Category A: Highly Commended (2021) Monash Short Story Writing Competition
Author: Eleanore Li
Title: The light in your eyes
Nineteen-year-old boy found dead in an unfortunate act of suicide. I brush my fingers over the Newspaper headline, re-reading it for what seems like the hundredth time.
Everything was supposed to be perfect that day. The sun was meant to shine, the birds were meant to sing, and he was meant to step out of his house alive.
I considered myself a hard person to get along with, perhaps because of the strict household I grew up in. Just like him. Nevertheless, despite our similar circumstances, he still managed to appear a happy and friendly person. Yet at the end of the day, no one would have been able to guess what he faced. Except me. And although I could forgive him for leaving to escape his everyday struggles, I wasn’t sure if I could forgive him for leaving me.
I brush a hand through my messy and greasy hair as I slump onto my chair. I close my eyes and for the first time, it’s quiet. I feel alone. A strong gust of wind flows through the window, sending me shivers. But the next thing I know, I don’t feel alone anymore. Because he’s here.
In the misty rain, there’s a figure. Standing in the moonlight covered by the pelting rain, I can barely make anything out of the silhouette, but I’m sure it’s him.
“Asher?”, I whisper, “How is this possible?”, I sink onto my knees. He walks towards me until I can see him, crystal clear. His beautiful, bewitching face that I missed so much.
“Aelin”, he breathes, with tears glistening in his eyes, he pulls me from my feet. “You need to listen to me.” I give him a quick nod as tears well up in my eyes. He takes my hands and pulls it close to his own.
“Aelin, I know I left without saying goodbye, but it’s not your fault, I promise. Forgive me, I’m sorry I wasn’t strong enough to stay, even for you.”
My vision blurs and I can’t tell if it’s rainwater or tears swarming down my face. An endless amount of things I want to say, yet a single word chokes against my throat.
“Aelin, I’m happy now. And all I ask of you is to accept reality. It’s okay. It’s time for you to move on. Live your life”. He gives me a small smile and pushes tucks my hair away. Lifting my chin up until I can the warmth of his lips. His lips brush mine only slightly, and before I can cherish this last moment, I open my eyes, gasping for air.
I raise a hand to my head, recalling all that had happened. I smile. Because today, I had seen something. Something special. Something that put my heart at ease. Something that allowed me to finally move on. Something that told me all was going to be okay.
It was the light in his eyes.