Always There, Never Known

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

I walked down the ice-glazed path, my breath visible in the frigid winter air. Trees lined my path, but the people were gone. They had turned me down, and so I walked on. Silently. And I remembered. Oh, how I remembered.

My feet grow heavier and heavier as I walk down the icy path. Each step seems an agony as I struggle to keep my balance atop the slick road. I look into the trees that lined my path and see the footsteps in the snow. Small footsteps of several children. I can almost see the little ones, cheeks rosy in the winter air, peals of laughter filling the air as they dart in and out from among the trees. But it is only my imagination once again. My mind fades to remind me that those footsteps are just markings along an empty trail.

I almost find myself smiling as I remember that sweet little boy. Drystan. From the day he was born, I lingered by his side. I watched over him as he slept at night. He wanted little to do with me in his early years. I could understand that, I suppose. It was his time to run free, to play, to be a child. I would watch with a smile on my face as he would play with his toys and run through his backyard, hollering to his brothers.

I took his hand as he became a young man. He clung to me, almost too fiercely when he went off away from home. He turned to me so much, in fact, that I blame myself for the loss of his youthful innocence and carefree life. But how I loved that young man. He was a son to me, but I could see that each day his brow furrowed closer with tension and worry. Somehow that innocent child had become a man of great worry. And I blame myself. For no matter how hard I try to show Drystan the beautiful world around him, I am a constant reminder of the troubles that linger in the doorway.

But I could never turn him away. We both knew I had to be there for the boy.

I  falter in my thoughts as the wind blows harder, pushing me back with each step I try to take. I sink down in the snow, memories enveloping me.

"Get away from me!" Drystan screamed. "Get away from me and my family! Never return!"

"I can't do that," I tried to explain. "I can't control the things that happen to you. Son, I'm sorry you lost Ellynore, but I can't bring her back." I watched in agony as Drystan stared down at the still face of the young woman. Tears fell from his face onto her still form, and he clutched at her cool hand. He stroked his thumb across the ring on her finger, the one he had placed there only months before. "Why?" he choked out. "Why?"

"That's something I can't tell you," I said to him gently. I tried to lay a hand on his shoulder, but the grieving young man shoved me away.

"Get away from me," he said in a low tone, scarred by pain. "Get away and stay away."

I waited for several moments and finally turned. "I won't forget you, Drystan. I'll come back when you're ready to face me again." And so I went. I knew a time would come when he needed me again. But not yet. He needed something to live for again.

I can still remember when I got the news from my supervisor. "Drystan's sister is pregnant. The baby's father left her, and she needs a home. She turned to Drystan for help. Now's your time to go. She needs her brother, and he needs you."

The words from that phone call only hours before fuel my desire to continue. I struggle to my feet. Drystan needs me. I place one foot in front of the other. The storm I fight is the battle back into his life. But he needs me. He needs me right now, or his sister will never have a home, nor will her infant child.

One step, then another.

Slowly,

Silently,

Painfully,

But surely, I continue on. Drystan will not want to see my face, but he and I both know it's time for me to return. It's time for him to accept that he needs me if he ever wants to move on, to live again.

He once asked me who I am, but I could not tell him. He has wondered all this time, and now he finally understands. He knows my name.

I am Reality.


Submitted: December 29, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Quill Pen. All rights reserved.

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