Last week I promised I’d blog a bit of Troy, Jolene’s hero. It’s unedited and definitely not polished but it should give you a feel for the man. This is the section straight after what I blogged last week. Enjoy
Troy found her exactly where he thought she’d be. Every year she came and sat in the freezing winter morning. Her emotions clearly stamped on her face. The raw pain etched across Jolene’s pretty features always dragged at his gut. Over the last ten years they’d built a solid friendship but she still wouldn’t include anyone in this pilgrimage.
Sitting on the damp grass in her threadbare coat, she was the image of absolute misery. It was the one time of the year where she let what happened have free rein, every other day she kept it carefully locked away. But today, the anniversary of the violent act that took the lives of her children and parents, she let it out.
Tears streamed down her cheeks unnoticed, dripping onto the ground with a steady plop. There was nothing but the one headstone to mark the grave, no flowers ever placed on it. Jolene wouldn’t allow beauty to mask the ugliness. Just like she’d chosen the dark under the tree for them to rest in.
He didn’t begin to understand the logic behind the decisions, but then how could there be any logic in such an emotional situation? Like he did on this day every year, he’d give her time. Then he’d do what he always had, he’d go and help her pick up the pieces of her sanity so she could get through the rest of the day.
And the rest of her life.
Fishing in his pocket, he pulled out a packet of gum. Without taking his eyes from Jolene he popped a piece into his mouth. His jaw clamped down hard as she traced the words on the headstone. The shake in her fingers could be from the cold or from the raw ache he knew was tearing her up inside. Probably both.
That damn coat didn’t offer any protection from the wind but she refused to wear anything else. He’d bought her a new coat last year, managed to get her to accept it and she did wear it. But never here. Here she wore the same coat she’d worn for the last ten years. The same clothes.
He’d asked her about it once, why she wore the same thing as the day they buried her family. The stunned look on her face had said it all. She’d sworn he was mistaken. Why would she wear the same outfit? She didn’t even really remember the day never mind what she’d had on. Troy believed her. He remembered all too clearly how she’d been that day.
How she was now.
The shriek of the wind as it cut across the cemetery forced him to his feet. Enough was enough. He wouldn’t sit here and watch her freeze to death. Her frozen heart caused him plenty of grief; he wouldn’t have the rest of her go that way. Time to make a move and take her home.
He approached with as much noise as he could make but she was so caught up in the grief and the dark corner of her mind where she kept her memories she wouldn’t even hear a herd of cows. Still… he wouldn’t risk startling her. The morning chill sank further into his bones and he shivered. It had nothing to do with where he was and his dislike of what it meant to her.