The Ultimate Promise
[Memory]The window gave a short squeal as his fingers trembled along the edge of the window’s bottom, pressure pushing the pane of glass up inch by inch. His breath burst the air in a cool wave of silky white to emphasize the cool air swimming around him as he struggled to open the old window. A short humph peeled the silence out of the air as the window gave way and jumped up into the open position. The boy peered through the room for a minute, his eyes grazing over the sharp features of the girl frantically closing the door within the room. The edge of his lips curved up slowly as a short burst of red coated his cheek. It’s cute how she is so nervous about me being here. His eyes remained on her as she moved about the room in a scurry. He wasn’t all too sure why he didn’t enter the room, but part of him knew he was just as frightened as her. His hands held a slight shake and he could already feel the thin sheen of sweat beading up on the back of his neck. He swiftly ran his hand through his hair and back towards his neck to sweep away the building visual of his nerves going haywire. They knew very little of each other and despite him being fairly confident around people, he could not help but reflect the fear that she so clearly carried about being close to people. She was just so fragile, always hunched over with her nose in a book or her body crammed into a corner of a bus seat. He very rarely saw her speaking to anyone and when approached by someone on the bus, her eyes appeared to grow wider and her hands were quick to fumble at her clothes as if to find a way to disappear into her own pockets. She was quiet and unsure of herself around new people, but she spoke with the confidence of one who had experience. It never made sense when she appeared so confused and distraught, but she was able to answer with all the security of an overly confident adult. Her personality barely even fit her. It swung in different directions and puzzled him. “Why are you staring at me?” Her voice was faint, and shallow as if she was trying to use as little sound as possible. A second glided by before her figure straightened and her shoulders squared, the look on her face strengthening into that of confidence, “Just come in already. You can’t watch a movie from out there, Colin.” Colin gave a short laugh as he shortened himself enough to hop through the window, “You underestimate my abilities, Syd.” Colin paused his search of her room to glance back towards her, and immediately he had to hold in a belt of laughter after spotting the look of disgust growing upon her face from hearing the nickname he had given her. Her name was Sydney, but it seemed a bit too girly for him. She wasn’t the defined stereotypical girl; her clothing choices were relaxed, she wore the bare minimum when it came to makeup, and from his knowledge she had never hung out with friends after school. He had been staring again. His blush deepened as his eyes switched down towards the carpet as he moved forward to sprawl out on her bed. A soft smile caressed his lips as he patted the spot beside him, “What movie is it?” His voice was casual, but held a bit of hesitation on the first word as he choked down his embarrassment. Sydney moved to the edge of the bed, slowly crawling onto it and positioning herself on the edge before switching her attention to the lit television set at the bed’s end. Her fingers flopped about on the blanket as she searched for the remote, “Delivery Man.” Her thumb pressed down on the main button before freezing a second later as another hand touched hers. Colin could see her gulp and feel the shiver of her skin. His hand fell away from hers and he pushed himself further up on the bed. A cough traced his throat and was followed by a short burst of words, “What’s it about?” Colin ran his eyes over the girl as she pushed through the awkward moment to explain.
[Reality] A gasp glided across his tongue and pushed past his teeth as Colin felt his knees buckle from beneath him. Tears speckled his vision and made his sight go blurry as he bunched his fists around the thin shirt. A wail broke through his loud breathing and paused at his clenched teeth before sliding out in a groan. She can’t be gone. His thoughts were a mess as he crouched among the bed of flowers. The scent was sweet and rolled across his tongue in a jumble of honey and freshly cut grass. It perfectly matched the scent of her skin. It was too perfect.
[Memory] Colin leaned in to brush his hand across her cheek, a smile curving his lips as the hair was swept behind her ears. “I think I’m falling for you, Syd.” His eyes lowered as the words fell from his lips. A soft pressure touched the skin on his neck and his eyes rose to meet hers. “I think I am too.” Eyelashes fluttered shut and he could feel her lips soft against his, fear and uncertainty fighting with need in the same moment. It felt like clouds and tasted of the chocolate strawberries she adored so much.
[Reality] Colin cut his hand through the flowers, rose quickly and swung out with his legs as he struggled to contain the anger bubbling in the back of his throat and causing a gruff growl-like noise to surface. The flowers crunched beneath his feet as their spines cracked and the fresh juice within their stems spilled. The expanse of flowers slowly diminished into a plot of pebbles before breaking away into a stream. His shoes slowly filled with the cool water as he trudged into its depths. A gasp spilled out of his jaws as the cold hit his socks and built up a shiver up his legs and into his spine. His knees buckled and he fell forward into the water, allowing the water to coat his hair as he shoved himself further in. The water swished over his face and pressed against his eyelids as he broke the seal of his lips to let out a strangled yell. The noise was stolen from him by the water’s surface, which bubbled with his breathe.
[Memory]Her hair was in knots, twisted together and coated in a thin layer of grease. Her eyes were clouded and misty, while her face was smudged with red splotches. Colin ran his fingers across her cheek to collect the stream of tears as he bent down to crouch at her side. “Don’t worry about it Syd. It’ll be okay.” His voice was faint and unsteady, broken apart by the fit of distress he was holding in so poorly. “Don’t worry about it. I’m here. I’ll always be with you.”
[Reality] His head broke the surface of the water and his lungs opened wide for the oxygen that plummeted down his throat and widened his chest. “I’m so sorry.” His voice was stricken and his words flopped over each other in haste, while he flopped towards the edge of the stream, pulling himself out of the water slowly. “I should’ve been there.” Salty tears broke the sheen of water that covered his face. His fingers dug into the pebbles below him, scattering them and creating a soft rustle as they knocked against each other. His chest dropped towards the ground as his arms collapsed beneath him. And he stayed there for a few moments with his face squished against the pebbles as they dented his pale cheeks. His breath was short, strained and it pressed into the rocks.
[Memory] Darkness hit his eyes as he pushed the window up and crept into her room. A small light was shining from across the room and was perched in the corner on her bookcase. “Sydney? Is everything okay?” Colin moved slowly as he bumped along the edge of her bed and moved around towards the rug that was spread out near the corner of her room beside the closet. He could hear a loud breathing from within the closet and he pushed deeper into the room before switching his phone on to check the closet cavity. The light blinked on and casted a ghostly glare over her cheeks and on her wrists that shined red. A gasp broke his lips as he moved forward to hold her arm out towards him, her name a croak on his lips, “Syd.” His fingers slid across the blood and pressed into the wound as his free hand searched for the knife that he found to be dropped on the floor beside her. Once the knife had been tossed across the room, his hand moved back towards the phone he had dropped and pressed each of the three emergency numbers in with extra force. Tears brimmed his eyes and tripped over the lids to skid down his face and dot the edge of his gaping mouth. His lower lip wobbled as he struggled to lose the shake in his hands. His eyes rose up as he spoke quickly into the phone, and skimmed over the tears that slid down her cheeks. The space closed up between them as Sydney moved closer, nudging against his chest as he swept his phone arm around her and gave her a squeeze, “I’m here Syd, it’ll be okay. The ambulance will be here in a few minutes. It’ll be alright.”
[Reality] His face rose away from the pebbles as he scrambled to his knees and started to crawl away from the shore line. The pebbles pressed into his hands and split the skin as he slammed them down, curled his fingers into the rocks, and unbunched his fists to grab ahold of the ground as he thrust himself forward. A wail circulated through his throat as he pulled himself along until his hands met the soft blades of grass. His eyes reached towards the sky as he glanced up towards the large oak tree standing tall before him. A few thick threads of rope hung limply from the shortest branch.
[Memory] Colin gave a faint smile as he dashed through the field of flowers, laughter piercing his lips as he glided through the thick expanse of flowers. His fingers lowered into his pocket as he checked the phone once more to graze his eyes over the text from Sydney that asked him to meet her at the big oak tree by the stream. The phone slid into his pocket and he returned to his jog through the field. His shoes skidded across the pebbles and his pace changed as he worked his way slowly towards the edge of the water. His knees bent and he jumped out and across the water only to plop into the cool water. It engulfed him as he fell into the water and broke away from it quickly to splash his way towards the edge. The laugh that played along his lips slowly died down as he pulled himself out of the water and glanced towards the oak tree only a few yards away. His eyes swung over it before falling back onto his drenched jeans, then straight back onto the tree with a jerk of his skull. A body floated in the air before him with a rope tightened around the throat, a relaxed smile lacing the lips of a drooping face. “Syd.”
[Reality] “You wanted me to know first,” he choked out. His body straightened as he scrambled to his feet, his hand shooting out to caress the bark on the tree’s side. A slow sigh drenched his lips as he tugged on the rope curled up like a snake in his bag. The rope flared out and jumped over the shortest branch before falling back down towards him. He snatched at the rope’s end and formed a loose knot at the end before tugging at it so that the knot was tightened by the time it had reached the branch. The rope hung close towards his face as he tied a second knot. His lips hovered beside the threads as he breathed shallowly, “I’ll always be with you, Syd. I wasn’t there then, but I won’t let that happen again.” His words croaked out between sobs as he climbed up onto a branch of a shorter tree nearby. The rope looped his head and formed a snug bond against his throat as he held himself up on the branch. “Not again.” Colin glanced up towards the sky and gave a short smile, letting his lips quiver as they held up at the edges, “I love you, Syd.” His feet left the branch and his body plummeted towards the grass. The rope jerked. The wind brushed his cheeks and a gasp fell from his lips. Colin peeled his eyes open as the pain subsided and his feet bounced off of a cushion beneath him. Fingers were splayed out on his neck and icy blue eyes were fixated on him, “Syd.” The girl gave a short scrunch of her nose and her lips rose at the edge of her mouth, “I never understood why you loved that nickname so much.” Colin felt a small smile work its way onto his lips as he leaned towards her, lengthening the time it took so that he could see her eyes flutter closed as she awaited him. He lifted his head to plant a kiss on her forehead and slowly moved down to her nose. His lips lowered down and skimmed over hers before planting more firmly, while he pulled her into his arms. After a moment, her lips broke away from his and her forehead bumped into his lightly, “You kept your promise.” A sad smile latched onto Colin’s lips as he pulled his head back to gaze down at her, “I wasn’t there that day.” His voice was a whisper, but it was as good as a yowl here in this expanse of light. His eyes lifted as Sydney’s lips rose, “but you’re here now and you’re all I’ll ever need.”