Everything here smells of medical sanitizer and tragedy, and this boy, this boy I adore is holding me close, begging me to not stop loving him. I am tired of telling him that I will never stop. Yet he still asks, like I was time slipping through his fingers. Even now, in this moment, so close I don’t know where his body ends and mine begins, he thinks I am made of a soft dream cloud, waiting to drift away.
Even if it’s him that has sad eyed doctors telling him there is not much more they can do. Even if it’s him who has lied about the sickness from the moment we began and it took a two story fall for him to tell me the truth. Even if it’s him the dark demon called cancer watches from the corner of this hospital room every night.
Last night, we spent the evening sitting on a rooftop watching a storm gather. Any minute now, it would hit in such full force it would nearly knock us down. There was a thrill in that, in being closer to the sky than we were to the ground, thunder splitting from the sky, sounding like a monster from beyond knew that we were watching and was calling our names.
“The worst thing you’ve ever tasted. Tell me.”
You wrinkled your nose and grinned “Anything that isn’t you.”
“That is so cheesy, it belongs on a lasagna.” I laughed and shoved at your chest. Neither of us saw that broken tile.
Neither of us knew what was going to happen next.
It’s been 3 months and his fingers have not stopped counting my ribs every night. He reminds me my heart is a caged bird in my chest and he knows how to set it free, and he will, he will if only I let him.
I haven’t for the life of me been able to get the way he soft hums all my favourite songs out of my head, like a huge light in this dark room I call my depression, a room no one has ever been in. Except his gentler than a birdsong voice.
Still, I won’t call this love. Love is too destructive a word for something this soft, this sweet.
I hesitate to tell anyone I have met him for weeks. Not even my best friends. Perhaps if I keep my happiness to myself, not even the Gods learn of it. I tell him this.
“Don’t make me too happy."
He looks over to me, hair wind swept in this jeep, one hand on the steering wheel, the other playing with my hair, everything about him both dangerous and endearing at once. "Why?”
“Everyone knows the Gods only take things from you when you are really happy.”
Four minutes into the party, I recognise I had made a mistake in coming here. Blindly walking through shouting, dancing, grinding strangers, I look for a door, for anything…real. A hand takes mine gently and shows me to a door.
“I don’t know you!” I shout so I am heard over the roar of the party, thinking he has mistaken me for someone else. The messy haired, soft eyed boy smiles, “That’s okay!” he shouts back to me, as he leads me to a door to a quiet balcony, overlooking an upcoming storm over the neighbourhood “I don’t know me either.”
But the wind dances past his shoulders, the lightning striking in the far distance behind him giving him an angel’s wings for a quarter of a second.
And I know all I need to know about him in that split second.