We did camp out, as I’d brought up. I think he did it more for me, thinking I wanted to go out there to enjoy the quietness of outside though it really was for him. We spent two nights out there in the woods, not far from home and he had nightmares both nights. They weren’t at bad though. I don’t know if it’s because I was holding onto him as he slept or because we were outside.
I’ve taken to sharing my bed with him over the last week. He sleeps better but just barely, he doesn’t wake up screaming though he tosses, turns and whimpers. It breaks my heart. So today, since the day is clear and we are out at daylight as our sleeping hours really are mucked right now—I don’t mind that much, I just want him to get better—I took him out. We got on the train, I didn’t tell him our destination and we just wandered off. He rested for part of the trip with his head on my shoulder. He was relaxed and mostly quiet.
I bought him a plain, empty journal for him to write in but I covered it up, weaved up a really beautiful cover in gold and I covered the book with it. I’ll be giving it to him at our destination. I should have given it to him before but it didn’t really seem to be the best of times.
The train is slowing and I can see the signs, this is our stop. I nudge him gently, kiss his cheek and curl my fingers to his to lead him up and outside. I don’t really care what people might say or think of the hand-holding. If they don’t like it, it’s their problem, not mine. I’m just showing him that he’s not alone in the world and that I’m by his side.
He looks around a little blearily, confused I’d assume, by the surroundings. We’re halfway to where the bed and breakfast was. Since I only wanted this as a single-day outing, I figured it was best. If we go back to the bed and breakfast we might have to take the boys with us and I’m not sure it’d be appreciated just yet, though they do well with wandering on harnesses.
I lead him off the platform, through the station where he doesn’t even glance about and outside, past the front door. I squeeze his hand gently and he does squeeze back so I know he’s still with me mentally. It is important, after all. I wouldn’t want him to be millions of miles away from me as I try to ease the terror that surround him at this point.
“Come on, from the maps I read, it should be about twenty minutes or so a walk from here but it’s worth every step from what I’ve seen.” I’ve taken the habit of wandering through websites and looking at photos and finding out more information. I really wasn’t comfortable with technology until he came into my life and I guess he changed me. For the better, it makes keeping track of my money so much easier too. I couldn’t be able to afford any of this if it wasn’t for that money, in the end.
We walk in peaceful silence, I can tell there’s no real tension between us, towards our goal. Or I walk towards our goal and he follows me with a certain lightness to his step. I guess we should go out more often. To do nature stuff that is. None of that locked-inside-in-a-dark-room movie stuff. That doesn’t make sense to me. People should be spending time together outside when weather permits. It’s still early in the day so the stickiness of later hours is not upon yet. It might be when we get back to the train but that is for later.
The walk takes a little longer than I had thought it would but before too long we’re in front of a slight pathway leading up a hill. It’s good exercise, it clears the mind so we start up the steps as I tell him a little about this place and how I’d found out about it. On my left side, as he’s holding onto my right, I pat the small carry-on I have with me. In it one sketchbook, a few pencils and the journal I want to give him, oh, and a bit of food. I don’t want him starving, he hasn’t been eating well. The website I browsed on said there were picnic tables at the top of the hill though it’s almost a tiny little mountain though I guess it’s mostly that there’s a valley below on the other side.
At the top, I hear him catch his breath and I can’t help but smile lightly. The view is beautiful, I really don’t have any words for it. If we look back, we see a quiet little city with just a little bit of hustle and bustle. But ahead of us, it does dip into a valley with a river and trees and just, it’s beautiful.
He squeezes my hand and I lead him to one of the picnic tables. We’re alone here right now and I’m more than thankful, I think it’s better this way. I put the bag on the table and smile at him, pulling out at first our small lunch though it still is at least a couple of hours until lunch, his sketchbook and the small pouch in which he keeps his basic sketching tools and there, the journal I bought and prettied up. I push it towards him and take a breath before letting it out.
“Months ago, you bought me a journal, told me I should write in it, it would help. I didn’t think it would so I didn’t at first. It honestly took me a while before I started using it but it has helped me tremendously. That and your presence at my side, of course. So I got you this book, I made the cover since I know it’s your favourite colour. I thought maybe, if writing down what troubled me, helped me, it might help you just the same. I’m worried about you and I want to do all I can to help you get better.” I hadn’t expected him to cry. I suppose I should have but it hadn’t crossed my mind so I do the only thing that makes sense at that moment. I pull him to me and I hug him for all I’m worth.
His arms curl about me and cling to me as if I were his only salvation and I feel something break inside of me. He’s been acting so strong. I knew he was hurting but I hadn’t thought a simple thing like this would bring him to tears.
I let him cry himself out, I don’t try to make him stop, that wouldn’t really do anyone any good. He needs to cry himself empty and it’s what he does. Almost ten minutes before he quiets down and sniffles, wiping his noise on a tissue. I guess he’s been carrying some of those in his pockets. I should have thought about it. He gives me a tired, red-eyed smile and kisses me cheek before wiping his eyes dry again.
“I’ll try to write it all down. I don’t even understand why it’s giving me nightmares. I suppose it reminds me of Sterling-” he pauses there and I blink at him, my head canted slightly to the side, “I’ll tell you about him later, like I’ll tell you about Beauvais and the rest, you deserve to know.”
He’s honest with me and I appreciate that to no end. I was not honest with him when we started living together but now I do my best to not hide anything from him.
We stay at the little park on the hill until the sun begins to lower itself slightly over the horizon. We talk about nothing and everything. Nothing really meaningful, just discussions about the going ons of the world around us, how things are growing in the garden, how well Areli and Lavi are doing. Just day to day things.
We walk, hand in hand, shoulders nearly touching, back to the train station that will take us back home where we’ll settle on the couch for a while, cuddle. He needs it, I think I need it and it’ll do us both good. I just want to hold him to me. Feel him breathing against me. I think I’ll stick to sleeping with him in his bed for a while more still. Until he tells me it’s enough, if he tells me it’s enough.
Anything to see him smile again.