There was a sofa in front of the fireplace. I meandered my way over to it and sat down. Eithne followed. It was the first time that anyone had ever dared to sit next to
me since my parents’ death. I couldn’t help it. I had to touch her. I darted my eyes at her hand a few times. And then… carefully I ran my fingers over hers, up her arm, over
her shoulder, her neck. When I ran them down her back, she yelped. I jerked away.
“Don’t hurt me!” I squealed, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t…” she cut me off.
“Rhian, Rhian. Why would I ever think of laying a hand on you? Why would that thought even cross your mind?”
She said to me softly.
“Because, Eithne. I am scared. All of the times you have touched me today, they were different from anything
that I had ever experienced before. Your touches are kind and loving. Warm and gentile. I- I don’t deserve that. All I’ve ever known is how to survive. Yes, Ms. Keyll beat
me, but so did Anna. Eithne, she didn’t love me. She never did. She could get so mad. Then, she’d throw things and she’d hit me. She’d take it all out on me and show no
remorse. And Chris he… did horrid tings to Anna and I. But you are different. It’s just; I’ve never known a kind touch. Ever.”
I felt something wet hit my hand. I looked up and saw her staring blankly into the fire; tears were streaming down her face. It was then that I came to a very strong
realization. Here, it was ok to cry. Here, I could be myself and not get beaten for it.
I felt something soft touch my cheek. I saw Eithne pulling away from my face. She did the same thing to the
tears on my hand. A tender kiss.
“Why did you….” I could not bring myself to finish the sentence.
“Because, even when you are feeling down and hopeless, I will always be there for you, no matter what.
And, everyone needs someone to kiss away their tears.” She said softly. At that moment, I knew I was home. And then, I smiled. For the first time… in two years. I smiled.
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