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You Are Safe

Why was he hiding something from me? He could tell me everything, anything. I didn’t care if it ripped my heart to shreds, if it caused me insurmountable pain, if I never saw him again. All I wanted was for that hurt, kicked-puppy look to go out of his eyes, replaced by the sparkle I knew was there. But it was like someone had taken that away, and instead I got a shell of a boyfriend. I missed his sense of humor, his voice, his touch, his ambiance, the way he looked when he was happy, truly happy. I missed HIM. Because, honestly, this wasn’t him. This was a ghost, a shadow, an empty shell that had taken the place of the one I loved most. His pain was my pain. I would rather die a million deaths just so he wouldn’t have to die one.
Wow, that’s horribly cheesy, isn’t it?
But it’s how my heart feels whenever I see him like this.
I sit down next to him and reach for his hand. But when I take it, it’s tense and anxious. It’s too heavy, as if he’s given up trying to hold it and is just letting it dangle there; a limb he won’t and doesn’t use. I wrap my arms around him and bury my face into his shoulder. He tries to return the hug, but when I feel him wrap his arms around me, it’s just an empty reaction, devoid of any meaning. I know I should be angry he’s treating me this way, but I can’t. I can’t be angry at him. As stupid as it may sound, he’s the last person I’d get angry at. Which makes it so much harder to see him like this. At least anger blinds pain. Or it does for a little while.
I start to beg. Why won’t he tell me? Please, please tell me? What can I do? Was it me? Did I do something wrong? At first he’s silent, just looking into my eyes like an observer from far away. Then he tightens his grip and presses his face to my neck. I begin to wonder if the real him is finally coming back. But when he pulls away, his eyes carry the same emptiness. I feel the tears well up and he tells me it’s not my problem. I shouldn’t cry. It will all work out. I ask what problem he’s talking about. He never said there was a problem before. With ragged breath I tell him what my heart has been aching to tell for so long: I’m suffering because he’s not here. He squeezes me again and assures me he’s as here as he could be. But I know it’s not true. This isn’t him. He is not himself. I tell him so. He wipes away my tears and asks if I ever thought people could change. I nodded, but thought that if this was change, then change be damned. I want everything to never ever change if this is how it happens. What a sick process.
He says that he’s changed his mind on some things. I ask what things. Life, he says. To him, life has lost that glimmer, that hope, that shining light that he once found so appealing. I cry harder. The tears fall faster. He’s depressed? Can’t I cheer him up? Am I not enough?
As if reading my mind, he tells me I am his everything now. I am his only reason to live. But putting hope on such a fragile reason is extremely horrible. A sure way to have everything crashing down around us. If I am his life, why do I fail at making him happy? He repeats: he’s changed.
But what happens one day when that fragile thing you put your whole life upon, breaks?
Kneeling now, over you, separated by only a few feet of dirt, four inches of wood, and a white sheet, I can almost feel you again. I didn’t bring flowers, because I knew you would say those weren’t cool for a guy to have. Back when you used to smile at me like I was your sun. But I couldn’t hold you up. I couldn’t support you as you needed to be. I let you fall. I ruined you. Why did I ever listen to you say you were alright? Why did I believe your petty lies? Did you want to see my smile one last time before you left forever? Did you know this would rip me apart? It feels like I’ve been stabbed in the heart, and the knife’s still there, because I can’t bear to pull it out. And I don’t want to pull it out because I don’t want to forget. I will never, ever forget you. As I read the words inscribed above you, I feel myself cry. I remember when you said I was pretty when I cried; now I cry harder. Remember how I said I didn’t bring flowers? Well now people are staring at me kneeling over you. Someone asks me if I’m okay, but I can’t respond. They leave eventually. They will never know what I have given up. What you have given up. Because you really chose to do this. You chose to do this to me and you. I could never make that choice if you were still alive. I can’t even do it now, though I’ve thought about it. But I know what it feels like.
I know what it feels like to let down that person. To break when they needed you most. I’m sorry I was never strong enough to support you. I’m sorry I was never big enough to carry you. But now someone bigger carries you. Someone stronger than I could ever be supports you. You will never fall with them on your side. Even though you left very fast, I never got the chance to say a proper goodbye. My last words to you were through tears.
But I come back every now and then, sometimes with a boy I’ve been seeing. He’s kind of like you. Same eyes, same hair, same sense of humor. My heart sometimes aches when I see him, because I remember you. I worry about him all the time; I don’t want to have to not bring flowers here for him too. He understands. He never scares me like you did when you got sad. You never scared me into fear. You scared me into worrying.
But now, I can’t worry. I can’t cry, because I’ve stopped. I can’t breathe.
Suddenly, strong arms pick me up from my weak knees and tear-stained spot. I am led to a bench and cradled in a gentle, warm hug. I am told that everything will be all right. I am told not to worry, that I can lean on him for anything. I am told that you are in a much better place. I am told you are happier there than here.
I am told that it is over. You are safe
But it can’t be over.
My heart will never be safe from you.
I love you. Always.



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nikanak said...
Jan. 27, 2009 at 2:46 am
Yeah! I told you it would get published. What did I tell ya? It's very touching. Very sad that things like this actually do happen. Love the ending.
 
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