to weep a loss that turns their light to shade
Snow betrays you and Daniel dies. You try to kiss him awake, because you both deserve the happy ending and not what you have now, not the dry, atrocious horror of the situation. His body stays limp in your arms for an infinity of seconds before doubt starts to set up in your mind.
Your father dies from your own hand, because you're running wild and terrified of the gaping unknown under your feet, inside your chest. You don't know what to do; the only thing on your mind is your need to escape from the darkness lying in your heart because it's become too cold, too painful, too much.
You know the darkness has won when his corpse fall to the ground and you can't put his heart back inside. It doesn't feel like the beginning of a new era, nor does it feel like the end. It only feels cold – cold, empty and shallow, just like three minutes ago.
It's the first time you wonder if you should have just ripped your own heart out instead.
Henry leaves you for what he considers his new family. You talk about redemption and he leaves, and you dry heave over the kitchen sink for so long that you're convinced your throat is bleeding. But just like for everything else that ever hurt you, it doesn't show; you learned a long time ago that people don't care unless there are bruises and blood.
You have only one scar though, and when Graham asked you one night about it you said the truth: you fell in the staircase when you were five and your lip opened. You didn't say Magic doesn't leave scars.
You kill Daniel. There's nothing to say about it, except that you don't have a body or a grave to visit anymore because Daniel turned into dust under you fingertips.
You kill your mother.
You think you might be dead, too.
Snow White and all her family still live. You try to kill her, because what do you have left if not vengeance? Your right hand is inside her chest – you want to tear her heart away from her body so hard she'll stumble into your arms. You want to hold her when she dies and feel her losing everything against your skin.
Henry arrives, looks at you.
Your hand comes out empty.
You spend hours of doing nothing but watching your apple tree, its scars and nooses, and you wonder how many blows it can suffer before the wood dies, before it rots and turns into mud on the frozen lawn. You wonder how many branches Emma can cut off before it becomes too painful for it to grow again.
You wonder how many fights remain in your bones, how far from letting yourself die you are. Then you remember one does not simply die because they're too numb to live.
You think it's disappointment that you feel. You're not completely sure.
You stop eating, because it might do it without you having to actually act on it. (It only makes your ribs look sharp when you're naked, and highlights your cheekbones.)
Somewhere along the way, you understand that Cora killed Daniel and you cry and you sob and you hit the shower's wall until your left knuckles are bleeding, because you cannot un-hate Snow, not after the sentiment's been the only thing filling your heart for over forty years. You hold onto it as if you've never learned to swim and it's the only thing keeping you from drowning. (It may be.)
Your tears disappear into the plughole and you wait until your eyes aren't so red anymore before leaving the bathroom.
You don't know why, no one is in the house anyway.
Maybe it's fear, or maybe it's pity that fills your son's eyes when he shows up unannounced and finds you hungover on the couch. Well, under the couch. Whatever.
He hands you an aspirin and leaves without a word.
You throw up – you know it's not because of the wine, though.
Emma stops by thrice a week on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. To check if you haven't choked on your own vomit, you guess.
At first it's awkward and silent, because neither of you want to be here but you both do it for Henry (and you can't help but wonder, what don't you do for Henry anymore?). She only stays the time she needs to see if you're alive; you're not but she doesn't see the difference. Or maybe she does but won't say a word, people in your life tend to do that a lot.
Finally, at the end of the first month, she stares at your collarbones sticking out of your skin and asks: "Can you teach me how to cook?" You say no, but she comes back with a bag full of groceries and a hopeful smile.
You teach her how to make chocolate cake first – it is Henry's favorite.
You start organizing your week by recipes. Pancakes, Tuesday, Wednesday, Lasagna, Friday, Lasagna II – it's a tricky one, Sunday.
Sometimes Henry comes along, and the three of you move around the kitchen like dancers repeating a ballet. It's all very smooth and gracious, like few things have been in your life. Your heart does this thing, when you take a step back and watch the scene with a fresh pair of eyes, where it starts beating again, faintly.
You can't remember when conversations with Emma changed from What kind of butter is the best to use in cakes? to I've been in 12 different families or Snow's father didn't just want a babysitter. They simply do at one point or another, and more often than not you find yourself doing more talking than cooking.
You don't want those meetings to become important, but your stomach doesn't turn into stone anymore when Emma comes alone.
She spends the night on the couch because you talked until 1am and both fell asleep watching Inception. The next day, you want to ask if she prefers Ellen Page or Leonardo Dicaprio, but you don't say a word and things carry on as usual.
You catch her staring at your breasts three days later and somehow you have an answer anyway.
"I'm sorry mom, I'm so sorry."
"Henry, shhh, it's okay. I'm sorry, too."
The I love you is made of two voices. You cry.
One day, your fingertips brush past your lip and you say to Emma: "You're the only person I know who never asked about the scar". She stares at you for a very long time with a look you don't understand, kisses you and says softly:
"Maybe once you've told me about the ones I can't see."
Then love again.