear her walk up the stairs.

"W—What?"

Her blue eyes held mine captive. "Mary. You have a crush on her."

I fidgeted with the bill of my cap nervously. Damn. Looks like I wasn't good at hiding anything. "I don't know what you're talking about."

Her fingers ran down the spine of an old worn-out book that read Love and War. "I can help you." She said suddenly. I stared at her. She was serious.

"I don't need your help." I said quietly. Her laughter bothered me immensely. "What?"

She threw her hair over her shoulder. "I'm sure you don't. But it never hurts to have extra help, right?"

"Why would you do that? Help someone like me..." I asked, looking away. The girl had me beat. The word suspicious was an understatement to what I was feeling. Who was she to go around offering help? After our first meeting when I viciously yelled at her, I wasn't exactly friendly towards her. Hell, friends were the last thing I would call us. We were acquaintances at best.

She pulled the spine of the old book out so it jutted out at an angle then turned to face me.

"Because I know what it's like to be alone."