Friday, October 26, 2012

Lying in a Hungry Bed

Lying in a Hungry Bed

How did we get here, Peeta wants to ask her but doesn’t. Instead he turns the light off and rolls over in the bed. It may be a cold night tonight but he will not reach for her. He could, but doesn’t. Because he already knows she’ll just shrug him off again. So, he lies there alone and stares at the ceiling and counts the passing lights that flash through the blinds and paints lines across their still bodies.

Katniss wishes he would ask her how they’d gotten there. But she doesn’t tell him that. Because he gives up so easily. She could lie there on her cold side of the bed for night after night and wonder if he’ll reach for her arm again, if he’ll still love her enough to push her to talk to him and open up. But he doesn’t. He just accepts her refusal, not seeing the actual need in it. So, she’ll pull the blanket tighter and closer her eyes and listen to his breathing, unsteady and unsure.

It wasn’t always like this, was it, Peeta wants to ask, but doesn’t. He tries to think back to brighter nights when lights were peach tinted and the world was lost in a soft honeygold glow. But he’s not sure if he’s ever taste that light. Maybe only seen it in movies. And for some reason that makes him want to cry. But he won’t. Because she won’t ask him what’s wrong. And what he does recall is his promise never to cry by himself with her next to him again.

Katniss hears him hold his breath. Hold his tears back. And she wishes he would just let them flow. Show in some way that she is still worth his tears to him. But he doesn’t and they just stay lying there in the cold of the dark. She wonders if she has ever cried with him, but that’s a silly thought because she knows she hasn’t. She wishes she could. Some part of her wishes she could force them, even fake tears would do, a way to show him it’s okay. But she doesn’t. She sighs instead, rolling on her side away from him.

Peeta wants to ask her why she’s sighing. He wants to ask her what’s the matter. He wants to know if she’s ever been to Disneyland and if she’s afraid of the dark too and if she’s ever really been in love. He’s been to Disneyland but only once on the train. And it’s not the dark he’s afraid of but the thought of lying next to her in it. And in the same way he’s been in love with her all this time. In the same round about way. But he has no idea how to say that, or where even to start.

Where did all this begin, Katniss tries to remember. She tries to remember because maybe she can fix it if she’d known where they’d gone wrong. She could ask him. But she doesn’t. He’d just take it personally or start to cry again or worse of all answer her honestly and she’s not sure she could take any of those options. So, she thinks back and realizes that there was a time when he’d reach around and pull her close. And she’d push away and he’d pull her back in. And she’d ask him what was wrong and he’d kiss her on her shoulder and tell her what was wrong. Or maybe she just wishes there was a time like that. It all feels like a lifetime ago.

Peeta turns so slowly and with so much creaking that she almost feels her own bones moaning in response. But like her, they give none. He moves as slowly as he can because he’s afraid to accidentally touch her. And tempted too. And he fights with that temptation to brush her arm and pretend that he hadn’t. But he doesn’t. He simply turns in place and looks towards her. He wishes that she’d look back, and dreads it at the same time and hopes against hope that she doesn’t. Because he has no idea what he’d say or do then. What do you say when you’ve run out of questions and words? How can you start over with something that never really felt like it began.

Katniss turns too, as if finally responding, and dreading it herself as she does. She faces across the cold expanse, a demarcated landscape of tear stained bedsheet and a broken and tomorrowless hope. She doesn’t want to meet his eyes so she does, and she feels a quiver of hope that maybe he’ll say something. But he doesn’t. He’s just looking back at her. As if he feels just as dry and as dead as she does.

Peeta knows he should say something, anything at all. But his heart’s been hollowed out and he can already taste the formahalyde on his tongue. He knows already. And the sad truth is final and reassuring. He knows that they won’t speak tonight. As they didn’t the night before. Or the night after. They will keep on like this. Lying cold and lonely and counting the cars and hoping against the hope that something might change and dreading it all at the same time.

And Katniss knows that he won’t say anything. And she knows neither will she. She let’s out another sigh. And she knows that one day they’ll lie like they lie right now, cold and stiff and wordless next to each other in the hard, clay ground. And even then when they’ve been freed from all this fleshy heat and moisture. Even then she’ll gaze over at him and he’ll gaze right back. And neither will speak with their mute, tongueless mouths. Neither will ask the other what is the matter. Neither will share the blanket or any warmth. He will still hold back his tears while she will still try to figure out how to cry.  

A Hunger Games Fanfic, Inspired by "The Bed Song" by Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra on their album Theatre is Evil. Thanks to IHEARTTHISPAGE for image found on Favim.

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