It was a cold and windy autumn afternoon. The wind wanted to design a new look for the hem of your jacket, no matter how much you were against the idea.
One foot in front of the other. One, two, three. Nervously, you got closer and closer to an old house. Inclement autumn weather tried to make you turn back to the safety and warmth of home, but you refused. No turning back, not this time.
The house was a strange choice. Some time ago, it had been in an okay condition, but like everything else, it had given up and so the paintwork had started to fade. The abandoned house had once been full of life, laughter and fury. Now, it was still standing only thanks to the unshakeable foundation.
If he has a reason for choosing this exact house, it is most likely to be explainable only in the same way as a short story is interpreted.
But let’s forget about guessing, here we go.
The ancient door creaked, shredding your ears with its noise. You kicked old magazines out of the way and closed the door behind you. You checked your clock, a few minutes left. You hated being late, so you were much better off being there a bit earlier than promised, instead of later. You checked the date from your phone for the sixth time on the same day.
This might sound a bit weird, but I’d want to meet you in the abandoned house in the uptown area. Next Friday, 3 pm. I’m waiting for you in the second floor.
Yours, Leon Scott Kennedy
The address of the house was as an attachment in the message. You had read the message three times without believing for a single second that it was nothing but trolling. When Leon called you several hours afterwards, for making sure you were coming, you couldn’t help but believe that it really was him.
It felt… very soothing, yet at the same time it made you very nervous. The history of you and Leon had remained distant… Yet, it had travelled with you, everywhere. And now, when the chance came for it to remind you about it, it surely took it.
“You’re leaving to where?” you asked as if you had gotten it wrong. His stable state of being and appearance that gave no signs of nervousness told you that you hadn’t.
“To the president’s service. After Raccoon City… I know I can make it. And I feel it’s my calling.”
He speaks only about himself. Not “we are going”, it’s “he goes”.
So typical for Leon… He doesn’t force anyone with him, even though he could hope that somewhere inside his mind. He respects my freedom…
You looked at him in the eyes. There were no words to form stupid questions with. He didn’t seem present anymore, he was elsewhere. In the president’s service. With pride.
You didn’t want to destroy that pride with your selfishness.
“I’m… proud of you.”
Leon didn’t know what to say. He took your hand in his own and nodded. Despite his pride, he was also very humble. That was a somehow rare combination, and at times, also a bit confusing as well.
“Well… Send me a post card… or something”, you tried to continue those difficult goodbyes.
“Sure thing. Maybe I’ll come around when I have a chance. Stay true to who you are”, he smiled and hugged you. An involuntary smile rose to your lips… but something blackened your mind.
After a couple of days, he left permanently. He kept his promise and sent postcards from wherever he was, telling very quickly and shortly about himself. Like he always did: the surrounding world was like the Pandora’s chest for him. There was so much more to tell than there was in him, or that’s what he thought. Yet his job prevented him from telling all he might have wanted. Even though you would have loved to hear how he was doing, you feared it at the same time.
The house no longer insulated warmth the way it had. The wind howled quietly in a corner, making you get goosebumps. How the house reminded you of yourself…
He was waiting upstairs. Even though you didn’t hear the creaks of his footsteps, you knew he was on time. He preferred being there too early than too late. Who knew if he had waited for you in the house for hours?
Staircase gritted lightly underneath you. Each creak carried you closer to him and made you nervous. At the same time, a small delight tried to fix the situation. Plus minus zero.
When you made it to the second floor, the first thing you saw was an almost shattered but still standing window. Leon looked out of the window, hands crosses over his chest, immovable. He seemed like he hadn’t moved a finger in the last half an hour. You measured him in your mind from head to toe. His blond… light brown hair created a shadow on his left eye, which probably made women adore that ‘obscureness’ in him. He was in really good shape, maybe even a bit more muscular than three years ago. Just enough skintight, brown jacket left some space for guesses, but your mind did fill in the blanks as it pleased.
Should I let him start or is he waiting for me to do that?
You raked your hair quickly, as an act of nervousness. He tilted his head and smiled with the softest gaze in his eyes. Like automatically, he spread his arms only to wrap them around you. His hug was strong, but not forceful, as contradictory as it sounded. But it was contradictory just in the right ratio. The same smile rose on your lips, like blown by the wind. The wind also blew the ink away. You were about to stay there in his arms, but Leon indicated that he needed to break apart. He wanted to speak, and it was difficult being credible when mumbling to someone’s back. You took a careful look at his eyes and saw how the shade had changed a bit. He respected you. A gaze of respect, that’s something so many women got wrong. But now, you thought you got it right.
“Hey,” he said with such gratefulness that you were sure he indeed had waited that half an hour. At least.
“Hey...” you replied. It happened automatically when he spoke to you with that tone of voice: you lost all the strength from your voice, and all that was left was nude softness. So, you both were equally unarmed.
“You wonder why I didn’t choose a café over this old dump?” he asked with a small spark of hope in his voice. Maybe you’d remember.
“I would be more surprised if you had”, you chuckled. “The Leon I knew didn’t like noisy surroundings.”
He nodded quietly. And chuckled lightly. “What did your three years include?”
For your surprise, you didn’t panic for his hand that looked for its place from your lower back and settled on your hips. You leaned onto him, only slightly. Still, you stood on your own feet, like before and in the future.
He feels right. Not legitimized, …right.
There’s something good in his ‘forever the ladiesman’-position… I dare because I know he dares too, without hesitation.
You pondered how to start. And through what. “Well… I stayed true to myself and had to explain it many times. You see… It’s funny how we can be taught to solve designed problems and to plan problems. But common sense and intuition are left in the background without any development or encouragement to develop them.”
Leon nodded once again. “It would require more than memorizing. Since nothing else is demanded than expected answers.”
I had almost forgotten how much I missed this…
“Yes. I guess… the majority of wondering reactions are only because of the primal mistake to view the other’s world through one’s own standards only.”
“Isn’t that inevitable?”
“I am aware of that. But… If one tries to justify decisions of the others based on their own ones and dares to try to prove them wrong…”
Leon didn’t do a single gesture. He didn’t pat your head nor erode words in vain. You loved it. The silence spoke for him, and you knew he got your point.
You moved a tress behind you ear. “What about you?”
“Me?” he asked to make sure he heard it right. You nodded restrainedly, wondering how your presence made him accept his own quiet side. He didn’t have to save anyone or mold hope onto you. He was allowed to be quiet, but also to talk about things that burdened him.
Sometimes I wish… I wish we could be more helpless and weak.
Leon raked his hair thoughtfully. He wasn’t the best one to form his thoughts into words when he was still unsure how to present his idea. “How should I start… I followed my calling. I saved many lives and earned respect and glory, but…”
“…killed as many in the process?” you suggested. You were aware of the fact without asking.
“Can’t deny that. But even witnessing all that death and madness wasn’t the worst.” Then he went silent and swallowed.
You remind me too much of myself…
Still, he needed your support. He stared out of the shattered window, like always when he couldn’t get the situation under control. Like when all power slipped through his fingers, and the strong agent changed involuntarily to a bystander…
“Listen…” you said and moved a bit closer to him. He turned a bit, so that you could see a scar on his left cheek. It had healed times ago, but the scar would remain there, always. You reached towards the scar carefully, and he followed how you would react, with dread and tenderness.
You observed the scar, without startling. You stroked it carefully, and he relaxed a bit. Veneration was a good word to describe your reaction. You didn’t know where he had gotten it, but maybe he would explain. Anyway, the origin was painful to him, not only physically.
When you focused on him a bit better, you noted how Leon still thought how he would tell it. You had a small idea of what he was about to say, but you didn’t want to give him pressure nor high expectations to yourself. You put your cold hand on his cheek and looked straight into those bluish-grey eyes. He seemed confused, for a little moment. And at the same time, slightly hopeful.
Fearlessly, you closed your eyes and titled your head a bit to the right, pressing a light kiss on his lips. It caused a weird feeling of both serenity and nervousness. Leon answered very lightly, you barely felt it. Maybe he had craved for acceptance for so long that he wasn’t able to process it right away.
You saw the gratitude in him anyway. Even though the man had been somehow reserved, now he seemed to let go of his bubble and enjoyed your intimacy. He wasn’t afraid anymore.
“There are no right words”, you said as a counterbalance to the silence.
Leon smiled lightly, without holding himself back. You moved in front of him, so that he could gaze out of the window but still rest his hands on your hips. You crossed your arms on top of his and leaned onto his head that rested on the top of your shoulder.
“My mission in Spain was… unusual”, he started.
“My enemies weren’t stupid anymore… Infected residents of the village, a lot of Las Plagas in numerous different forms… It was quite shocking in the beginning. But after that I stopped tallying all I had done…”
“Then, my only goal was to get the target, Ashley, out of the island without a bruise. I killed Krauser for that”, he told with a momentary glassy look in his eyes. The scar was deeper than you had thought.
“Yes. He made this scar”, he explained and stroked the scar as well. You thought that he hadn’t touched it any more than required before.
“But the most painful part was to notice… that I couldn’t execute my calling to the fullest extent, even though I wanted so.”
“What do you mean…?” you asked, feeling how nervousness returned like a lightning bolt. It tingled underneath your skin, waiting.
Leon was looking for words, once again. This time it was because of admitting a weakness, not the lack of words. Mainly. “I mean… Despite helpers and friends, I had no one to confide in. Ashley, Hunnigan, Luis… None of them understands me. Ashley wants to misunderstand, Hunnigan is a pastel-shaded person and Luis just doesn’t get it.”
“…So, you were left alone amid people?”
“…Yes. I was so detached.” He said the rest so quietly that it made an energy spike run through you. You jumped because of its power.
“Hm,” you nodded. You tried to think about what to say. Leon searched for words also himself, and finally snuggled a bit closer to you.
“But now… I have something I can trust.”
It hit your critical point. As a reaction, you felt a dash but couldn’t tell where it came from. You sobbed quietly, letting a tear of relief roll down. Leon didn’t try to wipe it away.
“I don’t know why I’m crying”, you admitted quietly. “It helps only momentarily.”
“You don’t have to…” he accepted. “Not everything needs fixing.”
I know I can’t fix and tune all of those shards to the condition in which they were before…
But am I able to help with accepting to see through those bent glasses?
Despite all of the dimples… the broken was in that stagnant state more explicitly than before. More certain than before.
Indeed, now he had something through which to reflect his world of glass.
I touch the white upon the window sill
Cracks are spidering across the glass
No one will see me if I hold perfectly still
This sense of hopelessness will surely pass...