That Simple

January 3, 2012
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Katniss's clear violet eyes gazed up at mine with so much intensity…so much love; at any other moment, any other situation, having her look at me that way would have filled me with emotion that I knew I should not be feeling, feelings that in a game like this, would cost me my life. Any other day, I would have loved for her to stare at me like this but knowing that it might very well be the last time I see those eyes is just too much to bare. In the kind of world I live in, there is no time for these kinds of thoughts. Anything and anyone you love will at one point be ripped away from you. There is no time for daydreaming about what life could be like with Katniss Everdeen. Getting lost in thoughts of what will never be can turn you into a soft and susceptible person; District 12 doesn't need anymore of those. None of the districts do, really. The Capitol has already turned us into puppets- controlled our lives. What we eat, what we do, where we go is all their choice. And if there is anything I can do that defies the Capitol, (without getting my dear ones killed) I’ll do it. And by holding these poisonous berries out for all of Panem to see, I’m showing the Capitol that I’m done playing by their rules. After 74 years of Hunger Games, starving men and women alike, families forced to watch their children fight to the death on live TV, knowing that the odds are not in their favor, it will all change. I refuse to kill Katniss, the only girl I’ve ever loved- even if it means my family will never live in poverty again, never miss another meal again. I wont do it. Besides, her family needs her more than mine needs me. Prim, her little sister, who has been forced to grow up too soon. Her mother, who already lost her husband in a mine explosion, wouldn't be able to deal with another loss. They need her. Without her, who would go beyond District Twelve's boundaries to hunt with Gale every morning? Who would trade at the Hob with Greasy Sae and my father? Gale, maybe. But he has his family to feed, too. I doubt he'd be able to even provide for his own family if Katniss does not come out of this alive.



It was this kind of thinking that made me realize that I must do anything and everything I can to save her from the other tributes, the Gamemakers, and most importantly, herself. I tried explaining to Katniss how she is needed back in District 12, that it shouldn't be me she's worrying for but she wouldn't listen. That’s why we're in this situation now.

She can’t kill me, and I cannot- no, will not kill her. So, here we stand, back-to-back, the only tributes left in the arena. We should be on our way home right now; that’s what they promised, but I knew it was too good to be true. It’s just how the games are. Every year, one boy and one girl from each district are selected at a reaping to represent their district in The Hunger Games. Never before have two tributes won the Games, but that’s what Claudius Templesmith, the announcer in The Games, told us halfway through; After many tributes had already slit the throats of their closest friends and starved themselves to death in an attempt to keep what was left of their humanity, they told us that two tributes can win if they are from the same district. But, when there was only me and Katniss left, they reversed it. How barbaric these Capitol people are.



My hands clench into fists at my side and the berries leak sticky syrup that slowly drips from my fingers. Just thinking about our situation saddens me. I can feel Katniss's shoulders tense against mine as she raises her right hand, which holds the berries, out in front of her and wraps her thin, bony fingers around my wrist with her left. This is it. This is the end. This is where Katniss and I end our lives by eating the berries. It’s the only way. And it’s that simple. One last time, I close my eyes and remember. I remember the day Katniss lay in my backyard…starving, ravenous, and skinny as a stick- dying. I remember the look in her eyes when I tossed that burnt piece of bread out for her. I remember the day she plucked a dandelion in the schoolyard and looked me right in the eye. I could see in her eyes that she was fighting an internal battle as to whether she should hand it to me or not. I remember hearing the desperation, the hopelessness in her voice when she volunteered to take her sister’s place in the Games. I remember the way Katniss's rough, calloused hand fit so well in mine that first day we stood outside the Capitol. And finally, I remember the way her lips felt against mine in the cave. I was clinging to her as if I was drowning and only she could keep me above water. I know that I should be thinking of my family in these last moments of my life but I cant. Katniss is all I can think of. Katniss is everywhere.



I’m brought back to reality as Katniss's hair whips violently against my cheek in the wind. A soft, quiet whimper escapes her throat but she quickly covers it with a cough. She's been crying. At least I can leave this world knowing that she loved me back. I lift up my left hand and unclench my fist. The berries lay half squished in my palm. "On the count of three?" she asks softly so that the hidden cameras don't pick up our voices. Her shoulders begin to tense against mine and I nod my head. "The count of three." I sigh as I turn around and press my lips to hers one last time.


I train my eyes on a Mockingbird unfurling its wings up in a tree as I prepare to slip one of the berries into my mouth. It’s so beautiful; it’s one of the only truly beautiful creatures in an arena full of death. "One." It slowly hops around on the end of the branch, testing its wings, preparing for flight. "Two." The bird was leaving this place, just like us; this place that reeked of fatality, blood, and putrid flesh. "Three!" I slip the berry into my mouth and am about to sink my teeth into it when Claudius Templesmith's voice rings in my ears, causing me to cringe in alarm. I hear the flapping of wings. The mockingbird has flown back into the safety of the tree. "Stop! Stop! Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to present the victors of the Seventy-fourth Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark! I give you- the tributes of District Twelve!"





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HayBale said...
Mar. 8, 2012 at 7:24 pm
Wow. Very, very good.
 
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