They loved the place; it was tacky but it was their place. The old motel sported no cardinal but for the kitch paintings on the walls. They were ugly but time and time again they came back. It was their secret place, where no one would come find them. Jeremy had found it, one day when he escaped one of his father’s rages.
They came here to hide from violent or uncaring parents. They came here to hide from their peers’ bullying. They came here to have fun, building things with the fallen branches of trees. They came here to enrich their friendship until it became more. And the cardinals on the walls were the symbols of hope for a better life.
But they were boys, then. And boys aren’t supposed to kiss other boys. Men aren’t supposed to love other men. Not in their little town. Jeremy understood that now, as he looked down from where he stood. It seemed such a long way… And yet so short.
Christian left months ago with a broken jaw, unable to endure the constant harrassment. And like Demeter was lost without her daughter so was Jeremy without Christian. Yet he couldn’t leave. Despite the fact that every day was worse than the one before, Jeremy couldn’t bring himself to go. His father had kicked him out a few days earlier, beating the crap out of him. He could have called Christian, driven to wherever he’d gone. But Jeremy loved this place too much. So here he’d come…
It was the only safe place. Here and with Christian. But Chris was gone, his lovely hands creating such beautiful arrangements with simple branches nowhere to be seen. He was an artist, a scholar. And he knew Jeremy. Christian alone would understand the pomegranate seeds in Jeremy’s hands when they found his body by the Motel’s backyard. Jeremy never felt when he hit the ground: he’d fallen apart long before that jump.