Sawyer felt a pain rush down their leg.
It was comforting
They had never been a self-harmer, they had never inflicted pain upon themselves, nor liked feeling it. But the pain right now was welcomed, it was tethering, grounding, it was keeping them sane, distracting them from other things and no, they did not cause this pain upon themselves.
It was Alex who did this to them. It was Alex who pushed them to this.
Alex who is gone.
Alex who is dead.
Alex who left them alone even when they begged him not to.
Alex who didn’t fought hard enough to breath.
Stupid Alex who always had to have the last word.
Alex who loves them more than anything, more than anyone.
Loved. A voice inside their head whispered, tauntingly, to remind them of their loss.
But they did not harm themselves, no. They were just clumsy that’s all, fell while running down the stairs and broke their leg, because their phone kept ringing and they didn’t care to see where their feet would land next.
It doesn’t hurt much.
They kept lying to anyone who dared to ask.
Sawyer didn’t know exactly what they were lying about.
They could barely feel the pain in their leg unless stood upon said leg, they were to numb to feel anything lately, so they kept saying that it didn’t hurt much because they really couldn’t feel the hurt.
But they felt other things, anger was the most common and familiar feeling recently.
- You can’t stay mad at me forever. – that voice.
Sawyer startles at the sound of Alex’s voice, it sounds so clear, so lively, so close. They turn to their left side and see Alex’s tall figure there, wearing those same ripped skinny jeans that he loved so much, with his stupid Radiohead hoodie and black Doc Martens.
- You look good for a ghost. – they say eliciting a laugh out of Alex.
Oh, how much they missed that laugh.
- Who says I am ghost? – he questions mischievous.
And Sawyer startles at that, because of course Alex isn’t a ghost, they know better than to think that.
They haven’t been taking their meds.
- I’m simply a figment of your imagination, honey. – they say softly and soothingly.
And Sawyer should’ve been worried, they know they should.
They should probably go back to the house and take their meds and everything would go back to normal, they would not be seeing things, hearing things.
And Alex would still be gone.
So they lay sideways on the mattress they managed to bring up to the roof with Kara’s help and they stare at the image of Alex’s on one of his best days. Because they knew, the days that Alex wore skinny jeans were a good day and they could go out and have fun before the demons came back.
- You should go inside. – Alex’s voice sounds closer now, as if lying next to them, and he is.
- If I do you’ll be gone.
They felt, very vividly, Alex’s hand caress their cheek, their lips, their neck, their collarbone. They can feel Alex and they worry.
But Alex is there.
And everything should be okay.
Because now Alex can continue to whisper them about the stars and the constellations until they fall asleep on the roof entwined to one another like they always do.
Like you always did.
There’s that voice again, bringing them down to a reality in which Alex is not.
They close their eyes tight, lay down and focus on Alex’s hand on their hair, Alex’s voice in their ear and everything is fine, because Alex had just gone for a while and now he’s back and they can be together again.
They are together again.
They hear it.
They hear the footsteps hurriedly thudding up the stairs.
But Alex’s voice is louder.
She is getting closer, fast.
But Alex’s warm body lying next to them is calming.
She is here.
And Alex is gone with a whisper.
They made him leave again.
They brought Sawyer back.
They didn’t want to be back.
It hurts to be back.
Kara’s voice resonates in the dark night but Sawyer doesn’t hear her, they don’t see her.
Because Alex was back.
And now he’s gone again.
But for some reason, they know it’s okay.
Because now they know that Alex is not entirely gone.
So on the nights ahead after this one, they find themselves lying down on the mattress, their limbs entwined to Alex’s, he’s hand gently caressing their long chestnut brown hair that he so lovingly calls a “nest” and listening to him ramble.
About the stars.
About the constellations.
About the galaxies far ahead.
Of endless love stories of gods who never walked among them.
They reminisced on Alex’s voice.
On Alex’s laugh.
He’s freckled cheeks that where so hard to emphasize.
He’s lips, that they loved to kiss since the first time did it.
And they laid there.
Not daring to move a bone.
Because their Alex was there.
But he could be gone at any moment.
Even when they needed him there.
And for days they did the same.
They went to work in the mornings and did the things all through day, they kept the house clean, just like Alex always liked it to be, cooked something or heat up leftovers, answered Kara’s endless messages and ignored a couple from Eliza (responding only once in a while so she knew they are alive).
And when night struck they lay down on the mattress.
Up on the rooftop.
Where Alex always loved to be.
To him speak.
And to them he spoke:
I’ll always be here, with you. I will not leave.