PuPu's Saga Chapter 2
by Jeremy Chapter
Setting 02: 1427 DAY 1, Winhill
"This is my
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine."
-Tennyson, Alfred, Lord
"Well, Im here now, and I probably
should have come here a lot more often than I have, this being
the first time, so Im sorry."
Laguna Loire snapped his fingers
to pass the time, unsure if what he said was coherent and
clueless about what to say next. Hed never seen his
wifes burial marker before, much less talk to it, and he
was trying his hardest to keep a smile on his face. What he
really wanted to do was plop down right there and beg for
"This actually isnt an
awkward situation at all," he lied, "I can almost see
you there looking skeptical. So, if its okay with you,
Im going to rehearse what the one dialogue that Ive
always imagined that I would have with you once I saw you
He stopped to think about what he
just said before struggling to rephrase himself, "Of course
I wont be saying your lines out loud cause youll be
saying them in my head, but itll work, I think."
Taking a deep breath, Laguna tried
to make some excuses, even though he knew there was no point. And
yet, somehow, he was comforted by the fact that had Raine been
standing there, she wouldnt have minded regardless. She
would have stood there silently with that understanding,
sympathetic smile, ready to laugh at him lightly and let him off
the hook. Yes, he could see her standing there now, doing exactly
that. It loosened him up a bit, but it also made him wish that
she would just get angry at him, start calling him names, cursing
at him, or beating him
anything to let him know how she
It was getting harder and harder
to keep up that smile. He realized at that moment that the
coldest words were what Raine didnt say. She would never
chastise him even if she were still alive. But now it was too
late to hear her utter even a single word.
On the verge of cracking, it
seemed like a good idea to change the subject. He thought about
going off the script and talking about something that might not
make him feel so guilty, but nothing came to mind. Then he
remembered that he could always talk about their son whom he was
sure Raine would be curious about. Yet, he was determined to save
that topic for last.
Unable to come up with anything
fast, Laguna could feel himself becoming more and more nervous.
He even caught himself antsily tugging on the tails of his
unbuttoned dress shirt and swaying back and forth. He kicked
himself for not rehearsing it more times before actually coming,
but it was too late for that now. Now he shook his head in
"Looks like Ive botched
another one, Raine," he confessed finally, trying to joke
about it with a quick, exaggerated frown. He imagined Raine
rolling her eyes, imitating that silly frown, and shaking her
head, once again absolving him. He wanted so bad to have her
throw daggers at him with her eyes.
"Laguna, you loser, you
cant even make a figment of your imagination get angry with
you," he scolded himself.
Raine chuckled and playfully
kicked some dirt onto his shoes. Then she tried to mimic his
swaying motion, which was making her dizzy.
This is embarrassing, he
thought to himself, scratching his head.
"Can you tell me that
Im horrible, that I dont deserve to live?" he
Raine placed her index finger
against her closed lips, shaking her head.
"Im serious," he
entreated, trying again.
She humorously covered her ears
and pretended not to hear him.
"Well, fine then, be that
way," Laguna conceded, slightly irritated at getting beaten
in an argument with a speechless spirit.
Raine stuck her tongue out at him
and pushed him lightly with the meanest face she could put on. It
didnt look very mean to Laguna, and he told her so. Her
features softened a bit, not expecting her husband to be so
Laguna finally gathered his
thoughts and enough courage to spew out clumsily, "I know it
wasnt fair of me to leave you like I did, but that
doesnt make it right for you to leave before I can say that
Im sorry. This was one time that you never gave me the
chance to pay for my mistake."
That was what he wanted to say all
along, how he felt on the inside, both guilty and cheated. In
retaliation, Raine did her best to pull off a mischievous
"Why did you leave me?"
he asked a little bit louder. He could feel the anger boiling
inside him, giving him enough strength to press her more
forcefully with his questions. "What was it? Was it a
disease, something natural, or was it me? It was me, wasnt
it? Tell me."
Before Laguna had finished his
last question, Raine had picked up three rocks lying by her
epitaph and begun to juggle them, finding them more interesting
than her husbands whining.
"Stop that," he said,
trying to swat away the imaginary stones, not realizing how
idiotic he looked to any third person.
Raine wasnt listening now,
surprising herself with how many stones she could keep in the
air. It was way more entertaining than Lagunas confession,
Laguna was shaking involuntarily
because he was mad at her for not listening and at himself for
getting mad at a dead person when he was the one at fault. He
calmed himself, realizing that this was exactly what Raine
an angry Laguna who wanted to project the guilt and
shift the blame. She wanted to protect him from feeling as if he
had wronged her, even if that meant making herself seem so
"Ill stay in Winhill
until you want me to go then," he suggested.
For the first time, Raine looked
concerned. She shook her head, signaling to Laguna that he
didnt have to do that.
Laguna realized that this was her
weakness. She wanted him to stay, but didnt want to say it,
just like she didnt want him to stay in her little town
because of her. He wasnt doing this for the pleasure of
watching Raine grow worried, though, but because he wouldnt
be able to forgive himself if he left Winhill again so suddenly.
He owed that much to her, and seeing how disconcerted she was, as
well as knowing her nature of always letting him off easy, he
knew he was doing the right thing by making that promise.
At any rate, she might have
married him so she wouldnt have to listen to him beg her
again and again to reconsider. Perhaps she was banking on his
long vacation all long as a reprieve from all his droning. Had
she known that he would have come back to whine after she was
dead, she never would have agreed to marry him.
"I wont leave you. I
never should have," he added.
Unexpectedly, Raine let all the
rocks she was juggling drop, visibly moved by his discovery and
"I dont know what else
to say except Im sorry," he admitted, lowering his
Raine tried to comfort him with
her puppy-dog look, walked over next to him, and caressed his
cheek before retreating to her original spot.
"I guess we were both lucky
that Squall is that strong," Laguna brought up suddenly,
making sure to get it over with before he forgot. "I tried
my best to take care of him, but he turned out all right on his
own. Very independent, doesn't need anyone's help."
Raine looked confused, but Laguna
was too caught up with his praises to notice.
"I mean, he grew up with all
that opposition, but he never let it get to him. It's great that
he doesn't concern himself with what other people think of him.
Tries not to listen to anyone who tries to give him any garbage
about his not being able to take care of himself or making the
wrong decision. Squall understands himself and knows when he's
right, and that's what counts. Doesn't want anyone else to
distract him from that. Pretty strong, huh? Always trusts himself
to make the right decisions and take care of everything
Raine was waving for Laguna to
stop. She was totally lost, and regardless to whomever her
husband was raving about, he didn't seem to be living a healthy
"You know, our son. Squall?
The big success?" Laguna picked up, thinking her
interruption was another joke.
Raine looked stunned, making it
abundantly clear that he had better not die any time soon because
she was going to make him pay for choosing such a dumb name.
Laguna held up his hands in
defense, stammering, "I-I t-thought you named him, because I
sure as hell didnt."
The realization that Ellone named
their son hit them at the same time. The look on Raines
face spelled out that Ellone would do well not to die before her
godmothers wrath subsided, as she would surely pay for
choosing such a dumb name.
Laguna rubbed his chin and asked,
"You didnt name him in all that time?"
Raine shot him a
"Okay, okay," he said
quickly, and shifted the subject back to Ellone, "What did
you expect her to name him?"
Raine made a "duh" face
and mouthed, "Cloud."
"Ill get even with her
for you, sweetie. Ill name her son Irvine or something
stupid like that," Laguna offered.
Raine nearly doubled over
Encouraged by her propitious
reaction, Laguna took that chance to say that from what he had
heard, Squall had turned out just like him.
His wife was unimpressed, thinking
to herself, "I thought you said he was a success."
Instead of telling him that,
though, she smiled tactfully, took a step forward, and gestured
with a wave over his face for him to close his eyes.
Laguna closed them, but he could
still see as if they were open. He was able to see the bright
afternoon change into night, and all the stars lighting up
against the dark velvet above. Looking down, he scowled in dismay
as the grave marker vanished before his eyes. His brown slacks
turned into black army pants, and his shirt into the sporty blue
vest that he had worn when he was young.
"What did you want to talk to
me about?" rang a familiar voice from behind him.
Laguna knew who that voice
belonged to before he spun around. It was the same one that he
had longed to hear for nearly two decades, but he was too amazed
by this new development to lift Raine in the air. It was déja
vue for he had seen all this somewhere before. He looked through
every memory he had with Raine before he realized that she was
replaying for him that sentimental scenario in which he proposed
to her. Astonished as he was, Laguna allowed himself to relive
the moment, enjoying the miracle without questioning how it was
possible that they could go through the entire sequence again: He
turns around, not sure how to pop the question, waving her off
and telling her to forget it; she runs over and pulled his arm,
asking him to stay; he swings around, grabs her hand, and fits
her finger with a gold ring; she looks at him questioningly; he
shows her the gold ring on his own finger and watches as her
quizzical countenance melts smoothly into a heart-wrenching,
near-whimpering smile; and finally they share the seemingly
eternal embrace that made all his consternation about the
proposition seem worthwhile.
Lagunas feet were numb by
the time this awesome experience was over and he had to make an
effort not to collapse as night turned back into day. Once again
he was in the present, staring at her marker, shocked that the
illusion had vanished so quickly. He couldnt see Raine
anymore, but some way or another, Laguna felt as if she was right
there beside him, providing the same comfort.
Having grown accustomed to the
unbroken tranquility of Winhill for the past twenty minutes,
Lagunas eardrums were nearly shattered by Ellones
soft but nevertheless splitting voice. For an instant Laguna was
almost glad that Raine had left since Ellone would surely have
been toast had she arrived a few seconds earlier.
There she was, Squalls
"big sister," green scarf and all, trying to make her
way down the grassy hill without spraining her dainty ankles. She
waved in her usual blinding splendor so innocently that even
Laguna had to gawk before grinning and raising his head in
On the summit behind Ellone he
could see Kiros and Ward. Kiros pointed at something behind
Laguna. Just a short distance away, the brilliant Balamb Garden
drew near, skipping from hill to hill.
Laguna stood up, feeling a sense
of pride swell in him with the knowledge that the craft carried a
true hero, his son. He almost felt giddy. I cant believe
hes really mine!
And auspiciously, Raine was there
to see it.