Author's note: Sorry for the horrible grammar. I seriously need to find a beta one of these days…
It was piercing, the way he was looking at me. I feel like I could drown in his eyes; just staring, never ending, because I didn't want to look away. I didn't want to see anything else besides him, looking right back at me like he's never going to look away either.
But then I hear their hushed whispers. I feel the burn of their stares. I feel the pressure of their words and my throat clogs when I remember.
The beat of my heart is steady, but only because he's holding onto my hand tightly. I feel his cool breath on my cheek, and I almost imagine the wetness of his tears on my cheek. But then I realize that it's mine, and that I'm crying. He's the one anchoring me onto earth; holding me down when I feel like I could just drown in my pain and ache.
I've never been one for attention, but I let them all see. I let them see the way I hold my chin up, the way I keep my back straight. I let them see me stand in front of them, uncaring for their words at the moment, no matter how sharp they are; no matter how true, and no matter how scathing hot.
He sees this too, because I see him smile. He knew me. He knew that I couldn't do this. But I'm doing it, but he doesn't need to know that it's because of him, that he's holding me, that he's right by my side.
"Let's get out of here," he says in a whisper, the familiarity almost knocking the wind out of me. I nod and follow him, pointedly meeting all of their judging eyes. They could say what they want; they could talk about me all they want. I've been cut and I've bled. I've been thrown to my knees, scraping my skin.
But I'm standing right now with everything I have, out for the world to see.
He leads to the bleachers outside. If we ever have a place, it's this. It's not perfect, not romantic, not breathtaking. But the fact that we always come here, together, is what matters. It's what's been said here, what's been felt, and what's been witnessed. My tears dry and my lungs were less constricted at the sight of him.
It's a little odd, how this moment came to be. I used to sit here, with him, but he went away and left me smiling for his happiness, and broken from my heart. His hand reaches out to tug the strand of hair behind my ear and I flinch.
He can't possibly know what I've been through. I've kept my mouth shut; I've allowed everyone to say what they want. I didn't bother correcting any of them, because what do they know? Will it even make a difference that I've put them straight? In the end, it's the same thing, because a dagger went through my body and scraped down my chest, leaving a scar.
I let myself heal, and after a while, I learned how to breathe, how to smile, how to laugh, how to live without him by my side.
"What're you doing here?" I say.
He doesn't say anything for a moment, and I literally force myself not to feel anything. He's just staring at me, his face unreadable, like he's trying to take in my appearance, as much as he can because after this he's never going to see me again. The thought makes my heart ache, but I banish that thought. I don't know that. I don't want to know that.
"I needed to see you," he answers, a small smile on his face.
"One last time," he chuckles.
I smile, feeling the sense of doom overpower my determination to not feel anything. Last time, huh? He never gave me a warning before. Now he is, and I don't know which scenario is better.
"I'm leaving… for good."
At that moment, I ponder on which is more painless. Death? No, I'm not suicidal, but I've faced death before and I barely made it out alive. Now his words are ripping me apart and I don't know what to say. He's my strength, but he's also the source of my anguish.
He lost his smile. "This is closure," he whispers.
I nod. "I know."
"Then why is it so hard?"
Why is he asking me? He's not the one dying. Maybe, maybe not. At least he has someone at the end to catch him. Me? I'm free falling into the unknown. "It's difficult to let go of the past."
"And have you?" he presses, his face softening. "Have you moved on?"
"I've learned to survive."
I want to sob. I want to go into hysterics and demand why, why, why does he insist on doing this to me?! He was my best friend; we were meant for each other! We loved like we never saw anyone else in the world. We loved… and the feeling that he gave me felt like I could fly. I could fly to the clouds and never look back.
"I'm sorry, sweetheart," he whispers, pain reflecting in his eyes. "It's just… it's better this way."
I smile bitterly. "I know." I exhaled. "My man?"
He looks away, but I saw the torturous agony in his brown orbs. "Every day till I die," he murmurs in reply.
We don't touch each other. We stopped touching each other when we realized that all it does is cause pain. More for him than me, I think; but we both learned to survive.
It was painful, our separation. It was as if our souls, always combined, being torn apart, again. Ripped, pried, shredded at the side, picked at… anything to keep us apart. Because that's what the world wanted, wasn't it? They wanted us apart.
I close my eyes and try to see what it's like in the future, if we were together; if he didn't leave, if we held on tightly and never let go. I saw him and me. I saw our family. It was perfect, it was right, and it was fated.
It was fated. It was…
"I have to go," he tells me and stands up. I stand up as well.
We don't touch each other still. I can feel the burn of their stares. I can feel their disapproving gazes. Hate, envy, revulsion.
My eyes harden and I lift my chin defiantly. He sees this and smiles fondly.
"You grew up," he says.
"I have to."
He nods. "It's good. You can live normally."
I want to hurt him for even saying that. But my throat was choked with tears. How can I live without him by my side?!
He doesn't hear.
"I'll see you later," he says, his eyes holding mine for the last time. We never say goodbye. It was too final, too ultimate.
I smile and nod. "Yeah… later."
Instead, we give each other hopeless hope that one day, maybe, the world will be ready for us. That we can march together, side by side, chins lifted boldly, eyes daring for anyone to say anything about us. Because why would they? We were meant.
But for now, we were destined, even if we were apart.
Still… one day. I tell myself that, even as I fall to my knees, Life knocking the wind out of me. Reality pressing daggers to my chest. Even so, I close my eyes, and my lips move silently to my heart's words, because I'm in the perfect position to pray.