The wind made its way through the trees and the vast grassland. It caressed the little skin you allowed to show on this fair fall afternoon. You took in the frosty air, allowing it to fill you with its icy chill. With an exhale the heat returned, but only to be replaced once more in the next breathe.
The cycle repeated itself as you lay there. The grass provided the ultimate resting grounds beneath your light coat. You hadn’t been laying for long, but enough to begin to feel the weather’s consequences. Your hands trailed themselves along the grass. It tickled your skin like crumpled up pieces of paper. You had to retract your hands several times in paranoia of receiving a paper cut. It was ever the foolish habit.
However, you’re mind wasn’t all in the right place to begin with. It wandered to and fro, not exactly wanting to settle on a specific topic. It latched onto any idea it could find and then threw it away the second it complicated itself. You could only process simple subjects at the moment. Thus, it was your current curse.
Fascinating was the sky above you. Its ability to reflect your mind’s frame was impeccable to say the least. Who says nature never takes after that of man? You were sure if could feel your pain, along with the many others that have lost.
Slowly, your lids began to fall. It was as though the full force of gravity itself commanded them to close. You were without will and obedient to its claiming force. On the open grass of an autumn afternoon, you rested without care.
As you slept the world went on. It worked in its effortless ways and people shifted throughout the day. You were merely an insignificant pawn in the game of life. However, there was one that seemed to notice. He noticed your presence in such a strange setting. He seemed to have followed his curiosity that led him to you.
Luckily, you regained consciousness and awareness of your senses upon his first footsteps. The crunching of the grass beneath his feet had been a sure sign of other life in the field.
You did not speak a word. Instead, you hoisted yourself up into a sitting position. Your knees tucked themselves close to your chest. It would be quite unpleasant if the stranger were to take a peek from under your long skirt. Best to keep yourself well guarded, especially when you were alone.
A soft daze still seemed to consume you. Whether it was from your sleeping spell or the day’s previous events you were unsure. However, you were not too quick to shake it.
“Bonjour, mademoiselle.” The man spoke at your movement. His voice seemed to streak itself through your foggy mindset. It was crisp, joyous, and filled with something you missed.
Although you pondered the action, your body was too slow to perform. Your lips were shut tight, stubborn in their silence.
“Are you lost? It doesn’t seem quite right for a girl in such attire to be out alone at this late hour.” He took several more steps in your direction. Although your gaze was to the ground, you could see the caution he took in each step. He wasn’t trying to force you, but merely offering his assistance.
A simple head shake was all you could offer. But this did not seem to placate the man’s worries.
He took a seat beside you, leaving about a foot between. He too wrapped his arms around his knees, mimicking your position. His gaze followed upward, to the sky and beyond while you so helplessly gawked at the ground.
“Pardon my intrusion, mon cher. But I do not suggest you wonder about for much longer. It is time for you to go home, non?” He asked rhetorically. Again, all you could pick up was his voice. It now sounded soft and tender. It was as if you could truly wrap yourself in it and feel the warmth it possessed. You could tell he cared.
Then you decided it was time to break your stubborn demeanor. You let your gaze trail until it eventually reached the man’s face. Your breath was surely caught.
The man’s shoulder length hair was tied back in a sleek ponytail. It lay on his shoulders, wrapped in a delicate black ribbon. His locks were of the most luscious blonde color. It radiated in even the dimmest fall lighting. The light stumble on his chin hinted at his older age than he truly appeared.
Lastly as you willed your eyes to continue their journey, were his eyes.
Blue. But the most perfect you have ever seen. They were not too bright, nor too dark. It was the most basic and pure. And they were also aimed towards you.
A light blush dusted over your cheeks and your gaze was averted from his. You were caught staring, but he didn’t seem to mind. That was merely a clue to him that you were at least somewhat responsive.
You allowed your hands to run through the grass. They plucked the pieces one by one in a nervous gesture. It was done mostly as a subconscious exercise.
Again, you couldn’t help but be plagued with the same feelings as before. You longed for your previous sleep, wondering what it was like to have been in bliss for that short period of time. To be floating in the air instead of trapped on Earth.
As your worries increased, your speed of plucking followed. You were creating a bare patch on the grass field with all of your thought.
Suddenly, you felt a hand overlap your own. It traced over the front portion and then snaked around your palms. His fingers intertwined with yours to cease your tedious task.
“Mon cher, it is not wise to kill what has yet to be reborn. Even the plants have feelings just like the rest of his.” He teased. His French accent thickened as his tone became more lighthearted.
The man used his free hand and placed it under your chin. He gingerly directed your head upward so that you would be looking at him once more.
“Je comprends. I understand how you must feel. But you can get through it. You must.” He lifted your hand to his lips and pecked it with a small kiss. “I know you are strong enough.” His eyes shone like crystal pools. His sincerity was far too much for you to handle.
You began to rise from your seated position, but his grip was firm. He wouldn’t let you go, not after he had the first time. Now that he had found you, the man refused to allow another parting.
“Oh, so you would rather dance instead? Oui. I’ll take the lead, belle.” Before you could feebly protest, the man drew you closer to him.
His hand moved from your face to your lower back, confidently holding you in a ballroom pose. His other arm was held upright, completing the position.
He hummed a melancholy melody and guided you slowly through it. You wondered what he was trying to do. He was the one that made his way beside you and now to torture you with such a depressing song. You’ve heard its tune enough through those miserable church organs. It was dreadful enough to have to hear it there, but now here as well? Did this man have any sense at all?
At this point the tears streamed down your face. They rolled swiftly down your cheek in the same places that they had only hours before and days before that. Your shrieks caught in your throat and each shove was caught with a hand of greater strength.
The man pulled you into him and embraced you wholly. You wept, straining his black suit. He didn’t mind one bit and allowed you to continue.
His gentle brushes through your hair calmed your fit. He bent his head to whisper sweet nothings in his native tongue. However, it still could not drive away your incredible pain. You ceased your struggles and allowed yourself to be lost in his touch. The contact didn’t alleviate, but made your feelings bearable.
With a bright smile, the man twirled you in place like a ballroom dancer. Your skirt spun and fanned out slightly as if you were wearing a puffed gown.
Instead, you were adorned with black. A black blouse, a black shirt and a black light jacket. It was in celebration for the passing of one you so cherished. A grandfather that you never thought you would ever have to go without. An illness he had battled with for years had finally taken its toll. But no one, not even you would have ever seen it coming. It happened in a sharp blink. And then was done, never to return.
Continuing in his efforts to sooth you, the man lifted a hand to wipe away your tears. However you shook your head and proceed to do so yourself. Finally, in a cracked voice you asked,
“Does it ever stop?”
The French man’s smile dropped at the inquiry. He paused, wanting to give the right answer to your question.
“Well, I would be lying to you if I answered yes. However, it does get better.”
You pouted at him for using such a clichéd term. That was what everyone had been telling you. That the outcome would undo itself and open a brighter path for you to step into. You’d find your future and use the memories that you had gained to help you later on.
But that’s not what you wanted to hear. You wanted to know about the pain that drove you to the bottom. That consumed you entirely in a sea of its blank eternity.
“I’m sorry. Let me try again.” He responded to your facial expression. “You will always remember the ones that you have lost. The stronger the bond, the more painful the loss. But, mon amour, over time the ache will ease. You will look back and accept their fate. They are in a better place, whether you want to believe that now or later. They will be looking down on you and giving you help when you are in need of it the most. I believe that life gives second chances to those who were undeserving of their fates. It is fitting, non?”
As he spoke, his eyes remained on you. He wanted to show you just how much it meant to him for you to accept this as a part of life. He spoke from true experience and knew the hurt that you felt. It was a sometimes a cruel and depressing portion of life but it was one you would have to face time and time again.
People left, they changed and some are forgotten. But he would never make himself one of those three. He promised to stay by your side no matter what the obstacles. That was why he was here with you now. After looking for you all morning after the procession, he had almost given up until he found you here.
“Stay with me. Don’t be dragged down into a place where someone as beautiful and wonderful as you does not belong. I will stay with you through your worries. You know I love you.” With that being said, the man laid a kiss upon the crown of your head. His words only brought more tears to your eyes.
This time, they were of a release instead of a mere sadness. His words rang true, but you didn’t feel ready to fully accept them just yet. That would take more time, you thought.
“Je t'aime.” You whispered softly into his chest. The French words didn’t sound as fluent coming from your tongue, but the message was all the same. You saw his passion and knew he would stick to his word. He had throughout your entire relationship and this would not change a thing.
He smirked at your words and spun you around to wrap his arms around your waist. He lay several more butterfly kisses on your head and moved down to brush the back of your neck. Such a notorious thing he was known for, taking you out of your dull moods.
His touch was like potion. It healed with every lasting stroke. Then, you felt yourself being lifted from the ground in a common bridal styled carry.
“Francis!” You shrieked in a high pitched voice, surprised by the sudden action.
This earned you a mischievous smile and a soft chuckle. The man winked in your direction and whispered in a chillingly deep voice,
“I told you it was not the hour for someone such as yourself to be out so late.”