Everyday he looked in the mirror and saw the reflection of a proper boy. A rascal at times, but proper in etiquette. Yet, it seemed each passing day weaned the feet of the crows around his grey eyes a bit further. At times they were blue and at times they were warm, but tonight they were grey and whiter than the pupil around his long eyelashes. They were unable to cry, only mist if dust invaded, however, tonight he realized his entire life went without one detail he was unable to face since the incident.
He was not deaf from loud trauma, he was not slow because he slurred,
His body simply denied his brain to retain the sentence people always asked of him. They would look at him and say, “Poor boy” but each time, he would look back at them and ask if they were okay.
Perhaps he selectively heard, only allowing his sanity to intake certain dialogues, but in conversation it was apparent he became daft whenever people brought up the subject.
Rumors spread, he was in denial, and perhaps he was too- for all those thoughts of what happened would overwhelm him with rivers of sorrow, and perhaps, even death.
Hearts sank for him and everyone allowed his randomness to portray the surrounding.
But today he would make the best of it, and as he put on his boots and brushed the stray hair away from his face, he saw the portrait.
A beautiful girl with a gorgeous smile and luscious lips, eyes of such cool love, soothing all those who bear witness.
And he thought, “witness”
and it all clicked back.
The mirror shattered and his hand bled. Upon seeing blood, he ran down the halls of his narrow house and into the dirty streets- he fled into the darkness.
It all came back and now he remembered the question so many people asked.
“I’m so sorry, I must know how you feel, do you feel okay?”
How could people ask if he felt a sense of sanity upon witnessing the one he loved defiled and destroyed before he had been stabbed and left to die. Her eyes were still radiating a warmth but the pain they endured for moments, of humiliating agony, pierced his face each second of every day and night.
The cold wind brushed the boys face as he ran down the streets, and each time he saw a red sign or bright lights, steel or iron, shoes and belts, zippers and hands, faces and hats, smiles and wicked desires, he ran and ran. He could not see where he went and as his tears fell upon the asphalt he saw it form into a puddle below.
She had been covered in blood and tears. Her broken hand was the only thing he was able to hold as one of the men had forcibly pinned him down and stabbed him. Beside her she had two men on top of her and her screams were louder not because of the grotesque nature of their crimes, but because he had to see this. Her love had to witness the helplessness of a partner and bare witness to such humiliation while too being subjected to death.
But he did not die, and he damns his luck as he darts onto the streets, clearing his head from the memory.
A light shines and he for a moment smiles, before being trampled and mutilated.
I know this because when I held his corpse I recognized my best friend and his past. I thought about the times I asked him if he was okay. Now that he joined her in the afterlife, perhaps now he is. I could only assume for he, my friend Max, had a look of peace on his face.