"So...did you think any more about...you know...?" He asked. "What we talked about?"
"Hehehe...yes..." I blushed. "Pretty much every second of the day."
"And you're not gonna change your mind on me, are you?" He said, and...feeling overwhelmed with emotion, I shook my head in silence. "Ok. Cool. Very cool."
I heard him sigh, and I melted all over again. I said, "You certainly know how to make life, exciting."
"Hehehe, do I? Well, good." He smiled at me, but I turned away. I was already stumbling over my own two feet as it was. "You know, you're so adorable, Zack. It's good to see you not so...'sad' all the time."
I started to feel bad about disappointing him, but I made sure to correct myself before my stupid thoughts got the best of me. "I guess I'm only happy when you're around. Hehehe!" Did I just say that? Omigod, I think I did. Does that count as flirting? Yeah...I'm flirting. Hehehe, with my BOYFRIEND! This is SO unreal!
I wish I could kiss him without anybody seeing us!
He said, "Well, as flattering as that may be, I'm going to make it my mission to see you happy all the time. I like making you smile."
I giggled bashfully, "What are you talking about? I smile all the time."
"No...you pretend to smile all the time." He said. "You forget, I've seen the real thing now. I can easily tell the difference."
Blushing even harder than before, I said, "I'm sorry if I seem like a downer sometimes. I don't mean to. I just...have 'stuff' going on."
"Stuff like what?"
"Trust me...you don't want to know." I told him, hoping to find a way to change the subject.
He persisted. "No, really. I want to know. Let me in on the big secret."
"It's more like a long series of problems than a secret."
"Problems are cool too. Maybe I can help."
"You can't." I said.
"C'mon, Zack...seriously. Talk to me. I really want to know." He seemed sincere enough, but I've been tricked by people's so-called sincerity enough times to know not to trust my own judgement on stuff like that. "I already know that your middle name is Aiden. Hehehe, so how much worse could it be? Tell me."
"Noooo...can't we just...be happy for a while?"
"Because...people don't want to hear about problems. They say they do, and that's...that's really sweet of them. But, once you start talking about your problems and your pain and your helplessness...they just want to run in the other direction. They start to hate talking to you at all, and they end up avoiding you altogether." God, just thinking about it already began to break my heart in half. "Brody...please promise me that you'll never just...'avoid' me, ok? I'll shut up. I promise. I won't talk about anything bad or problematic or any of that stuff. Only GOOD stuff, ok?"
"Zack, you don't have to..."
"Please, just promise me." I said. "I get lonely sometimes...nothing would hurt me more than to have you bail on me when I really needed a friend. Ok?"
He gave me a strange look. I was messing things up again, wasn't I? I'm being stupid again. That's when Brody said, "I'm not gonna bail on you, dude. I swear. I'm here for the long haul. Promise."
"Cool..." I sighed with a big smile. "Thanks."
We walked in silence for a minute, and then Brody gave me a crooked smirk. He said, "You know what my mom told me about a dozen times?"
"She said, 'never fall in love with a damaged person'." He was smiling, but I felt my heart deflate when I heard the words. My whole mood began to darken in an instant. "You see...love? Love is like the cure-all. It heals, like...everything. And once a damaged person isn't so damaged anymore...well, what the hell would they need me for? It's adios, have a nice life. My mom has dated enough losers for me to think there might be some truth to that."
"Oh...." I was quiet about it, but I could already feeling every last bit of energy leaving my body. hank God I was only a block and a half away from home. I'd never make it without crying in the street if it wasn't so close.
"No, no...Zack, I don't think you get it." He said, putting a hand on my shoulder. "I don't think you're damaged at all. I think you believe you are for some reason...but all I see is 'awesome'. Everything about you is just perfect like it is. I just wish I could get you to understand that." I felt tears welling up in my eyes and fought them back, trying to turn back towards the house and walk faster, but Brody stopped me again. "Zack...whatever it is that you think is so awful about you...whatever you thnk it is that's gonna run me off or cause me to love you any less than I do right now...it's all in your head. If you want to talk about happy stuff, that's fine. But if you have a problem or just want to clear out the cobwebs in your head...I'm here to help with that too."
No. This didn't feel right. I'm feeling...uneasy talking about this. "Thanks, Brody. Really, k? I've got to get going though. So...I'll see you tomorrow?"
"Tomorrow? Hehehe, dude, you still live almost two blocks away. I can just walk with you the rest of the way if you..."
"No!" I said, my nerves now causing my hands to tremble. "I mean, this has been...you're the best, Brody. You're incredible, and I'm sure that you've got stuff to do, but hey...this was great!"
Looking me in the eye, he said, "Your smile is getting more and more fake by the second." Oh no! What did I do? Did I hurt him? I swear that I'm not trying to hurt you, baby! "What's going on, Zack? Why don't you want me to follow you home?"
"I told you...you don't want to know." I could feel the emotions bubbling over, and I just wanted to get home. I just...I needed some space. Just...some breathing room. It's getting hard to breathe. This isn't right. This isn't safe. I'm already late.
"Is there something wrong?" He asked.
"Is there something bad about me following you home? What's wrong at home?"
"NOTHING!!!" I shouted, and had to breathe deep to keep myself under control. "Why are you doing this? Just leave it alone. I don't need an escort, I'll be fine all by myself."
"Fine all by yourself? Zack, what is this? I don't get this at all..."
"I know you don't. I know, and that's why I need you to walk away. Ok? I'm sorry...and I love you, but...I'll just see you tomorrow, ok? I'll see you tomorrow and we can start all over again. But for right now, I've gotta go. I've just...I've gotta go..." My voice was shaky, my tears were beginning to drip from my eyes now, my breathing was short and labored...I was losing it. My balance was completely thrown off. The mask doesn't work on him. Why doesn't it work?
"What's happening?" Brody asked. "If there's something wrong you can...omigod, Zack, you're shaking! What's the matter???"
"I told you...I'm ok." I did all that I could to hide the pain in my voice, but it all came spilling out of me at once. I almost told him. I could feel the words gathering in my mind like the brewing clouds of a dark storm. I had to get away. I have to get AWAY!!! "Please, Brody...please just walk away. I need you to walk away now. Please..."
"Zack, if you need help, I'm right here! Dude, I'll go GET help if you need more..."
"I don't need help. I need you to leave me alone..."
"I can be there for you. I can be strong for you if you need me to be..."
"NO!!!" I snapped! "You don't have to be strong for me! *I* have to be the strong one! I always have to be the strong one! ME!" I wailed. "Because I'm all alone. Ok? I have to take care of things myself...because I'm alone. It's all I know, Brody. Everybody else has friends and family and people to lean on, but...not me. I have to be strong for myself. Just me."
I could tell that Brody was extremely confused by my sudden switch in behavior, and it was so humiliating to have him see me like this, but I needed him to know. I needed him to understand.
I reached out with trembling hands to grab onto Brody's shoulders, and I tried to hold the sniffles back as I looked him in the eye. "Listen...I know that this seems really odd to you, and I know that you don't really get it...but...I'm not really sure what I'm doing right now, and it's tearing me apart." I said, a flood of tears now falling from my tired eyes. "It's got nothing to do with you, alright? You're...you're everything that I've ever dreamed a boyfriend would be. And MORE! I just...I feel like I'm finally beginning to realize just how much time I wasted hiding behind this...this STUPID mask! I poured so much energy in trying to be normal like everybody else. In pretending that I was happy and that everything in my life was alright and problem free. I had to. I feel things very deeply and I can't 'function' if I'm not at least faking it. And I'm ALWAYS faking it, Brody. Always." I know that I looked ridiculous. Ugly. Sounding like some kind of raving lunatic. But I couldn't hold it back. Not this time. I was falling apart and I didn't know how to stop. "I wear this clown mask all day long and I ignore everything else because I've worked SO hard to create a life that has some level of comfort in it...as long as I don't screw it up with tears and problems. I'm just afraid that if I start letting the pain unravel now...it won't stop until it destroys everything I have. I'll lose it all. Every last bit of emotional stability that I have left will be shattered and I'll be left here all alone. With NOTHING. It'll kill me if that happens, Brody. I don't think I could handle that."
"Zack...you're scaring me..."
"Oh no! PLEASE don't be scared of me. Please, Brody?"
"Dude, why don't we go somewhere and talk for a while. We can..."
"Because I CAN'T!!!" I said, raising my voice again, and sobbing more as I felt so wrong for talking to him that way. I just...I held onto his shoulders, gripping them as if they were all the support that I had left in this world. "Listen...I know that I go around acting like everything is ok. But....everything is NOT ok! Sometimes...I don't want to pretend. Sometimes, I feel like I want to BREAK THE FUCK OPEN and fucking BLEED until there isn't enough left of me worth saving! Sometimes, I just...I want to vanish from the world and let everybody move on and conveniently forget that I was ever even here to burden them in the first place!" Why couldn't I leave him? Why can't I just stop talking? You said that I wasn't damaged, Brody, but I AM damaged! I'm probably the most damaged person that you'll ever meet in your life. And there was a time when I accepted that because I was certain that I'd never be rid of this defect in my life. I thought I would die with SO much hatred and regret in my heart that no one would bother to miss me once I was dead and gone for good." I said, and despite feeling extremely choked up at the moment, my burning throat opened up to let me continue. "But...then you came along...and everything got crazy. Suddenly...I felt like 'happiness' was something that I had access to. I finally got to know what it felt like to be loved by somebody special. I got to actually 'feel' something real, and not some screwed up, artificial, imitation of joy...but actual emotion. Without the mask. I've never been so in love..."
"Zack, I really think we should go somewhere..."
Time was of the essence, and I needed every last second that I could squeeze out of this moment to share my heart with Brody like I never have before. I won't let him take this from me. He needs to hear this. "Brody...you have to understand...I never knew how cold, how utterly ALONE I was in this world...until you became a part of my life. And I was SCARED, ok? I was scared of falling into some sort of a trap, where I expose my heart to someone and they RIP it out of my chest and stomp all over it. But you didn't do that. You've been nothing but nice to me from the very beginning. You care about me. And I don't exactly have any experience with someone loving me the way you do, so I get confused sometimes. I don't know what I'm thinking, I don't know what I'm saying...it hurts to be around you, it hurts a million times worse to be apart from you...you're all I think about. You're all I have, Brody. You're the only thing that made my life seem like it had an actual future in front of it. Something to look forward to besides trying to 'survive' from one spontaneous moment to the next...trying to keep the voices in my head from devouring me alive. Trying to keep up the 'show' so people wouldn't notice the horrible damage inside and could possibly find something of value in me that I could never find in myself. You...you found some way to take the pain away. And I'm SO grateful, Brody. So grateful." I said. "I don't think I can ever go back to the way I was living before you came along. That life is dead. Dead and buried. And despite my deepest fears and it's constant attempts to destroy me from within...that life didn't take me along with it. I'm still here. I'm still standing. And you're still standing here with me...just like you promised you would."
At this point, Brody's bottom lip began to quiver, and his eyes began to tear up as well. He just didn't understand why I was telling him all of this. He wanted to help, but he didn't know how. And as two tears rolled down his cheeks, I pulled him close and hugged him firmly around the neck. Hopefully hiding my ugly face over his shoulder, and masking the total weakness that I had eating away at me from the inside like a cancer.
"You're the most important thing in my life, Brody." I cried. "I know that I get weird sometimes, and I know that I have my secrets...but if you can just...if you can just hold on for a little bit longer...you can have all of me. Everything I have, and everything I am. Because I believe in you. And I know you'll never let me fall, no matter what."
"Jesus, Zack...I wish you would tell me what's going on. I wish you would tell me what you want me to do." He sniffled.
"I want you to know that you're the only good thing in my life. That you make me believe in magic and fireworks and dreams coming true." I said. "And...if anything were to ever happen to me..."
Brody immediately broke our embrace and leaned back to look me in the eye. "Happen to you? Happen to you, like what?"
"Happen to you, like WHAT???" He demanded.
"LISTEN..." I said, tears flowing freely. Just wait for me, Brody. Just a few more endless moments, PLEASE! "...If anything were to ever happen to me, I wanted to say thank you. Ok? Thank you for allowing me to see what life could be like...if things were different. Thank you for making me believe in miracles again." I smiled, and used my thumbs to wipe a few stray tears off of Brody's cheeks. "Thank you...for being the only boy in the world who could trick me into believing that even a life as full of tragedy and pain as mine is...could actually have a happy ending." I leaned forward, right there in the middle of the street, and I gave Brody a linger kiss on the lips. "Thank you...for being my happy ending."
With that, I stepped back, and I hoisted my backpack up on my shoulder to go home. "Zack...?"
"Please, Brody...go home. Ok? The best thing that you could do for me right now would be to just walk away." I said. "I love you, k? Forever."
"Love you too, Zack." He whimpered softly. "Forever."
I know that he considered following me anyway. I know that I left him in a daze, not knowing WHAT to do to help me. But like I said...I'm all alone. 'Alone' is all I've ever known. It's the only way for me to survive. Depending on Brody for help would be a weakness, and I don't have room for weaknesses. Not when it comes to my father. He can see them. And he'll use them to destroy me if he sees them.
I wanted to believe that I could keep letting things go on the way they have been in that house for oh so long. That I could accept the abuse, the insults, the embarrassment. But I can't, can I? Not anymore. Why? Because Brody loves me. As long as Brody loves me...I KNOW that I'm worth something. I feel it, through and through. And that feeling comes into direct conflict with everything my father has ever told me about myself. This Hell that I've been exposed to...it's not a 'way of life'. It's an assault on my very spirit. It's the 'damage' in me that Brody was talking about. And it simply can't go on anymore. I have to do something. Even if he KILLS me for it...at least I'll die knowing that Brody's love gave me the courage to make it stop. Either way, it was the most perfect boyfriend on Earth that brought me peace. That's what boys like Brody do. They 'heal' all that's wrong with you with a single smile. He's amazing. And...you know...
...We'd be good together...
So...as I walked up towards my back porch...knowing that my father was inside...
I used the front of my shirt to clean my face and wipe away any stray tears, took a few deep breaths...head up...shoulders back...
Mask in place...
Nothing's wrong. Everything is ok. Breathe. I'm ok.
[ Next Thread | Previous Thread | Next Message | Previous Message ]
Forum timezone: GMT-6|
VF Version: 3.00b, ConfDB:
VoyForums(tm) is a Free Service from Voyager Info-Systems.
Copyright © 1998-2019 Voyager Info-Systems. All Rights Reserved.