Stolen Time – Epilogue
Once he set his mind to it, it actually wasn’t such a hardship to find where they rest Jacob. Surprisingly it was Mandy who helped him to find out. She still had a close relationship with their high school friends.
It was a bright day. The sun was too strong for his pale and thin skin. For a long while, Bernard just tentatively brushed Jacob’s headstone as he had done Jacob’s short hair after their frantic ER trips too many times to count.
“After they took your, your…” Bernard swallowed hard. “Your body. I was called to the police station for questioning. And after that’s done, I’ve come home. The floor was still full of water and blood, but I couldn’t bring myself to care. I Just crushed on to the bed, sank in your smell.” Bernard inhaled a big mouthful of air and exhaled slowly. “When I woke up, I noticed, all your things were gone. Clothes, your pictures, not that we had many besides your medicine. Your cousins had come, the neighbour said. While I was in the police station. They took them all, and nothing about you were left. Like you never existed with me. Like you never had lived there. Then the landlord came and demanded me vacant the flat immediately. He wanted it totally renovated. ” Bernard sighed and shook his head, remembering the landlord bringing men to start the job the day he gave Bernard the vacant notice. “I don’t know. For a while, I just couldn’t believe it. Couldn’t believe that you are gone. That you’ve taken your own life. That you’ve given up.
“So I slept. And slept. I dreamed about you a lot. When I woke up every now and then, I couldn’t tell what’s dream and what’s reality. So I went back to sleep. Finally, the fact that the old and stink halfway motel was reality, hit me. That you left me. That you removed yourself completely, utterly from me and this world without a word for me. I got angry. I thought ‘Have I not been enough for you to live? Have I not done enough for you? Everything we have together, all the love, the shared memory, and friendship didn’t mean anything to you?’ I kept on thinking and got more angry.”
“If you thought I was reckless and acting invincible the first year after we moved up to Joburg, you wouldn’t be able to find a word for me during that time. I did lots of stupid things Jacob. I didn’t know why I was doing it. Because I was angry at you, not at myself at least as far as I thought. But I felt better when I did all those stuffs. Being beaten, degraded in front of a club full of strangers, giving my body to anybody who wanted it, any way they wanted it. While I suffered, every damned time, I thought, ‘this is your fault because you left me. Because you were not here to watch out for me anymore, the hell Jacob, you are not here to drag me home.’ I felt better. I didn’t understand why, and I still don’t.
“But that sort of things, doesn’t fix anything, does it? It wasn’t your fault. I knew, I’ve always known deep in my heart that none of them was your fault. It was mine. All my demand to you, under the name of love and loyalty, cornered you to make the most stupid decision of your life. Didn’t it? What wouldn’t I give to change that, Jacob?”
“I’m sorry buddy. For making you leaving family, ignoring your heart breaking over it, forcing outing you, putting you into the dirty and unprotected lifestyle. I won’t beg for your forgiveness. Because you are not here to forgive me.”
“I loved you. My way of loving was wrong. Terribly immature. But I loved you with all I’ve got at that time. You were my best friend, my lover, and my family. I loved you, Jacob Masole. And I miss you. I miss you so much.”
A child like sob was strangled out of his throat. It took him seven years finally to admit it out loud. In the midst of all the denials, anger, guilt, resigning, grief, despair, the biggest thing left in him was loss, how much he missed Jacob.
As if seven years old blocked pipe was clogged, tears flowed out freely and uncontrollably. He gave up wiping his face and nose at one point and just wailed. He didn’t know how long time passed, suddenly a neatly folded handkerchief appeared under his eyes.
Tony didn’t say anything neither did Bernard. It was one of the weirdest moment of his life having Tony and Jacob at the same time. Having his future and past finally became one whole picture.
Karoo desert’s blazing sun finally burnt and started to disperse to the east leaving red ashes in the sky.
“Let’s go home.”
Tony’s solid arm led Bernard gently to the direction of the car waiting for them at the end of the hill. Bernard silently said goodbye to Jacob.
“I’m already home.” He murmured under his breath leaning against Tony. His husband, his home.
“What did you say?”
“Nothing. How did you find me?” He craned his head to look up to Tony’s eyes.
“I might have had some strong words with Amanda.”
“Did you threaten her? You didn’t need to. It wasn’t really a secret that I’m here.” He had left the first thing in the morning after the intense session with Tony, only left a simply note on the side table saying he was coming back in a few days.
“That woman’s attitude annoys me immensely. And no, I didn’t threaten her, not really anyhow.” Bernard know how Tony didn’t care about Amanda at all. But also he knew that Tony wouldn’t really have been terribly rude to Amanda. Firstly, that’s just not in him, and secondly, for the fact that she is Bernard’s friend even when she was the one who causes an unwelcome noise to their engagement party. Tony put up with her. In fact, he put up with Bernard’s shits that piled up bigger than a mine dump as if it was a package deal.
Tony opened the back door of the Range Rover-different from his in Joburg, this one in Silver- and slightly nudged him. In the half way of getting on the car, Bernard grasped Tony’s forearm that’s holding the door open for him.
“Have I ever said that I love you, Tony?” He looked directly at that gorgeous purplish blue eyes.
Tony’s one eyebrow slightly hitched up.
“Don’t be silly. Of course, you love me.”
Bernard grinned widely.
Tony nudged him a little stronger this time seemingly not understanding Bernard’s absurd confessing of love.
“Get on the car. You are going to have a heat stroke. Your skin is bloody burning.”
This time he complied eagerly.
I’m planning to open the story only until the end of the month. It will be locked after that.
Thank you for reading Stolen Time. :)