“So why can’t it be us? Just this once, tell me.” Before I devote myself to a night of alcohol to ease the pain a little in the process of forgetting you, I know he wanted to add. As if the answer’s as simple as giving directions. It was his third time asking that. After three rejections. I guess he finally gave up.
I weighed my next words carefully. “I guess I am afraid.”
“Of loving? Of the idea of committing myself or surrendering my secrets to someone? Of the notion that one day I might get hurt?” My tone implying the obvious— that someone like me who had been independent for how many years can’t just trust someone with her heart. Not at this moment.
He did not answer as he continued watching the stream of cars passing us by. And when it seems like the conversation had ended, I had busied myself with counting the stars scattered across the sky when he said softly , “No you’re not.”
He smiled at me, a smile that did not reach his eyes, as he said, “No you’re not. If you were, then you would not have your friends. And I can see how much they treasure you which only means one thing — whatever is between you and your friends is real and goes deeper than just the fun. It means you laughed and cried with them and for them. Believe me, that is not someone who is afraid to love others and sacrifice for them.”
Silence. He tore his gaze from me and now turned his attention at the bright specks staining the dark sky which captivated me a moment ago before he said I was wrong.
“Your afraid of the idea of being loved.” he said, barely a whisper.
“And why would I be?” My voice a little higher than expected, a hint of challenge there to give proof of what he’d just said. A demand for explanation of why he seemed to think he knows the answers to what gnaws me better than I do.
His eyes remained fixed at those stars as he said, “Because,“ he sighed deeply, “because you can’t accept the fact that someone like me could actually love you. Because you won’t allow yourself to believe that when I look into your eyes, into your soul, I see different shades of different colors for every book that you’ve read instead of just that black, unyielding emptiness that you see. Because you are afraid that a monster could be loved too, could be cared for, could be beautiful for her wildness and her sharp claws. You are afraid of being loved because you don’t think you deserve it. But I do. The thing is, no matter what I do or say, no matter how hard I try, I can’t make your nightmares embrace me when you have tightly leashed them to you… I can’t make them see that they have a home in my heart as they have in yours.”
I stared at him. There was sadness and regret in his face. I was still unsure of what to reply when he kissed my forehead and left without saying a word.
A chapter of the stories I'll never have the courage to write.