By Gian Carlo Licanda
I can no longer remember who fell asleep first. All I remember was how I lay there, burying my face into him, taking him in, everything about him—his warmth, his scent, the feel of his shirt on my face. I remember how he wrapped me in his arms, cautiously, as if I was a fragile butterfly which, in a way, I was. I remember his fingers gently stroking the back of my head, entangling with my hair that was beginning to feel sweaty.
“Everything’s going to be okay,” he whispered.
I didn’t say anything. I just stayed still, sobbing, my chest heaving with the effort of not letting a sound of hurt and despair out from my mouth. I just nestled into him, my tears flowing fast and silent, cascading in a perfect stealth. I clung into him in what seemed to be my last gesture of holding on, of fighting for us, for the love I had always believed to be true.
And with the last of my strength, I finally managed to say in a broken whisper, “Please, don’t leave me.”
He didn’t answer. But I knew he heard me because his stroking had stopped, and he held me into him closer, tighter, and by then he was crying, too.
We stayed like that for minutes, hours, I could not remember anymore. We were silent and just let the open air hung awkwardly around us because what else was there to say?
I can no longer remember who fell asleep first. All I remember was when I woke up, he was no longer there. I was left with a pillow wet from the tears we cried in the night, and a sheet that had turned cold in his absence.
And for all the memories we shared together, that was what lasted in my mind. That was how I remember us— two broken things, one was holding on, while the other was already letting go.