Kenny had showed up the funeral. He did not know why, but he did. He had wandered in, no black suit or anything. Rather than being formal, he was embarrassingly underdressed. He found no shame in the stares he gathered as his bright orange image caught the eye of some of the people who noticed his hiding place in the back of the church. It did not help he was sucking on the end of a cigarette, waiting to light it until the service was over and done with. He did it absentmindedly, as if he was not really there in the corner.
Craig Tucker. He would have chuckled at the name if not for the bitter taste that accompanied it. Craig had skipped out on him years ago. Ten years to be exact. Kenny had asked him to choose between him or the acceptance of his father, and the noirette had chose neithre. Kenny had hoped for at least a phonecall, something to tell him that "it's over," but Craig had not told him anything. He had just left.
Then Kenny's life went haywire. For a while, he could not concentrate. He had dropped out of community college and went back to whoring on the other end of the tracks. When even his old life did not satisfy him, Kenny went to doing nothing. He got a nine-to-five job in a cubicle and drew sketches he thought never could quite capture the person who was in them. He had brought one of those pictures with him now. It was a big canvas and fairly noticeable from its place propped against the wall. Some noticed it, but they did not really say anything.
("Did you draw that for the funeral?"
The preacher was droning on, and then there was one person, and then another, and then another, who all talked about how much they had cared about the boy who was now confined in a coffin, never to give them another middle finger or condescending snort ever again. Kenny thought it was all bullshit (for lack of other words. He never did have the large variety of vocabulary Craig had always seemed to possess). He stood unsmiling from his place in the back, the bright colour he was wearing contrasting strongly with the expression on his face. When the preacher asked if anyone else had something to speak, Kenny had raised his hand. The preacher gave him one of those sympathetic smiles before saying he could go ahead.
Kenny gave him a frown back and lifted up his picture to be placed under his arm. "You're all a bunch of assholes. I thought you were Craig's friends."
A twitchy blond lifted a teary head to stare at him, and startled "wh-what" yell escaping his mouth. A stronger looking boy next to him had stood and began to advance toward Kenny, but the poor boy was already well out the door. He had turnt briskly, on his heel, with a grace that was unexpected with the load he was carrying. Then he was down the porch steps and down the sidewalk. At some point he began running, the picture clutched tightly in the spot of his arms, and his weathered tennis shoes slapping the snow. He ran until he was lost in the woods. Not really lost, but more, he was looking for something he would not find.
Kenny found where it was supposed to be. It was a wide open clearing that was right now blanketed in white snow. He propped the picture next to him, and closed his eyes. The indigo eyes he was remembering were a lot better than the ones in the oil painting stabbing into his thigh. His eyes were still closed when snow began to fall and lace his eyelashes and unshielded hair. A small sigh escaped his lips, the fag slipping from his partly opened lips and disappearing beneath the sea of white that surrounded him.
Maybe it had not been over. Maybe he should have called to check on him. He had not had Craig's new number, but this was South Park, a tiny little mountain town. Everybody knew a little something that could have aided Kenny in finding out where Craig had disappeared to. It was Kenny's fault for them falling apart. Their red string had still been there, he just had not wanted to grab it. Now all he had were the "maybe's."
Blue eyes met blue hazel as Kenny opened them slowly. He now took in that his cigarette was gone and cursed as he began searching for it. His fingers dug into the ice and snow. He could not afford a new pack until tomorrow when he got paid. Stan was still there as he searched before reaching into his pocket and handing Kenny one. "Don't tell Wendy," he murmured before flopping down next to him.
Kenny's eyes glanced toward him, ice-blue and ice-cold. He remembered when someone used to whisper to him poetry that told him they were little baby skies, but that was all over and done with now and tomorrow it would be six feet under the ground. "Don't you mean Kydoll?" he said with a smile. The smiling was always too easy. Crying was harder.
"Damnit Kenny. I told you I stopped that," he said with a grimace. It was accompanied with irritated murmurings when Kenny proceeded to smile. "Kyle doesn't like it eithre," he finally said begrudgingly. Kenny laughed at that. Although the laugh was cheerless. He still wanted that lost cigarette, but Stan's would do.
Then silence overcame them then. Kenny was sucking on his newfound cigarette, still not having lit it. Stan did not offer him a lighter. He knew Kenny did not smoke anymore. He just kept the cigarette in his mouth from habit. He enjoyed the smell of nicotine than the taste of it on his tongue. Smoking had been more of a Craig Bad Habit.
"You miss him?" Stan's whisper was lost in the wind and snow. Kenny's reply was lost on his tongue. There was silence again, long and stretched out as Stan searched his tongue for more words. He could feel Kenny fading away. The blond's eyes were closed in the same manner Stan had found him, and his hair was being softly tossed by the wind that had picked up moment's before. "Kenny, he left you something."
No response. Not even when Kenny felt something pressed into his hand. He just continued to bring the cigarette in and out of his mouth, chewing on the cotton cylinder part of it lightly. He nibbled until he heard the sound of crunching snow telling him that Stan had left. He tucked the cigarette behind his ear then, embedding it into his hair in a way that it would not fall out.
In his hands was a photograph of himself. It was well-worn, and even from far away he could smell the scent of alcohol on it. Kenny never knew Craig to be a drinker. At least, he never knew him to be a big one.
He stared at it a bit, at the frays and edges. Kenny remembered when he had given it to Craig, or more when Craig had nipped it from him. Kenny had asked him why he would want a picture of his face, but Craig had only gave that ghost of a smile in return. They had been fourteen and so deeply involved in each other that they were breaking their before boundaries of "friendship."
Why did (had, Kenny had to remember "had") Craig keep the picture for all these years?
He turnt over for further introspection only to find Craig's curly, scrawled handwriting on the back. It was much messier than what he remembered to be Craig's normal handwriting, the words nearly overlapping themselves in some parts. Still, he could make out the two words written in bright blue ink. Two words that struck him a way that Kenny found himself giving off that cheerless laugh again.
Then there was crying with a smile that looked more painful than any frown. "I'm sorry," he said to the wind. They were Craig's words, not his. "Dear my honey-blond, I'm sorry." The crying was harder now as he clutched the picture in his hand. Ten years. Kenny had waited ten years for Craig to tell him this. Ten years of waiting for a message that would not come until the bastard who wrote it killed himself. That was exactly what Craig was: a bastard. Kenny decided that now as he began to cry harder, the smile looking so detachedly out of place on his face.
A bastard that had made him fall in love with him. A bastard that did not understand that Kenny had always been willing to take him back - all he had needed was the say so.