Boots

May 31, 2011
When he saw her, he saw the final destination: everything in his life, all the things he had done, they all led to her. This beautiful girl was the reason for his past, and the reason he wanted a future. It was an overwhelming feeling, falling in love before he even knew her name.

She saw a tall, gangly boy with clunky boots, torn jeans and an innocent smile. She didn’t have a feeling of completeness, finality. But something in his eyes when he looked at her; she had waited to be looked at like that for a long time.

The boots had been his brother’s. Sometimes, when the two of them were laying in the grass, she would stand up and slip them on. His feet were surprisingly small, her’s exceptionally large. The boots fit perfectly.

He would watch her parading around in big shoes and a soft cotton dress, and love the way her milk-white arms stretched to stroke the star-strewn sky.

She could feel him watching, and loved the way his eyes seemed to almost dance across her moonlit body, her lifted arms.

He felt things around her that he had never felt before. He opened up, told her about the fire, the reason his brother no longer wore the boots. He explained the scars, he didn’t hide anything. And he listened.

She explained the hospital visits, the months spent emaciated and starving. She stopped keeping secrets, she grew out her hair. She was his other half, she felt it now too. He was perfect for her, he was sure. They were twins, soul mates, puzzle pieces.

Then…

At first, neither of them could believe it. This sort of thing happened to other people. A stranger’s disease.

The tests, the treatments; she held his hand, his only comfort in the alienating, sterile rooms. His hair started to fall out in large clumps; they got their heads shaved together. He had to stay overnight in the hospital, too weak to go home; she would lay there all night with him. The boots would sit on the scratchy green chair, bathed in the moonlight pouring in the window, reminding them both of nights full of her dancing, bathed in silver syrup, and him watching, illuminated by the glow she reflected.

Maybe it was the way she held his hand and looked deep into his eyes., maybe it was her little bald head resting next to his on the pillow. Something gave him the strength to stay with her. He would watch his twin, his soul mate and ask whoever happened to be listening to his prayers for more time. More time to watch her, study her, be there for her.

But eventually, the time ended.

The boy she saw now, he still had the innocent face she had fallen in love with. He still gave her that feeling when their eyes met. She wore the cotton dress, because she wanted it to be the last thing he saw her in.

She pressed her smooth bald forehead to his. A single tear slid down her cheek, a single tear slid down his.

She buried him in the boots.





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