We are going to make it, you and I…
Even now, walking the paths of our childhood, I find myself gazing into your eyes. Blue, green, purple, and silver. Words rest on my voice but there is no sound. I might as well be staring at my own reflection – and as you reach for my hand I know I cannot tear myself away.
I don’t want to be a liar.
Our futures hinge on dreams and promises we cannot keep. You know this just as well as I. There is an expectation there for both of us, a kind of resignation, but I am not resigned. That path leads up to death and I will fight it. Somewhere out there a young boy is falling to the floor at the hands of someone who hates him for being different, for thinking different, and I have held him in my arms too many times to let him go.
“What if,” he begins, and I cut him off gently with a single word: “Imagine.” He shuts his mouth and I close my eyes, and together we are free. In this case, it does not have to be a lie.
You wrap your fingers in mine and pull me along. I do not know where you are taking me because it does not matter. As our feet slap against the walkways of our shared memories, the silence between us becomes heavy, and the resulting realization strikes me hard. One of our lives is about to end. I think we both know it.
Somewhere close to us I hear her voice, breaking, choking, drowning in sadness within the depths of her song, and I know she is sending us love. It is healing but it gives me no courage. You stop abruptly, spin around, and look directly into my eyes, and I struggle to meet the fierceness of your gaze. The fierceness means that you, too, are struggling. Just as I do not want to lie, you do not want to ask a question that will force me to lie. So we stare into each other in an uncharacteristic silence. For a long moment, all the world converges into that thin, charged space between our bodies and our hearts. And I think to myself, so this is what it means to live.
So this is what it means to live.
The storm expands around us in rhythm with our contraction of time, and by twilight we are still standing. But in that moment, just when I least expect it, you fire.
“Promise you will stay with me.”
As these words reach my ears I unwillingly drop my line of sight from your blazing eyes. It is not anger or hatred that I feel – but something in me is now hurting.
I did not think you would be the first to break.