The memorial was unexpected.
Amanda stopped in her tracks. Ger continued on along the forest path for another step or two, halting when he sensed her no longer at his side. His eyes were worried, questioning, but already she was elsewhere. All that existed was the statue.
It was simple, crude, and elegant. A carving of a young child, holding a small furry animal, set in a small break in the trees near a brook. Flowers circled it, red and blue, she thought, although in the moonlight it was hard to tell. The small eyes were upturned, and as Amanda's met them...
... they said they forgave her.
The almost thirteen year old girl dropped to her knees. She wanted to bury her face in her hands. Cry, like she hadn't in years, but her blurry eyes were captives of the stone child. She couldn't even raise a hand to wipe them. What she had done ... what THEY had done ... it seemed the stone eyes softened even more, the small head nodding at her thoughts, at memories of lives lost and wasted. The stump of her right arm ached, the drugs wearing off. She couldn't breath. The pain, the anguish...
Suddenly, Ger was there, kneeling in the grass beside her. His arms went around her, guiding Amanda into his chest as she finally broke down, sobbing uncontrollably. His tattered clothing was on its way to being a muddy mess, but his arms held her tight. He had been through worse. They both had. Finally, a small stone digging into his knee ended the moment. It was time to move on. Gently, he moved his hands to her shoulders, pushing her back a few inches. With his right, he wiped the mud and blond hair away from Amanda's eyes.
"We have to go."
"But..." Amanda sniffled.
"Look..." Ger hated being the adult. He was only two years older, damn it. Shifting his weapon a bit to get it out of the way, he brought the two of them to their feet. Her blue eyes meet his brown ones- she saw safety, love. He saw trust he in no way deserved. Mentally flailing around for something to say, he finally sighed.
"Remember. Remember what Don once said."
Amanda stiffened in his arms at that name. Her eyes hardened a bit, sanity returning. Ger nodded.
"Sometimes ... you just can't do what's right."