I take you into my arms, my love, holding you tight against my chest. I breathe in, tasting the saltiness of the sea still clinging to your hair. My dear, you begin to weep, and my heart aches in return. I cannot apologize enough, though I've tried. My voice leaves my lips in trembling waves, loosing strength as sadness threatens to overwhelm me. I've never loved you until this moment. All other moments of my confessing love have meant nothing. You, now, are all that matters. I could die. I want to die. Let me go, and I will die. Tears run from your eyes and nostrils and soak into my skin like lotion. I feel the grittiness as they slowly dry. You say something, but I fail to understand your meaning. Your mouth brushes against my neck and you kiss me. My arms are strong and they hold you fast, but I feel so weak. I close my eyes and whisper to you, my sweet, how much I love you. But my words are nothing. I have never gone a day without lying to you, and you know that. Why, then, do you return my embrace? I do not understand. I run my fingers through your hair. Your body is warm, but it trembles against my own. How old are you? Young, as I myself am young. I know. But your soul, I feel it within me. Its presence weighs me down with sorrow. How well do I know you? Not enough. It is obvious to me that you have suffered too long in your short life, yet you will not speak to me about it. I apologize again, and again you accept it. What am I to you? Do you love me? Or am I, the fool, the liar, just your way of settling? You accepting you will find no one better? I am afraid to think such things, even hypothetically. Your eyelashes flutter and tickle me. You rest your cheek on my shoulder. I hug you like a doll, my innocent darling, and kiss your blushing forehead. I tell you I love you, and you echo me. So this is love, then, I sigh inwardly. A fiery burst of happy feelings, followed by trickery, deception, jealousy, anger, and hatred. But love comes back after the hate, slowly, shyly, raising its child-like arms in the desire to be held. And tears follow as leaves follow the wind. And in our moments of misery, many secrets are revealed, but just enough remain hidden so that the cycle may begin once more when at last we believe our love to be whole and perfected again.