Soundtrack: Always Love – Nada Surf

Always Love

Chapter 1; 3 am…

I just came back from our walk, we didn't walk very far and it didn't last very long; I never expected it to (I kind of hoped it would… but hope never really counts, does it?). I guess deep down inside I all ready knew, I was prepared… it's been in your eyes for a while now. We ended up at the corner between our streets, standing in the same place we first met, at the old bus shelter. Once red now faded into rusty brown, the colour looking a bit like dried blood, the kind I've seen on you too many times. The walls of the shelter covered in sad kids' poetry and graffiti vandals' pictures. Most of them beautiful, a few ugly… but the world isn't perfect; you and I have learned that the hard way.

When we were younger (innocent?) and first met, the shelter was still new and shone like only freshly painted things do. No words marked it yet, no time had passed between you and me. You were so small that day, so tiny, drowning in a too big sweater. Later I learned it belonged to him and that's why you never took it off. It reminded you of the time before… the time he destroyed. You still loved him and I didn't understand, I don't think I ever will. It's probably wrong to call it love now, but, as written many times, the line between love and hate is so thin it's practically invisible, and you harbour somewhere in the middle, falling all the time. Anti-depressives and self-hurt, the only way for you to save yourself when I'm not fast enough and do it for you. What's going to happen now, when you won't let me anymore, when you've chosen someone else? The question echoes inside of me, and I nearly choke.

Over the years I watched that sweater turn thread thin, go see-through and the edges rip. I watched your body grow into it, but you never really grew enough. It always stayed a little too big. Even so, you kept on clinging to it, more secretly perhaps, but I still saw it from time to time, small glimpses and embarrassed smiles or angry glares from you. You never were that good at hiding, especially not while living in a room so bare, so stripped of personal belongings. (You keep it inside, I know) And you always hated the way I kept on looking around, trying to find all the keys needed, trying to get inside your head.

Sometimes I really think you scared your fosterparents with those white empty walls you had. A nine-year-old is supposed to have posters of their heroes on the walls and action toys on the floor. You kept only a few books and later, a CD collection too big to even count, but not much more until now. "Music is safety", to quote something you once said lying half asleep on my couch, your head in my knee and my hands playing with your hair… fiddling, twiddling it around. (Closeness of the sweetest kind)The weird angles I could make it stand in never seized to amaze me and you always claimed not to use products. I didn't believe you though, and I still don't. We had some music playing that day, a CD you brought, a CD I fell in love with and still have.

It were one of our calmer moments, one of our better ones, but then again we have so many, we share so much. I know too what's it's like to be alone, and that's why I thought you'd stay.

Even if you never had those posters of people you admired, you had that sweater, the only thing you needed, I suppose, and somehow I'm pretty sure you still have it, somewhere, and truth to be told, your room has become more of a home these days. It's harder to spot one of those greyish, washed-out, torn sleeves now when you actually keep pictures on the walls. Maybe you've finally healed some, maybe you've forgotten? I don't know, because you won't tell. But… even so, I think it would be best for you to burn it and really forget. He'll never come back after what he did. He's locked up for life, you told me so yourself, a late night not long ago. You came here, panic-struck and sobbing, so ashamed for breaking down (again) but with nowhere else to go. You hid for a while, eyes dry but lips trembling. You didn't say much, but it was clear it was one of the nightmares that brought you here, a dream where blood painted the walls, insane laughter crept from the corners and you turned five years old again. But at least you didn't bleed that time… like you've done most of the other times. It hurts to realise we won't share those four am secrets anymore, and I wonder if he'll be there to save you now. Does he care the same; does he make you smile like I can? Is he as perfect a picture as you; are you two making that perfect couple we never could? Does he know how to make you arch your back, or how to kiss you right beneath your ears the way that makes you moan so quietly? Can he make those pancakes that you love, and most importantly, did he promise never to let go the same way as I did? Can you trust him, as I believe you trusted me? Too many question, and too few broken answers.

Jealousy rips somewhere in between my ribs and I hate someone I've never even met. The stupidity of love amazes me, and how easy you must have fallen this time. It took me years… and you've given all of that away in less than three months. I hope to god he's worth it, worth every lost second, and every ounce of pain.