So, we gathered around the fire,
me on one side and him on the other… It was insane to think this was the same
day still, it felt like so much happened in so little time.
I felt strangely close to him, like I wanted to know him more, see him more, be with him... It was a feeling I forgot how to feel a long time ago.
Friendship… I cared for him, and I knew he cared for me.
My desire to get closer started
to speak louder when I noticed he tried to adjust himself again and again, I
could tell it wasn’t comfortable to sleep on the ground like that.
I looked over and though… ‘Why not?’
I stood up and passed around the
fire, lying next to him. He seemed to blush, and smiled awkwardly… But he
didn’t say anything.
Once I got settled, I made the invitation, tapping on my chest, offering a side for him…
He looked, confused at first, unsure of whether I was serious or not, but I noticed that wasn’t all that was wrong… His expression seemed distant and sad. He turned to the side and tried not to look at me, his voice was low and distant. “Azreth… You… Don’t have to do this.”
I was confused now, I didn’t know what he was referring to so I asked. “Do what?”
He still wouldn’t look at me, but did contract a bit in his spot… I could tell he was uncomfortable. “Pity me.”
I shook my head appalled. “I’m not pitying you Vernon!”
“It’s what everyone else does…”
He said in a cold tone, like he was trying to wound me, I could feel his
intent. I could tell that came from a dark place in him, his voice trembled.
“They just, look at me, and they think… ‘Poor redmane, sad and alone’… ‘Maybe I
can make him better?’, ‘Maybe he will be fine if I do this or that’.”
“I’m fine! you don’t have to be here just so I don’t feel alone… If you want to, you can just leave while I sleep and then… Then everything will be fine, you will be miles away and I’m gonna be just fine.”
“I was a mess for a long time before you arrived, and I’ll continue to be a mess whether you’re here or not… I… It’s best if you just go Azreth, nothing good is going to come for you for staying with me… People are gonna hate you, despise you, treat you like they treat me.”
“And not just that, I’m not worth that much! I’m a sickly guy with just a bunch of problems and no solutions or anywhere to go. I don’t have anything, I will never be successful, or rich, people are not going to just like me, and I am not some sort of hero… I’ll be happy if can make it past thirty without any permanent disabilities! And I’m pretty sure I’m going to die before then…”
“There is just no future with me Azreth… Just this VOID of wasted opportunities, and time… You’re better off without me, you’re so amazing and perfect…. Please… Don’t waste your time on me.”
Hearing him say all that made my
guts swirl, I wanted not to hear it, I wanted him to just stop… Because I think
none of that of him!
I wished just for a second, he would see himself through my eyes, just a tiny glimpse of what he made me feel… Maybe then he wouldn’t say those things, maybe then he wouldn’t feel like… This…
I had to something, anything… I couldn’t hear that horrible speech and sit by like it was no big deal… So, I did something I knew he wouldn’t like.
I grabbed him, beneath the arms and pulled him in, I ignored the cries of pain and tears in his eyes and I just pulled him to that very same spot I offered him earlier… He just laid there in my chest confused, broken and hurt… He was Sniffling.
Until I said in the most serious
tone I could muster as I tried to hold back the wrench in my gut.. “Vernon,
we’re going to sleep now, and when you wake up… Tomorrow… I’m gonna be here…”
“And when that day is over, we will sleep again, and you’re gonna wake up the next day… And I’m gonna be there too.”
“I’m not going anywhere anytime soon… So, you better just get used to me!”
I’ll never forget what happened
next… And I hoped I’d never see it again.
His eyes filled with water, his expression shifted into a thousand expressions of agony, his fingers buried deep in my skin and he trembled anxiously… His breathing became irregular, and he began to cry.
Truly cry… Like I’ve never seen anyone do before, it was heartfelt and pure, but at the same time so heart wrenching for me, I wanted to scream to the top of my lungs, but I silenced myself just for a while… For him to do it.
“Why?” He asked in between sobs. “… I am nothing…”
The words weren’t though out… They just started coming to my lips… I was speaking directly from the heart, just like he was. “Why do I need a reason? You’re just my friend Vernon…”
He revolted. “You know nothing of me!”
“I’m learning… And I see plenty of things to like.” I smiled at him, that was the first time in ages… I felt like I was truly smiling, that it came from nothing but my will to make someone happy, to make him happy.
“You’re… Going to regret it… Like everyone else did!” He cried his heart out, laid everything out in the open and made sure I knew everything… He thought that would push me away, but I knew the real reason behind it, I knew he wanted to protect me like he does everyone else.
But I’m not the kind of guy who needs protection. “*Shhhh…*” I tried to calm him… “Just rest… You had a rough day, that’s all…”
He said nothing anymore, and I
didn’t too… I could still feel him sobbing and I could still feel his body recoiling
like he was in pain.
I kept him in my arms, every second of the way… Until he fell asleep from exhaustion… I felt his body go soft and his heartrate relax, and I then I knew it would be fine.
There was surely a lot of horrors inside his heart, this was just a mild taste of his feelings, this was the thing that was jammed in his throat all day that he couldn’t hold in anymore, this was just what he felt today… Everything he kept bottled up in there was likely too much for anyone to handle at once.
I was happy however, happy that I could help him get rid of that pain, that he felt safe and comfortable enough with me to be like that.
I held him tight, and I made sure not to let go… As I started to drift asleep.
I knew that from that moment
forward I had made a bond I could never back down on… I was his friend for
life… No amount of crying, fighting, betrayals or pain would ever break the link
we made that day.
A lot of people would question why I’d start this story here… Well… This is the answer, this feeling we shared, was something that changed me forever.
This connection was stronger than even the mightiest form of adamantine, it was forged on the brightest fire our souls could muster, and it was the thing that made me first feel for him…
I knew nothing back then, as perceptive as I was… I was blind to my own emotions… If only I could have seen it sooner.
Alas… This is not an end, but a beginning,
you asked to hear our tale, all the gritty and meaty, all the pain and detail…
Well, this is how it began.
A fire, tears and a promise…
I do hope I’ve been able to do
it justice so far, and that my narrative was not boring to you… But believe me,
when I say this…
There is just... So much more…