my own bravado [.kiah drought plot.] May 9, 2014 22:55:34 GMT -5
Post by slate • d9f • zoë on May 9, 2014 22:55:34 GMT -5
WHEN WILL MY SISTER COME HOME?
There's a crushed piece of paper in the bottom of the rubbish bin in the kitchen of her home. A message scrawled upon it isn't in her handwriting but she recognizes it all the same. And she thinks to herself - when will she come home? The quiet little girl with wide eyes and trembling hands, talkative and thoughtful and patient. She saw her last in the Justice Building - a place she steers clear of as much as she can for fear of it swallowing her back up into another nightmare - uttering her name over and over again. ("Paige, Paige, Paige, you have to let me go.") They were happy, once. Sisters. But when she came back she was gone - a shell, both of them, their past existence floating like memories. No longer are they who they were, and it hurts her to remember. Because she let her sister go.
It's their fault, she trembles. It's all their fault.
She throws her hairbrush at the wall twelve times.
Home is a house in an empty village with one soul neighbour. Home was cold and is starting to warm. Home is becoming more and more inviting with every breath she takes and every day she lives through and every thought she has when she wakes up in the morning and thinks I am alive. I am alive. I am alive and that is okay. Home still lingers with 23 other souls and she carries them with her every day. Although instead of fearing them, she smiles, opening her heart to their presence. Instead of guiding them through life she lets them settle around her in everything she does. She cooks with her mother and they sit at the table and watch. She walks to the store and purchases food for the sake of getting out of the house and they follow her through the isles. She sits in her chair as her stylists pull and prod and pulls faces in the mirror, and in the reflection they laugh.
Home, it seems, has kept her family alive. As the winds changed and the rain never came her wealth and fortune kept them well. Home masked her from the realities of what was really going on - it kept her from seeing the fields drying up and the crops dying and the water running dry. Perhaps if she had never stepped foot upon that stage she would have seen it sooner. Perhaps she would have felt the heat of the summer go on and on and watched her sister go hungry. Perhaps she'd come home one day to find her mother had run out of food yet again. Perhaps she wouldn't come home at all, curled up in a field, too tired to go on. (I saved them. I saved us.) They kept her busy - an interview here, a tv spot there, a commercial or meeting or fancy dinner. Home kept her alive and it kept her naive and reminded her of who she was and the cost of that. Her family's life for the ignorance towards others. (Since when had she become one of them?)
But they hadn't won yet. She finds herself outside every day doing whatever she can to help. Blended within the crowds she takes off her crown and plunges into her kingdom she came back to rule: but not as a queen. Not even as a lion-heart, or at least she doesn't think she is. She isn't Saffron Lowe, Victor of the 65th Hunger Games - she's just Saffron. Red hair and brown eyes and 15 years old; taller than she was, older than she was, wider beyond any years she might have lived in peace with no souls to follow her tracks. The comfort of a quiet room with no-one around her falls away and she finds herself waking up a little earlier each day just to go outside and help. It still hurts to be who she is and the 23 still watch closely, but to be able to pretend she isn't cursed by their rule for a day or two numbs the pain.
"Here," she finds herself saying to a stranger with a smile on her face that surprises even her, "let me help you with that."
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