Feel together and try to wonder what is while stuck in what was and what could be. Does holding on or letting go take more courage? Do you even have a choice once the bond has taken hold?
Whisper at the Moon
by Gabriel Merithew
I gaze absently at the full moon above us, listening to the gentle waves lapping the shore, lulling me into a strange trance-like state as I lay there next to her. Her soft breaths mimic the waves. In and out. In and out. Dozens of smooth stones push painfully into my back, but I don’t care, because in this moment I feel happy. The creature beside me is mine, all mine. I close my eyes and picture her beautiful face gleaming in the moonlight, surrounded by a halo of long coconut-scented hair, spread out on the stones around her, still warm from the afternoon sun.
I want to stay this way. Just her and I laying under the moonlight in silence, like a normal couple. Both perfectly content having realized that there didn’t always need to be an exchange of words. But it wouldn’t stay this way. I could already hear her breathing becoming uneven and sharper, clashing horribly with the sound of the waves. Knowing exactly what was coming, I felt the energy between us shift. I open my eyes and stare intently upward at the moon, wishing I could just hold onto my perfect image of us for a little longer. My lips move as I beg the moon to please make everything right again.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see movement as she shifts her weight, stones crunching beneath her as she reaches over and slides her soft hand into mine. She squeezes my hand in the way she used to and I’m whisked away to a simpler time, if only for a moment. A time when I could love her without fear. But it all comes rushing back too soon and I feel my own breath becoming deeper and more labored, my back pressing harder into the stones beneath me.
And then she begins to cry. Soft at first, just a slight whimper as she draws in sharp breaths in quicker succession. The sound is horrible because it grounds me in reality, and in that moment, I feel everything. Everything she is feeling right now, with an honesty that scares me and stabs at my soul. I will have to look at her now, and it will only make it worse. Even though I prefer the perfect image of her in my mind. I don’t love that image. I love the real person laying next to me whose whimpers are escalating into sobs.
I look over at her and am instantly overwhelmed. Her eyes are red and puffy, her cheeks streaked with tears. Without thinking. Without letting go of her hand, I lean over and kiss her cheek softly, feeling her warm tears wet my lips.
“I’m right here.” I whisper to her softly.
She doesn’t give any indication of having heard me and continues to shake with each sob, her eyes open, still staring up at the moon while the tears keep coming.
Wanting nothing more than to stop the pain, I let go of her hand and sit up, moving my body closer to hers. I slide one of my hands under her back and the other under her head, lifting her gently then resting her head on my lap.
My efforts only seem to make things worse and her anguish heightens. She shakes my body with each breath, the breaths that only a couple of minutes before had been harmonious with the serene lapping of the waves. I reach down and stroke her silky hair. Before I realize what has happened I feel my own tears detach themselves from my chin and fall into her hair. I wipe them away and tell myself to stop, but the tears refuse to let up.
Then through the sobs, she speaks to me and I know exactly what the words will be before they escape her trembling mouth. I’ve heard them before.
“It’s my f-fault. It’s all my fault.” She chokes on the words.
And she’s right. It is her fault. What she did was completely unforgivable, but here I am because there is no one else left for her.
“I’m not going to tell you that it isn’t your f…”
“IT’S ALL MY FUCKING FAULT!” Her eyes fly open and she screams at me, the worst sound imaginable hitting me like a tidal wave and reverberating through every nook and cranny of my being. But unlike a tidal wave, her scream doesn’t wash everything away, leaving a blank slate, it only seems to push me deeper into the earth. I inadvertently let out a sob of my own, trying to stifle it but it’s too late.
But she is perfect. Even now. Right now, after everything she’s done to deliver hurt right into the crux of my soul. She twists the blade a little more each time, but I keep coming back for more. I know that I should leave. I should leave her right here on the beach to poison the shore with her tears.
And then without intention, I begin to mimic her sobs because I know that I will never leave her. I will be right here with her forever, and she will be comforted and supported because somehow that is all that matters.