I remember the last time I kissed her. And I remember the first time I kissed her. You remember these things – like pieces of string, tying themselves to you, willing you not to let them go, not to let the wind envelope them in its cold embrace. The wind was out when I met her. I was at the place I always am, the very top of the hill outside the Church. Sometimes, the birds and the leaves come and sit by me, comforting me with their simplistic presence, when I am so alone that loneliness itself is my closest companion. It was like that in September. The night was near as I lay there, listening to the sounds of the village. Screams of internal battles that, bless their souls, could never be won. When I opened my eyes, it struck me that I was not alone, and truth be told, it scared me. I am always alone. And as she whispered in my ears, I felt my eyes open for the very first time.
“You feel it too?” She said, in a voice so quiet, yet so loud, I wondered if it had happened at all.
I opened my mouth to speak, but my silence told it all.
“There will soon be none of us left at all.” Said she, she with the eyes so pure, I wonder if she had handpicked them from the riverside.
“They are simply cleansing the town…” I said, thinking it would be her opinion, wanting so desperately for her to agree, but her eyes clouded over and she frowned.
“They took my mother. She was innocent – they made me watch her, they made me tie the ropes, they made me look at her whilst they, whilst those cowards, those bastards…” she stopped, and I reached out my hand to her.
“Who are you?” I asked her.”
“What a question.” She said, “Well, my name is Elsie. But who I am? That is something entirely different. I am a silence so loud it cannot be contained, I have a mind so bright, it cannot be painted. I have a heart so unfathomably large, I cannot love for fear of never letting go.” She looked at me, then. Really, truly looked at me, as if she saw me. I had never been seen before. Nobody had ever looked past my hazelnut eyes – perhaps people were afraid they’d crack altogether. For that is what they call me: they call me fragile. I hear it in passing, but I know not what it means, or what they say. Perhaps it is a name, perhaps it is not. But I am simple, I do not understand what people say sometimes, and when my parents passed on to a better place, I began hearing the word ‘fragile’. Now I live with my. She cares for me, but I care for the grass and the trees, and the way my parents wave at me when I stare into the sky for enough time. It makes me happy.
“Who are you?” Elsie asked me.
“My name is…” Elsie stopped me.
“I want to know who you are – who you are, where your heart belongs, what you think about, where your mind would come in a race.” Elsie never found out my name, for after that day my name did not matter. And I liked it so.
“I don’t know.” I expected Elsie to fuss, to tut, to make a judgement, but to my surprise, she did not.
“You’re lucky. I wish I didn’t know who I was. The discovery to finding out who you are is quite rocky, and you stumble a lot, but once you have a hand to clasp on to when it goes wrong, it’s quite fun.” She went to sit next to me. “And I will be your hand.” And that’s when I kissed her.