The sky has been gray for a week, mourning along with me. I don't get out of bed that often, only to occasionally eat and go to the restroom. The only person that has seen me on a daily basis is Maria, and most days I wave her away. It's miserable, this depression the whole house has sunk into. Even Papa is too grief-stricken to carry out his duties and instead spends most of his time staring out the window in his office, silent tears dripping off his chin. I haven't seen much of Clarence lately which is unlike him, he's never left me in times of need before, but I haven't seen much of anyone lately. Today even Maria hasn't come to check in on me. Just me and my misery.
I sit on the chair in front of my bureau, staring at myself in the mirror. My face has become gaunt, dark circles reside under my eyes. My pink, bow-shaped lips are cracked and my prized golden hair, the envy of every girl for miles around, lies limp and tangled on my shoulders. I really shouldn't be doing this. I am a strong, willful woman that should not have relied on her mother so much. I wanted to prove to the world that I was not weak, so why not start with proving it to myself?
I force myself to stand and drag my feet to the door to my balcony. A ray of inspiration hits my heavy heart as I stare at the view I used to love so much, but just like as the sliver of sunlight in the sky outside, almost as soon as it came it was gone, leaving my chest emptier and colder than it was before. It takes energy to hope, you know.
Someone knocks on my door and, without turning, I call for them to come in. The person is quiet in entering and I am thankful for that: I have not heard anything but my own tearless sobs and the cries of forlorn birds for a while and honestly I like it better that way. Clarence places an understanding hand on my shoulder. We stare outside together, his hand moving to my arm. He gently pulls me to his side and I half-bury my face in his neck, feeling the tears sting my eyes. I have held them back too long and they are beginning to turn to acid. That is something my mother used to say. If you hold tears back too long they will turn to acid and burn you inside. No one ever took her seriously, but right now I can't help but think she was never more right. I give in to the memory and let my salty sadness slide down my cheeks while I sob softly. Clarence's face holds it's own, but the top of my head is damp despite his expression. There are too many things being held back and I clutch at him desperately.
"Why her?" I cry.
"Why couldn't it have been Papa? Or me? We are the only fools here..."
Clarence doesn't respond, but for a second his composition breaks. We hold each other until my sobs die down, until Clarence stops shaking. Feeling exhausted, but finally relieved of my burden I tiptoe up to kiss Clarence gently on the cheek.
"Thank you," I whisper. Sometimes I wonder what ever I would do without him.
I try to break away but he holds my chin captive, forcing me to look in his eyes. His breath is cool on my cheek and for some reason my heart starts to thump loudly beneath my skin. Our noses graze and I am painfully aware of his fingers on my chin and curled firmly around my arm. He leans just a bit closer, eyebrows slightly furrowed, and every hair on my neck stands up. Now I am so close as to see the brown flecks in his gray eyes. I can sense his lips not even an inch away from my slightly parted own. Suddenly I realize his intent and I pull away, hard. Stumbling over my own feet, I fall to the ground while he looks on, frozen in place. We stare at each other, I with a horrified look upon my face, him with a look of hurt. I don't know why I feel betrayed, but I do. The feeling eventually makes way for shame. Clarence leaves the room without another word and I am left to weep my sorrow into the unresponsive air.