Beside the rock garden
I think of him
Always, always, as I touch pillows
And yearn after mountain peaks
Like the bonsai ranges
He once seemed just there to me
But they are mountains, truly
Dwarfing and displacing pebbles
I miss him and I have him
In my dreams
Elizabeth Cook, 2016
Marielle couldn’t help but give another small, inward sigh of relief that she and Aneirin were still together. She had been dreading this morning. Next to her, Aneirin was smiling at their new teammates and teacher as if this were perfectly natural, but she kept her fingers close to where his white tabard trailed in the grass, shining bright.
She remembered him out in a rainstorm when they were both six years old, laughing when the lightning came, and though she’d wanted to go inside he made her see a part of his delight. In the backyard on his tenth birthday, when both of their extended families had gathered. That year the apple trees had been overflowing. She remembered the pyramid of presents stacked back in the cool, dim living room, while outside aunts and uncles and cousins crowded around him, a mass of heads and noise, but through them all she was still able to see a corner of Aneirin’s smile, a ray of his light, and that was enough.
She remembered him two months ago when his wink, and a ripple of the sunlight around her, gave her the win in her last sparring test of Rank 1. She did not remember the expression of the girl she had been matched against. And there was a twinge of guilt.
“But what does it matter, Marielle?” he’d asked later, smiling and shaking his head. “You’re better than her anyway.”
And Marielle had subsided, even though she didn’t believe him. Not always. But to believe in anyone, or anything, the way she believed in Aneirin, was incomprehensible to Marielle.
As their families always said, they were sun and moon to one another.