Why Can't Love Be a Gentle Thing?

I always imagined we would be friends forever. That even after we grew up and the days of school passed us by, she would still be there, just in reach, sitting silently with me for as long as I could hope. A quiet understanding of each other. A soft rustle of movement that each of us expected. No surprises.

A gentle thing, like the cause and effect of the breeze running through reeds. Or the pitter patter of rain hitting the roof. A peaceful thing, where if I spoke, she heard and when she spoke, very rarely, and usually very softly, I would be enthralled to listen.

The type of love that doesn't drive you crazy. Something that permits a gentle caress of the face, or the squeeze of a hand, or a kiss on the cheek, with tenderness. Love that doesn't make you lay awake at night, but gives you a reason to sleep, for tomorrow was another day whereas I got to see her. An affection of understanding and familiarity. The curves of her hips and breasts, no matter how slender, so much more known to me. Pieces of her that I understood, that made her beautiful. That arose quiet, sensual wants inside me, whenever I'd see her as she smiled up at me from her lunch or her grey eyes flashed when the other girls would imply things about her and Gale.

Only I understood how that annoyed her. And we sat through lunch in quiet appeal for each other. Neither of us willing to speak out, nor speak of it amongst ourselves. The town girls would tease her because she spawned from famine and poverty, and they would ridicule me for their jealousy of the fact that I came from money and a life of luxury beyond their own.

I used to think Katniss and I opposites. There was no way we could have come from more different places. Not unless I was from the Capitol, but that really is only one step above me, so how could I ever think a girl from the Seam would understand me? Let alone me understand her? I was from town, a typical blonde and blue eyed girl, while Katniss was every exotic the Seam could produce.

We were so different, even in the color of our skin. The way my curves spoke of well-feeding and hers were cut sharply from a malnourished body, were pert, simple, and spoke of a life inundated with struggle. Lithe and little she might have been, but not soft and breakable. She hunted, she could outrun me, outfight me, outlive me.

And it made me wonder: What could I outdo Katniss in?

Love. I could outlove Katniss. While she may not have thought of me as even a friend most of the time, I held my love for her close to my heart. A gentle love that did not make me suffer for withholding. Not like Peeta, who waited painstaking years to speak with her. I could speak with her, sensibly. Sit with her, quietly, without the unspeakable urge to touch her, because my love didn't need that much. Only a little. I only took a little. An hour a day, no more. All I needed was that one hour, because I had thought we would be friends forever... and I had thought we would never run out of that time.