“Look at me and tell me how you feel.”
“Right now? How I feel right now?”
“Yeah. Tell me.”
“I feel like a million different things and also like I’m whole for the first time since I knew left from right. I feel like you’re the sun and I’m the moon and everything else is the stars in the sky that hold us together. I feel like I love you more than the ocean loves the shore. I feel like time has stopped for me and I could stay in this moment forever. Just you, just me. Just us, and that’s all we need to be.And. I feel like as long as you’re here, the earth could stop spinning and I’d still be okay. I feel safe.”
“Oh, what? Don’t say that. You just asked me how I…”
“Shh. It’s okay. I didn’t mean oh in a bad way. I was just surprised.”
“Hmm. Why? You didn’t know I love you? I think that was obvious a long time ago. To me, at least.”
He moves and the bench shifts ever so slightly. He moves to look at her face better. Her soft lines and moonlit frame. She’s lovely and he can’t have her but here they are in this park and as much as he wants to tell her the truth he can’t. That would break her heart, and it would destroy his. He wants more than anything to take her gentle hands in his own broken palms and scratched fingers and he wants to trace her in the sky, like a constellation so she’ll never fade from view. He doesn’t answer though.
“Don’t you love me, too?” She searches his face for an answer, but he has become like stone. He is unmoving. He stops breathing and becomes one with the bench.
She looks past him. “Why did you ask me how I felt if you weren’t planning on answering back? What was the point?” She leans into herself, arms crossed and face now cold against the warm frame of the moonlight.
“I’m sorry.” He blinks against the dark and cool of night. “I knew… I mean, yeah. Me too.”
“You too what? Don’t you have your words to say to me?” She doesn’t want someone who copies her. She doesn’t want to be with a carbon copy of herself. If she wanted that, she’d talk to a mirror in a cave so she could hear the echo. She leans forward and almost shakes him by the shoulders, but stops when he begins to cry.
“Hey, what’s wrong? Why are you-” She’s worried now. His shoulders shake and his body quakes like if someone doesn’t do something he’ll tremble into nothingness, drowned by his own tears. He cries quietly at first, trying to cover his tears with his sleeves because he’s been told real men don’t cry. And then he looks up and sees her watching so carefully and so worried and that makes him cry more. Louder and braver and sadder and all at once his eyes and heart are crying all the years he never could. Just not letting anyone see that he wasn’t really made of stone and that he wasn’t so hard to break. Just not letting the tears fall. Just not staying and instead running away so he could just not face the problems he had made.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything.” And he’s now trying to regain composure but he just can’t. She cups his face with her soft hands and tilts his rugged features towards her own and swipes away at the tears blurring everything she loves; eyes, nose, lips, all marred by sadness incarnate. “I can’t tell you all I’ve done and I can’t expect you to forgive me when you find out. I’m not the sun and I’ll never be the light you need. I told you all these things to make you say how you feel right now… but what if everything I told you was a lie? Would you still think all those things you just said?” He’s not trying anymore, not trying to keep all his truths from coming back to get him in the end. He’s tired of lying and getting what he wants. He wants to tell the truth and get what he deserves.
“What do you mean?”
His first instinct is to stand up and run, but he wills himself to stay. If this girl is worth fighting for, then he’ll stay and tell her why he wants to leave. “I mean I’m someone who you wouldn’t be sitting with right now if you knew who I was, really. One because I’ve lied to you for so long and two because…”
“Because what?” She keeps one of her hands in his hair, leaning forward so that their foreheads are touching ever so lightly. Her other hand reaches for her pocket.
“Because I- I’m a bad guy.”
“Really? How bad? Did you kill anyone?” She doesn’t seem very fazed by the news.
“Um, kind of. But I mean, it wasn’t on purpose. At least it wasn’t to begin with. It was like a revenge type thing. You know. I’m a villain. A supervillain.” He watches her carefully to see what she does next. She pulls away slightly and looks towards the other benches, as if checking to make sure no one is there to hear or see what happens next. No one is.
“I have secrets too.” She takes her hand out of her pocket, and with it she takes a long, spinning knife. She tightens her hold on the back of his neck and pulls him to her violently.
“What are you doing?” He fights to get away, but she’s too strong and she has a knife. “I don’t want to hurt you. I love you too. I love you because you make me feel like I’m good. You make me know that I am worthy of love.”
“I’m the superhero.” She smiles sadly. “You know that now. I’m the superhero who you’re always fighting and you’re the supervillain. Now’s the time for me to win and you to lose. You can’t kill people anymore, and I’m the last person whose heart you’ll ever break.” She reaches to twist the knife at him, reaches to kill the beating heart she’s ever loved no matter how she tries to tell herself otherwise. She tries so hard to remember that this is the person who has terrorized her town for the last several years, and that he’s the reason she lost her parents, her best friends, and all the people in between. But that’s not who she sees.
She sees the person who has a heart that has been broken, smashed and scattered for the vultures. She sees the person who has tried so hard to put that battered heart back together so he could love her to the fullest. She sees the person who makes her feel like she’s worth loving even if she’s not the superhero everyone needs her to be. And she can’t kill that person, so she drops the knife and falls off the bench heavily before she changes her mind.
“Run now.” She’s begging. “Go, please.”
He gets off the bench too and kneels beside her. “What am I supposed to run from? I’m the bad guy, and the only one who can stop me is right here. I don’t want to hurt anyone anymore. All I wanted was… you know, like attention or something. A purpose. And I guess I thought my purpose was to be evil. I never thought I was good. I never thought I could be. Until I met you, I thought my fate was decided for me, but maybe that’s not true.”
He knows it’s not true. And now he’s looking at her desperately, trying to see what she’s thinking. Her eyes sparkle with tears and she can’t get the words right to say what she’s feeling right now, straight up.
“I don’t want to kill you anymore.”
“I don’t want to die anymore.”
She puts the knife down on the ground and they look at each other.
“Will you-?” She blushes for the first time in ages, feeling like a schoolgirl again. “Can we just-?”
He nods and she smiles, not sure what she wants but confident they’ll figure it out. So he moves closer and brings her to him, kissing her like the first snowfall of winter kisses the ground. Sweeping and covering, and taking away all the things that were before. And she kisses him back like the first rain of spring, full of hope and sunshine and new beginnings because with the new rain comes the knowing that flowers will bloom and the world will fill with colour again.
“Look at me and tell me how you feel.”
“I feel like everything’s going to be okay.”
“And I feel like you’re absolutely right.”
That is the story of two people. One was a superhero, one was a supervillain. They had many powers, but the main one was a love that conquered all.