He Held On

I'll admit this: I felt like a complete and total idiot when she didn't respond to my questions. Silence wasn't something I was aware that she was capable of. So was ignoring me. It was all so strange, so I did my best urge her on.

I asked if she was okay, it was then when I saw a tear slip from her eye that I truly knew something was wrong. Her response came out all slurred and her tone was one of pain or sorrow, "N-no, Ethan. I'm not okay..."

Getting up from my seat in an instance, I kneeled at her side as her small shoulders began to shake along with her stomach clenching inward. I tried to soothe her by speaking to her in a tone that matched Daniela's. "Lynette..." I tried, wondering whether I should make physical contact or not, "What is it? What's wrong?"

Now, Lyn's sobs were louder, stronger and deeper than her pervious whimpers. Her head was hidden under the shelter of her arms clad in the thin purple sleeves of her shirt, but I could still see her tears hit the wooden surface of the table. I'm not sure if it was out of sympathy or pity (what's the difference, right now?), but when the water of her eyes increased in quantity, I broke the invisible barrier that stopped me from...touching her.

I prayed my hand didn't make her uneasy in any way when I ran it down her back. I whispered in her ear, "Tell me what's wrong. Please..." She lifted her head. "I-I can't! It....hurts so damn much, Ethan!" The way she said my name triggered something in my brain to hold her. The position wasn't necessarily comfortable for me, but I still held onto her. Lynette laid her head on my shoulder, her seemingly small hands clutched onto my shirt as a lifeline, and her weight rested on my body to keep her from falling...I shouldn't use the word falling, not when she seems to be falling right in front of my eyes. Breaking, even...

I tried again, "It's okay...You can tell me when you need to."  

I realized something else...What had gotten into me now? I've seen people cry but not like this, not the way Lynette was sobbing. I comforted people before, but never like this before, not when my thoughts were at a still point and I acted without a second guess.

Breaking me from whatever trance I was in, Lynette finally came through, but continued to keep her fragile hold on me, "M-my mother...is---she died today! T-his is the d-day that she...! Oh god, Ethan! This never happens...I don't cry like this!"

 Her sadness began to mix with the frustration of her confusion. With her hands clenched into fists, she began to hit my chest without causing any real damage. "I never cry like this! I, I always hold it in! Why? Why am I like this?!"

I had no answers to her questions. No matter how hard I tried to speak to her, I couldn't. So I just held on to her, taking in her screams, sobs, cries, whimpers, and unanswerable questions that rang in my head ‘n ears.

We were like that for...I don't know for how long, but when she calmed down, she pulled away. I would never say this out loud, but I kind of hated her leaving my embrace like that...and looking away from me. When Lynette left my reach, she turned her head away from me and rubbed her swollen, red eyes.

Silence had made itself present in the space between us. Her seat was kept at a distance from me, she sat with her back turned; I was still crouching, waiting for her say something. Anything. And she did, eventually, "I'm sorry about...crying on you." Her voice was weak and barely above a whisper, but I heard it.

I sighed without knowing why and stood up, towering her now. I told her it was okay, but I didn't get a reply. So I went on when the strangest idea popped in my head, "Come with me."

I didn't give her the time to respond, because I grabbed her wrist and (gently) pulled her from her seat and forced her to walk with me.

---

After many of her protests falling on deaf ears, we arrived at the intended destination: The music room. It was empty after school since most of the students left by now. But it was never locked, strangely enough.

When I opened the door, we were greeted with a grand piano that had a sense of pride around it. It was black, large, and tempting to play. Probably even tempting to play for those who couldn't play, but in a moment like this, I was quiet happy with the fact that I could play.

"Here," I began, much calmer than before, "I want you to...hear something." I let go of her and moved to the piano. I sat down and gazed over the keys laid out in front of me. So many keys, so many possible mistakes I could make. I hadn't played for a long time...

I hit the first key then the second and the third; it was all coming back to me. I played the song with anxiety in my veins, but I played. Making a few mistakes here and there, but hardly noticeable to even myself.

The beginning was the most difficult for me, because I looked at her so many times to see how she was reacting. Her expression was...content? Calm would be a better word---at peace even. After that, I closed my eyes as she did as well, and allowed the notes and keys to flow with ease and fading anxiety.

The ending was close; I hit the final keys to allow the sound to hang in air for a while. As it disappeared into silence, I turned to the peaceful looking Lynette and smiled. Then I waited for her to speak, to move, to open her eyes. I waited...

The End

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