There had been a big tree hidden in a forest of a bunch of big trees. The only thing that made this one any different was the giant knothole a little above the center, and the fact it was the lone one in a clearing. From that clearing and that tree, when you looked up you could see the stars.
Craig had cried when they cut it down. Not for the tree, but the memories that went down with it. It had stood in memory of innocent love that had fallen-crashed like autumn leaves before a quick winter snow. It had stood for baby-blue skies that sparkled like stars from their place encased in a smiling pale face and hidden beneath the fringe of honey-blond hair (honey sweet, honey colour), and all the nights that were day when he stared straight into those eyes and lost himself just for one second.
The laughing and the effortless smiling that mixed with the tears and the silence. There had been conversations that spilt long into the night that would become early dawn or late evening. There had been shy, less shy, not shy at all kisses in the snow and in the grass, in the leaves and against rough bark that left long-lasting tears on a tattered hoodie he had thrown out so long ago. He remembered that same jacket slipping off and his hands working beneath an orange parka.
So yes, the tree meant everything, but it also meant nothing at all if the boy who had been beneath it was not there. In fact, Craig was staring into that memory right now through an empty bottle of Jack Daniel's that was tossed on the ground. It could have been a bottle of vodka, but he would not know. The always there, always strong scent of alcohol was jumbling up his senses and mind. The dreams were unraveling now, mixing with the nightmares that were unfurling to painful preciseness.
When he tried hard enough, Craig's eyes could stop picturing the memories. In those moments he could see his windowsill instead. The glass that was always frosted in snow, or maybe it only seemed to be when he bothered to look at it. It was better than looking around his apartment where there were too many bottles filling the place and too much missing, not moving on. Wanting. He wanted so much moremoremore than liquor, wine, vodka and beer. He wanted more than laundry that spilt onto the floor now, and the insane wanting was sending him down, farther and farther.
His head hurt. The headache inevitable as the hangover began to settle in. Craig clumsily reached for another glass, but he only succeeded in knocking it over. It crashed and scattered in pieces on the floor. Its debris mixed with the various coloured bottles that formed a messy sort of rainbow. He watched it fall, but did not take it in. He stumbled over it and to the bathroom. The hangover was heavy now, strong and pounding in his head. The memories were not stopping. Headache or heartache? Craig did not know what was worse.
He vomited out the liquid contents of his stomach until the sickening sounds of it turnt into one dry heave after another. He slumped down into a mishappened ball on the floor when his throat could not take it anymore. He coughed and choked emptily into his knees. The pain and regret were coming strong now.
Everything was falling apart for him. He was so lonely, so very lonely. He used to be perfectly so, but then a his-sort-of-sunshine managed to bend it and twist it until it was unbearable to live without him. When the sunshine left and the darkness settled in, Craig had pretended. Craig pretended that he was fine with it. He had moved on. He was alright, okay, finefinefine (and if he said it enough, he could almost believe it).
Craig was now crying into the linoleum tiles that used to be white in some ancient age but were now a black tea brown. The crying was a wail, loud muffled screams from behind his hands that dig into his face. "Make it stop." The words were inaudible from his cracked lips, and his violent shaking did not help at all. The tears were falling between the cracks in his fingers. They fell and dampened his face until even his hair and hat were soaked in saltwater type of pain.
He wanted to drown. Anything but the feeling that tainted all his sweetest (honey-tasting) memories a bitter flavour he could not get off his tongue. He had tried to forget, but it never worked as long (or at all) as he wanted it to. He could not forget the tree or the boy that skewed him from his feeling of normalcy. The only thing he had forgotten was how it all went wrong. He could not remember why everything had begun to crumble down (crumble-break-crash). Maybe if he remembered he would not feel so bad (or maybe he would be worse off. Craig did not know anymore).
Tired. That was what he was. He was tired of playing in a stupid play that had slowly became a neverending tragedy.
(Forever and ever. On and on. Neverending. Neverstopping.)
Craig crawled. His eyes were still blurred by tears, and his voice was still contorted with the sobs that went through them. He was crawling, crawling to his bed to fumble for the photograph he kept tucked beneath his bedroom pillow on the wrong side of the bed (the side that someone else was supposed to sleep on). He stared at for a while, at the blue eyes and blond hair captured on a fading glossy snapshot of a memory. He fingered it and carressed the fraying edges before reaching for a pen.
Ten years. That was how long it had been now. They had fought about him. He remembered now. He was not, had not been good for Kenny. That was what had went wrong. He was wrong. He would apologise on his hands and knees, but he could not. Ten years. Did Kenny remember the tree?
Craig brought the photograph to his lips and kissed it softly before bringing it back down. He whispered words that no one could hear even if they had been laying right next to him. Even if someone happened to, they were only meant for one person. A simple statement that went with the one he had scrawled on the back of the card.
A bottle met his lips, and the photograph stayed tightly in his balled fist. He rolled over on it as he closed his eyes, whispering those words over and over again as the toxication took him over, led him down to the place he had always been falling.
"I'll love you until I die."