Before The End

I swear that we’re fine.

He’s great. He is kind, and he gives his entire heart to everything that he does. He doesn’t hesitate to do the right thing in any situation. I’m pretty sure that he would literally take the shirt off of his own back if someone was in need of it. He makes me laugh. And when he hears me laugh, he gets this goofy (and quite adorable) grin.

But it doesn’t quite make his eyes crinkle like yours-and it is missing that quirky little gap between your two front teeth that you can only see if you look for it.

When we say goodbye, I can see the hesitation in his eyes as he kisses my cheek. But when he finally turns away, there is no lingering along the sidewalk outside of my apartment. Every time I see his back cross the street, I close my door.

With you, it took longer for me to let go of your hand than it did for me to fall asleep without you after that first night. You couldn’t get more than a few steps down the street without turning back, your eyes wide and playful as you walked backwards, away from our memories. And I was always leaning outside my apartment door, smiling back.

He makes me happy. There is no denying that. The moments we share are a little brighter than those surrounding it.

But you filled the space from breath to breath.

When I see his name flash across my phone screen, there is a pause before I press the accept button. Sometimes, I don’t press any button, just letting the crude sounds of the phone ringing scrape against my ears.

With you, I couldn’t get to the phone fast enough. Even today, after everything that has happened between us, I would still answer your call without thinking twice.

He brightens up my day a bit, like a flashlight showing the path of my journey through the world.

You were the sun, lighting up not only my path, but the beauty of the world around it.

He never lets me walk away angry. He pulls me back and makes me talk. Our arguments are quiet and civil, like we are negotiating our happiness. But underneath that smile I gave him, a grudge would build.

After some of our fights, I was hoarse from screaming at you. We would go hours without looking at each other. But all it took was a light touch, a tentative smile, and a scared look in your eyes, and I would melt, all anger flooding out of me. The idea that you would be scared of losing me cut me to the core.

But I guess you grew out of that.

Because you’re not here.


It was such a fucking cliche.

It was such a fucking cliché.

He was the solemn boy who tried a little too hard to stop the pain once and for all, and spent six weeks in a rehab for teens with suicidal tendencies last summer.

She was the bright girl, who leaked sunlight with every step, from her eyes, her smile, her laugh; the stars of the night merged and made her-a being of light.

Everyone was so careful around him, scared to say the wrong thing, scared to get close in case he tried again. The scars on his arms were nothing compared to the scars visible in his eyes, this boy who saw so much he thought there was nothing more worth seeing.

She was never alone, and her days were filled with laughter and constant companionship, because she was a magnet, attracting everyone to her innocence. She had a way about her that could make anyone’s life a little bit better.

What happened next was so predictable.

Boy met girl.

Girl met boy.

At first, it was a vague awareness between them. There was no initial spark, no love-at-first-sight bullshit that usually comes with a story like this.

No, instead, she saw him in the far corner of a classroom, and was curious. She did her research, and it didn’t take long to find out his story.

She didn’t approach him for a few weeks.

They had a group assignment (doesn’t it always seem to be something like that?), and she walked boldly up to him, called him by name, and told him she wanted to be his partner for the project.

He didn’t bother looking up, telling her that she obviously needed to see to her head wound.

She laughed loudly, as she always seemed to do, and that brought his eyes up from the dark and childish doodles in the margins of his textbook. He narrowed his eyes, confused by the being of color standing determinedly in front of him.

And she sat down at the desk next to his.

The love didn’t come until much later.

At first, it was awkward conversation, her trying to thaw the inches of ice that surrounded his entire soul. He was overly cautious, mirroring the way he had been treated ever since the news of his summer plans broke out. In the beginning, the end of every conversation had her walking away and him with a burrowed brow, still confused as to why this was happening to him.

The people around them thought she was taking pity on him, being the wonderful person they all knew her to be.

He overheard, as he somehow, cruelly, always did. He asked her one day, between research topics and her wide smiles.

Her grin fell abruptly, the first time she had ever looked anything than happy. Only he was privileged to the look of anger on her face. She quickly assured him that pity had nothing to do with their situation.

He asked her why again. Why she wasted an entire semester tied to the storm cloud of the school, the dark stain on the prestige of the hallowed halls.

She looked him in the eyes-bright blue meeting the tired hazel-and told him honestly that she was simply curious.

His narrowed eyes and tilted head questioned her answer.

She continued by explaining that she wanted to see the world from the view of someone who didn’t see the beauty in life anymore.

He shook his head, and told her that it wasn’t that the beauty was gone, it was that the darkness had hidden it, and there was nothing to bring it back.

The silence between them was deafening, until she replied that maybe he just needed to embrace the darkness.

He looked at her strangely-how else could one respond to something as bizarre as what she had said?

She looked over at him, and whispered “come to the dark side”.

His eyes grew comically wide, and held her gaze for a moment, until her smile began to hint at the edges of her mouth, unable to hide away.

It grew even wider when his deep laughter lit the room ablaze, strong, but rusty, having been locked away for so long.

The room was silent when the echoes of his laugh died, everyone looking at a smile they had given up hope of seeing again, not that many of them cared to see it at all.

The ice had begun to melt, and although the smile was still rare, his eyes began to shine a little brighter.

When he finally kicked himself into making what he thought was a terrible decision, three months until summer, six months after they had met, she said yes to a date right away. He continued to be surprised every time she willingly spent any time with him. She still had to work to get a smile, or laugh out of him.

Others doubted she truly cared, but they didn’t see how bright her eyes were after she was able to coax a light smile out of him for the first time since she broke through. All it took was a gently-placed kiss on his cheek, which, to her fond surprise, brought a hint of red to both of his cheeks.

People whispered, as they walked together in the hallway, that maybe she, of all people, could fix the boy broken by life. He heard, of course, and stopped in his tracks. He turned to hide, preparing to run anywhere to get away from the whispers.

This time, however, she heard, too.

She ran away with him, all two floors and three hallways, to an empty classroom where he tended to spend his free periods. She was hesitant to hold him, but after a cautious hand on his arm was met with an automatic lean into her touch, she intertwined their fingers, and leaned her head on his shoulder. She told him that she didn’t want to fix him-because there was nothing to be fixed.

He laughed darkly, using their joint hands to pull back the sleeve of his free arm, baring his scars for her to see.

She whispered that cracks in the surface just let more light in.

He shook his head, asking what light could creep into his life.

She straightened, and told him that she would be his light, as long as he would be the shadow that no one expected her to have.

The earnest look in her eyes, not wavering as he looked into the crystal blue, made him tug their hands behind him, bringing her into a hard hug. Whether this was just to hold her, or so he could hide a smile in the crook of her shoulder… Well, even he didn’t know.

By the time they stood in black and white (which was pointed out to them, that their personalities were perfectly portrayed by their outfits), in front of friends and family, the dark colors had bled out of his hair, she had seen the world and had grown a touch darker because of it, and the scars on his arms had been kissed, caressed, and loved so often that they were no longer battle scars, but old friends that reminded him-them-just how lucky they were.

He still dealt with depression.

She still light up a room.

But now he had a hand to hold and someone he knew would be devastated without him there.

And she had someone to bring her down, to remind her that the world isn’t such a perfect place.

She was the day, he was the night.

They were opposite souls.

But they couldn’t imagine a world without the other in it.

It was such a fucking cliché.