I've Always Loved You Too

February 16, 2011
I held on to his hand. It was scratchy after so many days of laboring out in the hot sun. Weeding the cornfield and harvesting juicy, yellow corn that he knew he would never have a chance to eat.
I stared into his eyes. Brown eyes full of love, passion, grace. Then if I peeled that layer back I would see the hurt he tries to hide from me. The hurt he deals with every day as so do I. The hurt that we being seen together would be a ticket to his death, and my aloneness for the rest of my life.
We are nestled in the cornfield, far away from everyone. It feels nice, the cool leaves tickling my back and his hand in mine. It feels nice that I don’t have to put on a show and he doesn’t care if I slouch in my sun dress. That he thinks I’m beautiful in any season.
Today I see past his lovable eyes so much easier. The hurt and fear is closing over more and more each day. I stroke a hand on his cheek and his hand catches it, folding it into his hand.
“Andrea,” He murmurs, staring at his hand covering mine.
My heart leaps as he says my name; then at the seriousness in his voice.
“Zachary,” I say back, looking at his face bent down, wishing he would look up at me again and tell me what was bothering him.
“I love you Andrea.”
The words so simple make my heart thud loudly and I wonder if he can hear it. I smile, so happy he had said the words because that was what I felt the first time I met him.
“I love you too,” I whispered, my throat tight with emotion. I lean over and peck him on the lips. His eyes look into mine again, and all my happiness is dissolved.
“What’s wrong,” I ask quietly, not sure if I want to know. Even though things have been hard keeping our relationship a secret, our love has always been perfect.
“I can’t hurt you like this.”
Tears sting my eyes, “Like what?”
At the sound of my shaky voice he pulls me into a hug. I stay there smelling a delightful combination of fresh cut wood and him.
“Andrea, I have you lying to your Mother all the time. I don’t want to be the cause of your family falling apart.”
I pull away to look into his eyes, “I don’t care. You know Mother only cares about what I look like and how I act. I don’t mind lying to her if I get to be with you.”
“I am making this too hard for you.”
“Zachary,” I almost yell and cry at the same time my voice catches, “Please don’t. Please. One day we will be able to be who we want to be. One day, but not today. Don’t worry.”
I rest my hand on his cheek and stare into his eyes. I hope he sees the desperation and hope that I am trying to send him. I hope he sees that if he leaves my heart will break.
Zachary’s hand comes to my back and pulls me in. His lips touch mine, so sweet of love, my heart rejoices.
When our lips part I whisper close to his face, eye’s closed, “Please don’t think that being with you is a burden. Being without you would make life a burden. Remember that.”
“I want to be with you,” He says, his arms wrapped around my waist, “I will always want to be with you. I don’t want to cause drama.”
I laughed aloud, “Life is full of drama love, and if you being in the picture makes more drama, I don’t care. It’s my life, not theirs.”
“Zachary,” Mr. Travis’s, voice echoes across the cornfield. We both immediately stand up, my legs numb from being crossed over.
“I have to go,” He says as I fold into his arms.
“Stay,” I sigh into his chest.
“Andrea, I have to. Please don’t make this hard. Come back tomorrow at the same time, okay?”
He pulls away, eyes already searching for the way out.
“Go this way. He gently pushes me into the right direction. I glance back at him one last time, smiling.
“Andrea,” His voice stops me. I spin around to see his face, smiling back, lighting up with light.
“We’ll be together no matter what. I promise.”
“Thank you,” I say through a smile I can’t contain. I turn back toward the exit, but his hand lands on my shoulder. I don’t see his face as I continue looking forward, but I feel his breath in my ear as he whispers his last words before we depart, “I love you.”
I crane my head; kiss him on the forehead, “I’ve always loved you too.”

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