I used to imagine what I’d say to you. I’ve had more conversations in my head with you than in real life. It was in high school, that day in Mr Roy’s drama class, when I knew I loved you. You were always good at drama, never afraid to be yourself. At least that’s how it seemed.
That day I sat like a shadow, hanging in the corner of the classroom. No-one ever spoke directly to me. They called me names, whispered behind my back. You must have heard them, we’ve never spoken about it, but maybe that’s why I never cared about being alone as much as you did. I learned early on that I didn’t need people, that they only made me feel like shit. Now I’ve never felt more alive.
We had to act; I didn’t want to. I sat like a skeleton watching you all rehearse. I imagined a world beyond high school and these people. I saw myself with friends like me, sitting on a sunny balcony, laughing at those dicks and the boy I used to be. I was naive, I’d laugh at myself now if laughing made any sense. It doesn’t, there’s no-one to hear me, not even you.
We had to perform what we’d made, I sat at the back. You were the lead, I can’t remember what the play was about, but you didn’t do what we’d rehearsed. All I remember is you waltzing up to me, your eyes black and dewy. Every nerve in my body trembled and I thought I was going to pass out. You saddled me, sliding your legs over mine, holding onto the back of the chair so I couldn’t get away. I could feel you pressing against me, your red lips parted, and I saw inside you.
People laughed, people cheered, as they watched the sweaty, spotty, nerdy kid get a lap dance from the girl everyone fancied. I’m not stupid, I can see how they might have thought you’d done it for a joke, but I knew you. Remember, I watched everyone, surveyed them silently like a fly on the wall. I saw people for what they were. In that moment and for every moment since your soul burned from you, exploding in fractals of light through every pore in your skin. It reflected across every surface so I could never ignore you.
It was many years before we uttered words, but my soul spoke to you all the time. In those days I worshipped you like a Goddess. We all did, every boy who saw you. You know that of course, you’ve always known that. You saw the way they fell wildly, madly, crazily in love with you, you saw how they fought over you. How their own souls were twisted and warped by the heat of yours.
I wonder if you ever thought about me then. Did you think I was different? You never saw me turn my head; I never spoke a word. Whenever your eyes grazed me, I killed myself by not looking. Maybe I should have looked. I knew you wanted to consume us all and I knew that the only way to get you was to pretend I didn’t care. Though secretly I was more in awe of you than the rest.
I used to imagine the end of the world. It’s crazy, I wish I’d written it down. I promise you I’m not lying I fantasised about this; everyone else disappearing and for us to be the only two people left. Then I knew you’d love me. I never believed in God, or fate; now I do.
It was only when people started dying when I spoke to you. Your brother was dead, and I messaged you asking if you were okay. I listened to you, not many people listen, and I think you needed that. We met up.
You’ve told me what you thought of me that first night, but I wonder if you knew then that there was something between us. You’ve never said but I can remember the way you looked at me, the way your black eyes glowed like the deepest depths of the galaxies and explored every part of me you could see. Could you tell I loved you? Could you feel every atom of me crackling, shivering, weeping in ecstasy at the mere closeness of you? I don’t want to sound crazy. I’m only slicing an opening down my earthly limbs and vomiting all the many things we never got to say out onto this page. I know you understand, even if on the first read you are scared, you know that’s only because I’m setting down the truth. And the truth scares you, I know that now.
I don’t know for sure which one of us saved each other. Shall we call it saving? If you’d asked me a while ago, I would have said you. Of course you! With your wild soul, that twisted away from me like the wind, calling, teasing me all those years. Those eyes, like holes of the deepest space. I knew you weren’t from here like all those other damned souls. I thought it all made sense, from the beginning you were meant to save me. Though why me? Why me?
It always niggled in my head and grew like a tumour.
I was going to leave this letter on the hill, but I’m not sure you’d look there. I think that’s where we were saved. That night, you know the one I’m talking about. It was the 3rd month of lock down, when people still had some hope. My grandparents were dead and some of my cousins, only a few people in the town had died, but you were sad, and you asked if I wanted to hang out. We wandered up in the coolness of the night, the stars twinkled like tears above us and I wondered if you could control how they looked. We sat on the bench at the top and spoke. I mostly listened again, and you began to cry. I held onto you and in the darkness we kissed.
We’ve not spoken about it much, but you said your attraction for me pounced on you suddenly that night. How did you see me before? I wanted to ask, sometimes the words hovered on my lips, but I never have. We fucked on that bench; I lost my virginity there. I know I wasn’t your first, but I was definitely your last. I used to think all the others were just tests, to pick out the right man to live with you forever. And after everyone, every mortal man that clutched your ethereal limbs, you chose me.
Everyone knew the end of the world was nigh. The virus couldn’t be stopped. Remember when we joked about it being the dream killer for humanity? It didn’t discriminate against anyone. I remember the day the news presenters stopped appearing on TV and slowly, gradually, over the next couple of years, all the posts, news and ads on our phones stopped updating. Our feeds were full of RIPs and ‘love you angel’s; angels, angels everywhere, clogging it all up. The internet became a graveyard, with dead voices floating, echoing, howling to be heard, like ghosts, while anyone who was still alive was drowned out by them. There’s no-one here and if there was there’s no way to find them.
We never said it out loud, I don’t know why. We both knew after a while that we must have been the only ones left. Everyone we knew was dead, bodies rotted in homes and dogs and cats tore them apart. We laughed hysterically at that, remember when your cat came back with someone’s foot? I was happier in those days than I’ve ever been in my life. All the jokes and laughter and love. Yes, we argued, that’s normal. We didn’t have anyone else to throw our pain at.
I want you to understand how I felt when you disappeared. I thought about throwing myself off the cliff, that’s how much I love you. Everything before that felt part of the plan, but that, that was when the tumour in my veins choked me. I’ve always known everything, every little fucking thing made sense before that. The first weeks I searched everywhere for you and I became delirious, I thought I’d dreamt you up. Maybe the shell of you had died along with everyone else. My perfect, little spirit, perhaps you’d always just been inside me? And so, I dressed up in your clothes and sprayed your perfume all over me and I swear then I could feel your ghost wrapping itself around me.
But then you fucking appeared. I went to the posh part of town, I was looking for a nice car, and that’s when I saw you through the windows of the supermarket. I wasn’t sure if you were actually there. I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I was in one of those nightmares when you can see what you desperately need in front of you and you’re pushing your legs as hard as you can but you’re not moving. And as I stormed towards you, screaming your name, you turned like a cat, your eyes fixed on me, and then you slunk away. I searched for days around there. I swear I heard you a couple of times; the crack of a twig, the stamp of your doc martens on the pavement. Sometimes I see flocks of birds fly up, squawking like maniacs, and I wonder if you’ve disturbed them.
It’s only us here. I’ve been thinking a lot. I don’t know if you are who you said you were. You knew exactly how you appeared to me; like a siren, you lured me in and caught me. I don’t want to believe it and I don’t think you want to either, is that why you ran away? You know, I used to think we were like Adam and Eve, but now, I think, you were the snake all along, the forbidden fruit. And it’s like being trapped with the Devil in a world between heaven and hell. You’re stringing me along, waiting, watching. What’s your plan now?
I pray to God, I never used to, but I pray for Him to save me and take me back to Him. Though some days I wonder if He is challenging me, if this was my fate all along. I will find you again and this time I will face you. I will look straight into your wicked eyes and fuck the fire out of your soul.
I don’t want this to be true anymore than you do. I can’t stop seeing you as I always have and its difficult reminding myself that you don’t see things like I do.