Her eyes could change colours, from a deep blue to a clear green, depending on how she felt. With him, they were always as green as the sparkling emeralds she wore on her Victory tour. He had told her that he loved those eyes. A perfect match to mine, he had said, It's a sign that we're meant to be. Perhaps that's why she loved the colour green so much.
It reminded her of him.
He had told her once that she was as beautiful as a flower, tucking a handful of blue blossoms into her buttonhole. They were walking the beach that day, hiking over dunes barefooted and not bothering to slip shoes on even as they reached the bushier areas. She had slipped and fallen, coarse sand sticking to the damp hem of her skirt, and he had scooped her up in his arms.
Just like a forget-me-not, he told her before kissing her senseless, Pretty as a flower, Annie.
Forget-me-not, she had thought, drunk on his love.
I'll never be able to forget you. Not even for a single second.
Her mother told her she was mad for pining after him. It wasn't the first time someone said it, but it hurt. Look at his Capitol lovers, girl, she had said, He'll be as daft as you if he chooses you over them. Others had told her the same, their eyes pitying as their mouths tell her to surrender hopes. But they knew nothing. She liked to believe that the bond between her and Finnick were more than just mere friends. She needed to believe that those Capitol women were just lies and coercion from the President. She desperately needed to be loved by him.
In her room, she curled up on the broad sill of her large window, staring out into the rolling waves ahead. That was the only perk of being a Victor; this lovely house had made his long absences more bearable. She could imagine herself walking with him down that stretch of sand just half a mile from the house, smiling and feeling alive for once in her life. The sea had been the big connection between the two of them, and having its crashing waves by her side comforts her more than any human being could. With the exception of Finnick himself, of course.
But at that moment he was miles away, as unattainable to her as her sanity was. She pictured him smiling, his deep voice drawling as he whispered sweet nothings to another woman. The thought of slender fingers running through his bronze hair, of lips other than hers kissing his mouth was unbearable. He'd reassured her that it meant nothing, that she was his one and only, but it was within her nature to doubt. The silvery moonlight slanting through the icy windowpane only made her feel lonelier, watching in silence as the waves lapped the illuminated beach as though she really was the only soul in the world.
Her fingers slipped over the small pendant hanging over her heart, enveloping it and pressing it as close to her core as she dared. It was what she did when she missed him; the feel of the cool glass beneath her fingers took her back to those days. Days where they were free to do whatever took their fancy.
She could almost feel him whispering in her ear as she ran her finger over the sea-glass, his present to her from so long ago. It was the symbol of what they were, made and beautified by nature into a lovely yet other-worldly thing. And the fragility, not of their love but of their situation. It was a miracle that the sea-glass pendant was still whole. Just as it was a miracle that they had not yet been crushed by the Capitol.
She wished that she could keep him safe like she had kept her shard of sea-glass right by her heart. But he was so far away, and she was so lonely. Stroking the blue surface of the glass, she closed her eyes and retreated into her mind. Back into the memories filled with salty sprays and laughter, of his hand around hers as they walked over golden sand, stopping here and there to pick up little treasures.
She missed him more than words can say.
They said depression was blue, but to her it was more of an all-consuming black. She had always associated blue with him, and with his absence he had taken all those pretty blue moments and spiked them with pain. She couldn't remember his laughter without pulling up the fact that she will never hear him laugh again, nor could she picture his green eyes without ripping open the abyss in her heart.
It's not fair, she whined to herself, but then again fairness and justice have ceased to exist in Panem. They were just married, the happiest couple in the world, and then he had gone away. It seemed as though God deemed their cup of happiness too overflowing, and he had decided to empty it all out instead. She didn't get the chance to see Finnick before he went. Stubborn and selfless as always, he had kept her out of the loop to keep her safe. Sometimes she hated him so much for being considerate to the point of insane. She would've traded all the safety in the world just to see him one more time. She never got to say good bye, after all.
There were days when all she wanted to do was to crawl into Finnick's grave and lay beside him, but even that was an impossibility. They never found his body after the war, not even after she insisted that they dug out the entire stretch of tunnel network. It seemed as though the blast had not spared an inch of him for her to mourn. Not even a lock of golden-bronze hair.
Johanna had insisted that they built a small tomb in memory of him, even though there was nothing left of him to bury. The rebel leader from District Ten had read out the prayers as the small group gathered to farewell Finnick, the same man who had conducted Finnick's wedding ceremony to her. Katniss and Peeta came, along with Haymitch Abernathy and the rest of the surviving Victors, and they each left a thing in the tomb as a marker of the amazing man that Finnick was. Johanna dropped in a photograph, picturing the two of them laughing like best mates, along with a handful of sugar cubes. Katniss left a strange-looking metal tube, one that Peeta called a 'spile'. The others left little tokens of the times they've shared with Finnick, backing away in silence as Annie approached the empty tomb of her love.
In the memory of Finnick Odair, the man with the trident who had sacrificed his life for the future. He will never be forgotten by the history books, nor will he leave the minds of friends and family.
She had borrowed a blue dress from Katniss, and there was that sense of déjà vu as she walked towards the memories of him, remembering acutely another walk that took her from Annie Cresta to Finnick Odair's wife. Standing at the lip of the empty tomb, she plucked flower by flower from her arm to scatter over the remnants of his memories, filling the grave with blue forget-me-nots. When her arms were as empty as her heart, she knelt down to place one last thing in the tomb. It had taken her the entire previous day's afternoon to split it. Lovingly and tenderly she opened her palm to release a tiny shard of blue sea-glass into the heart of the grave, an identical match to the tiny shard hanging over her own heart.
I'll never forget you, Finnick. Not even when I'm older than time itself.
They handed her a bundle of blue, tiny and warm and fragile in a cocoon of blankets. She took it and held it to her chest, a reflex of a young mother. Yet she didn't feel like one. The sturdy weight in her arm could've been a doll for all the emotions running through her. She knew she was supposed to love this child, this baby that was hers and Finnick and love. But all the felt was the gnawing sadness that his absence brought. It shamed her to admit that a part of her had wanted the labour to kill her, just so she could finally be with him.
The bundle squirmed and opened its mouth, its facing scrunching up as it mewed like a kitten. Her arms moved automatically to rock it. But it continued crying, and her rocking become jerky and panicky. She didn't know what to do, and she needed Finnick. By the time Katniss' mother came in to see what's wrong, her face and half of the baby's blanket were drenched in tears.
"You should try feeding him," Mrs Everdeen said kindly, coming over to fix up the swaddling, "Turn his head slightly towards you, and he should know what to do."
She undid her buttons with shaking hands, her arms free as the new baby quietened down in Mrs Everdeen's hold. The kind woman placed the child back in Annie's arms, moving her elbow up slightly so that its head was better supported. With a kind smile, she walked out of the room to give the two of them time. Annie moved the child's head as Mrs Everdeen instructed, and gasped as the baby latched on.
She looked at her child for the first time, from the fine damp hair to the sweeping eyelashes. The baby had freed its hand somehow, a tiny fist curled up against the bare skin of her chest. Taking that all in, and feeling the very real and very warm weight of the child against her body, made something snap within her. This was no longer just any child, but hers and Finnick. This was their son.
As if from cue, her baby opened his eyes and looked up at her. In those blue eyes she saw herself and Finnick again, walking on the shores and sharing countless moments. She knew that they would darken to another colour soon enough, as all babies' eyes do, but at that moment she wanted nothing more than to drown in her son's gaze.
His lashes fluttered shut and he went to sleep in her arms, leaving her looking at him wonderingly. Her son was half her and half his father, and somehow excitingly a hundred percent himself. The ache inside her heart grew, and she reached out to an invisible hand by her bedside.
Finnick, he has forget-me-not eyes. The exact same shade.
She took the day out to renovate her house, leaving her son in the care of Mrs Everdeen. Johanna had offered to help in her dry-albeit-well-meaning way, and she had accepted. The two women cleared out Annie's old room and stripped the floor bare of carpet, revealing sturdy planking underneath. Together they donned overalls and carried in rollers, mixing and swirling their pre-bought paint to make a beautiful shade of blue. Under Annie's instruction, they painted the entire room in a shade that matched the ocean on a clear summer day.
The white crib was positioned over a rainbow rug, taking centre stage in the room. Annie's bed had been moved to the room next door, and so there was plenty of space for little cupboards and wardrobe. Despite everyone telling her to put in new carpets, Annie had kept with her idea of a polished wooden floor. That was her way of keeping Johanna part of the family, because now her son will be reminded of the District Seven Victor every time he walked the wooden floor. But she didn't tell Johanna that. She had an inkling that Johanna wouldn't have been too happy about the sappy connotation of the floor.
A fine net hang as a decoration on the east wall, bejewelled with little photographs of her and Finnick and Johanna and all the others that played a part in their lives. She scattered seashells over the top of the cupboards, leaving room for plenty more. Once Kai grew, he'd have plenty more to add. The beach was still just half a mile away, the waves still lapping the shore just like in that other life when she walked there with Finnick. In time, Kai would learn to love the sea just as his parents had.
Looking out the window into the endless sea, Annie grasped Johanna's hand and smiled for the first time. In a few days' time, her son would be here in this room, looking out to a brand new future. She was no longer lonely, not as long as she had Kai and Johanna and the kindness of all her other friends. She was finally surrounded by blue again, even though Finnick was missing.
Perhaps that was why she painted Kai's room blue.
Blue was hope.