It will start with pain, as most things do in the quaint little town painted over hell. There will be no kiss as neither will be strong enough to face the vulnerability a kiss brings. Neither shall find comfort in their touches, though both will search for it.
One will crack before the other, pulling truth from his throat and throwing it into the air between them. They will have lied to one another for so long by then that neither will know what to do with it. So heíll leave, the truth speaker, and heíll wander about a town heís long since grown out of. Heíll drink until the truth becomes a burden and all the while heíll be pushing himself to pause in a place in life he wishes he could leave behind. His friends wonít notice Ė theyíll have other things, bigger things perhaps, to hold their attention. Theyíre young; they still havenít learnt that itís the little things that are most important.
The one he left behind, not cracked but broken, will stay. Heíll stay in his hole beneath the earth and pray for the first time since he died. Heíll feel himself buckling with nobody and nothing to steady him. When he realises that the truth speaker his boy is not coming back, shall not come back, he will return to a world of sun to seek an escape from the perdition that awaits him. He shall not find it. Instead heíll find the strength that women exude, heíll find determination that will not die and heíll find his boy with half his sight and twice his vision. He will be smiling when the quaint little town crumbles over his head and flames that burn white lick at his skin. His boyís face, angry and proud, will be the last thing he sees before a world of green and glass swallows him whole.
Only then, when his town is beneath the sand and his love yes, it will be love is ash, will the truth speaker wander further than the confines of the sun drenched bubble that was his home. And my, he will wander further than any of them will expect him to. Through dusty gardens and over defiant peaks, across oceans and beneath a sky that never looks the same, he will grow. He will learn that silence doesnít always smother, that stillness doesnít herald disaster. His laugh will be louder when he stops caring who listens to it. He will learn that humans can be uglier than demons and that those humans can be beautiful, too. He will see the world shift under his feet, swirl into grey, and sometimes heíll find himself missing his old world of black and white.
The other one, a hero now, will not be waiting for him. He will be fighting for his own redemption with no thought to spare for the life he left behind. He is a phoenix, reborn from ashes, and all he does is imagine the flight he was promised. Death, anotherís death, shall remind him that there are other ways to fly. He shall realise that a pulse is not a marker of humanity. And then, after a battle that will shake the very foundations of the earth, he shall begin his search. He wonít know what heís searching for until he has found it. He will find it in Palestine.
Words will look like whirls of black painted over a splintered doorway, language he will have forgotten how to read. This is the only sign of life within the little shop. He will smell a hint of blood, taste it in the air, and will shut his eyes for a moment. There will be familiarity in that scent, an echo of home. He wonít recognise his boy until their eyes meet and heíll be shocked when he finds that his boy isnít a boy at all. Not anymore.
He shall search for this manís name and will find that he does not know what it is. Because, he will reason, Xander cannot be this manís name. This man who looks so different in every way one can look different. Who is a lifetime away from the boy with quiet eyes and mouth that never stopped moving.
Xander will pull a cloth over the blood pooling at his collar and wonít suppress the smile that moves his lips. He will try to find the energy to be surprised that the other is here, as alive as he ever could be, but itís a task that will be beyond him. So heíll laugh a little, nod at the plastic stool opposite him and offer the other some chai. They will talk about some things of consequence, many things of none at all, and theyíll play football with a ball the children left behind in their haste to make the curfew imposed on their village.
They will travel to Cairo together and drink their past away. They will reacquaint themselves with each otherís habits and they will fight almost as much as they will laugh. They will teach each other to trust that fate is not always as cruel as she first appears. They will be together when they hear of the death of a hero, a woman who fell in defence of the world. And once again it will start with pain, as most things do when you live on the edge of danger.
But this time, there will be a kiss.
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