You slither into his room, wondering what you are doing here to begin with. You’re a snake, really. And if you’re not a snake, that twisting, slithering terrible creature, than you’re a mess of an animal. Such a mess. A mess that should probably start sorting it’s shit out, or a mess is going to turn into a disaster. This mess is going to start tearing down walls and shattering windows, breaking the furniture and ripping up the floor. This mess is going to start a fire.
You’ve been holding it together for a while now. A bit longer than you thought you would, anyway. A lot longer than you’ve ever done in the past, that’s for goddamn sure. But here it comes again, that terrible ache that just won’t settle into your bones like it should. It’s an ache that forces you to slither around, stay close to the ground and twist into the corners of the room. The cold makes you short, makes you angry, makes you full of flame.
But you’ve built up an armor, a set of bones that are meant for breaking. You’ve created a faulty frame. It’s an escape route. You and your fucked up mess of a mind have decided that it’s best to allow a few things to break. You break some bones and burn that flame internally. You melt so the cold doesn’t stick with you. You burn yourself so it can’t find a place inside your skin.
You know what all of this means. You‘ve always known, really. You smell old books and burnt honey everywhere you go. You are followed by the scent. It haunts you
grounds you, makes you feel warm and safe and homehomeHOME. You know what it means and you avoid it all the same.
Monsters don’t get the happy ending.
But they want it. They want the white picket fence and cozy bedroom with dog-eared books on the bedside table. They want home and family and a warm bed to crawl in to.
They want boys who smell of old books and burnt honey and make them feel like the world isn’t slowly tearing them apart.
A young man sits at a bus stop, the cold sinking in to his bones. He sits and waits and hopes and dreams for something to happen, for a spark to set fire inside his body. He waits for anything, really. For bus loads of fleeting connections, for a cup of coffee on a bitter winter day, for warmth to spread past the tips of his fingers. Right now, his hands spread frozen and cold over a dark, moleskin journal, an name engraved with care under his thumb. It is his lifeline. It is a kindness. It is a place to house all that cannot be said properly out in the world.
So there he sits, waiting, when finally something finds him.
The sky is clear. The night has grown cold enough for open skies and thousands of specks of light to filter through the haze of the city. It is truly the only saving grace of such a hostile place. The moon, the stars, the gentle sweep of light across a sky that should know nothing else. And that light, the soft cascade of everything this cold cannot suppress, it saves him. It offers hopes and dreams and warmth past his fingertips. He would write it in his journal, but the power behind those little bursts of energy in the vast nothingness that is the universe has not found enough resonance inside words for him. He leaves it to his thoughts.
A young man sits at a bus stop, the moon warming his skin. A bus pulls up. He boards. Fleeting people and faces and spaces and streets will soon pass him by. But with his journal clenched tight in his fist, with the stars calling a gentle song out those clouded bus windows, he moves through another night.
So you’re not really sure what you’ve been feeling lately, but it’s a mess. That is something you can say with every certainty. Because you look at him and you feel everything. You sit next to him and he grabs your hand and your fingers cross and bend together. When you lay down, he pulls you close to him and rests his head on your chest, and it feels like home.
But it doesn’t look that way to him, you’re sure. Because you are hostile and mean. You say things you don’t mean just to rile him up, to make his face hold something other than the almost apathetic smile. And it scares you how quickly you can go from happy and content to destructive and cruel, but you can all the same. You can well.
He is in the next room laughing happily with his father. You are laying here thinking about how you wish you could make him feel something other than anger and apathy and gentle sadness. You want rage and love. You want screaming and fighting and holding each other because if you don’t, you’ll fall apart. You want to feel like you’re holding him together, like you’re the glue that is keeping him in place.
What is wrong with you.
Whiskey or Vodka. Pick the poison. He pours the spirits into his glass and decides which ghost he’ll be forgetting tonight. Sit in a dark booth, deep in the folds of a nightmare, while countless others fall headfirst into their own. Gin or Bourbon. The hard cold gutter or the even colder floor of his apartment. It’s a mess of choices, really.
Everything has another option. Will he drink to be rid of his memories or drink to finally have the courage to remember them. It’s a mess of alternatives, of split realities. What could be and what will be and what never had the chance of becoming. Whiskey or Vodka. On the rocks or neat. Soundly sleeping or hardly breathing. Why else would he end up in this damned booth? For the ambience? The company? He knows it will always come back to the slow and silent burn of whatever choice he makes pouring down his throat, numbing as it goes.
Simple medicine for a complicated reality.
Whatever works, really.
There is a strange feeling wedged snug in your gut. Not a bad feeling, really. It just seems a little off, left of center. That feeling, that little tickle you can’t properly name, it makes your insides do an awkward kind of dance, twisting around and bending in all the wrong ways.
It dances a slow, mournful dance just below your ribcage.
“I need you.”
“And don’t sit there and tell me I’m wrong, that I don’t and that needing someone makes you vulnerable like that’s a good enough reason to avoid the feeling.”
It is. Vulnerability breeds danger.
“Fuck, Derek. Goddamn all of this if it’s not worth taking risks to get to the good stuff, to the light at the end of the goddamn tunnel. Life is full of danger. Why not make it worth it?”
This is the beginning. And it’s brutal and lovely and everything that it ever should have been. It is long twisting words thrown about the room, tangled together in a fit of consonants and vowels. They dangle and you are not quite sure if you should straighten them out, or if that would just be a waste of time. You think it might be, but you do it anyway. Nobody likes a mess.
But oh, those words, they’re like sunlight in the morning, all soft and gentle upon your skin. And you fell just what it is supposed to feel like, whatever that feeling might be. Though you don’t make much sense in the end, and your pulse is quickening into a maddening rush, all because those fragile little letters won’t unravel the way they should.
They fell from his lips, you know, but they just won’t dissipate, those stubborn words. It’s just the start, after all.
“I love you.”
He whispered those damned words into the cold, night air like they would change something, like they had the power to erase all that you’d done. And God, you wish they could. With all your soul, you wish his voice could make you new.
“Belief is just as important as knowledge.”
You hold your breath.
“I believe in this, you know. I believe it will be worth it in the end.”
You wake up and you are home. You wake up and he is sleeping by your side. He is wrapped up in blankets and his arms are barely touching you, moving slowly in his sleep closer to your warmth. And it’s wonderful. It feels safe and relaxed and like nothing else could ever feel this comfortable. You wake up and the realize that it is better than sleeping, being here, right now, with your head on this pillow and your fingers barely touching his hand. You wake up and you are home. You are home. You are home.