A/N: This is me, taking a stab at first person for the first time in years.
Into The Ocean
If there is any one thing I've learned about myself, in all the unending struggling and tenacious fighting, I've learned that I irrevocably love him. I really couldn't say why. I don't know. Looking at the mirror, I see a face stretching a worn smile; but I know there's a real one some where—much deeper. I never see it, because it's only there for him. His bitter snipes and grouchy dispositions always manage to make the muscles of my face pull until I feel warmth in my body that almost seems abnormal. I like the feeling. Even if he's always telling me how stupid I look wearing the softer, real affections. I can't help these things when I watch him.
He's always in the garden at this time, leaned over and peeling off the dead leaves that choke up some of his plants. He babies them like I never would have pictured from a man like him…yet, at the same time he looks natural there. Sometimes, he's so engrossed that he doesn't see me. I think he knows I watch him at times anyway. He has to know. He knows how much he infiltrates every part of me. He spends everyday telling me that I'm too soft…or that I'm thinking too hard.
Loving him too much.
It's hard to watch him, sometimes…admittedly. Because I know that he dislikes the person he sees in the mirror the same way I dislike who I see. It's just how we are. It's how we communicate and how we love each other. Well, how I love him. I know he must care too. Or he'd have kicked me out. He'd have found a way to disappear and never speak to me again after everything finally ended and freedom left us with nothing but broken lives to mend.
I speak and he pretends I'm not there. He doesn't look at me either. Leaves fall from the plants as he picks and preens and eventually, he finally stops. A short grunt tells me that he knows what I'm there for. A flick of his eyes over at me tells me that he'll be just a moment.
I turn back, opening the door with my only hand. Once upon a time, I had two. I don't miss the other one so much. The other one was useful for common tasks and my balance is still a bit thrown by the lack of it—but I've learned to adjust. I've learned to do everything independently—perhaps with exception to select tasks. Some tasks I still can't manage with the single hand. Luckily, if I plead with Kanda enough, he'll assist me. In that respect, he's learned how to adjust a tie very well.
The reason I leave him, not waiting…is because I know how he refuses to show the weaknesses to me. It's hard watching him struggle, but his confidence is unwavering and he refuses to give in to his disabilities. Sometimes, though, I wish he would let me help him. His arms are strong, he says, and he would always manage to lift himself back into the wheelchair that transported him like the legs he no longer had.
He thinks it's ugly.
That his scars and missing limbs making him hideous. He doesn't say it, no. But I know that's what he feels. I still think he's flawless. I still love him. His long dark hair still shimmers around his perfect strong face. He's like a porcelain doll with some limbs knocked out of place and a few scuff marks. Even a little battered, the doll is priceless to me.
Perhaps he's right.
Maybe I am a sentimental fool.
He chides me for my continued attempts to cook for us. One arm does make it a task, but I'm as stubborn as he and I've gotten the hang of it. Just as I don't stop him from his garden, he doesn't stop me from the stove. I think, even if he wouldn't admit, he wants to see me fighting my disability. I think that's why he ate the weeks of horribly burnt cooking, followed by a week or two of undercooked and fairly questionable meals. He never fails to come in when I let him know that breakfast is ready, so I must be doing something right.
We're both up just before sunrise and I've always prepared something by the time the sun has settled in the sky for about an hour. In a way, this is our time to fight with ourselves and remind ourselves that we're not as broken as we feel. That's how I interpret it. That's how I understand Kanda's desire to see me in the kitchen. He knows I enjoy food. He knows I enjoy making it now.
Just like I know he enjoys his garden—built from barren ground into a beautiful little paradise in the back yard of the little home that we secured long ago in order to escape from the prying eyes of the remnants of the Black Order. In a strange way, we'd started off horribly, fleeing to a remote location in France and absolutely needing each other for basic survival. Between us, we are one able body and two fiercely independent people in need of fresh air. With the war over, we didn't need the past.
We were barely friends and also part-time lovers—once simply acquaintances that used each other as relief from the hell we couldn't leave.
I think now we're something a little less adolescent. I think now we're proper lovers. It would actually be silly to pretend it was anything else. His spot in my bed is to the right and my spot in his bed is to the left. We lay down in it and we rise from it together.
He grouses every time he has to exit the bed and I can't help but laugh a little. I know it's unfair of me to laugh at a man with no legs below the thighs, but he's actually in good humor about it before he wheels himself out to his usual place. I always smile in the morning, letting myself run over the early memories of the morning. I know I cherish them. Because I have a tendency to forget things these days.
Settling the plates on the table, I glance over my list taped to the wall by the window. It details much of the things I have a tendency to forget. I'm not sure why my memory slips in places. I wonder if perhaps I've taken too many hits to the head. I'm still young and my body is still healthy, but my mind slips. Sometimes, I don't recognize the faces in the photos in the hallway. Perhaps I've blocked it out…perhaps it's the result of my loss of Innocence and the vagrant Noah that once consumed me.
He gives me grief about my memory lapses, but I think it's the only way he knows how to feel concern for me. It must bother him, to know that he could be forgotten. Or at least think that he could be. I really don't believe I can forget Kanda. He's too much a part of my soul. He's too much ingrained into my daily routine. My life will be lived out with him at my side and I don't think he'll ever object.
It's not because I think he's as devoted to me as I am to him—but I think somewhere there, he's found what we have to be what he wants in the rest of his probably short life. It pains me every day to think about it, actually. The notches in the side panel of the cabinet mark the days and I can see how many it's been. Probably hundreds. The more that appear, the more I fear the inevitable. For every etched mark, I realize that it's one taken from him. He warned me, he told me that he would leave me long before I left the world.
But it's okay. I will take what I have of him in my life and cherish the moments we have remaining.
The door clacks against the frame and I can feel the warm breeze settle in. He'll be in, once he's managed the wheels over the porch step. Once upon a time, I would leave the door open. But I only ended up getting growled at, so now I simply keep to my task and let him struggle in the silence that I know he craves when he's fighting with the remnants of his body.
To some extent, I think it actually embarrasses him. He used to stand so tall and proud, agile and fierce. He's still fierce and proud, but he's succumbed to a quiet bitterness that is different from the seething rage of before. He was uncomfortable before. He refused to let me even touch him for nearly a year, before we exploded into an angry fit and we reminded each other how the fire between us used to feel.
The feel of his body against mine reminded me that he was still Kanda. Admittedly, it's been very long since we've felt that between us, but I love the contentment in place of the adolescent passion. He feels like a spouse. To which, always amuses me—because he calls me his doting wife. Of course, I remind him that I'm still filling out the pants in the relationship.
He usually returns with a snide comment about being able to flip me off with both hands.
He's taking longer this morning than usual and perhaps I mistook the sound of the door for the wind jostling it; but I give him his space—setting the table and distributing what he likes and what I like to respective plates. It seems to me, like he's eating less lately and I worry. I worry because I wonder if he's beginning to lose. There's always food left over from him plate and I've started to cook less. I wonder if perhaps my vision is going too, because the amount of food left over makes me feel like I cook much more than I'd intended.
It never does go to waste, though, because my appetite is still larger than most. It's another thing that he gives me grief for. He's always prodding and telling me that I'm going to get fat once my metabolism dies. I always tell him that I can at least run my energy off. He gives me a scowl and we continue as usual.
I pour tea for him. I've gotten good at doing so with the one arm. I don't shake trying to be accurate anymore. It's actually one of the few things he's openly complimented me on. Well, by compliment, I mean something along the lines of telling me that I'm not as much of a fuck up anymore. I suppose he has the right to feel that way after I accidentally poured hot tea down his lap. I would feel a little pissy about something like that too.
There's no clock in our house. We really have no need for it. Our lives aren't dictated by time anymore, but even I can gauge time passage and finally, my curiosity gets the best of me and I wonder why he has yet to come inside. The possibility that he's just wrapped up in his task is always there. Sometimes, I'd have to pry him away from that garden. The passion he held for it was admirable, at least, and his garden was one of the things that I felt blessed this house into a home. The familiar lines of flowers and vegetables were like a welcoming path to the doors of our private sanctuary.
Even so, it was time for him to come on for the morning. His pale skin and lack of protection from the rays of the midmorning sun could leave him sunburned and listening to him complain about that is nothing but a pain and usually ends in a bitching match. Not that I don't cherish that too. I cherish everything about him, even if it's questionable as to why I would. He is my life.
The door opens in my grasp and I begin to call out to him. He'll probably ignore me like he usually does until my voice creeps into his head and makes him comply out of pure need to hear me being silent.
I stop and let the door smack helplessly into the frame behind me. Thoughts suddenly come to me as I stare over at him underneath the shade of the tree just beside the garden. My heart sinks a bit and I'm fighting back the emotions that well up in me, threatening to take over until I compose myself to the simple facts of what's before me. It's nothing I haven't seen in the days before. It's just resurfacing in my memories once again. Perhaps I am as crazy as I feel sometimes.
At first, I don't even notice the languid slide of liquid down my cheek, following the old mark that stains the side of my face. It's not that I don't know I'm crying, I know. I really do. But it's the reality of it that doesn't seem real enough to truly connect.
"Kanda…It's breakfast time," I whisper against the wind, leading up to where he is. I can still see him leaned over the plants, fretting over the Azaleas. The leafy pink flowers, however, are long since truly dead.
The wind is pressing me again, it's talking to me and reminding me that I should retreat before the rain finally comes in and soaks the world around me. I can already feel the raindrops on my skin. "Hurry up, BaKanda." I repeat and turn before it all comes crashing down.
Echoes in the house are a product of wind and it used to unsettle me, but now it's almost welcome. It makes it feel like the house—our home—is breathing. I return to the belly of our home, letting the smell of food entice me before I pass the table and move over to the old oak cabinet that I leave my daily markings in. The knife resting on the table is there for the purpose of carving the days. It's easy to forget, when your memory is already shattered, what certain things are there for anymore.
I made a list for the purpose of remembering how to function…
Well, rather, I notice that it's not my handwriting on the list—so I suppose I made him make me the list. Writing is easier for him even though I am right handed—the paper tends to slide around and make my handwriting horrible. His writing is crisp, flawless. It's an expression of who he is, was, and always will be. I read down the list, remembering the order of my day.
Mark your days.
And so I do, sliding the knife just enough to leave an impression. I can't explain why this action makes the flood gates open and suddenly, I'm crying. My heart hurts and my soul burns. I almost can't breathe and I struggle to compose myself, minding my emotions to continue my list.
It's so very hard.
It's hard to have these memories crashing down on me everyday, tearing me up inside until I slump in the chair at the table and remember the things that don't ever seem to be forgotten permanently. Part of me is grateful for it, part of me wishes it would all just be lost and leave me to drown into the ocean of lost memories that replay always…just long enough to keep the illusion going.
I miss you.
I keep thinking…every day, that you'll finally come inside before the rain. But every day, I think it's the same. The reason why I began to mark the days. It's the same.
I wake up to you.
And then I shatter the illusion when it occurs to me that there is no rain. I'm only talking to a polished stone with your name sloppily engraved into it by my own hand.
And the list that my brain sees so clearly is actually composed of just one thing that was written desperately and smeared with the dirt that had been pulled free from the earth that I laid you in.
The rain does fall, but it's not outside. It's inside. My warped memories have left me with grandiose delusions and it twists the knife in my soul when I wipe the rain out of my eyes and see the list as it truly appears.
I close the curtains and let the illusion return.
A/N: How many level of hell does this send me through?