By Anna Carthy, 15, Scoil Chaitríona, Dublin.
He crawled back up the uneven wall, desperate to reach solid ground and see her again, despite the excruciating pain he was experiencing both physically and psychologically. He was both determined, yet exhausted. He could sense a shift in the atmosphere. Then he saw her. Dead. Motionless. Devastation seeped through him like poison. Slowly killing what was left of him. Broken bones, gaping wounds and his energy draining rapidly, he was desperate to reach her, already knowing what he must do.
As he reached her limp body, he gained strength. Determination overcame the exhaustion and devastation he’d been feeling for what felt like a lifetime. As gently as he could, he picked her up, using the strength of every fiber of his body and hugged her. Holding her in his arms, he resisted the temptation to sob. Sob for the family who were
deprived of a happy, fulfilled life because of him. Sob for those who’d attempted to help him in the past. Sob for the wasted time and missed opportunities. He could’ve been happier so much sooner…..if only he’d made the right decisions sooner.
He hugged her body tightly, for he knew this would be the only chance he’d ever get to do so. This was the only person he’d ever felt safe around. She saw beneath the cracks in his mask. Over time, she uncovered the veneer and discovered the transparency of Ben. She knew him better than anyone else, yet she’d known him for the shortest period of time.
They say when you love someone, they feel like home. They are home, because home is a place of comfort and compassion. His home was an environment he couldn’t ever adapt to. Manipulated at an early age by someone he’d turned to after feeling distant and vulnerable from his own flesh and blood. Feeling as if he’d live a life of higher quality by using dictatorship and terror as a method of communication, he let himself be guided by what his conflicted mind believed was a wise ali. She didn’t feel like home, she felt like a familiar presence.
Although he never had the opportunity of knowing his grandmother, he could tell that both women had similar personalities. His grandfather killed his wife in an attempt to save her. Ben needed to ensure he didn’t make the same mistake. Love had blinded his grandfather ,therefore he’d lost stability, leading him to make awful choices and do inconceivable things. It was the opposite with Ben. The woman he held in his arms has made him a better person. She’s redeemed him. This girl is the one person he can
relate to. They are compatible yet incompatible. They had both felt lonely and empty for so long. Yet they were on different sides this whole time.They are like yin and yang. A balance. Both sides of their universe were so right winged. They’d finally found a balance. Each possessed both the dark and the light side in them. And that’s the most powerful force out there.
He was reflecting on his life so much he made himself focus on his main objective again. He lay a hand on her stomach shakily. He closed his eyes tightly, passing every bit of life that he had left to her. She deserved to live a fuller and happier life. She’d already given him so much. He’d finally regained a sense of morality and stability. Not like before. When he was younger, he’d still felt conflicted and indignant. It wasn’t his parent’s fault. It was out of their power. He finally felt at peace with himself now. Prepared to move on to whatever came next. A few moments later, she placed a hand on top of his.
He opened his eyes immediately, ensuring she was safe and healthy. He helped her sit up slowly, knowing she felt disoriented and overwhelmed. They looked deeply into each other’s eyes. Sensing his redemption, she whispered ‘Ben’ softly, a look of pride and admiration plastered on her pale face. The contrast between her hopeful pale face and dried blood lips was overwhelming. She touched his cheek softly. He smiled both sadly and happily. He was sad because he knew he’d meet his fate soon. He was happy, knowing it would all be worth it. Knowing he’d achieved something worthwhile in his lifetime. Overwhelmed by love for her, he allowed the tears that had been suppressed for what felt like a lifetime to run down his cheeks. He’d been waiting for this moment for so long. A moment where no words had to be spoken to exhibit the feelings they had for each other. Suddenly, she leaned in and kissed him. He edged in closer, knowing this experience would only occur once.
Allowing himself to be lost in the moment. When they pulled back to absorb each other’s reactions, they grinned and chuckled softly. He could feel the last bit of energy disappear as he looked into her eyes one last time. Slowly falling on his back. The last expression he saw on her face was sadness and confusion. Before falling into darkness completely, he could feel one last sensation; touch. He still felt her soft lips parted by her sugar breath on his mouth and the hand she held tightly on top of his stomach, as he did once in an attempt to save her. He’d died happily knowing he saved the woman he loved. He finally felt at peace with himself.