I remember the last time my mother ever sang to me. It was a cold dark night. The night we'd find out my father would never come home.
Prim was asleep despite the havoc bustling from outside. The reek of smoke-filled every crevice of Twelve. I thought once or twice about getting up and helping mother, but I'd only been a distraction.
Another sick person among the many already laying on their death beds. I think back to that sound of imploding mine shafts. How utterly numbing the sound was even in our class room.
I had to put my head between my knees under the desk, the teacher ran around the room making sure everyone's head was down before the second explosion. We didn't know how bad it was until the windows cracked from the pressure of the explosion.
A lot of kids screamed, I did not. In fear I kept quiet.
I had never heard so much silence, the quiet was so straining I couldn't have imagined what the younger kids were thinking. I wondered if the older kids were thinking about how they'd be working in those explosive mines soon.
Our teacher instructed us to get home as soon as we could. I found Prim quickly, she'd been crying. The walk home I was silently dreading what wait at home.
Mother was there, she held us tightly before telling us she'd be helping those wounded. She'd be back, she said that so many times it was branded in my mind.
It was so dark and cold even with Prim snuggled so close to me.
I felt like my whole world had been put on pause when I heard the door creak open.
I shift slowly and quietly until I'm out of Prim's arms. I slip closer to the door when it's finally open.
"Mom?" I whispered.
"Hi Katniss." She took me in her arms.
"Where's dad?" I asked quietly.
"They were still getting people out when they told me to come home." She said. She brushed my hair from my eyes. "Where's your sister?"
"Asleep." I said. She cradled Prim in her arms and laid her in the big bed of our house. She kissed her head and then came out to get me.
I clung to her I needed my mother, "It's alright Katniss" She said. "I'm sure daddy is fine."
"I'm scared" I said. That was the last time I'd ever say that.
"Don't be he's fine." She assured me. She was so confident in her response I had no choice but to believe her. She laid me down in her big bed and lulled me to sleep with the Meadow song. That was the last time I'd ever sleep soundly without knowing my father was dead. That was the last time I saw hope in my mother's eyes. The last time I saw anything but grief anywhere she went.
I don't like remembering that last day. No matter how happy it once was, the purity of those moments have faded, I clung so hard to my last kisses and my last moments with him. They faded away prematurely.
Heart, we will forget him. You and I tonight.
But I do remember the day they told me he was dead. In the still of night after I'd sung my daughter to sleep. She was so peaceful.
I remember how quietly they knocked. I told them my children were asleep. They told me he was dead, I bid them goodnight and slept right next to my children without my world crashing down on me. My world would crash come the morning.
That memory doesn't hurt as much as it used to.
I remember sending my girls to school, and not moving once I had sat down. I stared off into space wondering how this could have happened.
Was this punishment for something I had done? I hadn't done anything so wrong to have deserved that rightfully.
I sat there and conjured his face in my mind over and over. I had memorized his every feature, but suddenly, I had no memory of him. It was like I just forgot everything.
You may forget the warmth he gave. I will forget the light.
He should have been there, he promised me always. All promises, even sacred vows, are broken. I had lost my whole life. I had nothing left in me, not fight, not love left over. I had a broken heart.
A broken heart is no good to anyone.
Heart we will forget him, we will forget him. You and I tonight.
I remember being so hopeless and numb to the entire world. I suddenly had no right nor want of life. I would have rather died than live without him. He said that love would be all we'd need. I thought that right.
But I was wrong, for, if you rely on love and it is taken away. You have nothing left. You are useless and weak.
I was useless and weak. I was dead weight to the world and my children. I didn't care, I had been selfish, I didn't care that they had lost a father. I'd lost the only man I could have ever in my life loved over anything else.
You may forget the warmth he gave. I will forget the light.
I wanted to hate him then. He'd left me a mess, a broken shard of a woman. He left me with our children, one a ghost of him, the other so small I couldn't take care of her alone. Why would he leave me there?
I was so angry I cried and cried until tears would not satisfy my sadness or my rage. So I sat still, quiet and still.
I waited for a sound to break the barrier of solitude I had built. But nothing came. He didn't come for me.
He'd left me, just like that. He'd left only his memory that I was allowing to fade.
When you have done please tell me, that I may straight begin.
I then wondered who I would be, he was my life. He defined everything about me. What was I to do now that he was gone?
I'd suddenly opened my eyes then. I was still sitting in that chair. Though it now seemed more worn and dead. My baby Katniss stood inches taller than me. Her face had a rough look etched into it.
My little Prim was so big. I had let the years go by, sitting in that damned chair trying to decide what I should do.
My Katniss knew what to do. So she did exactly that. I'm a terrible mother. I just sat and wallowed away in grief.
Haste! Lest while you're lagging.
Now what do I do? I had made my own child do an adults work. I'd sat in a chair and cried because I didn't know what to do.
So I stood up and worked. Prim forgave me quickly helping me on my route as I began a healing business. I had feared my baby Katniss would never forgive me for what I had done. I'd taken her childhood. I'd forced her to grow up.
But watching her work reminded me that she wasn't dead as she claimed to be. She wasn't dead and empty like everyone assumed she was.
She was so full of life and spirit. I couldn't understand why no one else could see it. She had stayed strong for Prim supposedly, but it was not for Prim. She was alive inside. She had to fight and my baby did just that.
I had sent them off to school just weeks before the Reaping. I began to clean our house when I happened upon something. A photo of him.
I remember him.
He was there in my hands not alive, but not dead. It was like life had flowed into me. He wasn't gone, he'd never been gone.
He'd watched me cry and waste away. How could I have been so daft?
My husband did not leave and now his spirit was in our daughter. That was why she was so alive. To show her father we were okay.
I looked back to my dead, weathered chair. The chair I'd sat in for years. I wouldn't even touch it.
When you have done please tell me. That I may straight begin. Haste! Lest while you're lagging. I remember him.
I put his picture down and for a short time I could see him standing at the front door. As if he'd just been waiting for me to notice him. I finally had, after all this time I could see.
I didn't move I just stared at him. He was smiling just as I remembered his smile.
His eyes glowed with pride and I swear his heart blazed wildly on his sleeve.
Heart, we will forget him. We will forget him you and I tonight.
I knew if I'd blink he'd be gone. I knew if I turned away or moved I would never see him again. I needed him.
Heart we will forget him.
But at that point, I found I didn't need him as much as I used to. Not anymore at least. So I blinked. I began to work, and his image faded. I haven't seen him since. I smile now when I think back to that moment. When I had enough will power to stand against myself.
And whenever something reminds me of the pain that wouldn't go away, and all the times I couldn't see his face... I just have to know one thing.
I remember him,
As I always will.
Song used here is called "Heart, We Will Forget Him" I'm singing it with my women's chorus at school and I couldn't resist using it. I know it was an Emily Dickinson poem first, but I like the song.