Eyes, so hollow. “I know.”
Paper cuts, staining his hands, streaming the cranes with blood. Origami.
“Why are you doing this?”
He does not answer. I glance at the paper cranes, hundreds of them, littering the floor.
“Please, stop this.” Burning, behind my eyes. “Please, Alan.”
Pale hands, moving too fast. Number 549. He tosses it on the floor to die in company.
Finally, a word. Something. Anything. “I loved her,” he says, and I wish he’d kept silent.
“She was so good at this sort of thing. So talented ....”
“I can’t even remember how she used to laugh. This must be working.”
I struggle for words, but grasp only echoes and thin air. He continues, ignoring the crimson-stained figures. Ignoring the pain, insisting on killing something much more real - a memory.
“She was so beautiful, so happy, and I tore that from her.”
“You were only trying to help.“
“I pushed her away.“
“This wasn’t your fault.“
“I tore her apart!” he screams suddenly, his voice high and strangled. “It is all my fault!”
I take a step back, trying desperately to calm the trembling deep within me. I force myself to look him in the eye. To speak calmly, though I am anything but calm.
“No, you saved her,” I whisper. “You did what you had to do. You hurt yourself so she could be happy. Even if she never understands, even if she hates you, this was all for her.”
He leans over the table, head bowed, face hidden by his dark hair - it’s longer now and gives him an innocent, boyish look. A look tempered by the blood all around him.
I think he is crying.
More silence. Deafening, impenetrable silence.
The words are forced through my lips like the tears I’ve tried so long to hold back.
“I love you.”
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.