Hearts of the Past and Present
Michonne was wrapped in a tribal patterned cloak, her sword was strapped securely on her back on dangling by her chest was the pair of binoculars needed for every watch. Her dreadlocks moved only slightly in the harsh wind.
"Morning," I said shyly. Michonne nodded in my direction.
I was always so nervous and shy, even awkward around Michonne but I needed to thank her and plainly speak to her about last night.
"I'm sorry about Pete, he can have quite a temper." I began.
"Ain't that where you get yours from?" She asked, eyebrow raised.
I thought about it, "Actually yeah, it is." I laughed lightly. "Thank you for jumping in before things got out of hand again, I really thought I was going to hit Pete this time, or maybe even he hit me."
"No problem. But you two are so similar, you guys care a lot about each other. That's why you clash so hard and so often." Michonne replied.
"I guess so, and it must be why you two get on so well." I said, Michonne's head snapped up, the first time she has given me hard eye contact this morning. I continued to talk, "Opposites attract, right?"
She was suddenly a lot more protective and defensive, "What do you mean?"
"Well, you and Pete. There's something there right?" I asked but Michonne stayed silent, so I carried on explaining. "Opposites, you're calm and level headed the majority of the time, where as Pete is explosive, like a volcano even. You get on so well with him, the pair of you just click, I thought that.. maybe.."
Moments passed before Michonne replied, she was speaking slow at first, very careful. "We do 'click' and we do get on well, but just not in the way you are thinking."
Her head dropped, her eyes concentrated on her hands which gripped the metal fence in front of us. I didn't need to push for a deeper explaination, to my surprise Michonne opened up and explain herself after a short time to think.
"Pete thinks it though. He thinks something is there between us, and I don't blame him for thinking so. I feel better around him, warmer, happier. But that's it. I won't allow myself to feel anymore." She said.
"In case, one of you..?" I couldn't finish the sentence but Michonne understood and nodded.
"Also the guilt. Every single time I look at him and think, there's a possibility that we could be more I see Odell behind him."
Odell? I've never heard of an Odell. Was he a previous survivor? A late member of the group?
Michonne saw the confusion in my face as well as the fear of asking, "Odell was my boyfriend. He died not long after the outbreak."
"I'm so sorry." I said lovingly.
"I was alone for a long time before meeting this group, but at the same time I wasn't alone. I was with Odell." Michonne's head was raised now, she had more confidence in speaking about her boyfriend to me, but she kept her eyes on the outskirts of the forest. "I could see him, all the time. He would talk to me, and I would speak back. I was nearly mad."
I was lost for words. I could never imagine Michonne loosing her grip on reality, she seems so certain and controlled.
"Do you see him now?" I asked, I was wary of my tone.
"No, only when I see Pete in a different light." She replied.
"Does he say anything to you?"
Michonne shook her head, "He only tells me that-"
She stopped mid sentence, as if someone had punched her in the gut. Her eyes dropped low again, the confidence she had found had been blew away by a gust of wind. It was like Michonne had fell into herself, her whole body shifted inwards, her shoulders in over and cowering. She tightly gripped the balcony for reassurance.
I stepped forward and place my arm on her back, "What is it Michonne? He tells you what?"
She lifted her palm up to her face to quickly wipe, what I suspected to be, a tear away. Once composed Michonne turned to look at me, her deep brown eyes held such heartbreak.
"He tells me that Perrie is okay, that he is happy now."
A shiver raced up my spine, it touched every nerve in my system. She didn't have to tell me who Perrie was, I knew exactly who he was from the tone of her voice and the look in her eyes. Perrie was her son. I stepped even closer to Michonne, my hand on her back moved up and down comfortingly. I was still searching for something to say, some words to comfort her but I knew that was a lost cause, nothing could stop her from the feeling of emptiness of her child.
"He was only three." Michonne said, I didn't ask for any details but I felt like Michonne talking about it now, to me, would make her feel better. It would be good for her to acknowledge him. "He was my baby, no one else's. It was me and him till he was 6 months old and I met Odell. Then he began mine and Odell's and we became a family."
Michonne stood up straight, I dropped my arm from around her back. She stepped back and sat crossed legged on the balcony flooring, I followed, dangling my legs over the side, resting my chin on a bar of the fence.
"Perrie was the result of a horrible occurrence, yet he was the best thing to ever happen to me. I was with a friend in a bar, two guys came over, locals who I recognised named Corey and Dwayne. The four of us got talking and they bought us drinks. My friend went outside to take a phone call from her boyfriend, she went outside without taking a sip of her drink. I had completely finished mine and began to feel the effects of whatever Corey and Dwayne had slipped into it. They managed to take me outback into an alley way, I was in no state to protect myself. Then 9 months later, my baby boy arrived."
Michonne was smiling at the memory of Perrie.
"I don't care how he came about, I just knew I could get rid of him. He was apart of me. It was tough at first, being a single mom but Odell soon turned up and I had never, ever felt that way about someone. He looked at Perrie like he was his own son, and he treated him that way. Everything was perfect till the dead began to walk."
I was completely entranced by Michonne's past, I could see her alone in the hospital, cradling Perrie in her arms while crying. But as soon as Odell was in the picture, everything was bright, warm and colourful, there was no loneliness or tears. I could see Odell throwing a three year old Perrie up into the sky and catching him again. The toddler screaming in delight, Michonne watching with the biggest grin on her face. But things were about to get darker.
"The town hall was turned into a safe zone, with thick concrete walls and metal railings I didn't think you could find a better sanctuary. There was around 80 of us cooped up in the main hall, adults, babies, families, OAPs. Odell, Perrie and I kept ourselves in the corner by a door, staying out of the way. Odell couldn't not help others in need. He circled the hall and stopped by and old woman with a deep wound on her arm, she was sweating and struggling to breath. Before I could pull him out of the way, she bit him. Hell was let loose in that hall, people, with not thought of others pushed and trampled through the doors, out and away from the zombies whose numbers were increasing."
Michonne paused and held her eyes tightly shut. I patiently waited till she was ready to continue.
"I scooped Perrie up and fled, I couldn't think about Odell, I had to run and keep Perrie safe. I left the screaming crowd and ran down a corridor, maybe to hide and let them all leave before we moved. On the wall, closed in a glass box was a huge sword. Without much thought to it, I put a crying Perrie down and smashed it open. I felt better with a weapon, but the noise attracted walkers. Perrie began to scream and they came running down the corridor at us. I picked him up and kicked open a door, we were on the first level and the only exit was the window. I threw a chair one handedly at it and jumped through, I landed with a thud and thankfully on my feet because the walkers came piling through."
My heart was thumping through my chest, I knew what was coming next.
"They were right on my toes, so I ran like I did when I ran for track. Outside was crazy, bodies, blood, fires, crashed cars, screams, smoke, cries. I could take any of it in properly because I was desperate to ditch the 10 walkers on my back. I eventually lost them and hid behind a wall, Perrie was crying loudly in my arms, I attempted to shush him and quietened him down but I was seeing black spots in my eyes. Suddenly there was a loud groan and an ear piercing scream. There was a walker beside me, it had bit a huge chunk out of Perrie's back."
Michonne had to stop talking, she was at risk of bursting out into tears. I edged closer and wrapped an arm around her.
"You don't have to tell me anymore." I said.
"I'll skip to the best part," she said with a smile on her face although a tear had escaped and it was running down her cheek. "I found two men cowering in a caravan, the chaos still going strong outside. I looked at them hard, I knew exactly who these two men were and they sure remembered me. I had the blood of one of their's son's on my torso and smeared across my face. I was numb, everything felt weightless except for the deep burning in my chest. I swiped the sword from its case on my back and brought it down on Corey's right arm. He let loose a blood curdling scream. Dwayne stumbled to his feet, slowing being paralysed with fear. Before he could make it to the door, I sliced his arm off too. I didn't give them any mercy and kill them right way. I slowed cut off their left arms before attempting their jaws. Their eyes stayed locked onto me as I shoved my blade into the back of their mouths, adding pressure more and more till their jaws snapped off."
Michonne's anger was present as she described the way she killed her rapists. She saw the look on my face and stopped going into as much detail for my benefit, although I am sure she enjoyed it, but I don't blame her.
"I stayed in that caravan, just to watch them die and once they did, I stayed a little longer. It was satisfying to know that these two monsters weren't out there, even though another type if monster was roaming free right now. I was ready to go, I had stood up to leave but the noise and my movement awoke the dead. I realised what they had become, and I couldn't think of a better punishment of what they did to me. I chained them up and walked them, they were my camouflage, they served me well and kept me hidden."
Michonne waited for a reply of some sort from me, but I couldn't string a sentence together. What on earth could be said after that?
Michonne shrugged, "And that's why I am not with Pete, that's why I am the way I am around Judith, that's why I haven't seen Bella's twins and I am afraid I will be like that around you. I am a mother without a child." She concluded.
My mouth hung open, that was exactly what Michonne was. I could never put my finger on it, there was never the right word to describe Michonne and her behaviour, but this phrase was the closest I could get.