I opened my eyes, my vision blurred by what appeared to be smoke and dust and my breath was erratic. What happened? Where am I? I was disorientated. I tried to move around, but my body hurt as if thousands of needles were stabbing me. I found myself sitting on the ground with rubble on my legs. I tried to speak but my throat was hurting from the smoke. I felt a cold liquid dripping from my forehead and I touched it with difficulty. The liquid was crimson and had a metallic smell. It was blood, my blood. Something was supporting my back and head, a wall. I then remembered. We were at our base when we suffered a missile strike. It destroyed everything. Under the nearest debris of what was a wall I could see a hand, perhaps that of a comrade. It didn’t move. For how long have I been out? Was there anyone left to come and aid us? Just when I asked myself that question I heard some footsteps. Several people, maybe five or six, were they our allies? Just when they went through the fire and the smoke, I could see that I couldn’t be more wrong. My body froze when I saw the logo on their uniforms. They stopped right in front of me and pointed their gun barrels at me.
“Where is he?” One of them spoke to me, his voice unwavering and cold. I knew who he wanted. “Give us his location and we will make sure all of the survivors in this facility will be safe. Now, where is he?”
I stayed silent for a moment. He was lying. There were no survivors after that hellish attack except me, and I was the only one left in this place who knew his location. I took a deep breath, I already knew what answer to give him.
“I cannot give you his head”, my eyes stared into the plastic protection of his helmet, as if I could see his eyes. “Take mine instead”.
I was running my fingers through his brown hair while he rested his head on my lap. The sun was warm and the grass was soft. The sycamore of the hill cooled our bodies with its shadow as a gentle breeze made our hair sway. It was a nice spring day, the flowers were blooming and the soft murmur of a calm creek lulled him to sleep. I looked at him, his closed eyes, his nose, his mouth, his eyebrows and his ears. He rested peacefully on my lap. I traced his facial features with my fingers, softly, gently, to not wake him up. His white shirt was not buttoned all the way and had the sleeves rolled up after a hard day working. I looked at him with a soft smile and caressed his cheek. He slowly woke up and raised a hand to touch my face. His hands were rough from working on the field, but I didn’t dislike the feeling of them on my skin. He smiled at me, and no words were needed to understand. A feeling of contentment surrounded us under the sycamore.
The next day, I grabbed his hand to try to get him out of the small cabin we owned. I wanted to explore the valleys of green grass and blue flowers. He accepted. We ran together, holding our hands. A sunny day blessed our exploration and a cool breeze motivated us to go even further away. We ran through the grass. He helped me go through the creek, offering his hand on the other side. Our laughs could be heard as we kept going forward, crossing through a lush forest, not looking back, further and further away. We went over a hill, and without breath, we found on the other side was a field filled with fragrant blue flowers. We walked there and simply laid there, only for him to sit down and start doing something I couldn't see for how tall the flowers were. When he looked at me, he put a flower crown on my head and he spoke with a caring tone. I couldn’t stop looking at him, I was mesmerized. His small gesture made my chest feel like I was near the chimney of our home when winters were harsh. It felt as if the fire that was stolen from the gods was residing in my heart. It felt warm, really warm, but it did not burn.
The creek had some fish we would sometimes fish or catch with our hands. He would roll up his pants and I would do the same with my dress. The water is cold and the water could run without many obstacles yet it was still calm, perfect for us. We would take off our shoes and try to catch the fish with our hands. We ended up more wet than the fishes. Every time we tried, we would unfortunately slip on the rocks and fall into the cold water. It did bring out some laughs whenever one of us fell. I then realized we wouldn't be able to eat if we didn’t try seriously, so we used a fishing line with a fish hook. At that time we didn’t have enough for a fishing rod, but we didn’t need it. He threw the fishing line several times and caught some fish under my watchful eyes. I sat on the grass while he was busy. I observed him, how he would swing the fishing line before throwing it, how he would tie a better knot to secure the fish hook. His hands were dexterous and he had a small smile on his face, focused on his task, which probably he wasn’t conscious of. I put my knees close to my chest and a soft sigh escaped my lips. Another bright day of spring with the warm sun and the friendly breeze drying our clothes.
When the night fell and the moon rose was the moment we had to return to our small cabin. It was simple and small, made out of logs. The chimney was made with some piled up rocks, and we would use it to cook as well. The darkness meant a peaceful moment for us, as the coldness of the night made the small animals return to their burrows and the night beasts would howl and cry, making their presence known all around the valley. We were warm inside our cabin, with a blanket covering us and the chimney bringing us the warmth of the sun. He laid down and rested his head on my lap. I tried my best to lull him to sleep with my singing. I sometimes succeeded, other times I would also run my fingers through his soft brown hair. I would stop when I felt his breathing slow and more regular.
Our days were peaceful, filled with happiness and contentment. We didn’t have much but we didn’t need it. As long as we would have each other, we would be happy. The sun always blessed us, the breeze was our loyal witness. I wished for our days to stay like this, unchanging.
The screeching sound of the metal door opening in front of me stopped my daydreaming. A man entered the small room I was in and tied my hands behind my back and pushed me forward, urging me to walk. I take a step, then another. I started walking, being guided by those men who wore helmets and were pointing their gun barrels at me. My feet touched the cold floor but I didn’t mind the pain. My hair was long and untied but I didn’t care about their looks. I looked unkempt and I had an austere white dress on, stripped from everything that made me proud, but I didn’t care about the humiliation. I kept on walking until we reached a courtyard filled with more threatening looking men. But I didn’t care. They guided me towards my end, but I didn’t care. Because I made my choice back then. My fate was written the moment they found me, and even if it truly was the same, he wouldn’t fall shortly after. I didn’t betray him because I promised I would keep him safe until my last breath.
They put a basket in front of me and made me kneel. I took a last look at the sky. It felt ironic that this moment was being witnessed by the same blue sky of those sweet dreams. I closed my eyes and felt the gentle wind swaying my hair, trying to reconnect each strand with its half, golden threads scattering in the air.
May my body nurture the soil that you will plow for your crops when everything ends.
May my warmth keep you safe in the coldest of nights.
May my eyes be the sun and moon who will keep you company each and every day.
May my last breath become the breeze that will guide your path.