Post by slate • d9f • zoë on Jul 7, 2013 4:55:16 GMT -5
"once you have tasted flight you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward
for there you have been and there you will always long to return." - leonardo da vinci.
There's a little boy that sits at the top of the world, ready to jump into his mothers outstretched arms whilst his father works long hours away from his home, laughing as he jumps off of his mountain of construction work with a leap of laughter. You see him mostly in that space of time in-between blinks, when your eyelids close to meet one-another and the world is cut off for a millisecond. Open them again and you'll find that boy bigger, taller, his hair longer and a little scruffier - leaping from roof to roof. Everything about this world seems to have grown in the blink of an eye. He's not hauling his body nervously across planks of wood balanced on tree trunks anymore, his movement is more precise, more experienced, a kind of grace as he soars that reminds you a little bit of a bird. No arms of flesh are there to greet him anymore as he lands - only sheets of corrugated iron or the dusty earth of the ground below him welcome his landing.
Your heart skips a little as he flies, fearing for his life, but it is clear by his actions that he fears nothing in the sky. Bare arms outstretched against the sunset are kissed farewell by the golden light, as if there was a soul in the sunlight bidding him goodnight at each and every dusk. And maybe there is some sort of being up there in the sky who lifts him higher that it seems possible, holds his hand as it falls against the skyline and gently plucks him into temporary flight to make sure he never, ever falls. Or maybe he's just mastered the wondrous art of almost-flying. But for whatever reason, the scruffy kid with a glint of mischievousness in his grey-blue eyes and a mouth open that may let out a whoop of laughter if he allows himself to make a noise up there ducks and dives across the rooftops and disappears, with a blink of your eye, out of sight.
Maybe you conjured him up with your imagination. But there's music now, it floats from the window in the house that you see, gentle and delicate. Scruffy hands laboured from years of climbing and hauling now dance across the black and white keys of his piano. It's like he knows that the instrument is alive, breathing its light throughout the house and playing his soul through the keys. He'd tell you that his mother taught him, all those years ago, when she would sit beside him and press his little fingers against the cool, polished ivory and smile ever-so kindly.
"She never once got mad" he'd tell you, speaking of times when he'd make a mistake or play the wrong note. "She would just smile, and say that it was okay, and lift my fingers to the correct place." There would be a softness to this voice as he spoke of her, and his hard glare would soften in the corners of his eyes. That would be all you would get to hear, because he doesn't say much, and of that almost none of his words are about his mother. Maybe it's too painful for him, maybe he's just a kid of few words. There's no answers from the boy, only clues that leave you to guess forever and a lullaby to soothe your troubles.
And then it would be your turn to talk. And he'd let you, because that's what he does. That's what he's always done. He listens. Just sits, and listens - and, if you're lucky, he'll turn your words into music and play them back to you so you can hear them in ways you'd never even thought of before. Maybe it's because his Momma taught him to listen to the beauty in music and words and find colour and light in the darkest and most bland of places, or maybe he just doesn't say much because he's learned to keep his mouth shut. But either way, you find him comforting. There's a quirk of a smile against his lips when you reach something a little humorous, a genuinely interested raise of his eyebrows at something unusual or different. And, most importantly, a kindness in his eyes and a lock against his lips that promises you he will keep what is dear to your heart safe. As if you could trust him with any secret and keep it, with any fable and treasure it, with anything dear to your heart and turn it into something beautiful.
And you, my friend, most certainly can.
(Here's what he doesn't tell you.)
That he grew up in District Nine not knowing the strains his parents had faced even before he was born. That he was not a child of love, but of force from power too great for either of his parents to get a grip on. Maybe that's why I'm so bitter, he'll think. Because I was needed, not wanted. Both his sets of grandparents were terribly old-fashioned as they were nervous about money, combining their profits and children together as one to secure whatever fickle wealth they had. So his parents were destined to be together whether they liked it or not, and whilst Timothy's grandparents held their breath through 7 reapings, his parents wished selfishly in the spare of the moment that the other's name would be drawn out of the barrel so that all of this could be over.
But in Panem, you hardly ever get what you wish for. Unless you were their parents. Delighted, scheming faces greeted the pair the moment their final reaping was over, cogs already turning in their heads. Eliza Porter and Alistair Feldon met each-other's eyes with the same gaze, but it wasn't love that they gave each-other - it was bitter understanding and the promise that they'd somehow get through this together.
And they did. For a while. But you can't live with somebody you hardly know in a small house without bumping into each-other. They lived in the way they only knew how to - polite, indirect conversations, awkward greetings, and avoidance of the other at opposite ends of the house. And of course, the two tried to get along for the sake of their parents, but from the beginning it was always there. The elephant in the room, the underlining tone in their voices, the invisible fog that hung everywhere in their house. They did not love each other, and both knew that they never would.
Timothy was eventually forced from of the pair by their parents, a product of security for both parties in business. Eliza became delighted with her son, Alistair preferring to change business plans than diapers. More and more of his time was spent out of the house, so Tim lived quite contently with his father's usual absence, enjoying music and climbing over building stock his father brought home. Things seemed fine, until Tim began to understand what really went on in Panem and nightmares of the Games forced him awake in the dead of the night.
That was when his real nightmare began.
It was always unusual for Timothy to see the other school children's parents together. They acted in such a bizarre way he had never seen his own parents act before that he assumed it was just something that only a select few adults did. Such a shame, you think, pausing for a minute in the story to reflect, that a little boy had not once, not ever, seen his parents hug or hold hands or brush their skin against the other. By the time Timothy had turned 10 years old, his own parents weren't even speaking to each-other. Pressure to impress had broken them beyond repair, like two broken shards of glass that didn't fit were forced to mould but shattered instead. For a while, he pretended not to hear glass shattering against the walls when he was tucked up in bed. His mother was as headstrong as she was beautiful, never letting Alistair lay a finger on her. The only red stains left on the wall or purple blotches against porcelain were the ones from half-empty wine bottles thrown against the peeling, crumbling walls of his home.
People would say she was lucky, and you might think that too. But you didn't hear the screams of protest when Timothy was supposed to be in bed, you didn't sit at the top of the stairs and hear a plate smash and a loud crack and Elyza's voice cut off instantly. His father said she slipped on a puddle of water on the floor, but Timothy remembers otherwise. The crack of bone meeting bone, the slap of flesh on flesh, he'd heard that before on the television as kids kill each-other off in an attempt at glorified homicide. He keeps quite, of course, because that's what Timothy's always done. Sit, and listen, and not say a word.
For now, at least.
"blackbird singing in the dead of night
take these broken wings and learn to fly." - the beatles, blackbird.