Authors Note: I wasn't sure whether or not I wanted to post this again, but it is one of my stories, and there's no use having it taking up useless space on my computer. This situation doesn't hurt me a fraction as much as it once did. It's receeded to a dull ache in my heart when I start thinking about it too much.
I also wanted to say to go easy on 'Kyle'. This isn't meant as a stab toward him, a way to hurt back or anything. Remember that reading this is like listening to a one sided phone conversation. It's only what Stan knows and feels. Unfortunately, Kyle's side remains a mystery. Who knows? If you ask nicely in your reviews, maybe 'Kyle' will see it and write the missing half of this story.
Finger Paint The Sky:
My basketball looks like it's moving in slow motion as I toss it into the air and let it fall back into my waiting hands. But I keep setting it in motion, keep my cool eyes focused on it. There's purple circles under the acrylic orbs and I know I look like hell. They want me to get sleep, but I can't. I didn't really understand it at first, but once I did, it was laughable at how obvious it had been.
Sleep comes in broken segments for me, and with each new reawakening my thoughts turn to my best friend. I catch myself smiling, and quickly frown in confusion of the abnormal behavior. I accused myself of practically everything under the sun, and finally decided that the words "Psycho Freak" seemed to suit me best for this particular situation.
And then I had The Dream.
I call it, "The Dream" in special terminology because it's what snapped me into reality. It's what helped me realize that I was in love with Kyle.
The sky is pure blue when The Dream first starts out. I can see Kyle smiling at me, the yellow rays of the sun bouncing off his smooth skin and giving him a healthy looking glow. Like an angel, I realize, and somehow am not put off by this thought. His hands are dipped in finger paints, a mixture of purples, blues and grays. His palms drip with the gooey liquid, full and thick up to his wrists as he rubs and circles with his index fingertip across the plain paper plate he's using to create on. My eyes are glued to the motions of his hands, fascinated as he swirls up a pattern and an image starts to form. Its an ocean. The waves are crashing against the shore, and somehow I can hear them, can smell the salty air lingering around me.
I look up from Kyle's workmanship, only to part my lips in surprise when a real ocean comes into view. The sky is no longer blue, but swirled with the exact colors of my friends painting.
"Let me paint the sky."
I'm met with the prismatic gaze of my companion, and know without any further instructions what it is he's referring to. It's then I noticed I was only in my swimming trunks, or maybe that's the moment my normal clothing disappeared. Either way, I lay back against the white, crystalloid sand, allowing my head to rest in Kyle's lap. My eyes search the stormy heavens as the cold paint on Kyle's fingertips comes in contact with the sensitive skin of my chest. He works firm, yet gently, his touch gliding across my body effortlessly.
I dare a glance into his face, finding myself paralyzed by the passionate storms residing there. He's concentrating so deeply that he doesn't even notice me as I watch him.
His art is smeared down across my stomach once he pulls his hands away, wiping back a stray lock of hair from his eyes with the back of his wrist. A small grin of satisfaction curves his mouth as he admires his own work. It only widens when the green of his eyes lock with the blue of mine. He places his hands onto my cheeks, neither of us caring about the painted prints it would leave there. My head still cradled in his lap and my face now enclosed in his hands, he leans forward, and I'm met with the warm sensation of lips against my own in an upside-down kiss.
That's when I wake-up from The Dream, unsatisfied in a way I'm unsure of. In some odd way I can always taste the flavor of the salty sea air and soft lips as I'm brought back to reality.
I turn my basketball down, now away from the sky to hit the pavement below me in quick, even bounces, though it still seems to move in slow motion.
I look up from my current observation to the boy standing in front of me. His smile is uneasy, though genuinely friendly. I let the first go, whether from fear or oblivion, I'm not sure. He had been acting differently lately, and I could see in his eyes that something wasn't right. I focused my attention downward, letting my ball hit the ground. I could feel the tenseness engulf us again, suffocating almost as it took root and blossomed up and outward. I can't remember when it had gotten this way between us, but it was here, and it refused to go away.
"We should talk."
His voice is casual, but I refuse to look up. I can't look up. Something's going to happen, I don't know what he's going to say but I know that I don't want to hear it.
"Is it just me, or have things been tense and awkward between us?" I blurt.
To hell with it. I'd rather just get it out of the way. But maybe I wasn't ready for it like I thought, maybe I never would have been ready for his next words.
"It's not just you."
I miss a beat, and my basketball got away from me - half bouncing, half rolling- across the pavement, where Kyle caught it expertly and placed it under his arm. With no where else to look, I look up at him, our gazes finally penetrating each other.
"Why?" He asks, as if I held all the answers. Almost like… it were my fault.
"I don't know why, Kyle." I decide, looking up instead of down this time. The sky is dull and bleak, lacking the vivid colors in my dream. I close my eyes, trying to hold on to the feeling that envelops me. The only thing that washes over me is a deep sense of loss. I want to embrace him, but I can't.
"You act like you don't want to hang out anymore." He accuses, and I can't help but let the surprise snap across my face. It did, in fact, feel like a smack. "I'm always calling you, I'm always making plans, and you put in no effort at all. Half the time when you're there, you aren't even there at all. You're in your own world, Stan. It's like you don't even care about anyone around you."
I consider this, my heart sinking with the words. He was right, after all. But how could I tell him why? How could he possibly understand how I feel? What would he think about finger painting the sky? It's cliché and it's lame. It's stupid and probably gay, but I voice the only thing I can, the only truth tangled within the illogical situation.
"The times I'm quiet is when I love you the most."
And that was the absolute truth. I couldn't say it plainer, it came straight from the heart. It was at times I felt so intensely that I couldn't find any words, times like those I had to keep myself from laughing and smiling like an idiot because it felt so good inside. I couldn't come out of my world and into his, I couldn't because what if he didn't understand?
"That makes no sense." He mused, obviously not getting it at all, then deciding he wasn't through insulting me. "I came here because I needed to tell you something."
I swallow hard, trying to prepare myself for a blow I knew was about to come. Something I knew I didn't want to hear but also knew I didn't have a choice.
"Would it bother you if I ditched you sometimes?"
I stiffen, stare blankly at first and then blink at least a half dozen times. I'm aware of the breeze on my skin, the intenseness of his eyes, and the seriousness of his words. I'm aware of it all, but I don't understand.
"What?" It comes out clipped and emotionless. Like a robot, with no inner thoughts or feelings. And maybe at that point I truly didn't have any.
"Honestly, dude?" He sighs around his question. But it's a question voiced not to be answered, only heard. The surface of my irises portray his reflection as he sinks onto a wooden bench.
I remain standing.
"Lately I feel like if I don't spend all my time with you, you'll take it the wrong way," He begins, only to take a dramatic pause.
I don't attempt to fill the void of empty conversation. This is his time. He needs to say this, and I wont stop him. In all truth he has already lost me completely. But Kyle's smart. He's going to be able to get his point across without me pressing him for answers.
He's fingering the basketball that's now cradled between his knees, etching zigzag patterns across the surface. I'm forced to reminisce about The Dream, and the way the designs felt being pressed into my skin.
"You've been taking everything the wrong way. I feel obligated to spend every waking minute with you. I just want to know if it's true. If I decided I don't feel like hanging out, would it bother you?"
I still don't understand, not completely. I decide to play the only card I have to play. I decide to play along, hoping it would all answer itself. "Of course I wouldn't." And I think it's true. Everyone needs their space sometimes.
He's relived. I know this by the way his eyes seem to defrost, almost like ice had previously glassed them with uncertainty, only now melted away to relief. "Are you sure?" But he doesn't wait for an answer. "Sometimes I just need to talk about things I can't talk about with you. No offense or anything."
His words hinder the smile about to form my lips, instead forcing them into a frown. I don't recall him standing from the bench or closing the space between us, only holding the ball out to me, which I instinctively take.
"So, I'll see ya, Stan." He proclaims, all too cheerily to my ears as he turns away from me.
"Kyle?" I voice, stopping him in his tracks. I wait until I'm sure I have his full attention. My fingers twist together nervously, but I press on. "Do you think maybe we should just," I take a breath and look down. "not talk to each other for a while?"
"What? Why?" He fires back, looking a little more than alarmed by this new idea.
"If it's an obligation to hang out with me, maybe you shouldn't do it anymore." The words itself are bitter and, truthfully, unfair. At the moment I wasn't thinking of that. I was thinking of how much his words hurt.
How long has he felt that way? Has every weekend we spent together been out of a sense of obligation? Have all his caring gestures stemmed from obligation? Has our entire friendship revolved around obligation?
I've decided I hate that word. It stings my heart like poison in a wound.
The sigh that escapes him is nothing short of pure exasperation. "Dude, I knew you would take it the wrong way." He looks like he wants to scream, and if I am taking it the wrong way, I can't blame him.
I want him to explain. I want to understand. Why does he feel like he has to hide things from me when I feel like I could tell him everything? Doesn't he trust me? Was I really that far off thinking our friendship was becoming deeper and stronger with each rise of the sun? He was always so… there for me. How could I not think that? How could I help but become closer to him?
But my mouth remains closed, the questions I burn to ask swirling through my mind like patterns and shapes, haunting my thoughts, keeping me from reality.
"I do still want to hang out sometimes," He assures. "Just not as much. Do you understand?"
"Yes." And it's not a lie. I understand what he's saying, but I don't understand why.
"Good." He smiles in reply to my answer. "Right now I need to go study. We do have finals coming up."
I nod, sending my best fake smile his way.
"Everything's cool." I promise him and myself as I watch him walk away.
I thought I could make everything cool. Giving him time and space probably was a good idea. Maybe I needed it, too.
The moon rose full the next night, hung bright and clear over the treetops. I watch it settle over the neighboring houses, trying to figure out the tangle of emotions in my head. I think maybe I'm starting to understand when a phone call interrupts my thought pattern.
"Hey," Kyle's voice is soft and clear on the other end, and I can't help but feel a bit put-off by how soon he was talking to me again.
Silence deafens me for a moment, spotlighting the way my heart has begun to race. Instinct tells me this phone call isn't good, even though his conversation sounds casual and genuine. It almost makes me wonder who told who they didn't want to talk as much. I keep my answers short and brief, and realize for the first time that that's how my responses have been over the passed several weeks. But now I had a real reason, now I was obligated to cut things short. I didn't want him to suffocate in me. I didn't want to lose him completely.
"I think maybe you're right," He pronounces after a particularly long pause. "Maybe we… should take a break from each other."
I swallow back the bile that rises in my throat, gripping the phone tighter in vague attempt to soften the blow of whatever he may say, or not say, next.
"I thought about it," He continues, and I let him, my voice lost within the confines of my constricted throat. "I thought I wanted to talk to you still, and then I thought, I don't know what I want."
Where was this coming from? What happened suddenly? What did I do that was so wrong?
"Why?" I croak out magically, and I'm amazed I had the strength to accomplish even that.
He considers this, I listen to his breath as he chooses his words carefully, and finally makes a decision. "I'm scared."
What does that mean? It's such a simple word. I've used it so many times, but it can mean so many things. Black flashes in my minds eye; the color of fear, the color of pain.
Hesitation, and then. "I don't know. I just need time to figure things out."
That's no answer, and I don't want to accept it. I need more than that. I deserve more than that. "To figure what out?"
"Why I feel this way." He admits. "I just don't… want to talk to you anymore. I thought it would pass on its own, but I feel better since we haven't talked."
"What did I do?" The tears are biting at my eyes now, and begin to fall with every blink. My heart sinks in my chest, it's now painful to breathe. There's only one thought that races through my mind; I'm going to lose him…
"You didn't do anything." His words hold no hesitation this time, no accusation. "I don't know what happened suddenly. I've asked myself this over and over, and I can't find an answer."
I'm shivering slightly. Not from the cold, but from his words. "How can you just stop caring about someone?"
I hear his sigh, and wonder if he's annoyed with me again. But I can't back down, I have to know why.
"I've always cared about you and I always will." He states.
"You just don't like me anymore?" I'll run down all the options if I have to, until I can figure out why.
He stalls, making my heart stop completely. "… not as much."
And my tears drown me as the severity crushes my soul. What did I do that was so wrong? What did I say that wasn't right? Was I holding on too tight? Was I pushing away too hard? How do you go from loving someone one day, and not really liking them the next? It was my fault… somehow. I did this.
"You don't want to be my friend anymore?"
"We can still hang out sometimes," He avoids the question by answering in a way that isn't an answer at all. "I just don't wanna be your… best friend." I feel like my insides are about to explode and all he can say is, "I'm sorry. Do you want to call things off completely?"
I didn't think it could hurt anymore. I was wrong. How could he ask me that? "If you don't want to be my friend anymore, than fine. Don't be my friend anymore."
The only answer I get is a click and the inevitable buzz of a dial tone.
There's an open canvas in front of me, trays of colors that swirl and mix are at my mercy, and my emotions are my guidance. My hand grips the brush that will paint the very core of my soul. I swipe the bristles across the blank board, but I see none of it. My minds eye is at work, distracting me from the vision before me. And all I can see is Kyle… Kyle and the colors of blues and grays and purples he used to finger paint the sky. My sky… but now my sky is nothing, the soft colors destroyed by the cruel honesty of human nature.
A brush of Black… hurt and fear are the first to take their place. An angry dash of red twists and slides down the center, like a knife spearing through. Gray blends into every crease and corner, the misery of my tears, followed by the passion of my heartache… deep purple. There are no blues for serenity, no yellows for happiness, or greens for life.
My tears are quick, but my hand works quicker with every color, though I feel each emotion all mixed in one, its a hazy cloud. I shed my hurt through my eyes and storm out my anger through my colors. I'm painting my new sky.
I give him time and I try again in the form of a note, stuffed inside his locker. I tell him not giving up, only letting go. I tell him that I'm here, that I'll always be here for him. And I tell him that I love him forever.
His reply is quick, it's unfeeling and unfriendly. It lacks the warmth and love that used to radiate so strongly between us. His emotions really have changed, he's not my Kyle anymore, I know that now from reading his words:
Thanks, Stan. Shit happens.
The final words that close our friendship.
Reality caves in.
He's gone. It's over, and I'm left in the dark. All I hold is the broken heart stuffed back into my hand. And as I sink to the ground, burying my face in my knees to muffle the sobs, I remember everything he's told me. Everything that meant so much, and ask myself again;
But there's no one left to answer.
A/N: I'm unsure whether or not I'm going to post the second chapter. I'm a bit afraid because I don't want my account deleted again. We'll see.