Corners Of My Mind
by Paper Mulberry

You didn't expect me here, I can tell.

I didn't expect myself to be here, actually. But I am. I have nowhere else to go, never had, and you know it.

You've never seen me like this, broken, and hurt, tears pouring from my eyes, mingling with the falling rain. My eyes are red, a red streak is on my cheek. You are obviously shaken to see me like this, and that gives me some satisfaction, at least.

You invite me in and I look around your small house. It's not what I expected. I expected it to be messy, like yourself. I expected it to smell, like that pet of yours. I didn't expect flowers, and I sniffed. Orange into red into yellow. I missed the smell of flowers, forgot it eventually. But these flowers, and the smell of them suit you. They are wild flowers, beautiful and untamed. I used to have a wildflower garden, but I haven't seen it since I was 17. It will probably be gone now.

I can feel your eyes on me as I take everything in. You are nervous, though why should you be?

I tell you that your home looks nice, comfortable. You smile but your eyes betray you. You're still scared of me. I understand. I tormented you for seven years, but at the end we fought on the same side, fought for the same thing.

I try to make conversation, talk about unimportant things, things that won't unnerve you. You listen mostly as I talk about nothing, really.

I run out of words eventually and we sit in uncomfortable silence. You're still observing me, not sure why I am here.

Your question startles me, even though I had been expect it eventually.

"What happened?" you ask me, your eyes searching mine. You shift nervously, your hands wrinkled together on your lap.

For a moment I don't answer, contemplating what to say. Finally I decide on telling you the truth, from the beginning.

"After the w... after everything that happened, I dissapeared for a while," I start, trying not to use the word "war" because I know you will pull back from everything if I do mention it, "My father was dead, mother went to a special home. I had nowhere to go, I had no friends left. I stayed at... places," I wince, I don't like to remember that time.

"Then one time, I saw this field, bright green, the grass freshly mowed, and the morning dew shimmering. Strangely enough it reminded me of you. Of your eyes, your smell and your personality. So I came back here, and asked around a bit. No one knew where you lived exactly. I was lucky I saw you walking by one day. I followed you home. That was yesterday. Today, I decided to ring the bell."

I didn't tell you everything. If you decide on taking me in, I might, one day. But not now, it's still too soon. I can't bother you with some things yet. I won't tell you everything because you might not take me in if you do. I won't take you into the corners of my mind, not yet.

You sit there, looking outside, where the rain is still pouring down, though I can see the clouds starting to break. You sigh a few times and shake your head a few times, like you're conversating with an invisible person. Then you turn back to face me. Your eyes still shine with uncertainty.

"How long do you intend to stay here?"

I hadn't been expecting this. I expected you to tell me to go away, or ask me more personal questions, but not this. I haven't even thought about this.

"Maybe a week? Untill I find someplace else to go" I answer.

You nod. "A week, sure."

I smile. A week was not long, but might give me some time to find a little room somewhere, someplace cheap.

It's late and you tell me you are going to bed. I can stay down here if I'd like, or I could wake you if I want a bed. I tell you I'll stay down here for a while and you leave. I sit in silence, looking about, not knowing what to do. You took me in easily, and I'm glad for that, glad that it is you I came to.

After two hours I'm starting to feel sleepy and I go upstairs. I can't find your room at first, as it is at the back of the house. Pictures of your friends, all smiling, hang on the wall in the small hallway. Most of them are dead now, and I wonder how you can still look at them, without breaking down crying, or wanting to join them. I would have understood if you'd done that. You loved them so much, and now so few are left. It's sad, and I feel for you.

The door of your room is a dark red, the color of blood. I open it and it creaks. The light from the hallway shines across the room, over your bed and into your face. Your eyes open and you pull back the covers. You invite me into your bed without a word. I comply as I know what you're after, I know how I look, I've played this game before. I never expected you to be this kind of person. I know what people are like, I've seen a lot. But so have you, so it's not that strange.

But nothing happens and, after wrapping your arms around me and placing a kiss on my shoulder, you go back to sleep. I stay awake long after, untill finally your deep breathing susses me to sleep.

I decided to stay a week, but in the end, I never left


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