Snow topped with a Strawberry

December 2, 2010
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He awoke with his face soaked in sweat. He breathed faster and faster until he found himself, once again, gasping for air. His eyes were wide open, starring not at, but through the blanket that covers his legs. Flashes of his nightmare crept upon him until he shook them off. His shaking hand reached for the back of his head and he rubbed an imaginary bump just to the right of his left ear.

“That one felt real…” Adam closed his eyes, and remembered his father beating him when he was younger. He recalled the pain he felt when his back was forced against the wall by the constant kicking of his father’s work boots. He saw his mother in the background, knife in hand, prepared to cut his arms and legs up the moment he screamed. His father picked his ten year old body up and...
Adam shook the memories back to the closed up box in his mind. Even now, seven years later, he was never quite able to forget the horrors he had endured. He glanced at the small clock to the left of his bed resting on a nightstand, 5:30. It was a bit early to go over, but he figured she wouldn’t care. He sprung out of bed and quickly pulled a sweater over his still shaking body and threw on an old pair of dirty jeans. He raced down the stairs with keys in one hand and his sneakers in the other. When he opened the door and peered outside, he saw the small but cute house at the end of the block. Ever cautiously, he crept passed each house, taking great care to look every square inch of the entire street before proceeding anywhere further.
At long last, he reached the last house on the street, her house. He fumbled carelessly with his keys for a minute, looking at each one under the dim porch light. One by one, the keys were rejected until he reached the sixth key, which was only distinguishable among all the silver keys by a star drawn in Sharpie by the real owner of the key. Once opened, he crept through the house, passing room by room in complete darkness and silence, each step taken bringing the fear of the shadows alight in his heart. At once he stopped at a door, not quite at the end of the hall, only blocked from the end by a small towel closet on the opposite wall.
He opened the door and stepped inside, silently searching the room for anything that could possibly be hiding in the dark. When he feels safe, he takes off his sweater and drops it on the ground. After doing so, he grabs the comforter that lies on the bed and pulls it on top of its self across the bed. He paused before getting into the bed and slides himself to the side of a warm, moving, girl’s body. He pulls the comforter back across her and him and he wraps his arms around her small, thin waist.
“What’s wrong?” a groggy voice whispered out of the darkness. He watched her as she rubbed her eyes and wrapped her arms around his head, her hands weaving slowly through his soft silky hair. “Another nightmare?” He nods silently and pushes his face up against her neck. As he breathed slowly against her, he couldn’t help but catch a faint but obvious scent of something sweet with a hint of freshness; the same as always.
“Sunshine, I really wish they’d stop. Your aunt would do anything to see you smiling again, so would I.” When he didn’t respond, she laid her head back onto her pillow and held him to her until she fell back asleep. He watched her sleep for a moment, and cuddled up into her arm, closing his eyes. Although he knew he wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep, he tried to, knowing it would make her happy.
In the morning, he heard her mother coming down the hall to her room and waited. “Kemny dear, time to get up. Oh, hello Adam. I thought it was you I heard coming in last night. Those squeaky doors, you know…” She had left talking to practically no one while walking back to her kitchen. Adam sat up, watching her struggle to get up. He smiled as she stretched and looked over at him, trying to remember when he arrived. When the mystery was solved, Kemny shooed him out of her room, and he waited for her to get dressed, thinking about how now would be the time he normally came over.
After eating a breakfast beautifully prepared by her mother, Adam and Kemny headed to her car; Kemny usually drove Adam to school. This was all normal for him, since it was long ago understood that too many people Adam didn’t know meant lots of fear of everyone around him. He would rather walk the six miles to school than be on a bus full of strangers.
When they arrived, there was the usual ten minutes before school began, which gave Adam enough time to follow Kemny to her locker and for her to walk him to his class before she arrived late to her own. In class, of course, he sat in the back, and it was arranged with the teachers to not sit him near anybody except for Kemny. The endless fear of everyone nearby still bothered him, but was more in control when not too close or when he was near his only friend. Thinking about her made him smile and want to cry. For she was always there for him, and when she wasn’t, she was easily available for him. After all, she loved him more than anything else. He knew this after he heard her say his name when she slept and of course whenever she would drop everything she was doing when he needed her. It made him want to cry because he also knew, that being so available meant she had a very limited social life. And interaction with her classmates was difficult when a terrified boy was clinging to her almost 24/7. He never knew what to do, and after class, she met him with a hug and a smile that made him forget everything except his longing to be near her.
He walked alongside her to his next class, which was hers as well. In class, he sat next to, and watched her instead of following along with the lesson. He didn’t understand any of it anyways, she would have to re-teach it to him when he got home, like she did every day. Not that she minded, of course. After the next class alone, he felt the great need to see her at lunch.
When the bell rang, he waited after everyone left and stood by the door waiting to see her small figure weave through the crowd towards him. But today, he didn’t see it. He waited the seven minute passing period to end, and she never came. He didn’t understand. He began to peer down each side of the hall, frantically looking for her. Fear swelled inside him at the thought of facing lunch, alone, with hundreds of people, capable of hurting him. No, she was here today, she would come; but she didn’t. The teacher asked him to leave so he could go to lunch and with great resistance, he forced himself to leave the protected room and into the open hallway, where he was completely vulnerable. Fear crept inside him and made him scared of even a parent looking for the main office.
He didn’t understand, where could she be? He remembered her words: I’ll be straight here after they release for lunch, okay? I promise. So where is she? Then the fear took root in his brain. What if she got hurt? Or if her mom came and hurt her in class? Or if my parents tracked her down and hurt her. Questions swam through his brain, whether or not they made sense. He had slunk down on the side of the wall near his classroom thinking of every possibility of why she wasn’t there. This had never happened before; he didn’t know how to react.
The bell rang and he jumped. He had sat there the entire lunch. He didn’t care; he would starve to death before eating without Kemny there with him. He jerked up when he realized the halls were fillings with students, and he was alone. He felt completely vulnerable. They could each hurt him and kick him. His memories of his childhood flooded back but instead of his father beating him, each child he looked at filled in place of him. Adam wanted to scream. He felt his heart drop and his eyes began to sting with salty tears that wouldn’t fall. He felt a knot in his throat, making it difficult to breath. He couldn’t handle it alone. All his memories of his parents appeared in front of him again, as if they were happening all over again.
Adam curled up against the wall and cradled himself, in the hopes that if he could handle it, Kemny would come to save him from his parents, like she had before. Treacherous moments passed that felt like hours. The kids kept coming, more and more of them wondering what he was doing and huddled around him. He felt this was a shield to keep her away from him; to prolong his suffering. He felt the anger and fear that had built up inside him explode all at once in a terrified scream. Once he started screaming, he couldn’t stop himself until someone came and hit him upside the head. This sent a wave of fear throughout his body. He felt himself unable to breath and knew he couldn’t take it any longer. All at once, he jumped to his feet and plummeted through the sea of people. He had no idea where safe was, but he knew it was with Kemny. Adam ran into people, some hit him while others tried desperately to get out of his way. Once free of the majority of the crowd, he rushed outside, the only place that seemed to be free from the swarm of students.
He had no idea of where to go, or where he even was, but he wanted to find her. She was the only one that could calm him down, and stop the pain from the memories to take further damage. He ran away from the school, and found himself running through the middle of the highway a block away from the school. He had no idea how he got there, and he didn’t care; he just wanted to find Kemny. She was the best thing that ever happened to him, and he had to find her, now. Thinking he may know a street on the other side of the highway, he followed it. Only realizing at the end of the street he didn’t know it at all. Fear was well planted in his mind while he walked street to street trying to find home.
It began to get dark as he reached a populated part of town he had never been in before. He had no idea where he was, and to avoid every person he saw, he went through alley ways and side roads which lead him further and further away from his goal. When dark fell, he began to become frightened at every sound around him. He was completely lost and terrified of never seeing his best friend again.
A shadow passed nearby; he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up as he ducked into an alley, with a brick wall ending. He stared at it and spoke a shrill cry as he fell to his knees and began to cry heavily. He crawled into one corner of the alley cradled himself to sleep, thinking of Kemny the entire time. He awoke with the sun high in the sky. He looked at it until his eyes burned and watered to the point to not being able to see it anymore. He cleared his eyes and sat with his knees to his chest and stared blankly ahead of him. He thought of his parents and how Kemny had saved him from his own personal Hell.
Something surprisingly cold touched his face; quickly and fearfully he looked up to see small white flakes floating down to blanket him in the color it held. He didn’t care. He was numb from head to toe anyways, what would a little snow do? He sat for a while, before leaning against a wall, too scared to leave his little alley way. His eyes began to flutter open and shut, until he came to a compromise of his eyes being half open; half starring. After thinking again and again of everything his parents had tortured him with, he saw blackness instead of the white blanket when his eyes finally shut and he began to bring himself to sleep.
He jolted upright as someone rocked him violently back and forth trying to wake him up. When he woke everything was blurry, but over a few short moments, he saw her, more clear than he had in any of his recent dreams. Kemny had red puffy eyes and cheeks with tear tracks stained into the sides of her face. Her hair was pulled back into a messy bun hardly being held by a falling out hair tie. She grabbed him and smiled a terrified and relieved smile. He starred at her blankly for a moment before realizing it was her.
“Kemny? It’s snowing, Kemny.” He couldn’t think up much more to say before she jumped on him hugging him tightly and pulling him to her face to kiss him.
“You’ve been missing for two days! I’m so so so sorry Adam! I ended up really sick and was sent home from school. I’m so sorry.” she cried on him until he was crying with her. He had forgotten all about school and time.
“You… you take care of me now please? I don’t want to go home. Home is bad. Please?” He stared at her sadly, waiting for her reply. She looked at him surprised and with joy of his still unbelievable safety.
“Of… Of course, sunshine. You’re always welcome.” She pulled him close to her and held him tightly. He didn’t fight, he let himself fall into her arms. He loved her; she was the most important thing in his life. He loved all the hugs she gave him to show she cared, to make sure he knew he was loved. It made her sweet, like a strawberry.

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