My beloved’s remains
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A stark, cold stone. That’s all that remains of my beloved, a stone with his name and date of birth and death on it. Just a lousy stone for someone who changed my life, made me feel loved and special and I failed him.
It’s been five months since he died while waiting for me, five whole months where I’ve been denying his death, that he’s really gone. Now here I am, on the day we would have finally meet again in person after four years apart, standing over his grave and my mind is full of regrets and anger at myself. I should have been here earlier, I should have helped him when he needed me the most.
“He wasn’t angry at you.” A voice breaks me from my thoughts and I turn to see his friend, a man called Alex, who had been with my beloved on the day he died.
“He had every right to be, I failed him when he needed me the most.” Alex stops beside me and looks down at my beloved’s grave, the words read:
Kevin Jonathon Kirkson
Loved by few, he lived, he learned, he died alone as he had lived.
So final, such cold words for someone who lived for others, for someone who made his friends happy. I should have been here for him instead of several days away in another state, I should have been the last person he saw as his life left him. I loved him and he loved me, I should have been there with him as he died, to hold his hand as his eyes slowly closed as Alex told me they did. I miss him so much, the days leading to his funeral, which I couldn’t attend, were days where my tears never seemed to stop.
“Don’t go blaming yourself for what happened, it was stress that killed him, the stress of trying to move on from his past. No one could have done anything for him in his final days. I remember it too well, he began crying a lot, his temper would sometimes flare up and then he collapsed. His final words were, ’Tell Kathy I’m sorry, I broke my promise. Tell her, for me.’ I was with him when he died, he took a final breath and then his eyes closed, he mouthed your name as he died.” The day is calm, the sun is out and the light wind lightly lifts my hair up as I turn away from the grave.
“I failed him Alex, we all did. He needed us so badly and we all failed him because we only thought of ourselves. He helped us so much, he gave us friendship and kindness and when he needed us to help him, we didn’t. I hope that wherever he is now, that he’s finally found true happiness, he deserved it so much after what happened in his life.” And without any farther words and before Alex can say anything else, I walk away before he can see my tears fall. I failed my beloved, I deserve death for failing him, I deserve to be eternally damned.
Take a jump back
Tonight, me and Kevin would probably be making love, together at last, nothing between us any more. Instead I’m alone in my bed, no one beside me, no one to love me anymore. My tears have stopped for now, but I know they’ll be back soon, how can I live on without him now?
“It’s easy, you can’t.” I stop myself when I hear the words flow from my mouth so easily, that was cold of me, yet truthful. I can’t live without him, even though I should try and move on. Easier said than done though, he meant everything to me, he still does. I wish so much to be with him right now, to look into his eyes, to kiss him, to hold him, to never be apart form him ever again. But I’m just being foolish, wishes never come true, never.
We met six years ago when we were both shopping, we bumped into each other at first and after an awkward sorry, we never saw each other again until a few days later. A friendship began to form from then on and a year later, we both fell in love. He used to live in the United Kingdom until only a month before we met, he had moved over to the US in order to get away from his past, but it chased him down and he had to leave me four months into our relationship, he went to live with a friend after he had returned from the UK.
He had gone to the UK for a funeral, but he decided that he needed some time alone form me in order to gather his thoughts, I hadn’t minded since I was busy myself. And then five months ago, Alex called me to let me know that Kevin had died from a stress related illness. Since then, my life has been hard to live. The knowledge that me and Kevin will no longer be together anymore is too much for me to handle, we were going to be back together today. He’s gone, completely gone and I know why he became so stressed out as well.
When he was 5 years old in 1984, he had been sexually abused by a headmistress at his primary school, it destroyed him. His young mind at that point couldn’t handle what had happened and he became untrusting of everyone and he developed a very nasty temper. I was willing to help him fight his problems and now, now he’s dead and gone before he could get the help he so badly wanted. He only wanted a hug and to feel loved like he never had in years and I was going to give him all that and more and now I can’t, now all he has is a grave stone.
“I make a wish, I wish to go back in time and change everything for my beloved, to give him a life he deserved, I make this wish and I ask for little else. Hear my words, grant my wish.” I don’t bother stopping myself this time, it’s a wish I want so badly. The tears then return and I cry myself asleep.
1984: A chance
My eyes open and I see a blur of lights surrounding me, yet they’re not moving and nor am I.
“Where am I?” I ask quietly, my voice not tried at all, instead I’m fully awake.
“You are in-between time, child. This is where the past, present and future pass onwards forever, a stream if you wish to use a much easier term. Now you made a wish to change time and while we don’t normally allow that, we will allow it this time. You have as many chances as you wish to change everything, you will always be the age you are now whenever you go back to 1984. Now go back and do what you feel you need to do for Kevin, time is in your hands.” And then before I can ask who the talker is, everything begins to form into .....
.....A wall and buildings, they look real enough.
“What the.....?” I say as I look around, I don’t recognise this place at all. I then see a paper nearby and I pick it up, it’s a little worn around the edges, but otherwise readable. I look at the date of the paper and gasp at the shock of the date, 1984, September 2nd, a Tuesday. I’m not even born in this time yet, not for another two months. I set the paper down and then I see that I’m outside a school and I look for a sign that should give me it’s name and I find it. I know this place now, Kevin told me about it years ago, this is the primary school he went to when he was 5, which means....today is the day his life changes completely.
“So if I’m here and today is the day Kevin’s life changes, then that means....my wish came true. But what do I do now? I can’t exactly stop the headmistress who destroyed him, I would cause what Kevin would call a paradox, so I better think of something and quick.” I then realise I’m wearing clothes, they seem to be clothes of this time period, so at least I won’t be seen in my night clothes, which were nothing at all before this happened. I also see a watch on my right wrist, it’s a very old model, but at least it gives the time. Now Kevin told me that the abuse happened on 12:49 in the afternoon, the time right now is 12:29, I have twenty minutes in which to change the future. But how do I change it? I know, I’ll look for Kevin, he won’t know me, but I will recognise him since he once showed me a picture of him when he had been 5 years old. Once I’ve found him, I’ll think of what else I can do. I just hope I do the right thing.
I go around to the entrance of the playground and I enter, I feel a little out of place already, yet I must do this, for Kevin. I look around for him, the other kids are happily playing, completely unaware that someone from their future is amongst them. I then see him, this tiny 5 year boy looking all alone and unhappy at being left out of the fun, for a sudden moment my shock at seeing him so young and small makes me stare in amazement at this tiny black haired boy I knew as an adult. He looks so different like this, his body so small, none of his adult features there at all. I could pick him up and he would put his arms around me and it would be like I’m his mother, I can’t believe he was ever so young like this.
I get over my shock though and I walk towards him, my heart goes out to him as he looks around at everyone and wipes a tear from his eye, he’s so lonely, all he wants to do is play. I want to hug him, to make him feel happy and cared for, to make him feel like a true child instead of this tiny, lonely child I see before me.
“Excuse me, are you Kevin Kirkson?” I ask as I near him and he looks up at me, his young face oddly wise looking, yet innocent and young.
“Yes, but mummy told me never to talk to strangers.” I bend down to his level and look into his young eyes and he looks at me, no fear in his eyes, it’s as if he trusts me already.
“Well I’m a family friend, I won’t harm you. You look lonely and I’m a new teacher here, could you show me around?” I hate to lie like this, but I need to distract him, if I can make sure he’s with me at the time the abuse happens, I’ll be able to change everything. He continues to look at me and then he nods his head.
“Okay, do you know my mum then? Or my dad?” Come on, think, ah, got it.
“I know your mum, I’m her niece. I recently got a teaching job here and I’m thinking of seeing your mum later to let her know about it.” I really hate lying, but what choice do I have?
“Okay, well come with me then. I’ll show you around the places I’m allowed to go, the rest is where the big kids go.” He walks a little ahead of me and I follow him, I hope this works.
The school is large enough, at least it must be for Kevin, for me it’s a little small, but then a child’s eye view and an adult’s are a great deal different. As Kevin shows me around, I try and not hug him for fear it would make him scared of me, but it’s hard to resist doing so, he looks so different from what I remember. He barely comes up to my knees and I’m 5’4, Kevin in his adult size is also 5’4, but from what I see here, he’s no more than 2’4, 2’3 compared to me, he’s so small. He did tell me that he used to be a small child until his growth spurts when he was a teen, I wonder if when he trusts me even more, he’ll let me pick him up and hold him? Even if I can never love him ever again, at least I would see him grow into the man I know and love from my time line.
“What’s your name?” He suddenly asks me, breaking me from my thoughts.
“Oh, my name’s Kathy, Kathy Merchson.” Kevin nods his head at that and then the lunch bell rings.
“Oh, I better get to the lunch hall, you going there as well?” Lunch hall? If I remember from what Kevin told me in the future, the headmistress dragged him from there and to her office where the abuse happened, I guess I should go with him then. Maybe if I’m there with him, he’ll be okay.
“Yes, in fact I am. I’ll go with you then.” Without any farther comments, Kevin leads me to the lunch hall, unaware that I wasn’t who he thought I was.
The lunch hall, through a child’s eyes, was huge, through my eyes it was a fairly small place. There were ten tables with child sized seats around them and in the far left corner where two other tables with adult sized chairs, which was where the teachers sat and ate their lunch while keeping an eye on the kids.
“I have to sit over there, I don’t like being with the others though, they always hurt me.” I can hear unhappiness in his young voice, something he shouldn't have at his age and I wish I could sit with him, but maybe he’ll be okay as long as I can see him.
“Well I’ll be just over here if you need me for anything. Okay?” He nods his head slowly and then goes over to the lunch line and takes a tray from the rack, I’m not hungry at all, so I’ll just sit and keep an eye on him. After he gets his food, which I think he hates, he goes over to one of the tables and sits down, a few kids there sneer at him and he looks like he’s going to cry for a second, but he resists it.
“I know the feeling, I’ve seen it happen a lot since he came here.” I turn my head to see the teacher who spoke to me, she’s a great deal older than me, about 30 years older with kind eyes and white hair.
“Why does no one do anything about it then? He doesn’t deserve to be treated like that.” The teacher nods in agreement and slowly eats her food.
“I know, but there isn’t anything I can do to help him. Kids can be cruel though, I’m sure as the years pass, he’ll make friends. So you new here?” I watch as Kevin picks at his food, he looks so unhappy sitting there, all the other kids are ignoring him, sometimes hitting him. He just sits there though and takes it all, I can see how he became so calm as an adult.
“Yeah, I just started today. Kevin was showing me around.” As the teacher opens her mouth to respond, I hear Kevin yell.
“STOP IT! WHAT DID I DO TO YOU?” I turn to look at him and I see a few of the kids are punching him and giggling, Kevin is trying to get away from them and then I see a woman heading towards him.
“That’s the headmistress, she’ll sort it out.” The teacher who’s been speaking to em said and then I realise that this is when she drags Kevin to her office.
“No, she won’t sort it out, excuse me.” I get up and head over to the table, I reach it before the headmistress and I step in-between her and Kevin.
“I’ll handle this, you go back and eat your food.” Her voice is kind, yet firm, if I didn’t know what she was going to do to Kevin a few minutes from now, I would step aside, but I won’t.
“No, I’ll take care of Kevin. He was being picked on by those kids there, let me take care of this.” The headmistress looks at me, she doesn’t know me and I quickly turn to Kevin.
“Come on, I’ll treat you to something you like and also I’ll give you better company.” I reach out to him and he takes my hand.
“Okay, you take care of him, he always causes trouble anyway.” How dare she! Kevin wasn’t the one causing trouble, these little bullies were, but I hold my tongue and I help Kevin from his seat.
“Maybe, from what I saw, Kevin was just defending himself. I know his mum anyway, I’ll take him home, I can teach him his lessons in my own time.” Before she can say anything else, I pick Kevin up and we leave the hall, I’ve done it, I’ve changed the future.
Changes for the better?
After we left the hall, I took him to his home and I told his mum everything while Kevin ate and then played, she didn’t believe me at first, but something in my voice changed her mind. Kevin couldn’t be transferred to a new school though since it cost too much, so I offered to help him out a lot at his school, teaching him what he needed to know and also helping him out with the bullies. All I asked in return was if I could stay with them, I would pay for my living there and I managed to get a job for when Kevin wasn’t in need of my help.
I spoiled Kevin rotten, yet I also taught him how to make friends and how to be kind and generous, but I knew I could never return home again, I was alone. I never fell in love again since I had no feelings for anyone but Kevin and when Kevin slowly fell in love with his childhood friend, a young girl who lived next door called Donna, I helped him tell her that he was in love with her. I was with Kevin for his early years and I watched him grow from an adorable child to a handsome man, I was always there for him if he ever needed me.
He soon married Donna when they both reached their early 20s and I was happy for both of them, but I found it hard to accept that his life was different now, that he wasn’t in love with me. But at least he got a life of happiness, a life he never got the last time. Maybe I did the right thing after all.
The day came when Kevin died in the old time line and something happened that I hadn’t expected, Donna was killed in a car accident. Kevin was shattered when he learned of her death, he had been at work at the time. His parents were dead and his brother and sister had left long ago, he was alone now, yet he still visited me at times. I still lived in his childhood home, I was in my 50s now and I wished so much that I was younger, that I was with Kevin as I wanted before. I’m old and alone and I hate it. Anyway, the week after Donna’s funeral, Kevin came to visit me and he found something out about me, something that caused him to do a drastic thing.
Kevin sits down across from me, his handsome face the one I remember from my time line, and he sips at his juice, his eyes on me. I’m honoured to have seen him grow up from a child to an adult, I’m honoured to have been with him in almost all his stages of life.
“Kathy, you’ve been lying to me all these years, haven’t you?” His voice is calm, he must be fighting his grief at losing his wife very hard.
“What? Why do you say that?” I ask and Kevin gets up and sits next to me.
“I know who you are now, your not my mum’s niece, are you? Your from a different time, aren’t you? A future where something happened to em and you came back to change it all. Why?” How? But there’s no way he could have known, unless....
“How did you figure it out?” I ask and Kevin takes my hand.
“Because I’ve always been able to tell who you are, but I never understood until recently. Donna was never the one in my dreams, you were, your my soul mate, aren’t you? The one I fell in love with, but something happened to make you change my future, what was it? Did I die?” What do I tell him? The truth? Yes, I have to, he deserves that from me.
“Yes Kevin, I am from a different future, you did die in that time. I made a wish and it was granted, I did it for you though, so you would have a future.” Kevin smiled a little and then convulsed.
“Then you made the wrong choice, you gave me more unhappiness. I’ll be dead in a few minutes and you’ll go back to that future, to the age you were when you helped me. Choose well.” And then he closed his eyes and he fell against me.
“NO! Don’t die! Please, not again!” But my words go unheeded and he dies in my arms and everything fades away.
Time ever onwards
Again and again I change everything and again and again, Kevin dies. I’m trapped in an endless loop of time, no matter what I do, Kevin dies at the same age. I’ve screwed up seriously, I’ve damned myself for all eternity. Timeless, ageless, trapped.
The circle of time never ends.