If he were to just feel something again. Just a simple human emotion. He can’t understand how it’s gotten like this. He doesn’t see the point in which it started going downhill. He just knows it isn’t supposed to be like this. His brain going all blank. Shutting off entirely. Nothing seemed to interest him anymore. Not the records, neatly packed besides the gramophone, nor the books collecting dust on the shelves. Eating had become a chore he often forgot to do. If he were only able to collect the mental strength to prepare a cup of tea, he’d call it a win. Most days he’d lose. The scariest part was that he didn’t care. He didn’t care about anything anymore. Like all emotion had abandoned him. He just wanted to cry for a little. To feel the long forgotten hot salty liquid burning his eyes. To feel sad for once god dammit. Everything, but this blank misery that had occupied his brain. Was that too much to ask for? To feel something?
And then it happened.
Miles had been away for the past two months, touring. They kept contact, but it was bare minimum. Miles would usually call two times a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, making sure Alex was still breathing. It were a scary thought, that Alex could just not answer the phone one evening, but Miles couldn’t fight it. He didn’t know what went on in Alex’s head and what he might or might not do. So he called. And texted. And made sure people came by their flat at least once a week to check up on him in person. Over the phone Alex didn’t say much. It was mostly just a lot of sighing and breathing into the speaker. But at least he answered the phone every time. That’s what Miles kept telling himself, while he was in the dressing room preparing for one more show. One more show and then he’s a step closer to coming back home. He hated that touring had become such a burden, but he couldn’t make the thought of Alex, all alone in their big unmade bed, staring at the ceiling, leave his head. He just wanted to finish this stupid tour so he could go back and take care of him. Or at least be there with him, while he’s going through this, whatever this is.
So when the last show finally ended, he was more than grateful to be able to pack his stuff and fly back home. As soon as he walked through the door a heavy breath left his lungs. He was relieved. Alex was curled up on the couch staring at the turned of telly, but at least he was alive. He was breathing. Miles realized he didn’t really believe all those phone calls and people telling him Alex’s okay, until he saw it himself. Alex breathing. He had definitely lost weight and the heavy dark circles around his eyes were permanently stuck, but he was breathing. And that was good enough for now.
They made love that night. Alex felt himself falling apart and coming back together under Miles’s touch. He breathed life into his lungs and took it out at the same time. He clutched Miles’s arms and closed his eyes. It was a different kind of numb. This felt good. Miles looked straight into his eyes and whispered sweet words into his ears and Alex just softly moaned. As they came together, Miles moaned “I love you” into Alex’s mouth and followed it with a kiss.
Alex still didn’t talk much, but Miles didn’t mind. He knew him coming back home wouldn’t just fix things in Alex’s head. He didn’t have that much power. He was content just knowing it were a little easier for Alex to cope with it. Even if Alex didn’t say it, he knew by the way he clung onto him. Like Miles was his last hope. Maybe he was. Maybe being able to tangle their legs together, made Alex keep his head above water just a little longer.
So they stayed like that. Quietly breathing in the same steady rhythm. Miles’ fingers tracing circles on Alex’s bare back, making him shiver from time to time. Alex’s head on Miles’ chest, familiar and safe. It went on like this for a while, until Miles felt something wet on the skin of his chest. Alex trembled and let out a sigh. He was crying. Miles immediately buried his hand in Alex’s smooth locks and lightly stroked his hair. His other hand traveled to Alex’s jaw and he gently lifted it, so he could look into his watery eyes. Alex’s lips trembled, his grip around Miles’s ribs tightened and he whispered “Just hold me”. So Miles did. He held him like it was their last night together, even though he knew this was progress. Alex couldn’t see it just yet, but deep down he also knew this was progress. He was finally feeling something. For the first time in months. He was sad and hot tears were streaming down his checks and rolling onto Miles’s chest. Miles. Miles was finally here and by the way he held him Alex knew he was going to let go anytime soon. He wasn’t fixed, but at least he wasn’t numb anymore. And that was just enough for now.