Deep breath in. Deep breath out. In his mind, everything was okay. Life had returned to normal in District 12 for the time being. The coal miners were walking past him as they made their way into the deep tunnels of the mines. The children were all back in school and happy now that the Reaping had passed. Everyone had gone on to their daily lives except for Tristan. How could he go back to the way things were when Mina was gone? She had been Reaped and she only had a one in twenty four chance of winning. Tristan was selfish. He wanted her back. She had only been gone a few days but he missed her already.
The two worst times had been right after she left and when they were forced to watch the Parade. Right after she left because Bastian had cornered him and started going at him for kissing his sister. That left him with a split lit that still had a nice scab and a nice shiner under his right eye. The Parade was hard because seeing her there meant that he couldn't pretend she was here just off doing other things. That's how he was getting by. At first she was just off hunting. Then he pretended she was off in District 2 getting them more weapons. It was easy to pretend, to forget. He didn't have to think about her.