Here’s a piece of writing from my short fiction class! Enjoy. x
It’s a word uttered at a parting of the ways. A sense of finality – not necessarily that one might not encounter each other again, but that – for the time being – that period of time has come to a close.
It’s a decision to make – a hard one. One has to analyse the consequences of it all. Will everything be okay? Will we be okay? Do I want him to survive when it’s all said and done? Will I survive?
But how does one come to such a decision? How does something end? A conversation, a story, a life— it can be mutual. Somebody can take initiative. Or, in some cases, it can just be inevitable… An inevitable goodbye. An inevitable end. Sometimes a person can only put up with running for so long before they have to embrace that sense of inevitability. Me and him. Together, like always. But this time different…
Though goodbye isn’t necessarily a bad thing, is it? One goodbye leads to a new hello. Or is that just wishful thinking? Is it worth it if there isn’t that thought of a new hello? Can a hello even be without a goodbye to chase it?
Oh, I already know the answer to that last one. The goodbye that is left hanging always scares off the hello. It makes the hello unreachable. Sometimes it even kills it. Goodbyes don’t like to be given, but hellos need to be embraced. Sometimes the goodbye is much too strong. Sometimes it’s much too selfish. Sometimes it doesn’t care…
Strength is needed to be able to reach a goodbye – to be able to say it. Without strength we will always surround ourselves with familiarity – but for what? To be safe? But what if you’re already not safe? That familiarity is used as a reason to not say goodbye – to go and claim nostalgia is an excuse. Because if it hurts you, if it kills you, is not saying goodbye still worth it?
Saying goodbye is hard, I know it is. I’ve had to say it plenty of times before. To my parents, to a feeling of home, to safety, to security. And it was never easy… Not when you didn’t even realise until later that it was goodbye. But is it easier or harder to say those words when you know it is the end?
I don’t know the answer to that. Not yet – not when I haven’t deliberately brought things to a close. Of course I haven’t. Goodbye may be necessary but it’s not something to be rushed. Not when you’ve known the person your whole life. He’s been there through everything….
He has been the reason for everything.
But what if you’re saying goodbye to your purpose? Is it still worth it then? How do you know what your new purpose is? Do you get one? My purpose has been to always be with him. My brother. To make sure that he could do what he needed to do – even if what he needed to do was wrong, even if it hurt people, even if it took away from my own happiness… Though is my happiness more important than the one who took care of me? But if this all never ends what will become of me? If I do end this, will I even still be me?
Will he forgive me for doing this?
Does he love me?
… Do I still love him?
But how do I decide—
Is it worth it—
How to choose—
Can I do it—
Will it be okay—
A whisper came, though in the silence it seemed like a yell. It was brief and gave little time for the young man to react. Though he did and it was in a small way; a quirk of his lips. A small smile that conveyed so much. He was ready – not for the end, but for her to finally come to her senses – and he could sense that it was now. That inevitable goodbye. He watched as the only person who had stood by him – his sister – gripped his cherished knife in her hands. Her eyes were bright and alive – he took great care to note that in his last moments – as she pushed the knife into his throat, something she had seen him do many times before to countless people, forcing as much of her strength into it as she could. The death wasn’t instantaneous which was expected with her lack of skill. It seemed he was in for the long haul of bleeding out. He could have laughed then but all that came was a strangled sound.
It wasn’t hard for him to tell why she was doing this. This moment seemed placed in time. Inevitable. He destroyed everything she loved and he did it with a purposefulness that made everybody question his love for her. He had even destroyed the person she loved. Oh, and he didn’t regret that even if that was the catalyst for this moment. She was his, after all. He looked after her, he made sure she stayed alive, and so her whole life should be revolved around him. It was all almost ironic though. He had been pushing her for a long time to finally murder someone and in the end, she picked him to be that person. Funnily enough, that made this the one moment that he could have told her that he was proud. The words that she wanted to hear. But in the moment he could say them, he wouldn’t. Even now he couldn’t give her something that made her happy. That would set her free.
She would have to live with this decision and that almost made dying worth it. This was all his own fault and though he was proud, he didn’t want his life to end now. Dying was a cruel fate when he felt he could better the world. Better his sister. So for her to have to live every second knowing that she had killed him – it brought a sense of smugness to him. Brief in the pain, but it was there. Yes, if he was going to die then it to be in the way that his killer would never forget him.
The time seemed to stretch on but his eyes didn’t close – he didn’t even flinch. He needed to read every emotion that flittered across her face just like he would have done if he were the killer. Anger, sadness, disgust, shock and then finally, relief. She sagged with the weight of what she had done, falling over him. He would have wrapped his arms around her if he could have managed it. But everything was growing heavier and he knew that the time was almost here. Instead he inclined his head forward just slightly and waited until tear-filled eyes met his. It was then that he barely managed to mutter the words that would do as she did to him – kill her.
It’s a word uttered proceeding something. A beginning. A chance to start something new. It comes before a goodbye, but it can also come after. Hello – goodbye – hello – goodbye – hello. A never ending cycle.
I hope it’s worth it. Killing your brother… It’s not an easy thing to do. But with that new hello, who knows? Maybe there’s something good in store for me next. That’s probably the best thing about a hello – you don’t know what fills the distance between it and the goodbye.
©Re’Sha Garthwaite 2017