The pain tore through me, the knife cutting through the layers of flesh, blood spilling out. For an instant, I felt nothing, and then, I felt a soreness in my chest, a soreness that seemed empty, void of all feeling and emotion, unaware of its own existence. Chills began to dominate me; the cold bit at me. The wind blew right through me, as if I did not exist. Shivering, I looked up into the face of my attacker.
I could only see his hair, a light brown with luminous golden streaks, his lips small yet full, slightly parted and frowning in a look of disdain, his nose small and slightly pointed, and his eyes, a brown hue, the color and shape of almonds—the innocent gaze that fools his victims and lures them into a trap of heartache and agony.
He snubbed me with silence and walked away, leaving me sick and holding my chest, right next to my heart. I looked down and saw that no blood oozed through my fingers. I leaned against my car and put my head in my hands. A couple of minutes passed.
“You’re a fucking cheater.”
“I know, Andrea.”
“You’ve been with him for four years. Quit flirting.”
“But I don’t love him.”
“Yes, you do. Right now you’re just thinking with your dick.”
She walked away, parallel to James’s manner. She didn’t hear what James said to me. Neither did I. He said nothing, strolling away, leaving my body without its soul, leaving my heart in terror, taking every bit of dignity I had left. I offered to take him out for dinner as friends, as a date, as whatever he wished to call it. I wanted to give him my time, my most precious possession, but he didn’t feel as generous as I did; or maybe he felt more afraid than I did, too frightened to say anything.
I had contemplated his motives all day, sifting through our encounters, analyzing every detail to no avail. I asked the advice of my aunt; her words rang through my ears, bouncing off the walls of my skull: “You’re only sixteen; I say do whatever brings you happiness right now; you and that guy won’t last much longer anyway. Live your life. Don’t let a teenager stop you.”
I stood there, deciding whether to believe her or not. Thomas and I had dated four years. We had seen a lot together, growing up at the same time. We had taken each others’ innocence, and we fought together. We were never the perfect couple, but we had withstood the test of time for longer than most adolescent relationships. Then, I met James.
For weeks, I had hated him, believing him to be the worst man I had met until one day, I laid down in bed, unable to fall asleep, thinking of holding him close to me, wrapping my arms around his small body, nuzzling his neck as we fell asleep together. He was attractive, no doubt, but also sad and unloved. I wanted to give him the love he deserved and save him from himself, so I began to treat him with kindness. But my initial manner had soiled my image to him and my kind nature did nothing to shake him; he continued to despise me. Two weeks later, he changed and he began to treat me as I treated him. We laughed together, and he admitted that he had hated me, believing me to have judged him while I was only denying the way I felt about him. Later, I asked him to dinner. Too soon.
I jumped the gun. He had not even come out as gay to anyone, not even himself. The others around us saw the effect we had on one another: no doubt existed for James’s attraction to me.
Except for within him.
And within me.
His manner had thrown me off and I no longer was sure of myself.
My mind raced.
Should I forget James and continue on with Thomas? I know we would be happy together: he satisfies me, brings me happiness and relief. Or should I continue to try with James, the man who will not admit him to himself, who loves me but cannot say it? Am I called to love James, to help him, to guide him, or should I stick to definite success, not risking the love I have built for years.
The cold iced me; I welcomed it: the feelings haunted me, unbearably. I remained there, waiting for an answer, some solution, a miracle, a Eureka! moment.
I want his and his love.
I am sick with it.
I am sick with love.
I cannot shake these feelings.
Doesn’t love ever get a happy ending?
I saw him approaching from across the parking lot. He walked towards me with an air of timidness, a shyness not found in many people, a shyness that betrayed him, a shyness that held him back so far he no longer wanted its imprisonment. He wore a blue sweater and tan pants, his hair perfectly combed.
He stood next to me in an anguish of his own. I saw his nose, his eyes, the faintest insinuation of hair on his upper lip. His face showcased a true semblance of innocence and a youth younger than his age. He seemed like a small boy, exposed and raw.
I did not want to wait any longer, so I grabbed his face, as I had longed to do for weeks, and brought his mouth mine. I had both of my palms on his cheeks, a gentle, yet firm hold, and he placed his arms around my neck. We traveled through the world of attraction together: I battled the guilt that came with my adulterous behavior to Thomas, and James fought against the growing fear in his heart to be himself. We kissed like that, we two together, inseparable.
I love him.
I love him.
Loyalty will not forbid him to me.