He kept that promise, each time he made it. Adam would yell the same assurance at the end of each day, and each afternoon he would appear, always jogging , always carrying the same pack with the same materials.
His smile, with his azure eyes reflecting the lustrous sun, broke my solitude. His soft yet cheerful voice stole my loneliness.
The days that had crawled by as time slowed to an end were gone, defeated by his presence.
Even the nights, the dark, soulless nights, were filled with a new light, a new hope. The stars shone with a new light and the moon whose smile had once been filled with pity now reflected my joyous grin.
The crickets sang their beautiful melody until they fell asleep. The rest of the night was filled with excited thoughts and blissful memories. Time sped past me faster than the rush hour cars.
Morning would come bathed in golden light. I would observe the meager visitors come in then leave, but I didn’t long for their presence. I didn’t yearn for companionship, not anymore.
Adam would jog into the cemetery at the same time every afternoon and leave at the same time every evening, according to the sun. During his time with me, he would recount his day or tell an amusing anecdote. Afterwards, he would pause for a moment before asking me how I was and what was new on my end in a series of yes or no questions.
He never became frustrated when I gave ambiguous answers, though I was always irritated by my lousy memory and inability to transform my visual recollections into words.
I didn’t ask him any questions until he jogged up to me with a large bruise on his cheek. His pale skin was tinted purple just below his eye, where his cheekbone jutted out.
It was as he lay down beside me, spread out like a starfish as usual, that I noticed the cut on his upper lip. It was deep and jagged and still raw. A drop of blood formed on the cut, steadily growing larger. The crimson surface shook with each heavy breath. The drop finally burst dropping between his parted lips. It painted his pure white teeth a pale red.
His eyes were closed. I waited until he opened them before waving in front of his face. This was the only way I could attract his attention. His pale face turned towards me, his half-closed blue eyes locked on mine.
I pointed to his cheek, then quickly withdrew my finger, fearing that I had gotten too close.
He turned away from me and mumbled “It’s nothing”, trying to pull his black hair down over the bruise. His attempt was futile for the thick strands ended at his lower lash. He turned further away, mumbling “It’s nothing” again.
He stayed like that for at least a minute, refusing to look at me. When our eyes did meet, it wasn’t for long. He had barely glanced at me when he looked back down, fumbling with the plastic clasp of his backpack.
I tried to spell out my question more than once, and he deflected it with a “It’s nothing” each time. I made my final attempt as the last rays of the sun illuminated us, casting shadows over his face. ‘I’m concerned.’ I spelled out before beginning to ask for what may have been the tenth time.
“Look,” he said, interrupting me in the middle of transitioning from the ‘a’ to the ‘p’ in ‘happened.’ I let my hand hover there as I turned towards him, then let it drop to the ground. His bangs shrouded his eyes in a thick curtain of shadows. I caught a glimpse of their stern, slightly exasperated expression.
His voice was heavy, his tone somber. “I told you it’s nothing. Just drop it.”
I hurriedly spelled out ‘But you are hurt!’
“This is nothing.” he repeated, turning away from me again. He sat with his knees hugged to his chest and the back of his head turned towards me for some time, adamantly refusing to break the silence that imprisoned me.
The silence stood between us like a brick wall as he packed up, keeping his hair down over his eyes and refusing to look at me. The clasp of his pack snapped shut with a loud ‘POP’.
He got up quickly, swinging the light sack over his shoulder and taking large, quick steps. He disappeared through the gates then around the corner without saying a word.