Silver Parachutes or Something

"Far below, I can just make out Finnick, struggling to hang on as three mutts tear at him. As one yanks back his head to take the death bite, something bizarre happens. It's as if I'm Finnick, watching images of my life flash by. The mast of a boat, a silver parachute, Mags laughing, a pink sky, Beetee's trident, Annie in her wedding dress, waves breaking over rocks. Then it's over."


4. Mags Laughing

Mags had this laugh that was like sand between your toes. It grated but in a nice way. If I’d wanted to dislike it I probably could have done.

I hated laughter and it would have been easy to hate hers too.

I hated laughter because, when the women in the Capitol did it, it was cruel and arrogant and superficial and because, when Annie did it, it was vacant. The Capitol’s laugh was like a bitter wind; cold and meaningless and metallic. It was expectant or it was mocking and it meant that something was expected from me. Finnick Odair, beautiful, they’d croon and then laugh like they didn’t know that their adorations were barbed hooks that lodged through my windpipe and stopped me from breathing all night.

Annie’s laugh was like an old net – knots all loosed, twine all worn – the whole thing unravelling in my hands. Or maybe it was like the noise water makes when the moon pushes it reluctantly onto the sand and it breaks; unsure of what it’s doing.

Mags’ laugh was sincere and it was real. It meant things and it reminded me of what laughing had once been. Sometimes it was too harsh and sometimes it felt like it was wearing away all the roughened and hardened edges of my heart but it was always happy and true and generous in its intention.  Mags saved my life more than any silver parachute. She saved my life because she saved Annie and therefore she saved the person I wanted to live for.

I know that I sound as false as all my expensive nightmares, with their dirt-cheap, filthy-bodied secrets, but ‘Seeing Annie’ and ‘Being Alive’ are one and the same thing. They have never been mutually exclusive and I cannot make words sound good enough to describe that. Secrets might have been my trade, but I’ve always been a fisher-boy not a wordsmith.

I’m not philosophical enough to try describing love.

I never really believed that love was real when I was nine. By the time I was twelve and too old to be free enough for it, I knew it existed alright. 

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