It was raining again, April showers as it were. Seemed to rain a lot these days, not that Big Macintosh minded at all. The rain better suited his mood. There was a calming effect to the steady cadence of it on the roof, the way it fell on the already sodden grounds. He was cold, sitting on the front porch while the storm circulated around the farm. The cold felt good, too. It reminded him that he could feel something other than pain. It had been a year already and still there was a dull ache in his heart, a wound to his spirit that would never heal. It hurt every day like it had in the beginning.
The door of the house opened and Applejack came out. She had a blanket between her teeth that she draped around Big Macinthosh's withers. Then she took up a seat beside him and they sat together in silence. She sat with him like this a lot in the past year. They spoke less to each other than they had their entire lives, yet somehow they'd grown closer. He knew that without the support of his sisters he wouldn't have made it. Everything he was feeling would have consumed him long ago.
"Big Macintosh, think it's about time we had a talk."
"Don't want to."
"Don't rightly remember askin' if you wanted to or not."
"Not now, AJ." He must have said it forcefully enough because she didn't press the issue any more for a few minutes. Lightning flashed overhead, giving the gloomy day a quick illusion of luminance. Inside there came a peal of filly laughter. Applejack turned her head to glance in through the window. There was a smile on her face when she turned back around. It faded when she looked at her brother. He turned away, reaching up to swipe at moisture on his face that definitely wasn't rainwater.
"Talk to me, big brother. I can't help unless I know what you're thinkin'."
"I'm thinkin' what I'm always thinkin'. That it hurts. That I could'a stopped it from happenin.' That I should'a said what I was feelin' an' not second guessed myself."
Applejack shook her head, her brow furrowing. "You can't blame yourself for any of it, Big Macintosh. It ain't your fault. Now we've let you have your time, watched you just mope around, an' I ain't sayin' bein' sad ain't okay. You got plenty of right an' reason to be sad. But you're forgettin' us, your family. We're still here. We still love you and want you to be part of our lives. But what you've been doin' this past year ain't livin', big brother. It's just survivin'."
He opened his mouth to retort but nothing came out. Tears filled his eyes and he shook his head. He had only been just surviving, it was all he could do. Every morning had him rising to face the day feeling like he was missing half of himself. How did anyone just pick up the pieces and move on from that?
Placing a hoof over his, Applejack spoke softly. "How can we help," she asked, her own voice heavy with emotion, "if you don't talk to us?"
"I don't know," he managed thickly. "I jus' don't know."