The weight of this shame was numbing. My head felt as though a herd of elephants had trampled through and left a trail of destruction in its wake. The ever growing icy air surrounded me like a sharp blanket; dozens of nails reaching out to lacerate my skin. The frosty ground of the park was now crisp and finely dusted with a layer of snow; like the finishing touch on a cake. Even down to the occasional blemish where feet and paws had almost glided over the grass, only the odd marker to show their presence.
I reluctantly lifted my head and looked out on my own slice of tranquillity. An adolescent robin, displaying its bright red breast feathers, perched on a flimsy branch close to where I was slumped. He stretched his wings and his paean song welcomed the dawn. His chorus was soon joined by others sopranos as they coaxed the morning sun to rise. My mood almost lifted, but the intense circumstances caused my shoulders to cave even more; almost too where I curl in on myself like a hermit crab.
Running my hands through my limp curls, I looked towards the little band on my finger; the golden weave not worn, the shine still persisting. I knew I had to do this for him, I just hoped that I could see his smile again.
The placid ice was now solid, reeds as rigid as soldiers. The coating of snow acted as their armour. Grass curled inwards, creating a cocoon of warmth. Icicles hung from the weeping branches, forming crystal chandeliers. Light rebounding and causing the carpeted path to become a dance floor, just missing the drunkard people to create the party.
Memories started to flood my senses as I re-lived the start of this mess. I knew those last two drinks would ruin him. The screaming match in the car was the result; he shouldn’t have taken the money off the two doormen... At least that’s what I thought they were.
Now all he does is sleep, machines helping him through every heartbeat and wheeze of breath. My hand found my hair again, and I couldn’t seem to untangle my stick-like fingers from the curls. The memory of his shredded and mangled body, carved into my eyes. The smell of antiseptic they doused on him as they started to operate; the ongoing sound of the beep which droned on, screaming at me that his heart had stopped; the final feeling of being alone still relentless, even though I knew he was safe.
The piercing ringing in my ears made me startle back to the present. My hands managed to declaw themselves from my scalp, only to then fumble with my ears, like trying to fumble with a rickety, relic of a radio. It was then that I noticed the isolated feeling that suffocated me. The ruby red robin had scarpered, leaving no tune and a blank canvas. The chandeliers seemed to have worn and collected layers of dust, as the sun was ambushed by dismal clouds. The trailing branches now seemed stiff, rigid as bones. A bitter blast wrapped its way around my aching shoulders, encasing me in a smothering embrace. I wasn’t alone. Not anymore...
His eyes were deep black pits, no possible escape if you fell in. The tousled mane of brown invited you in with a false sense of security, but clinging on to you with a vice like grip. The heavy leather jacket that adorned his shoulders was battered and torn, the elbow faint and patchy. His skin looked translucent and pasty, not the prime look I had seen when he ran us off the road. A thick vine of mud wound its way over his dark jeans; darker patches now blowing away like ashes in the wind. His trainers were now lost through the entwining roots.
Around him animals seemed to cower away, plants retracting their blooms, the sun now seeking the cover behind the clouds, no longer resisting the mask. Tinted sunglasses covered most of his face, blocking out all emotion he could attempt to show, allowing the stony expression to stay glued to his face. With only a small flick of his head, the gesture was enough for me to go. As simple as that, with no exchange of words or even a grunt, the shake was enough.
Quickly stuffing my phone in to my worn satchel, I slung it over my shoulder, the tight strap reminding me of a collar. I had become his puppet, only doing what he wanted. Spinning on my heels I looked at my last memory of pure beauty, I hung my head and hastily made my way to his side. Making sure to keep my head bowed, I followed him like a puppy, accepting my fate.