Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Riffing on Goodbye

"Gwyn," Sedge started. Her name came out of his mouth as clumsily as a pile of rocks.
All of the years he had spent knowing her, all the nights of lying beside her, breathing in the smell of her skin, they slipped away from him. He felt like a stranger in front of her, trying to hold on when he was already letting go. Only for a time, yes, but letting go nonetheless.

"Don't," Gwyn said. Her arms went straight down from her shoulders, straight and stiff. That, more than anything, hurt him. More than anything else in that moment, he wanted to soften her. "Don't say you're sorry. Don't say any of the rest of it. I don't want to hear it."

He reached out to her and felt like his hand traveled a hundred miles before it found the warm curve of her waist. The insults and hurts of the past that had spurred him to take up the sword seemed blurred and faded. What did it matter what had happened so long ago? Here, in front of him, stood everything he wanted in the world.

Gwyn yielded to his touch. She wrapped her arms around him and tucked her face into the crook where his neck met his shoulders. Her breath made her chest push against his with gentle, insistent pressure with each inhalation.

"I'll stay," he whispered.

"You won't," Gwyn replied. "You can't."

Even as she said it, he knew it was true. Even now, he felt the tug. If he stayed here, he would always be that little boy who ran away. A flash of anger heated his face. Rellin would win if Sedge stayed. Involuntarily, Sedge's hand went to the hilt of the sword on his belt. He had to leave and confront what was ahead of him so he could face his step-father as a man.

He had unfinished business and in a week, in a month, he'd feel the need leave again. Just as he'd felt it so often in the past years. It had grown stronger the nearer he got to the moment of taking the sword and he knew it would never let him rest until he heeded it. When he got back, he would tell her everything. Every last secret he had been keeping from her for the past seven years.

"I love you," he said.

Her hold on him tightened as if she were trying to keep him firm to the spot. "I know," she murmured. After a minute that felt like a year, she loosened her grip. Gwyn lifted her head from his shoulder and kissed him. At the touch of her lips, he felt his eyes grow hot and wet. He blinked the tears back furiously.

"I'll be back as soon as I can," he said.

Gwyn put her hand against his cheek and he turned into the caress. Without saying a word, she nodded and turned away.

He climbed in the saddle and looked back over his shoulder as he left the yard. Just before he was out of sight, Gwyn looked up one last time. Their eyes met. She smiled sadly at him and raised her hand in a wave. Then he rounded a turn in the road and the branches of a pine tree slid across his view and hid her from him.


Jenny said...

Yes! Wow, that was light years different. This is something to work with here! Riff some more!

Ali said...

Riffing is groovy.