Your son turns 3 months today, can you believe it? It seems like yesterday since I found out I was pregnant… when I first felt him kick, and it seems even more recent since I first held him in my arms. Still it feels like forever since I last saw you. Do you remember your last words to me? Because I do. I do.
Things are bad again, but this time I am not hiding it. I can’t hide it this time, it is too hard, too difficult to be okay. But I try, I try for Finn, I try for our son. The only thing that seems to help is the piano, I’m starting to compose again Finnick.
The music keeps Finn calm while I try to distract myself from all those voices in my head. Do you heard them Finnick? Did you ever hear them? I don’t know if you did but you could always shut them down, your voice was always stronger, your voice always scared away the nightmares and the fears. But now all I have is your silence, so I’m trying to fill it with music.
I am a little rusty, but the piece seems to be going okay. I hope you like it.
Sure! But if this is your side blog what’s your main? Do we know each other?
I love you too!
Today we returned to District 12, and Peeta gave me the day tomorrow because he noticed I was kind of down when we returned here. He has no idea. Leaving the ocean was harder than I thought it would be. While I watched the ocean, it was almost like having you beside me. Leaving it was like losing you all over again. And I hate it, I hate it, I hate it!
Why can’t we be together?
Do you remember how it was before, before the Quell, before my Games, before yours? When I was just a girl and you were just a boy? When we could sit and watch the sea for hours? When we didn’t wake up in the middle of the night because of the nightmares? We had the future in our hands, what happened?
Why did you have to go?
And it isn’t fair. It isn’t fair that you don’t get to hold me and play with my hair like you liked to do. It isn’t fair that you don’t get to see me get old and make fun of my grey hairs like you said you would. It isn’t fair you don’t get to meet your son. It isn’t fair that you don’t get to play with him. That you don’t get to see him grow into a brave and handsome man like you were.
Your son misses the ocean. I could see it in his eyes when he woke up. But he is so young that a song, and a kiss solves everything. And I remember when you were here to kiss my problems away.
I’m trying to be strong for our baby, Finn. I swear I am.
But who is being strong for me?
My cold is now gone, just in time to go to the beach once more. We are leaving back to District 12 tomorrow in the morning. I am wondering what will be your son’s reaction, when he wakes up in his ocean bedroom in District 12, will he notice we are not on his father’s homeland anymore? Will he cry? Will he miss the ocean as much as I will?
I don’t know. And I really don’t know if I want him to miss it. I don’t know if I want him to miss you as much as I miss you. Because it is painful, you know?
As much as I wish your son had met you. As much as I wish you had held him in your arms. I guess he won’t miss you that much this way. I guess it won’t be as painful for him as it is for me. I don’t want him to live with so much pain in his heart. I want him to be happy, I want him to smile. But I don’t want him to live without knowing who his father was.
What do I do, Finn?
Our kid is sleeping, oblivious to my pain and concern. He is sleeping peacefully. How will I tell him that his father gave his life for him? How do I explain him you are never going to hug him? How do I make him love you when you are not here? And what will happen when he goes to school? When he sees the other kids have father’s that go pick them up, that other kids have father’s that take them playing football? How do I explain him why don’t you go pick him up?
Please, Finn… tell me what to do.
Today a terrible cold hit me and I had to stay in bed. They all offered to stay with me, but I didn’t let them, telling them some time on my own would help me. Peeta insisted, and we agreed to let me be alone for a few hours before he came back with Finn and Haymitch, to let the girls have some fun. So I am writing to you while I wait.
Laying on my old bed, it is unavoidable to think about the last year. A year ago exactly, I was probably laying in bed thinking about you too. You were getting ready to mentor another kid for the Games, I was getting ready to survive a month without you. I would never have thought that a year later there would be no Games, that I would be married, that I would be a mother and that I would have lost you.
I think about what would have happened if either Katniss or Peeta had died in their Games, would the rebellion have taken place in our time? We would be still slaves of the Capitol? We would be free and both alive, enjoying our son? I don’t want to think about it.
Instead I wonder about what would have happened if you hadn’t gone into that mission, if you had stayed with me instead of going to save our child’s future. Would the rebellion have ended the same way, with our victory? Or would we both me dreading our child’s twelfth birthday and his first reaping? Or would we both be laughing in our bed, playing with our son, with our kid that is completely safe from the Games?
I don’t know… I don’t know.
Today Johanna took Finn and I to see something in the middle of the District. Since I came here I have only been in my house or at the beach. No need to go anywhere else. But Johanna gave me a reason why I should have gone out before.
Remember the old grey Justice Building? Well, I guess it was demolished in the rebellion… instead now it is a precious, enormous building. It’s light blue and completely beautiful. But the best thing about that is that out front there is a huge - really huge - bronze statue. Can you guess who the statue commemorates?
Do you remember the old jokes we used to have about you getting a statue? “I am so good with kids, I should get a statue.” “I helped an old lady to get her cat back, I should get a statue.” “I am so hot, I should get a statue.” “I am dating the most beautiful girl in the world, I should get a statue.” Well, you’ve got one now.
In the statue you are bare-chested - which I suppose is like a gift to every girl in District 4 - and you have a trident in your right hand and the left hand - in which I must recognize they had the decency to add a wedding ring - is setting a Mockingjay free. It’s beautiful.
But the best part is surely the plate. I read it once and the tears filled my eyes, I couldn’t help it: I read it again and again and again. Until I memorized every single word…
“To Finnick Odair. Victor of the 65th Hunger Games and rebel in the war against the Capitol. Finnick Odair endured the Capitol’s violence and lust year after year, day after day, just to protect the ones he loved. The young boy that won the Games at the age of 14 had to grow up quickly to become a man that fought for justice and liberty, a man that gave his life for his country and for the girl he loved. A respectable and role model of a man. District 4 and the whole of Panem thanks Finnick Odair for his bravery, and joins Annie Odair and their son in their grief over the loss of this great man. Rest In Peace, Finnick Odair.”
You deserve that and so much more. Finnick, baby, you deserve everything.
I’ve completely quit pretending that everything is okay. Now I don’t have to pretend anymore. I understood that you are not gone, and since I got that you’ve been in my dreams every night. But not like before, with horrible nightmares or false sweet dreams. Now it’s just like the dreams I had before Katniss’ birthday or their wedding, you are there in your Saturday’s outfit and you talk to me. “How was your day?” “I miss you.” “Don’t worry I am watching over you.”
It’s like you are not dead, but only on a trip and you phone me every night to check on me.
Sometimes I just turn off like I did, but the voices have not chased me. And once in a while I cry while I see the ocean, but my family is there for me. Johanna is here with us. She has her own house but we usually hang around together.
There is no need to pretend everything is okay when it’s not. It’s ok not to be ok. As long as I trust my family and my family trusts me. Everything is going to be just fine.
I am not as strong as I used to be, I am still a little weak and sometimes Haymitch still jokes about me being pulled away from the beach by a wave. But now I joke around with him. Even when I am weak I make my best effort to stay with Finn in the water as long as he wants. Even when he likes Katniss and Peeta, he prefers to go inside with me. He likes it better when Peeta makes sandcastles for him and Katniss sings to him while they dance.
Effie came for vacations too, she is not a great swimmer, so she stays in the sand sunbathing with Johanna. Haymitch usually is just trying every cocktail he finds in a bar, but he is sober enough to have fun with us.
Some other friends stopped by to say hi and meet little Finn. They are all devastated about your death but now that you come to me every night, I am not. They all want me to move back here, to District 4. But I don’t really think is a good idea. Right now my family is back at District 12, Johanna is all I’ve got here at District 4 and if I miss her a lot when I am at 12, how much would I suffer being at District 4 without Peeta, Katniss and Haymitch?
Sooner or later I will move back to District 4, but I really think Finn should grow up with a big family. Then, we will move here so he can grow up some more with his father.
This-morning I sneaked out of my room as silent as if I were a criminal. Our son sleeps a lot and he won’t wake up until the others are awake too. So I didn’t worry about that. But I didn’t want my family to worry. So I wrote a note for them, explaining that it was your birthday and that I wanted to spend the day just with you. I closed the front door softly and I started walking to our beach when I heard someone screaming my name. It was Peeta.
I considered running. I may be weak but I am still the fastest of us. I am pretty sure I could beat them all in a race. But Peeta is not someone I have to run away from. He is more than my best friend, he is more like my brother. So I turned to face him.
“I left a note.” I whispered, I didn’t want everybody to wake up and insist to come with me. “I know, but I have a gift for Finnick. Actually, it’s for the both of you. And I’d like to open it with you.”
I agreed and we walked to the beach where we sat in the sand watching the first waves of the morning crash into the rocks. Only then I realized he had a big box in his hands. He gave it to me and I opened it. It was a dark blue album.
“I’ve been working on it for a long time… I couldn’t get all the photos but I did drawings. Katniss and I have the twin. They are the same.”
The words “True Love Stories” were written in white on the cover.
The album was… there are no words to describe it… but I have several comparisons. It was like holding my baby for the first time, like kissing your wet-salt-water lips on our wedding day, like spending the day on our beach together… that was what the album was like.
On the top of the pages there was something written, such as “How we met” “Our first kiss” “Our wedding” “Our best friends.”
The right pages were about him and Katniss. And the left pages were about us. So on the right page we could see Peeta watching Katniss sing and in the left one we could see you saving me from the drowning. As he said the ones that had no pictures had beautiful drawings done by him.
Speechless, I hugged Peeta as he stroked my hair, and I could tell he cried too. Then he pulled me away and looking me in the eyes he said “Annie, I know you’ve been through very difficult times… just imagining what I would feel if Katniss…” his voice broke “But lately you seem weaker and sick. Annie we care about you, we are your family. You can trust us. If you are having a nightmare you can come and wake us, if you want to forget Katniss can sing to you, if you want to talk about it I am a very good listener. Don’t hide from us Annie.” I thanked him and I left to go to our beach. The album in one arm, a towel in the other. I entered our beach and the memories hit me so hard I had to sit down. Do you remember the last time we were there?
It was the day before the second reaping. We were both scared. Somehow we knew that one of us was going back to the arena. Without talking we both knew that if I got reaped you would volunteer. That was not something I could stand. But I never thought you could be reaped, it was impossible for me to believe that. Before we left you told me, that no matter what happened to me or to you, you would always come back to me.
And right here, right now, I know you kept your promise. You went back to the arena, but you came back for me. You died, but nine months later you came back in your son. In his eyes, in his hair, in his love for the ocean, in his love for me.
How do I know that you are in him? Because before you I had never loved. And after you I thought I would never love again. And I love Finn, it’s the strongest feeling I’ve known. That’s how I know you are in him.
I lay my towel in the sand and took off my dress. I went into the beach and started to swim. What I love about our beach is that you can swim calmly and not worry about waves taking you far away. It’s almost like being in a pool. Being surrounded by water is almost like being hugged by you. That’s why when you were in your first games I spent every moment I could in the water, in the ocean, in the bathtub, in the shower. And that’s how I won my games: swimming. In the water I almost heard you cheering for me & telling me that you would be waiting for me in the other side. And when you were in the Quarter Quell I did the same. Then the Capitol took me, and they didn’t really do anything to me. Torturing someone “Capitol Style” is expensive, and they knew I knew nothing. They abused me, of course. But never hurt me too much, and when the time for a shower came I stayed there as long as I could.
When I got out of the water I laid on the towel letting the Sun do its job of drying me up. Then I got my dress on and closed my eyes, enjoying the sunlight. And I dreamt of you, but for the first time it was not a nightmare, or a fake dream. I dreamt of you and me on our beach, I rested over your chest and you kissed my forehead. We did not speak. But there were words enough.
When I opened my eyes the sun was going down. And I was crying, but I was not in agony for the first time, but I was crying of happiness. I took the little box I had on my dress pocket and opened it. Inside there were three bracelets, all made with knots and shells. I put one on my left hand, the hand that carried my wedding ring. I saved one that I will give to Finnick when he is old enough and tossed one to the sea. For you. That was what I was working on. My present for you.
I am writing this from our beach, watching at the stars, seeing the moon reflecting on the surface of the ocean.
Being completely happy in what seems a life time.
I love you
Your son loves the ocean, but how couldn’t he? Both his parents love the ocean more than words can say. As I watched him having fun in the ocean, playing with the water and widening his eyes when a wave comes unexpectedly towards him, I have different emotions in my heart.
At first I am happy to see him happy. To see that he is safe, that he is loved, healthy and that the world we all fought for is all for him. I am happy that he will enjoy the ocean year after year and I that I will never have to worry about him being reaped and I will never have to see his face on TV fighting for his life in the games.
But at the same time I am devastated to see that he will never know the brave man that was his father. That his father will never teach him how to swim or how to tie knots. It kills me that he will never greet his father in the door when he has just arrived from work or that he will never tell him “Look Daddy! I caught a big fish!” His daddy will never make sand castles with him or pick shells from the beach.
He will never see how much his daddy loves him, he will never know how proud he is.
Oh, Finnick. I need you.
Today I smiled genuinely for the first time in a long time. For a moment I was truly happy, too bad there are not many moments like that. I went into the ocean with Finnick in my arms. It was the first time he was actually in the ocean and the closest he has been to you. I couldn’t help crying, but this time they were happiness tears. And I smiled.
I almost could feel you hugging us.
But Haymitch was right about something, I am very weak now, and I am tired really easily. So I had to give Finnick to Peeta and Katniss and watch them having fun without me.
Right now it is really late in the night and I am in my bed. I am really scared. After feeling you that close to me today I know one thing for sure: Tonight’s dream will be either really bad or really good.
And I can’t take that. Especially, when my family is in the same house. And if I wake up crying and screaming they will now for sure there is something wrong and they will try to fix it. But that would ruin it completely. I must act strong. I must act as if nothing is going on.
P.S I am going to our secret beach in a week, on your birthday. I am looking forward to that.