Faithful to the sun

I lie, cheat and steal. Am I perfect or am I broken? Perhaps we are all broken and just don't know it yet.

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2. Children in crimson

When do you know it’s the right time to give up? I think that giving up has a shadow of courage within it. You need strength to accept that you are having a battle which you might not win because you are too small for such a big challenge and maybe, maybe good things happen just when you are about to stop clinging to them with your life. Every surrender carries with it the bitter taste of loss.

How many times did we continue fights that may have been lost from the very beginning? I stood there on the battle field until I was sure there was nothing else to save. “I am brave”, I kept telling myself when in fact I never knew when to back away in time. Somehow it seemed cowering of me to leave before everything was consumed, so instead of accepting my fate I would fight until there was nothing left around me. That is the moment you stop because there is nothing left to fight for. You must destroy everything around, every dream, every memory, every feeling so that there is nothing left to hold on to, otherwise you keep looking back at the ruins wondering if you haven’t let it slip through your fingers, maybe you could have fixed them, bring them the polish of past years and see them shine into the future instead of fading into the past. You must burn every bridge until there is nothing left but the clear blue sky above and only then can you move on to a new land with new horizons.

People say we don’t know how to break up in time so as not to transform all that bonded us in painful memories. But how do we know when the right time comes? How can we leave and not leave behind a single trace of regret? I would like to know how I can drag my baggage towards the door and move it to another heart without looking back. How can I look in the mirror and console myself with the tired line of “you did all you could” when I know it won’t be true?

In his case I was always struggling with the idea that victory is a step away. Maybe it’s in a word we did not say yet, a step we haven’t made, a smile, a touch or just a glance. Maybe that’s all that’s standing between me and my dream and maybe I should try again and maybe if I hold on a little longer this time, maybe it would be better. Real soldiers fight until their dying breath. Maybe happiness is close but when did maybe I’ll be happy become an option?

I did not know of the “maybe” back when I met him. I knew only four letters A.L.E.X. Our parents worked in the same company and all those house visits became play dates. We were so young when we met and even then, he allowed me every pleasure. I was 10 he was fourteen. He had boyish black curls and an evil look with those deep green eyes and thick dark lashes. Even though he was four years older than me and at an age when boys usually want to go out and raise hell with friends he wanted to come over every single time and allow a ten year old to make whatever it wanted of him: he would play with me, teach me, read to me, gossip with me. I remember it better than I remember my last birthday that time when he installed on my old computer back then my first game: Heroes of Might and Magic 2. He taught me how to play it and how to use cheats.

“It’s good to cheat, from time to time” He said staring back at me from the big screen.

“I’m not a cheater!”  I protested

“You will be when it gets too hard”

Although he meant the game back then, I realize he meant life, my life or his. But if only life in general was that easy, to enter a code that would give you a heart of steel or the ability to simply forgive and forget. Life doesn’t give you such options. It will be the hardest game we will every play and when you die, you die for good so you just have to keep fighting no matter how wounded you might get.

“Come play” He said as he was getting up from his chair, making room for me in front of the keyboard and mouse.

“No thanks. You play!” I insisted. I always liked watching him play. I would sit on his right, watching the screen. I loved the game but I loved him playing it even more. His victories were the only ones I could ever need and I knew then and there just how much I liked him.

Over time I started fantasizing about him, how our first kiss would be, how he would hold my hand. It came as a big surprise to find out that he had already done those things before.

“How do you imagine your first kiss would be?” I asked him once when we were at his house sitting on the floor just talking.

“I already had my first kiss. You are such a little kid sometimes. I am 16! Do you think I didn’t kiss anybody until now? I have a girlfriend.” He said something like this in a smug tone that made him seem almost disgusted by my lack of experience. At that time though, I did not know what hurt me more: the fact that he had already kissed someone before or the fact that he had a girlfriend. In the dreadful time of those teenage years I thought that girlfriend meant wife in the near future and that is when my first heartbreak came. It felt like a light tremor at first and then a stabbing in my heart. All those dreams of me sharing my first kiss with him seemed somewhere in the land of fantasies because he was involved and I was alone staring at him.

As I look back now I feel that we are all, at least in part still in the land of Harry Potter: we look at strangers on the street and imagine a meeting or a relationship with them, we look at coworkers we barely talk to and imagine how their hair would look in our hands while their face is covered with the sweat and mist of sex or even worse, when we look at our loved ones and imagine what it would be like if the love that was shared would just come back. How many of us are stuck in a fairytale? How many husbands hold their wives every night and think back of those times, so long ago, when they last made love? How many of us looked with hope at the boy sitting across from us while pain is pumping in our heart and we struggle for a smile while our mind goes on repeat: “It’s over”?

On some level my instincts were right. It was over: all the normality of a relationship vanished in those moments. Maybe if I had more patience or a colder heart, maybe if I had been wiser I would have waited for him a little longer, for him and myself to realize that he did want me more than anyone else and that the past was the past and on our road we would move forward peacefully but the truth was the I didn’t have all those things or a better mind so everything went straight to hell.

Even at that young age I had more than enough ego. I could not admit to Alex that he had hurt me that he would rather choose another to love and to hold, that he shared his first experiences without even considering me. How could I ever admit such a thing? If I admit it, it would be real and if the hurt is real than I am vulnerable.

What would it be like to live without fear? How would it be to leave the house as if we had nothing to lose: to say “I miss you” with every chance we get? Now I do it constantly but when we are young there is always so much at stake, or so it seems. I thank the stars because they have allowed me to discover that fear blocks you from what you should achieve but there are so many yet that walk on their shoulders with the weight of the world consisting of the fear of getting hurt. If only we could stop dreading what might happen and just find out.

Today we are naked walking on the side of the road because we lack the courage to confront them, our fears, and we are barefoot because we lack determination. We are wearing the same white dress sewn with threads of hope and for the chills that glide down our back there is only the wind to blame although how much easier would it be to blame those tears constrained behind closed eyes? But if we wait too long we will realize that the night and stars will smell the same as they have always smelled but we will no longer be able to sense the naïve child that loved him or her because time has bleed those memories and buried them beneath our skin. What good would cemeteries be when we will all bear our crosses, witnesses that sold our voices to the wind because it’s easier to have him take it away than leave it here with us and the choice of saying what hides within. Our minds will be haunted corridors by old ghosts that await the opportunity to recover their old lives with that one question: “What if?”

It will be so silent that our lungs will be healed from the fear and we will feel the earth alive and thriving beneath our feet and the only thing that will go through our minds is to lay there in the middle of nowhere, with our arms open and our eyes piercing the sky. But the sky will not want us because we have stayed awake so many night before fussing and turning while waiting for someone to enter our souls. That is the moment we can see that the fear was our leash and that no matter where we go the rooms are empty and we will always wait for someone to come inside or at least knock on our door which we have guarded with barbed wire.

If I knew all this back then maybe our love could have been more peaceful. But great loves are so rare and some never even find them although wherever I looked, with everyone I spoke, they did not seem to miss. Perhaps we could have had a great fairytale love, perhaps not. I sometimes envy the happiness of others, even if with some it’s only a façade and with others it’s purely superficial. From every lie a truth can be born. They marry their made-up truths and even so they seem happy. For some it is something to come home to while others cannot let lies live their life. I have known in my life so many wives that have felt their husbands cheating and all they did was close their eyes forever and became blind. They would touch the walls shyly at first and then in time, in their blindness they would find their way back home with the vow to never let the light in again. Those women chose happiness instead of truth because truth will crucify our soul anytime it hunts another certainty. But even so I chose the truth. I chose the world for what it was with all the ugly and that bad and in that darkness I saw the light and unshackled myself from the fear of pain.

But wisdom seems to avoid the young and ironically at 12 years I felt like my time was running out and so the wisdom I had was supposed to be sufficient so I acted as best I could to get equal.

I had my first kiss within that year with a boy I didn’t care about at a game of spin the bottle. Two weeks after that I wanted to fall in love and for a brief moment I thought I did. Calvin was sweet boy that lived close by. He was always there but I didn’t really have eyes for him until I widened my horizons. He had sandy blond hair and yellowish green eyes that kept reminding me of Alex. Perhaps that, is what I liked. It was odd how we ended being so close: he liked one of my friends, Jenny, and was in the process of courting her and I know for a fact that she liked him back but for some reason they never made the final step of actually admitting to each other how they felt. I may not have had the same feelings for the boy but I felt as if the clock was ticking. I had refused to talk to Alex of my personal life over the last few visits in the hope of shocking him with the great news and I could not wait any longer so I gathered my courage and told Calvin to come by my place after school to hang out. He came one, twice and after a while it became a regular thing. I would find him waiting by the entrance of my school, waiting for me to walk home together he would hold my hand the entire way and I would fight the impulse to retrieve it. Calvin, Jenny and I would still hang out from time to time. He would court with us both and we would always flirt back. It was a strange triangle and no matter where you looked from the others were lying. Neither me nor Calvin admitted to Jenny we were seeing each other, Jenny never admitted she cared enough to make a move and I would never admit to Calvin that my heart was waiting for another. Jenny found out eventually that there was something going on between us although I haven’t admitted a thing to this day. Still, she somehow found it in her heart to forgive me, partly because she didn’t want to admit she was rejected and the mask of a girl that simply doesn’t care fits so much better than the face of the second choice. I think she also forgave me because she cared for me more than she cared for him and that might be the biggest mistake she made yet I will always love her truly for all the sacrifices she has made over time. If she had been angry with me perhaps I would have learnt my lesson but she had encouraged me, they all did.

I had been seeing Calvin for a month and the moment when I decided I needed to tell Alex of how we were now equal. He came over one night while my parents were off at his house. He entered my door and went straight to my room and I followed him waiting to sit in the corner of the sofa so I could take my usual spot, in his lap, in his arms. He kissed my forehead and looked at me wondering perhaps what was going on in my mind but I struggled with a feeling that bordered on disgust. I should have been happy that I had had a new boyfriend but when I thought of him I wanted nothing else but to repel those images. I wanted the perfect darkness that was there in his arms.

“I did it” I said eventually.

“Did what?” he sked while touched my chin to guide my face to his.

“I had my first kiss and I have a boyfriend that I’ve been seeing for a month” I wanted to sound exited, happy with the thrills of first love I should have felt but my voice reflected nothing but indifference as if I was reading the ingredients on a fast-food snack.

He stared blankly at me for a moment and when reality seemed to click into him he asked in a voice so soft is was only louder than a whisper.

“Are you kidding me?”

“No. I am quite serious. Just look at my texts” My voice betrayed no emotions because there were none to start with. Whenever I thought of Calvin I realized he was dear to me but more as a friend or brother there was no longing, no need to keep him near and most of the time I had to fight the impulse to push him away. When he touched me there were no butterflies and no matter what he did I would always compare him to my Alex, who now seemed angry and wounded.

“Did you just call me here to mock me, to make fun of me? Am I a joke to you?”

“No! How could you say that? Ever since you told me you had a girlfriend that was all I could think about. Are you allowed to have one but I am supposed to wait for you?” I was getting scared and angry at the same time. On one hand I didn’t want to upset him, I wanted to guard and protect him but on the other hand I wanted him to see if he would be as hurt as I was.

“So you did this only to get back at me?” He was angry now and his fury was almost a palpable aura around us that only gave me the strength to go further.

“No, darling, I did that because I fell in love. I guess I just never felt like that around you.”

When I finished speaking he grabbed my face with both hands and kissed me. We kissed for what seemed like hours, days, years. It was the first time I had felt his lips on mine and our first kiss was one of love and hate and it was the most magical feeling I had ever felt.

“Tell me that isn’t better.” He said when he retreated his mouth from mine.

“It was. Please don’t be angry with me.”

“How can I not be angry? Why him? Do you even like me?” I couldn’t believe it. He mouthed the same words I thought of when I first heard of his loved one. In those precious moments when I saw the impatience printed on his face I knew he felt the same.

We spent the rest of the evening in each other’s arms kissing until our swollen lips cried in hurt. The next day I broke it off with Calvin and spent all my free time with Alex. Now that I think back I feel sorry for Calvin and for the way I simply left, cutting myself from him without any second thought. I am sorry for not caring enough to have the courage to admit it to myself at least that I kept feeding his delusions that maybe we will work out. He could have been happier with my friend, at least she loved him back, instead of wasting his time with someone that kept him as a distraction from the lonely nights, that he was nothing more than means to an end. But I was a child back then and what do children know? I had Alex after all and what better thing could I hope for? He would call me to ask me for a walk or play some basketball or just ask to come over. We talked every day and texted every night until one day it simply stopped. I called him in the evening to see if he was ok and after he reassured me everything was fine and that he was just busy I believed him. It’s odd how the mind works sometimes. If the heart is drugged with love the mind accepts whatever the heart wants, no matter how many signs would trigger an alarm. After four more days of no speaking just a few texts that were meant more to shut me up I was beginning to feel worried. On the fifth day our parents arranged for a weekend at their winter cabin and there was my chance to see him and find out what was going on. We left the following day and in that late Friday evening I arrived at the place that would bring me more pleasure and pain that I would like to admit even now.

 The house was huge. It was in a relatively secluded location. The forest that seemed to outline the back yard stretched until forever, the entire mountain started to take shape from that line. Trees were crowding at the valley, light green closest to us, the shades of early summer and the higher my gaze went, the darker the green gut until my eyes rested on the bald mountain top covered in the snow that refused to melt and just lingered in that far cold spot that touched the heavens. With glistening white caps, like a perfect storybook picture, the mountain range lay like slumbering giants beneath thick blankets of white, in dreamless sleep as the eons ticked by like the second hand of a clock.

The yard was huge and flat with a perfectly mowed lawn, there was a water fountain that spat steady curtains of water from one level to the next where one tiny statue stood atop of the gurgling water waiting greedily to make its route one again, a statue of a man hiding under an umbrella. The statue seemed almost sad to me for that tiny man would always live in a constant downpour, a monsoon. Not far from the fountain was a fire pit surrounded by benches covered in dark grey cushions and blankets. To its right there was a swinging bench overflowing with pillows to which I immediately went. I sat on the dark grey cushion of the bench and took one of the pillows in my lap as I looked to study the main house. I knew he had a large mountain lodge but this was a house that didn’t know where to stop. The red brick, wood and stone gave it a homey feel. The windows were large and the roof was tall. It seemed so out of place in that corner of the wilderness. I knew the house had eight rooms from the previous discussions from the car but I could never have guessed the monstrosity that stood out from the trees.

I moved my eyes to watch him get out of the car lazily and throw his bags on one of the benches that encircled the fire pit and came toward me.

“Want a tour?” He asked as he sat down next to me, making the swing waddle under his weight.

“I want you to talk to me.” I didn’t care of what was hiding behind those walls I wanted to know what was hiding inside him mind.

“Come. I’ll show you the house and we can talk later”

He grabbed my hand and almost pulled me towards the entrance. Just outside on a concrete foundation near the house sat a picnic table with twelve large wooden chairs surrounding it. There were small stones embedded in the concrete that gave the terrace. Four potted plants guarded each corner and a large brick grill with a tiny red roof stood behind looking almost like a miniature version of the house itself.   

We covered the ground floor in almost a second. He was pointing to different decorations and doors explaining each element but I could barely hear him. I wanted to know why he was avoiding me. When we arrived to the first floor I found myself dragged along a large corridor with rooms on either sides.

“This will be your room” He said pointing to the second door on the right. I opened the door somewhat excited but my excitement died quickly. It was a beautiful room but something didn’t click in me. It was mostly white: white walls, white bed, white closets, a grey night stand and a small white furry rug in the middle of the hardwood floors. It was like a blank A4 paper.

Across from my room was the room my parents were offered, here violet and white seemed to be the dominant colors. The last room on the right belonged to him: it was a room of beige and blue. His room seemed cozier probably because it was impregnated with his scent.

After the tour we sat for dinner, spent a little time around the fire with the family and I made my way towards the swinging bench. As I headed towards my swing he got up and followed me. When I sat he took a seat as close to me as he could.

And we just sat there on the swinging bench, my head turned towards the sun set. The whole time we didn’t say a word. I watched the wars of the colors as night slowly claimed its victory. I watched the palest shades of amber-pink dance with flaming red and the golden glitters of the last struggling rays shined from beneath the clouds as if forgotten there or just abandoned. The sky furrowed with wispy bands of silver while the violet marched forward like soldiers of an army to capture the horizon. Even the sun seemed to bleed. What was the pure white chariot of mid-day was not a fiery red orb sinking beneath the trees. And the heavens themselves seemed to fall asleep as the clouds dyed themselves in orange, then red, then dark blue until all that was left was a chalky violet line that marked the end of heaven and the start of earth. Sequin-silver stars like the glowing embers of a dying fire winked down at me, illuminating the attramentous curtain of sky, and then suddenly the clouds parted, and I found myself looking at a lustrous, argent disc casting brilliant rays of moonlight onto the dark grounds. The sun was gone and so were my fears. I don’t know how much time we spent on that bench in silence looking at the sky. I just knew it was long because I could feel the chill in the air creeping around me.

“What’s going on with you?” I asked finally in the softest voice I could muster. I had a pit feeling in my stomach. I felt as if the whole world waited impatiently for me to ask that question and then it was shouting and screaming for his answer.

“Nothing. Why?”

“We never talk anymore. I never get to see you. You’re always busy. Don’t lie to me. I know it when you lie. Is there someone else?”

“Yes” He sighed the answer. “We met last weekend. I was out with friends from school and she showed up. She is the friend of a girl in my class. She gave me her number and we talked and we hanged out and that’s it.”

“Is she your new girlfriend?” My voice was no louder than a whisper. I could feel the tears pooling in my eyes threatening to flow over my cheeks. I felt my heart feel the pain of loss once again and my whole skin felt like it was stinging and my breath took much longer to reach my lungs.

“Yes. I guess she is.”

“And what am I? Why didn’t you tell me? Why couldn’t you at least end it with me before you went on to her?”

“Because I like you, kid.” He turned and grabbed both my hands in his. “I like you so much but you are so young and I know I should have patience with you, that you will become a great girl but you have so much innocence in you and this girl, Amy, she is just so adventurous so wild and fun, I like her too and it’s just so hard for me to choose. Why can’t we enjoy what we have here and now and ignore everything else. I’m here with you now, she is so far away. These days will be for us and when we get back we will see what we will do but don’t worry about then, focus on us now.”

He kissed me when he finished talking awaking in me a sickly feeling in my stomach. As much I enjoyed his lips and his touch I could not stop thinking about her, that Amy that was probably waiting at home with trust that her man is with probably with family at their mountain lodge.

“What about her?”

“Leave her out of this.”

And I did. I got up and went towards the door, climbed the stairs and went for my so called room. I changed in my pajamas and threw myself on the bed when I heard a knock on my door. My mother had come in to see if everything was ok with me. Apparently she saw me storming away from him and got worried.

“Are you ok sweetheart?”

“Yeah. Why?” I said those words with a smile on my face and looking as serene as I could. I was too ashamed to admit that I was harboring feelings for a boy that loved another.

“You know it always work to keep a little bit of distance. If you pull too hard, men will have a tendency to run away. Just try to understand his point of view” She said those words as if reading my mind but then, as well as now, his point of view was always beyond me.

I went to sleep soon after that but my sleep was restless. I kept waking up mussing with the covers turning my pillow getting a drink of water until I just got up, crossed the hall and ended up in his room. I went straight to his bed and cuddled next to him.

I can’t really remember what happened next during that trip. I just remember that I gave in to his demands and lived in the present when I was with him. I enjoyed every second when he was by my side and when he wasn’t I would just go on as if he was never there to begin with. We walked and talked and promised love with every chance he had. For the next two years I lived in dizzying haze somewhere on the verge of love but I could never fall completely because with every chance he got he reminded me of the other that crossed his path.

We were out one night at one of the local restaurants, enjoying a pizza when he said:

“Do you have any idea how much you mean to me? I never thought I could love you the way that I do. What is it about you? I just feel so relaxed around you, so myself. I love that we can have this freedom around each other, that we do not have to respect the rules of common relationships and be bound only to one another. I love you for being you, so patient with me. I know. I think I loved you since I first saw you and a part of me tells me we are going to be together forever.”

“You me and whoever else you choose?”

“Don’t worry about anyone else. You are the only one I will ever care about. I couldn’t live anymore if you would ever say to me that you loved another. I don’t love the others, can’t you see? No matter who I go to, I always find myself coming back to you. I know you’ve been with others too so don’t just judge me, your blame is just as big as mine. But I know that I love you completely. Do you love me?”

“You know I do. And there are times when I just don’t care that you go and meet with them but other times it pains me. I feel a jealousy that consumes me. I wish I cared less so as not to feel it, or cared more to ignore it. I don’t know.”

“No, no, no, my child, never less, as much as you can, love me as I know you can.”

Unfortunately for me I did love him almost unconditionally and my heart had always bared his name. It may have been covered by dust from time to time for he would take his time to come over there and clean up all the mess he left before he left but sooner or later he would return. He always did.

One night, my friends and I snuck into a small club because I knew I would find him there. We were playing our little games as always. He was with his latest conquest and I would conquer as many boys as I could to make him burn with anger so much until he would come by my side to chase them away. We were both on up, overlooking the dance hall when I kissed my third boy of that night and as he grabbed me in his arms I looked over at my Alex, dressed in all black, his face just as dark with anger as he gripped the metal railing as if to stop himself from rushing towards me to push the man next to as far as he could. His girls came to him and touched his shoulder, obviously noticing the change within. I guess when he felt her touch he lost all his grip and stormed towards me, brushing her aside. He was by my side in seconds and started shouting at the man that still held me tight.

“Do you even know how young she is?” Alex fumed

“Who the fuck are you?” the man protested

“She is fourteen! Get your hands off her.”

“What’s your fucking problem? I’ll put my hands wherever I want.” My admirer turned to me to ask “Do you know this fucker?”

“An old family friend. Please let me talk to him to straighten this mess. We wouldn’t want an unnecessary fight that will only get us thrown out. Why don’t you go get me something to drink?” I said each word while looking only at Alex. I noticed his girl came to try to put some reason into his fury fueled mind but without success. He was a mad man that wanted nothing more than to hurt the man that was now heading towards the bar.

“What do you think you are doing?” He shouted at me, fury emanating from his eyes. “Do you know what a boy his age wants from you? He wants nothing else but to fuck you, ok?”

“Why do you care?” The girl by his side interrupted her eyes throwing daggers at my Alex.

“Get out of this Dana!” He whipped his gaze back at her as he spat his venom.

“I will not get out of this. You have been staring at her all night. Who is she?” She turned at me, her rage was starting to mirror his. “Listen girly, you stay the fuck away from my boyfriend or I will rip every hair off your head.”

“If you touch her I will rip your hair, Dana.” He grabbed her wrists in an attempt to calm her down and all the while although adrenaline was pumping in my veins like crazy, my face was cold, emotionless because I had the smug feeling that he would choose me over her.

“Listen” I spoke to the both of them “Dana, you can keep him. I don’t know if you noticed but I was with someone tonight. If I wanted him, wouldn’t I try something with him and not someone else? He is the one that scared my date away.”

“Good.” Alex said with a smug look that bordered on disgust.

“And you” I continued “Don’t worry who is trying to fuck me or not and worry about who you might or might not screw. Give it a try!”

“I don’t need to try, sweetheart, I fucked her plenty”

At this point Dana slapped him and started to yell at him for being so indiscreet and I was rushing towards my friends to get my coat and run.

“Are you OK?” Jenny asked me.

“Yeah. Just drama.”

“What was that all about? Did that bitch hurt you?”

“She didn’t touch me.” That was the truth but another truth was also that she did hurt me, more that she could have any other way. I knew my Alex was 18 and at that age boys were drawn to sex like flies to honey but until that moment I didn’t know that he had shared his bed. It was to be expected on some point but the news blew me off so hard that that I was barely focusing.

“Do you want me to come with you?” Jenny said, trying still to uncover the mysteries behind the previous event.

“No. I’m good. I’ll go home and sort this out tomorrow when everyone is sober and calm.”

The truth was that I needed to be calm. I struggled with simple commands as I headed towards the exit: one foot then the other, grab the rails, watch the stairs, just a few more steps, grab the handle, open the door, you are free.

As I felt the cold night air I felt the first tears rushing down my face. There were some people outside looking at me. I didn’t care. There was just one question in my mind: why not me? All the way home I could almost see him grabbing her, turning her, kissing her, touching her and it drew me closer and closer to madness.

Why not me?

The next day he called me. I didn’t answer. He called me again every day for the following week. Texted me constantly, but I didn’t answer. Every time I saw his name on my phone I was reminded of the girl foaming at the mouth with jealousy when he came for me, I saw her going numb under him and it all seemed too much. He called me less and less over the new weeks but I refused to answer. He didn’t come by anymore and I refused to see him when we visited the same places.

Four months later he rang at my door. He looked wounded and consumed. He came in, went to my room and started to talk.

“How are you kid?” He came to embrace me and I allowed myself to linger in his arms, to remind me of his scent. He tried to kiss me as he always did whenever we met but I refused him.

“Please don’t. I don’t know where that mouth of yours has been.”

“Nowhere. I’m not seeing anyone now. Please let me kiss you.”

“No. What’s the point? We kiss, we love, we fight, we leave. It’s easier for us if we just stay friends”

“But we don’t have to fight. Are you still angry with me? How can you still be angry? I thought you were ok with all we did. You knew I was seeing other girls.”

“I didn’t know you were sleeping with them.”

“What do you want from me? Did you want me to sleep with you?”

“Actually I wanted you to wait for me. I wanted you to save yourself for me just as I was saving myself for you.”

“You weren’t saving yourself for me. You are just too young for this. Don’t get me involved into all that.”

“Stop telling me how young I am! I have a boyfriend your age. He doesn’t think I’m too young for him. I have been with him for two months. Wouldn’t he realize I was too young for him until now?”

“Did you sleep with him?”

“Not yet, darling, but soon, maybe.”

“Why are you doing this to me? I never meant to hurt you. Are you doing this on purpose?”

“The whole world does not revolve around you. I am doing this because I want to. Because I like him.”

“You like him? What about me? Don’t you like me? Didn’t you love me just a while ago? And now you are just waiting to spread your legs for a random fucker?”

“I did love you. I don’t know if I love you anymore. I don’t think love is supposed to hurt like that. I was always swallowing hard all your tales of your conquests. I didn’t want to hear it but if I didn’t hear it I would never feel the reality of you indifference towards me. I could fantasize all day long that you cared.”
“But I did care. What don’t you understand?”

“If you cared so much, why did you feel the need to go to others? Wasn’t I enough?”

“You were enough. I just… I don’t know. I was stupid. I’m sorry.”

“I’m not. It’s better this way. This way I will learn what it means to be the only focus for a man.”

“What’s his name?”

“Dominic. But why does it matter? If you know his name will you be more at peace or will you search for him to fight him off too. Why are you allowed to love as many as you can but I can’t love anyone but you? You are vain and selfish and you should leave my personal life to myself.”

“Do you love him?”

“I do.”

I knew my words weren’t true. I knew I didn’t love Dominic; that I had wished to break up with him from the moment we first kissed. I stamped and expiration date from the moment I saw him but I marveled of how each day felt when I was with him. I was his focus of gravity and he would move the moon and stars just to see me happy. He would shower me with gifts and compliments, he would show me off as his biggest prize, he would go through every pain possible as long as that was what I wanted, he had the patience of a god with every childish need that I could think of and like that the days went by, one after the other. I knew my heart belonged to Alex, that I felt a void inside me when he wasn’t near and when he was near, I felt complete, as if all the problems of the world dissolved slowly with each step he took toward me. But Dominic ... I didn’t love him. Most of the times I hated something about him but in that year I found my way into his bed and Alex lost himself and became the man in blue I know today.

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