“How are you, really?” he grabbed my shoulders in a tight grip, his hands burning against my skin and he forces me to look into his eyes, how I missed his eyes. The warm bronze flecks in his honey-glazed eyes and the way they sparkled, I felt like melting into him and just falling into the depths of the warm honey, but I snapped myself out of it. He took a long deep sigh and whispered quietly in my ear, “how are you, really?” I would have killed for someone to look me in the eye like he did and ask me that question so that I could finally truthfully answer it and lift this boulder off of my shoulders. But I never thought it would be him. I never thought it would be my first and only love who broke my already damaged heart into a few more pieces. To think you’d still actually cared about me would have made me so happy a month ago but now I really just don’t know how to feel. I try to move away from his grip but it’s just too strong so instead, I quietly whisper, “I’m fine.” He makes me meet his gaze and, I wish with my whole heart that I could just dissolve into their warmth, he just says with a firm demanding voice “I’ve loved and cared for you for too long to not know when you’re not fine.” At that moment my mouth fell open and I gasped for air just before I collapsed into his arms. Letting out the quietest sob, I wailed “I wish I was fine, and I wish it wasn’t you who I would tell why I wasn’t but you’re all I have right now and as much as that hurts I need to get over it.” I see his eyes glimmer with a tear, is this hurting him? Why would this hurt him? He breaks my chain of thought and just says “please just tell me how you are, truthfully?”
“The truth is I’m stuck in a glass cage that I’ve built around myself and I could leave anytime through any of the thousands of doors but each one has a lock and the key is a heart without missing pieces. Every day the walls close in and every hour water rises, every second oxygen is leeched from the room, every time the food I find is less and less and every time I manage to open my eyes you are standing there watching me suffer. And still, I love you. Through it all I still love you and that is still the most torturous thing.” He shudders. His gaze dropping and his mouth open trying to say something, something to fix what can’t be fixed so instead he sighs. “but it’s not only you, its everyone, everyone I’ve ever loved stands, silently, slowly taking steps back but never far enough to be out of my sight.” A tear rolls down my face landing on his firm hand on my shoulder as I turn away, I don’t want him to see me cry. He moves his hand from my shoulder to my face, covering half of it, he turns my face to his and gives the most reassuring nod. “you must be thinking how I’m still alive, how I haven’t drowned or starved but see the walls only ever close in enough to make me stay still, the water rises just enough to let me breathe, the food just enough so that I don’t starve, and the oxygen keeps me gasping for air but still breathing. As much as I want to I can’t let myself die, it’s human nature to survive.” The silence is suffocating but it is a hundred times better than the ignorant question that I know he’s going to ask; “but why? Why do you do it to yourself?” I just stare at him. My silence is an answer enough.
“Once I told you how I was afraid of drowning,” I say, only to distract from his eyes setting my skin aflame as he stares, “I remember.” Somehow that feels assuring but frustrating at the same time. “now it’s the only thing I want to do. I want to drown. I want to feel the water rushing into my lungs. I want to feel the pain because it might just numb the agony you caused in my heart. I want my heart to stop beating because every time it does it reminds me of you. and the worst part is that I hate you with a burning passion, I despise you, but I never stop loving you. Never.” His touch feels ice cold now, his cheeks flush and he moves away his hands turning around. His head low as he murmurs, just loud enough for me to hear, “I know what I said, I know it wasn’t right. But the truth is I never meant it. I always loved you. I never stopped loving you. but we aren’t right. This isn’t right.” He towers above me, picking me up off the floor, never taking his eyes off mine. His eyes blaze through me until I close my eyelids hoping to find a moment of peace, but it never comes. “who are you to know right from wrong?” I sigh. “I am no one, no one other than the person that you love,” he says with a strong, steady voice. “why? Why did you say you stopped loving me? Why did you say that all those months ago?” I sound like a child, but I am desperate to know why he broke my heart. “because I was a boy, I still am. I was foolish to think that maybe my heart wouldn’t break if I broke yours instead” his cheeks flushing a bright red, but he never looks away, not even for a second. “That December night, do you remember it?” I remember like it was yesterday.
Back then he used to be my best friend, the only person in the world that knew me, the only person I trusted to talk to without my mask on. He was my sanctuary. That December night was probably the coldest one in the entire year, it was also the night I got out of the hospital. I was cutting. And he was the only friend who stuck by me. That night, I couldn’t breathe because I was so terrified that I would start again, and the first person I thought of was him. I called him, and we talked for hours on end just about anything you could think of when I started crying, he went silent. It felt like he stabbed me in the heart when he just suddenly hung up on me. And all the thoughts came rushing back, I wanted to kill myself because the one person who I thought would be there, just wasn’t. that’s when I heard a knock on the door. No one else was home so I had to run down and get it, there he was leaning on the door frame with his stupid smirk and my favorite ice cream. We sat on the porch and we laughed, we cried, we screamed at the sky like it was his fault that I was so broken. We had talked all through the night and just as the sun was coming up, he just looked at me. His honey glazed eyes looking like pools of gold as he whispered, “I love you.” I swear I never was so happy to be alive as I was then.
“Yeah, I remember,” I mumble letting out a sigh, taking out all the emotion from my face. The sigh cuts him deeply, I can see it in his eyes. “That night we talked about fears and I said mine was the unknown” he trembles when he speaks, “what I felt for you was the unknown, I was scared out of my mind because I didn’t know exactly what love was and it scared the life out of me because I knew that I loved you. I knew that I loved you more than anyone else in my life and that was petrifying.” I know he’s telling the truth, but I was terrified too. “I really don’t know what you want me to say and to be honest I don’t know what I want to say either.” He grabs my hand, his fingers trailing alongside my arm and he holds a firm yet gentle grip on my jaw and simply says, “then don’t say anything at all.” He pulls me closer, till my chest is on his, and he kisses me. His lips pressed hard against mine, every inch of my body blossoms with warmth and flowers bloom in my chest and that’s when I start gasping for air but this tie it wasn’t agonizing, it was reviving. My body burns, and the flowers die. The pools of honey in his eyes drown my heart, his lips the food that I was starved of, his love the oxygen I was deprived of. I realize that it's him that made that cage for me, it was always him. And he was the key to it.