As Imperceptibly as Grief
Part 2

by: Kyuketsuki
Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing and am gaining no profit from this work.

I have a near photographic memory, and as I wander aimlessly away from the house in which I grew up, I can’t stop the flood of images. Relena and I waiting for the bus at that corner; TP-ing that house on Halloween; walking to the library down that path. But there is a shadow in those images. A blank place where someone should have been. Where someone was once.

This place was always a hell. The suburbs of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania were an inescapable jail. It used to be chic to hate where you lived. That was when we were all teenagers, and we were testing a new set of rules. Those times were fun, as long as I didn’t have to face my family. I was happy with my friends. I was only happy with my friends.

Content even when we were drunk off our asses, trying to escape reality. Or maybe it was time we were running from then. Me and Trowa and him. Relena wasn’t invited, she would have tried to talk us out of it. That couldn’t happen. We wanted to drink till our vision blurred and we could forget that this was our last year before high school ended and we all had to leave. Trowa was joining the Air Force like he was expected to, he had to hold up the family lineage. I was going away to college. NYU, with their city-toughened attitude and amazing Anthropology department, even though I wasn’t taking anything along those lines.

And him? Where was he going? He had joked that he would die in this town. We had laughed that stupid drunken laughter. It was a horrible future, and we had laughed at the sadness of it all. It wasn’t until later that I realized the pain in those eyes. He was probably right.

I wandered to the other side of town without even realizing it. He had lived around here. Some nondescript apartment complex while the rest of us lived in the lush old houses on the Northern side of this hellish place. He never wanted us to know. Not that we would have cared. He was always eager to go over to one of our houses instead of us going to his. I was probably the only one of us who had ever set foot in that place.

I had talked him into staying the night. He had smiled and nodded, then realized he didn’t have his stuff. So we came here to collect it. He had wanted me to wait outside, but I told him I wanted to see his room. And so he had let me up.

It was dark. Even for nine at night it was dark. The glow of the television lit up the living room. A woman was collapsed on the sofa, bottle of some liquor overturned on the floor.

He was so mortified. He had hurried me into his bedroom and shut the door. He didn’t to check on her, he just shoved clothes into his book bag with a little too much force while I admired his room.

Posters, there were lots of posters. Movies and bands so long forgotten even the images of those banners are faded in my mind. Everything was pristine, as if by keeping it perfect he could forget about the rest of the apartment. His bed was neatly made, his pillows and mattress clad in sheets of white so worn they were gray. They were clean, but they were gray. I wonder if he resented it. If he hated the clothes he wore because they weren’t from the high priced stores that we all shopped at. If he hated his mother for being passed out on the sofa. If he wished all these things away as he fell asleep at night on his gray sheets.

But none of it mattered to me. None of it mattered because he was crying. He was sitting on the clean carpet of his bedroom and sobbing into his hands that I shouldn’t be here.

My God, he was crying.