I’m clutching the glass of water in my hands as if it’s going to shatter if I only squeeze a little harder. His gaze drills holes through me, as if he’s asking me why I am here. Why am I here at 04.22 AM when I should have downed two glasses of water at home, thrown my jacket in a corner and fallen asleep about one hour ago? The feeling of my socks being wet in this moment is making it all so much more miserable. Fuck. He sits so far away from me, all the way on the other side of the room. He is fiddling with his rings, and I can’t read for the love of me if he’s angry, annoyed, nervous, or sad. The room falls dead silent except for my sniffling. It had been raining outside all night and the cold from the rain was still clinging to my body. I hate this overhead lighting, it is so sharp, clinical in a way. It lights up the whole room, every single corner making me feel a sense of nakedness. I feel exposed, there is nothing to hide behind. I look up from my hands and in his direction as he runs his hand through his curly hair. His gaze meets mine again and he looks panicked as he looks at me.
He makes his way towards me, and I feel the mattress sink a little when he sits himself beside me. I look down again at the glass of water in my hands, not wanting to look at him. He takes the glass slowly out of my hands and places it on his nightstand. Nothing in me dares to look at him again. Because what does one do when you’ve laid out all the cards on the table and nothing is hidden in the sleeves anymore? No more games, nothing to hide behind. My train of thought derails a little when I feel his arms pull me close to him. I feel the fabric of his knitted sweater against my cheek, and in the following seconds we hold each other tightly as if the world would implode if we let go.
It feels like hours has passed, but the way we are sitting here, on the edge of his bed clutching each other tightly – that doesn’t change. Tears fall like the first rain of autumn, trickling down the skin on my hand, falling on his sweater, my eyes follow the movement. My attempt to stay silent fails as I notice him tighten his embrace when he hears me sniffling, trying to hold it together. I feel his head rest gently on mine and I bury my face further into his chest. It takes him a couple of minutes before he says anything.
“Either it hurts now, or it’s going to hurt later, that’s the thing.” He swallows and starts stroking his hand up and down my back slowly.
I close my eyes, squeezing them together as if opening them is going to throw me face-first into a reality that I don’t want to comprehend at the moment. A black hole, something that’s going to swallow me whole. Something that’s going to make me disappear. I let out a huff of breath, just realizing I had been holding it for a few seconds. He shifts a little before speaking again, still keeping me close to his chest.
“The point is, it hurts either way, we can’t really escape it. But I’m very lucky to have known you.”
I try to move a little, just to look at him. I wanted to look at him. I feel him shift again as he feels my movement. I meet his eyes and his arms don’t let go quite yet. His eyes look just as tired as mine, and it gave me some sense of comfort. I didn’t stand in all of it alone. I never did. His hand moves to the side of my face, and his thumb catches a tear threatening to fall. He smiles softly as he presses his forehead against mine, slowly.
“I need you to know that it was never meaningless to me.”