Smile, Though Your Heart Is Breaking
Hellooooo (Marcus Butler reference ;D) so... I'm so sorry for taking so horrifically long (I realise that I have to find a new excuse, I'll make one up for next time)! At least the story is longer too ;) and things are looking up, up, up! :D
I awoke to the sound of the door slamming. I looked up, alarmed, worried, and realised Sam was no longer in my arms. She must have gotten up.
There was no answer.
I jumped up, scrambling out of her bed and ran to the door but she was gone. She must have sprinted down the stairs. I looked outside and saw her rear-lights disappear in the morning mist. I sat down on the bed and turned looking at the clock. 6 AM. My eyes drifted to the ground...a note! I picked it up swiftly, unfolding it as I did. It must have fallen down when I got up so quickly.
"Dear Tom, I'm sorry, I can't do it anymore. I can see that I'm hurting you, pushing you too far, and I just can't live with myself because of that. I'm dying and there's nothing you can do to stop it." I sat down, my lips shaking.
"Please, don't follow me. I will be staying with Zoe for the remainder of my time. Thank you for your kindness, your love, your trust and your forgiveness. You made my life a happy one...Sam." I shook my head, slowly.
"No. No, I'll save you." I muttered and got up, slipping on my jeans and pulling on a shirt and jumper. I passed the kitchen without a second glance. I couldn't eat, no. I had to go. I had an idea. One Sam would not necessarily agree with...
Ahh the relief, and yet the guilt of leaving everything behind. My life, my love, my job. My everything. Gripping the steering wheel a little tighter, pressing down the gas pedal a little more, I drove on, abandoning everything I had ever loved.
"It'll feel better in a minute." I told myself. "You're fine."
I turned on the radio and was bombarded with a series of love songs; every channel seemed to have turned against me. I switched from one to the next and back again. And then a song came on that I hadn't anticipated but did not turn off. I hadn't heard it before. The lyrics struck me immediately and the melody matched the melancholy mood of my heart.
You light the spark in my bonfire heart.
And I saw Tom before me, his green eyes, his strong build, his soothing voice.
My bonfire heart.
A felt a sob rise in my throat and tried desperately to suppress it. I had to leave him. I had to.
My eyes gave in, little streams of salt water flowed over my high cheek bones and down over my lips to the end of my chin. As I cried, wiping the the tears from my skin, my cruel mind played a slideshow of all the memories. It fabricated the last one though; Tom standing by the window, his eyes misty, watching me drive away. It couldn't have happened, I had left him fast asleep...or had I?
I coughed and tried to regain my composure, roughly dabbing at my eyes to stop them crying. I told myself to calm down.
"Breathe. Breeeeaaaathe." but that just reignited my longing. It was what he had always said. Breathe. Breathe, my bonfire heart...
"Calm down!" I shook myself and focused on the road...
Ok. I was back.
I switched the channel and finally found one that was playing modern indie. What a rare find, I smiled weakly to myself and leaned into my car seat. I turned on the air conditioning and felt the tear streams dry up, leaving behind salt residue that caused my skin to tighten. I gently wiped away the salt, always with my left hand on the steering wheel, and exhaled a shaky breath. I was almost there.
I slowed my speed, lifting my foot off the gas, and parked in a neat little spot just right for my Fiesta. I got out of it, pacing myself, not wanting to seem to eager but also not wanting to take too much time. I knocked lightly on the door. It took about thirty seconds before she opened the door, a sunny smile on her face that faded a little into sympathy when she saw me, my expression. The state I was in, she must have thought I was homeless. I was, in a sense.
"Oh Sam..." she looked at me with sad eyes. "Come here."
She embraced me, rubbing my back reassuringly.
"Zoe, I'm fine." I smiled, sniffling a little and fiddling with my cardigan.
"Sam, you don't have to put a brave face on for me. I know you're dying on the inside." she squeezed my arm in an effort to calm me but her words struck me as so very true.
"Quite right." I said absentmindedly. Her hand swung up to her mouth.
"No, I-I'm so sorry!"
"It's fine, I've accepted it. I won't put up a fight anymore..." I said carefully, watching her reaction.
"What exactly are you trying to say?...Do you want to die?" she looked sternly at me, her eyes dark gems in the light.
"No, I've just accepted that I will."
"Forget it, you're not going AWOL in this war." she said, a smile creeping onto her lips as she realised the metaphor was very fitting.
"This is going to be like army training all over again isn't it?" I asked sarcastically, my spirits lifting despite this. Finally I would have something else to focus on.
"Your own personal boot camp." she winked and I smiled.
"Alright then, bring it."
"Good, we'll start with a good run. You go out for an hour and jog, while I start cooking. You'll be famished when you get back."
"I'm famished now!"
"Uh-uh, run first." she grinned and opened the door for me. I got my duffel bag and unpacked it upstairs in Zoe's spare room. I changed quickly and stuffed my hair into a pony tail as I bounded down the stairs. As I reached the bottom, my eyes caught sight of the mantle piece above her chimney. There were pictures of a teenager and a child. But Zoe didn't have children, did she?
"Zoe?" I called, my eyes still studying the pictures.
"Yes?" she came out of the kitchen.
"Who's are these?" I looked at her and saw her grin.
"My boyfriend's. He's coming around for brunch."
"Oh." I smiled, a little surprised. How much of my best friend's life had I missed if I didn't even know who she was dating?
"Go! Gawp later. He's a real looker, you'll see." she winked, laughing and already turning back to the food.
And I left, getting out my phone and selecting some music to run to. I chose Smother by Daughter, despite the fact that I did not want to wallow in self-pity. And off I went. Thinking. Running. Breathing...
I returned, after an hour and 12 minted had passed, and knocked on the door. It was opened by a tall man with a dark complexion and friendly eyes that studied me.
"You must be Sam." he smiled at me warmly.
"Yes." I attempted to smile while he shuffled to the side to let me in. I hurried past so he would not have to smell my body odour, and ran up the stairs. I pulled on fresh clothes so that I would look at least slightly presentable and dabbed on some rouge so I wouldn't look so deathly pale. I finally smeared on some mascara and then hurried downstairs again. He was in the kitchen with Zoe, adding the last touches to the food. In that instant the phone rang. I walked over, picking it up as I went.
"Hello? Zoe can't come to the phone right now-"
"Sam? It's me, Tom. Listen, I'm at the hospital. I had an idea and it works. I just asked her and she's a match. Your mother wants to give you half her liver!"...