I do not want to admit, but I know everything. Before now, I was only able to fill the gaps with my imagination. Before now, my imagination was both hell and heaven, a battlefield and a sanctuary, a push and pull between two conflicting worlds in which you and I exist, together and separately.
I do not want to show you how carefully I have always listened to the pregnant pauses between your slurred words. Tonight, your breath smells of Jameson and dishonesty, your face displays just how much your mind is racing to find a way out. Despite not wanting to show you my meticulous disposition, you see it. I know you do because you know me.
And I know you. I know the void you try to fill with more than just me. I know my limbs don’t stretch far enough for you, at least not far enough to grab hold when you begin to wander. I try to protect you from inflicting such damage, to me and to you, and I fail every time. I know that you’ve cried more tears than you’re willing to show, and I’ve cried more than you’ll ever know. I know that with our tears we could create new oceans and give birth to new lands, build foundations on our pain and start anew, but that still wouldn’t be enough for you.
I remember the first time we knelt before God at three in the morning, after an argument so heavy we both thought it was the end of us. It was the first time I heard you speak from the depths of your spirit. It was the first time I heard your war cry, calling upon His many angels to help you fight an unholy war against your demons. I gripped your hand so tightly to remind you that I was right beside you; so tightly that you opened your tired eyes in surprise at how strong I was.
“I’m right here,” I said reassuringly. You smiled at me, I kissed your hand, and you resumed.
In moments like these my own cries are quelled, and it reminds me of how easy it is to tame such wild thoughts, and how easy it is for you to help me. I imagine you have no choice but to be a walking contradiction, a human dichotomy. You’re split between who you are and who you want to be. I imagine our vows only held weight because they projected what we both desired for us, but we don’t live in our fantasies, my love. We live in a one-bedroom flat with leaky faucets that drip, walls thin enough to hear each other’s thoughts, and floor boards that wake me from my sleep to let me know you’ve at least made it home safely at random hours after sundown.
We’re currently standing our kitchen under very unflattering fluorescent lighting. Silent. Staring. Instinctive feeling and conscious reasoning both meet me here tonight. I’ve listened to your story quietly, doubting every word. Still, despite knowing everything, I say nothing. I have no courage. This soothes you just enough to ignore how afraid you really are that I may finally show courage one day. My purpose is to protect you from your fears, as I vowed I would.
On that note… good night. I love you.