Sunday, 6 August 2017

When It Begins To Fester - 03

“Look, I get why you’re here. You’re hoping that somewhere, deep down inside me I haven’t forgotten about you.” He said the entire thing quietly.

“No that’s not it.” But he gives me stern look.

“My mum, dad, Dominic, and all my army buddies all thought the same. They all came thinking ‘surely he’ll remember me, we were so close’. A week later they’re all gone apart from Dom, but he gets it, he’s a smart lad which is why he’s still here, helping me feel normal.” He emphasizes that last part.

“I-I know.” I choke up a little once more, he sighs and gives me a hug. “Stupid asshole,” I mutter and he chuckles sadly as well. I try to take a deep breath but everything just smells of him, a deep musky, rich wood smell. We break away and I take another glance at his face, it isn’t unblemished. He’s starting to get a dark shadow across his jawline and neck, he probably keeps it there to hide all the little scars that appear to dot him now. I see him for what he is now, probably not for the months of surgery, healing and rehab it took him to get him walking and talking.

“How did you get injured?” I say it so quietly I almost don’t hear it, be Eric bobs his head, nodding like it’s one of the most natural

questions in the world. He pauses and takes a large gulp of his sweet tea and sighs.

“I got caught in the blast radius of an RPG-7…” He paused and looked at my face then elaborated, “A rocket propelled grenade launcher, the thing they use to take out armored vehicles.”

My jaw dropped, how the fuck did he survive that. “I-I’m sorry Eric, I didn’t know.”

“Don’t worry about it, I am technically alive.” I watch his lips curl into a mirthless smile as he depreciates himself and stares into his drink trying to work out if will predict his future.

I feel my lips tremble as words flow out “What do you mean ‘technically’, you are alive.”

“I feel like a shell, a husk, empty.” He pauses wanting to say more but he catches himself before he truly falls, “Sorry, I’m just being melodramatic.” He looks at me with that same fake smile.

“No Eric, you’re not. You cannot downplay this as being a fuckin’ teenage drama, you got blown up for Christ’s sake!” My voice rising in volume and pitch, it’s subtle but I see tremors of emotion in his hand, he is barely keeping himself together.

“Amelia, I think you should leave.” I open my mouth to defend myself, he has never kicked me out before. I give him a hard stare to show my unwillingness to leave, I wouldn’t leave normally if I was being asked like this. But he needs his space and Dominic is here with him.

“Fine” It comes out as a little growl, I make a point of finishing my drink before I leave but then I soon hear the door softly click behind me and I release a breath. Putting my hands to my head I wonder what I can do.

‘I suppose I’ll have to come back then.’ I aimlessly give out a coffee bean bitter smile.

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