I cried today. I cried hard. I cried so hard in that tiny room, squeezed away from the outside world.

You didn't know. You had no idea. You couldn't save me—you couldn't save me because of your own ignorance of the malignance that exists in your fellow companions. They hurt me.

You must want to know who they are by now, don't you? I will never tell you. I cannot tell you those people that hurt me, those that you call your friends. Would you know how much they destroy me? Would you know how much they can rip me apart inside and how I feel as if I am falling apart? You say they're your friends—how can they be your friends, Zack, when they are hurting your other half? How can they be your friends as they destroy your brother?

Basketball. You love it. I have never been able to see what is so fascinating about such a sport. Perhaps it was invented for those who did not have anything better to do.

Basketball brought you to your friends, didn't it? Your friends, your team, whatever you may want to call it.

I only know one thing. They are not your friends. They are not mine either.

They beat me. They think I am you. Isn't that strange? I, of all possible people, am your exact antithesis. I cannot be you. If they looked beyond the superficial content of my appearance, they would realize it. They would realize it that I am not you. I am not you. You are not me. They are not hurting you, they would understand. They are hurting me. And because they are hurting me, they are in turn hurting you.

But you don't know. You never will. I will make sure they never will. Because then what I have fought for will unwind, like the ribbon you shredded in half. I will lose half of myself. Better to lose myself to them now then lose both of us.

For if you were destroyed, I would be destroyed. I could not live without you; I hope you understand that. I would rather be shocked if you did not know that—if your blind ignorance really stretched that far.

So much for my protector, right, brother? You have not helped me—not ever. I do not believe you shall. But that is only because you do not know.

I sniff and turn over in the bed, feeling a tear fall down my face. You are my sole reason for existence—you are my treasure, Zack. You are the person that I live for. I do not want to think about this. I don't want to remember all the pain. I know you're awake—I hear you shuffle when your hear me cry softly to myself. I know you want to ask what's wrong more than anything.

Yet you can't. You understand. You realize it is something beyond your control—something I must fight by myself—but you have no idea it's a fight for you. It's a fight to keep you safe. It's a fight to help you keep your wide-eyed innocence that I love so.

If you knew, you would help. You glance worriedly at my reddened eyelids, the delicate way my eyelashes stick together as the tears glue onto them. I cannot tell you.

Yet, more than anything, I wish I could.