A.N- I was happy when I found out that Kyle's middle name "Isaac" (I've heard that somewhere, dunno if it's true) meant "he will laugh". Isn't that nice?
Final chapter. I want to hug each and every one of your guys who have come this far.
I hope you enjoy—
'Maybe there's a God above
But all I've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It's not a cry you can hear at night
It's not somebody who has seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah'
-Leonard Cohen, "Hallelujah"
Step 99: Say Goodbye
Chapter Twenty-Two: Blue Beginning
Language of flowers for Lycoris radiata, part two:
"Passion", "Independence", "Reunion".
He loved me; I could accept that now. But still I didn't know if he loved me so much that it became hate, or if he hated me so much that it became love. To this day, I still don't know.
All I know is that there are many different forms of love, and you can't let your fear for one of them keep you from accepting another. After all, it was love that saved me, no matter how cliché that sounds. It was love that killed me, and loved that resurrected me.
And there were also many forms of love inside me.
I walked through the hollow hallway of the hospital. The white walls reflecting all sorts of brightness, casting a strong light onto my exposed heart.
When I opened the door, the echoing of my footsteps and the blinding light suddenly stopped, and all I could see was an empty bed and a wheelchair facing the window in the middle of the white.
There was no answer. Not even a twitch in his muscle at my words. He may have been asleep, but that was no concern of mine, because if he were, he would have seen me in his sleep, speaking exactly the same words to him.
'I have been thinking for a very long time now. About you and me. About us. Each of my sleepless nights were reserved for that. But in the end, there was only one thing that I could come up with.' I was standing right behind him, feeling the breeze that entered through the open window flow past gently.
'I love you Eric. I always have. That is not the same way I love Kenny, or even Stan, but there is a strong feeling inside me reserved for you only, and it's not simple enough to call it hate. It's much more complicated than that. It is something strong enough to have killed me, to make me sacrifice myself for you.
'I always told myself that I kept quiet, that I didn't tell anyone about what you were doing to me, because I didn't want anyone to know. The humiliation, the fear to crush everyone's image of me, and the fear of what you might do to me— the list is endless. But there is the one true reason why I never told anyone. It's because I love you.'
A small gasp escaped my mouth as I felt something caress my hand, but then I relaxed, as I noticed it was only the breeze flowing in from the open window Eric was facing.
'But that doesn't matter now. It's all over. I might never lose the pain but I can lose you. You can try all your best, come into every single one of my nightmares and attack me every night, but that's not the same. You will never get me again. You will never see me again. It is over. We are over.'
I slowly turned with the breeze, putting my back onto the one person that I hated more than anybody in the world, the one person I wanted to kill, yet the one person that I loved at the same time. My footsteps didn't echo around the room as I walked away, but instantly fell into silence one after the other. I placed my hand on the door handle, and the exit slid open only too easily.
'Good bye Eric,' I turned one last time, no emotion leaking out of me as I did.
Good bye. Forever. With love.
The door closed in between us, echoing heavily. A sudden sense of overwhelming attacked my body. I collapsed my back onto the door behind me, and tried to breathe every single agonising breath.
Slowly, as I began to regain my breath, I looked up. My fingers pushed my scarred back off of the door, and I stood onto my own two feet.
The echoing of my footsteps were clear again as I made my way through the white hallway, distancing away from Eric, one step at a time. And through my nose, I hummed that one song that was sang to me by the very two people who loved me. The sorrow of it was strangely relieving, because even if it had to be you, it was never meant to be. And if that made you be blue, then that was the price you paid.
Because I already paid mine.
'Well, I am glad to hear that Kyle. I am truly relieved, and happy, for you.'
'Thank you…' The smell of old books mixed in with the fumes of the tea filled my lungs with a sense of happy remorse. A distant hint of lemon caressed my tongue, and I let out a soft breath of relaxation. 'But I have to say, I am sorry that I hadn't contacted you in so long. To be honest, I couldn't. I might have blamed you somewhere deep down, for the beginning of Eric's whipping. I sometimes have the tendency to do that. Blame people, I mean.'
'Oh, it's okay Kyle. It's completely understandable. I am just glad that you are here again, now, talking to me about your progression.'
I smiled, invisibly, yet strong in my heart.
'Thank you, Sophie,' I said again.
'So, when are you leaving for university? I heard that you have done very well.'
'Yeah,' I blushed slightly, looking up at the corner of the ceiling, 'I am leaving next week actually. I have already found a place to stay in California; I'm going to share a flat with a couple of guys. I haven't met them before, but I guess it will be a good change. And it will force me to, you know, talk to people.'
'Well, it's good to hear that you are confident enough to do that!' She chuckled softly, her voice small, yet complete delight to my ears.
'I'm going to learn psychology you know?' I murmured as a still, quiet warmth settled in my heart. 'My mind has been messed up for so long, but now I know that there are so many people out there like me. And maybe…' I didn't know how to put it into words. The subtle, yet definite feeling that was in my heart.
'Yes Kyle, I understand.' Sophie Rogers smiled. 'I think it is a lovely idea. And I hope it goes well.'
The words were on the top of my tongue, but a small blush on my cheeks had stopped me from making them into words. That Sophie Rogers had inspired me a little to set me into that path that I chose to take.
'Thank you,' I said instead, the last of the countless times to Sophie Rogers.
'Thank you too Kyle. Thank you for sharing your story with me. I hope we meet again.'
'Yeah,' I smiled, getting up onto my feet. 'Good bye Sophie.'
'Good bye Kyle.'
The shadow of summer was nowhere to be seen, in fact, that year the first snow was quite early.
'Jesus fucking Christ, it's only mid-September!' Kenny groaned, biting his white breath releasing into the air. But unlike Kenny, I was dancing around in the freezing air, my white breath twirling around my flowing body.
'Look Kenny! Snow!' I sang, as if I had never seen the cold white fluff before in my life, which was ridiculous since I practically lived in the thing. I danced my way to the front door and knocked melodically on the wood.
'Hey Stan!' I called as the door opened wide.
'Oh, hey Kyle, is it time already? Jesus Christ, is it snowing?'
'Yeah!' I hopped out from the cover to spin under the snow. My movements made Stan laugh, softly though, with a tinge of sadness.
'God Kyle, you're acting like you're about to start elementary, not university.'
I blinked at him once. 'No Stan. I'm going to university. I'm leaving South Park. I'm leaving everything!' My hands flew up into the air, catching frozen fluff on my palms.
I froze, then slowly moved my widening eyes back onto Stan. There was still a smile there, that sad, accepting smile.
Carefully, I turned to face Kenny, who was still mumbling towards the snowing sky.
'No…' The word leaked out of me. 'I'm not leaving Kenny.'
'What? I thought you were leaving today? Isn't that why you're here?'
'Yeah, but…' firm warmness began to leak into my frozen heart. 'I'm not leaving Kenny.'
I turned back to Stan, with a clear, spotless mind. It drew a confused and resigned sigh out of him.
'I guess I know what you mean.' He shrugged, but before he could completely lose the tension in his shoulders I flung my arms around them, making him completely freeze.
'Thank you Stan…' I murmured into his heat. 'Thank you.'
'Jesus, dude, don't do this…'
'Why?' I blinked.
''Cause, you're gonna totally make me cry,' he chuckled, wrapping his arms around me, but with a hint of a sob already in his voice. Staring into that moment, I tightened my arms around him, and then slowly let go.
'Bye Stan.' I whispered, our faces barely an inch apart. The smile had dropped from my face as I stared into his glistening eyes intently.
I lightly pressed my lips onto his, and then unwrapped my hands and let go.
'What was that about?' Kenny asked as he waved to Stan. I hopped into his truck and secured myself into the seat next to him.
'Just a farewell.' I murmured, looking out the front window and into the white road ahead. The truck roared to life, and we started our short journey to the train station. I flicked the cassette player on with enough time for one song, and the gentle notes of Chopin's piano filled our ears.
Étude Op. 10 No. 3, in E major.
'"Tristesse",' Kenny stated the name of the song, 'What does that even mean?'
'French for "sadness",' I answered nonchalantly, although I knew it wasn't a true question. 'But I like to call it by its other name.'
'It's other name?' Slowly Kenny's scrunched-up face loosened in realisation. 'Oh…'
'Do you think I'm dramatising this whole situation?'
'No—' he gasped quickly, 'No, it's— it's nice…'
I chuckled softly, followed in by Kenny's slightly louder ones. But his laughs were quickly drowned in by a heavy silence that weighed his heart.
'Can you promise me one thing Kyle?' Kenny's voice asked quietly. 'Promise me you'll sleep at night?'
I twitched my eyebrow.
'Don't I now?'
'Yeah, but— don't just pretend you are. I mean, I know you still have nightmares, but promise me, even when I'm not there, that you won't go back to your previous habit.'
'I won't,' I dismissed bitterly, but then the tension instantly fell into quiet relaxation. 'I will sleep, don't worry.'
'And while you're at it, promise you'll eat properly, and I don't just mean an apple for dinner. And please, try and stop cutting yourself. Just… try. Oh and—'
'I thought you just said "one" thing?' I chuckled at the endless list he was giving me.
'And please keep in touch,' he finished his list, cutting my laughter off short. 'But if you really do want me to sum it up in one thing, then I guess, "take care"?' He gave me a quick smile, before returning his quiet gaze back on the road.
Before I knew it, the truck had stopped, and the music had stopped. We had arrived at the lonely train station covered in a coat of pure white.
'Okay.' I whispered my strong will. 'Okay, I promise.'
We stared at each other for one frozen moment, looking into the vow we had just made. A small smile crept onto Kenny's lips, and he nodded acceptingly, before opening the truck door.
'You know, I still can't believe that this is all you have,' Kenny muttered, pulling my single suitcase behind him and indicating to the bag strapped around my shoulder.
'This isn't everything. My books should have been sent to my flat, I have everything there.'
'"Everything" as in your course materials, right.'
'Well you can't talk, your house is practically empty.'
'Now it is…'
My eyes grew wide and I looked at him as if the words had surprised me, and found myself staring into his slightly saddened smile.
'It's going to be lonely without you Ky,' he murmured as we arrived on the platform. There was no one else there, whether it was because of the time and place, I don't know. But there was only me and him now, standing in the beautiful white silence.
'I know,' I muttered, many feelings now beginning to conflict inside me. 'I will miss you too.'
Another silence, almost an awkward one, closed in between us, but only because I could feel more words lurking on Kenny's tongue wanting to slide out.
'You know, I have been thinking…' he began with that strange awkwardness, 'about what you said on the beach.'
'Yeah, that one.'
I felt the warmness of my breath and the coldness of the air mix in together and attack my lips, so I licked them as I saw the memory rush through my mind.
'The summer before you came back to South Park,' I slowly began, 'I met a French boy in Ottawa. He was traumatised, similar to me, and we created a, something, something special between us during the small time that we were together. He was the first person I ever told about my suffering, and I was the first person he told all of his suffering, all of it. He gave me a sense of strength that has always been inside me since then. And I think that I too, was able to give him something.'
A soft, slightly embarrassed chuckle escaped my mouth.
'He was the one that said that I was like a Lycoris radiata, the flower of my tattoo, and he even gave me one real one when we parted.'
I could hear Matthieu's voice as loud and clear as the second he said them to me.
'And when we parted, his last word to me was "hallelujah", in French. I always wondered why he ever said that to me. He left Christianity and became a Buddhist, so why "praise the lord"? But then finally, I guess I found out the meaning unconsciously on the beach.'
I looked into his still confused eyes, but the blue inside were shining as clear as ever.
'God, is love and forgiveness, Kenny. God is love, and love is God. That is why I said it to you. You are my hallelujah.'
I could hear the cluttering of the train in the distance, but it didn't do anything to our connected eyes. I could see in Kenny's icy-blue orbs that he wanted this moment to last forever, and truthfully, I wanted it to as well.
The train stopped with a loud cry, the smoke from the wheels trailing along our legs and back, dancing around us. Without a single word, I turned and took my step onto the train, taking my suitcase out of Kenny's limp hand and carrying it with me.
There was a strange sense of fulfilment inside me, like I had said everything that could had ever mattered, even though there was still so much that I hadn't said yet. My feet stepped around, and now I was facing Kenny again, the black gap in between the train and the platform dividing us apart.
The piercing sound of the whistle announced the time for my departure and in any second, the doors would close in between us. The frozen air soaring thought the open doors pierced my skin and made my scars throb underneath my baggy coat. But the snow was gentle and soft that day; it felt like feathers brushing my cheeks. It was a nice feeling that filled my heart.
As the whistle rang, a sudden realisation hit Kenny, and he scavenged his bag to take something rectangular and heavy out and slipped it into my hands. With confusion, I took it, and as I did his lips parted open, only to shut before any words could come out. But then he parted them again.
It became the last thing he gave me, those words, before the doors shut on him. The continuous beeping was our count down. A soft smile rested on my lips, and I nodded once, deeply, receiving a wide, bright smile from the blond in return.
On the other side of the doors, on the other side of the glass, Kenny pressed his hand onto the frozen surface. The beeping was still in our ears. His lips moved again, and then this time, I could hear it clearer than ever.
I outstretched my own hand, slightly smaller and paler, and placed it on top of his, divided by the glass. But I thought I could feel his warmth and the gentleness of it. The train moved, and it disappeared. But it was still there. It came with me.
I watched his blue eyes as we were slowly drawn away from each other, until the end.
The cluttering of the train, the rocking of its movements filled my body, and the gentle smile and icy-blue eyes were nowhere to be seen. With a short, soft sigh, I readjusted the strap of my bag on my shoulder and moved into my compartment.
I shoved the heavy rectangular thing that appeared to be a book, into my bag and moved to my seat. A kind man helped me lift my suitcase into the shelf above, and quite amazingly, I was able to say 'thank you'. It was tensed, and I bet he would have never imagine how much it took for me to say those three words to a stranger, but I was able to say it nonetheless. I would be using it a lot more from then on, so I needed to get used to it, I thought.
My seat was by the window. The view had already turned into speed-lines by the time I sat down. The station was already in the distance, impossible to make out any details. But I swear I saw him still standing there. I didn't feel sorrow as the station merged into the horizon. No tears began to well up or anything.
I was human, and alive enough to feel the sense of loneliness, but it was not tristesse. It was just a farewell. It was filled with hope, and a sense of wonderful longing for the day that we will meet again. With an excited smile on my lips, I leaned my forehead against the icy-cold window and closed my eyes, suddenly feeling a warm heat caress my eyelids.
I listened to my breath, my heartbeat, and every sense and sound inside me that proved that I was alive, until it would finally draw me into sleep. But at that second I flung my eyes open and flipped out my phone, remembering one important thing that I had forgotten to do.
Subject: One good thing that happened today.
I looked at the three words intently on the screen, feeling them fill me up, to complete me.
"I am alive."
With a smile still on my lips, I pressed send, and relaxed deeply into the back of the seat. And with a strange feeling caressing my mind, I fished out my bag and dug my hand in, immediately taking it out with the book Kenny had given me.
The cover was plain, thick, but plain. I furrowed my eyebrows as I looked at it from up to down, before finally opening the cover.
A small piece of paper fell out.
As further confusion entered me, I took it and read through the familiar writing that belonged to Kenny.
"Hey Kyle. This is an album Stan made with the photos he took at Montauk. He asked me to give it to you because he was too much of a pussy to do it himself."
A soft laugh escaped my mouth and I flicked through the pages of the album with my free hand to find countless photographs stuck neatly into the book.
There were smiles. A lot of them. So many in fact, that I never knew that I could be smiling so much, but in most of those, I had Kenny beside me.
But they weren't all smiles. There was a photo of me apparently screaming. One wrapped in nothing but a white sheet and wondering around aimlessly. There was even one of me with tears streaming down my face.
There were photos with me on the piano from different angles, when I did that small private concert for them at the house on the last night. There was one of the breakfast table, one of the beach. There was one of the back of Kenny and my head in the truck, and a photo of me and Kenny sleeping close together deeply in the sheets. And then my hand stopped, as one photo caught my eye.
My hand moved to my cell phone and I sent another message to Kenny.
"And I have a great friend."
I stared at the last photo sitting there so lively, yet so simply on the page.
It was a photo of two connected hands. You couldn't see who they belonged to, but it was only too obvious. Too much so, that I smiled and turned the piece of Kenny's paper accidently, to find more of the blonde's messy handwriting written on the back.
"P.S I love you."
I sighed softly with content, with something much heavier weighing on my heart. I created another message, and sent it to Kenny as I stared out the changing scenery of the window.
I had pain, terrible nightmares that sometimes threatened me to something worse than death. But I was alive. I had a great friend. I had a future ahead of me, a life to live.
And finally, I had Kenny, I had him all along. It was what had kept me going until then, and what would keep me going from then on. Through all kinds of blue days, he gave me a reason to live through every one of them.
He gives me a reason to live through today.
A.N- Truly, deeply, thank you for coming this far, sticking to this story to the end. And for each and every review, I couldn't be more grateful. I loved reading your opinions and comments and I know I'm greedy to say I want to read more. So if you could leave me a final comment on this story, I will be… so happy.
I was actually going to do a sequel, or at least make this story a little longer with college ahead, but I thought this was a good ending and leave it to your imagination.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy your day, even if it's blue.