Today’s Story a Day prompt was to include the words: ink, previously, work, breeze, seven, run, delicious, example, spontaneous, barb. As today is Memorial Day here, I decided to run with that theme as well. This will come after the end of Jonas & Isaac’s story.
A breeze ruffled through Jonas’ hair as he headed down the path. It wasn’t the smoothest path, so he was glad Isaac had insisted on him bringing his cane along, even though he’d been walking without it for a few months now. Still he didn’t want to damage his prosthetic or hurt his residual limb. Again.
He wasn’t thinking about that now, though. It was all over. Isaac’s father was back in prison, and not getting out any time soon. Whatever had happened previously didn’t matter. The last seven months had been the most peaceful Jonas could remember in a long time.
When he reached the stone he was looking for, Jonas slowly lowered himself to his knees and brushed some cut grass and dirt off the top of it. A year. It was hard to believe it had been a year already. And maybe a little ironic on the timing of it all. The previous Memorial Day he’d spent tethered to machines, not even knowing yet that his best friend, his former lover, had already been buried.
He pushed those thoughts away and reached out to run his fingers over the letters engraved into the stone. “You’d want to shake me for it,” he murmured, “but sometimes I still think it should have been me instead. You shouldn’t be the one gone, Santiago. I still don’t understand why I’m the one who survived.” He kept his hand on the stone and kept talking, even though he’d never get a response from Santiago again. Never be able to trade barbs with him again or hear the man burst into spontaneous song when they were working together.
“You’re supposed to still be here. I’m supposed to be able to tell you that I got back together with Isaac. I know you’d be happy for me. And that I’m going to begin work as a paramedic soon. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do that kind of work again, and it’s a lot less likely I’ll have to dodge bullets or bombs when I go out on a call.”
He heard Isaac’s footsteps behind him. He knew his boyfriend was worried about him, but there wasn’t much he could do to assure him he was doing better now. He’d gotten his pain issues mostly sorted out, was accepting the help that was offered, even when it didn’t settle right with him. He felt Isaac’s fingers trace over the ink on the back of Jonas’ shoulder. He’d encouraged Jonas to get it. One more way to honor what had come before.
“I’m going to go now,” he said. “Your mom’s making some of her delicious enchiladas for us. Just another example of how lucky I was to know you.”
Isaac helped him back to his feet. He could have done it on his own, but it would have taken longer, and he knew it made Isaac feel better to be able to do something to help. Then, Isaac brushed his lips over Jonas’ jaw and to his mouth. “I’m okay,” Jonas insisted. “I’ll always miss him. That won’t change. But, I’m okay. Come on, let’s get out of here. He’d rather we celebrate what he did with his life than wallow in the fact he’s gone.”
Isaac looped his arm through Jonas’, leaving the other free to wield the cane so he didn’t lose his balance. Isaac kept him keep that most of the time now anyway. And he couldn’t help but think he’d never have found his way back to him if that helicopter had never crashed. Yes, he’d always miss Santiago and the direction his career could have taken. But, sometimes things worked out the way they were supposed to.