The Long Way Home: Chapter One
Sitting at his favourite spot by the river against the old apple tree, Kris sighed and opened his laptop. He opened up his Documents, selected the option to show hidden files and double clicked the translucent file that had suddenly appeared to join all the other files and folders. He typed in the required password and started to write:
Eyes. They are the open windows to a person’s soul.
Liquid green, molten emerald; he makes possible
The impossibilities which I no longer claim to be
Except for one. A single hated obstacle
Which may be small but yet I find big.
A padlock shields it’s opening, along with a chain,
And a riddle of riddles that I only speak of with eyes.
And the walls upon which my tears shall rain
Are crumbling with the difficulty of feelings. And within
My brain lies an unfinished mapping of his every detail
Mapping out every trace of the lips that
Utter lonely words beside my ear; not in – they fail.
I wonder if he ever catches my staring eyes
Laid on his, on him, and I shudder to think
That he would ever know. For lips would no longer
Form words across my ear. I shudder to think.
For now the lock has not been picked
But picked it shall one day be. And then-
Kris looked up to see said boy smiling down at him. His eyes shone in the sunlight like glimmering emeralds, and his lips curved into a perfect smile. Kris mentally cursed himself for getting into the habit of always becoming poetic with his thoughts whenever he saw his best friend.
“Hey, Daniel.” He decided the safest thing to do was to concentrate on the screen of his laptop.
“I was just on my way to the cafe to get something to eat. You want anything?”
“Just a coffee will do thanks.” Kris risked a quick glance at Daniel, grinning appreciatively before focusing back on the screen.
“What are you writing?” Daniel was now kneeling behind Kris, trying to read the text. However Kris closed his laptop and just smiled mysteriously at him.
“Just the assignment for Literature.”
Daniel groaned. “I forgot about that. Could you help me with it?”
“Hmm... Well...” Kris teased.
“Oh come on, Kris! I’m useless at Literature, and the assignment is due for the end of the week. I can’t even start the thing let alone think about finishing it! Please?”
“Okay! Okay, sure. But first: coffee.” Kris grinned cheekily, making Daniel laugh.
The corners of Daniel’s mouth turned up into a grin. “Yes ‘boss’. Anything you say.”
Kris watched his friend go before opening his laptop and quickly writing a single sentence before closing the file and restoring his Documents to its original settings:
A secret unshared will be one to be shared
And life will never be the same again.
He turned his head quickly and then relaxed when he realised it was his older sister, Bea. He gestured for her to sit down next to him, and they both leaned back so their heads rested against the tree. Kris closed his eyes and smiled, knowing Bea was doing the exact same thing, breathing in the scent of newfound autumn. Although there was an age difference of eight years between them, they were extremely close. They had a relationship of sorts where they may not speak to one another for months and then when they did, it was like it was only yesterday that they had last spoken.
“So how are you?” she asked eventually, running a hand through her dark hair.
“Good,” he replied. “You?”
Kris knew that they were both lying. He started to count down in his head for her cue. Three...two...one...
“I left him.”
So that wasn’t exactly what he’d been expecting her to say. What he was expecting was for her to grumble that she and Darren had had another bust up, and that he was being an arse as usual. But after two years of constant bickering and quarrelling, it was only a matter of time this was going to happen. Still, it didn’t stop Kris from being surprised at this sudden news. He searched for the right words to say, but couldn’t think of any.
“You okay?” he chose to go with.
“We just weren’t meant to be,” she sighed.
“Doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt.” She nodded in agreement.
“You’re right, you’re right. It hurts. But it’s for the best.” She turned her head to look at Kris. “So what about you? How are things?”
“They’re... They’re good.”
Kris chuckled. “You know me all too well.”
Bea got up to stand in front of her brother, her hands on her hips. “Why do you do this?”
Kris frowned. “Do what?”
“This. You just sit here, hiding in the closet, whinging and whining and wondering the big ‘what if’ and all that crap, yet you’re not willing to do anything about it. Come on, Kris! You’re no coward. Do something about it!”
“You can.” She sat back next to him and put her arm around him. “Come on, you can’t just live your life pretending you’re something you’re not. Say it now, and say it out loud. You’ll feel better, I promise. Now come on. What are you?”
“What do you mean?”
“You know what. Say it. We both know it. Neither of us is denying it. All you need to do now is say it out loud, accept it, and live with it.”
Kris nodded and took a deep breath.
“Hey Bea! Long time no see! Here you go, Kris. Coffee, two sugars.”
Daniel handed Kris the coffee before sitting down in front of them so he could tuck into his cheeseburger. There was an awkward silence that shadowed them for a few minutes, where Kris and Bea exchanged a look of understanding.
Daniel was the one to eventually break the silence. “Sorry, did I interrupt something?” he asked.
“No, of course not, Daniel.” Kris laughed. “Just thinking.”
He could feel Bea’s eyes on him, but he continued to focus on his laptop screen.