When I’m here, at school and far away from you, the answer seems so much more clear. I don’t want what you want and that makes us incompatible. But when I am with you, I see your smile, I feel your warmth, when you’re making me laugh and you’re making me smile, all I can think about is how I love you and how happy I am like this. When I see you shining through this dark and looming cloud, it’s easy to feel like summer has begun and will never end. You make me feel safe and hopeful.
But then I get scared. I bring up a sliver of my past. I make a gay joke. I don’t respond quickly enough. I’m tired. I propose taking a night by myself. I’m on their side, because sometimes I ask you to take your medication. I keep you from driving the truck away. I tell you that you are hurting me.
You do not like it. You get that look behind your eyes, where you have to look really close to truly see it. You ask me if I love you, but then you tell me that I don’t. You ask me if I’d cheat on you, you tell me that I have. You ask me if I still want a future, my insides are screaming but I spit out this script because it’s just muscle memory.
He tells me that I think he is crazy. I tell him that I think he thinks he is crazy.
I tell him that we all are.
I don’t tell him that he makes me, in more ways than one.
I tell him that I can’t wait for our future together because at this point, it is a tape recorder in my throat and my tongue keeps spitting out the words on repeat, but I can hear them starting to skip.
He asks me if I meant it, when I said that he should go to a hospital. A day later, I am bound tight to the idea of maintaining peace, for my muscles and my head still aches from yesterday’s day.
I say that I didn’t, that he doesn’t need a hospital to get better. I know already that he will nod at this, like a suspicion has been confirmed, and I will no longer feel eggshells crunching beneath my heels.