It was one of those nights when we’d both decided to just stay in. Forget the world, forget the clubs, forget the bars, forget our friends. Somehow, we ended up sharing my bed again, and I held her in my arms and she rolled over to her back and just stared at the ceiling for the longest time, a vacant smile on her face.
She sighed, then closed her eyes. I thought she would fall asleep, as she often did—close her eyes and drift off to sleep right in the middle of a conversation. She enjoyed it, knowing that she could do whatever the fuck she wanted and get away with it.
Surprisingly, she took a deep breath and opened her eyes again, but she didn’t turn to me. She continued staring up into the ceiling, her lips still curled in that awkward, weary smile.
“The future and how we don’t really know what’s going to happen.” She finally said.
I waited for her to continue. I knew her well enough to know that if I didn’t say anything, she’d be forced to expound, to try and justify herself. It was me manipulating her as much as she manipulated me, and sure enough, she continued,
“But I guess that’s good though, right? Of course it’s scary, not knowing if something bad will happen. But it’s also good, ‘cause it brings hope.”
The last line surprised me. She’d always been so afraid, even before she started spending nights in bed with me. Ever the pessimist, she’d been hurt and disappointed so many times that she decided everything would, at one point in time, blow up in her face. To hear her talking about hope—that was totally new.
“We don’t know how much better things could be.” She suddenly added, and she turned to me and I saw the brightest light in her eyes. Months of knowing her and I’d never seen anything like it. She was more alive in that one, single moment—lying in my arms, in my dark room with random music in the background—than I’d ever seen her.
I smiled at her, and I shifted to be able to kiss her cheek. She laughed and let out a sigh, and she was back to her regular self again, with the vacant smile and the tiredness in her eyes.
Looking back, I probably should’ve seen it then—the begging, the pleading, the one final stretch to reach out. Maybe if I’d said something to her then, to agree or disagree, to let her know that I understood, things would be different. Maybe if I’d recognized it, that hint in her voice that should’ve told me that she needed something from me—maybe if I just stopped, and listened, I would’ve heard it. Maybe I could’ve changed her mind.
It wasn’t until weeks later that I realized it was too late.
This girl, she was always obsessed with leaving, with change, with disappointment and fear and agony. And hope, for her, was too fleeting. It wasn’t enough to get her to stay.
Originally posted on Tumblr on Dec 21 2012