"My life, my life is dangerous," His voice was so strained, "I, I can't do this to you, put you through all this. It wouldn't be fair, not fair to you. Max, I just can't do this anymore. I'm sorry."

My ears rang; the world in front of me dimmed. I was vaguely aware of a longing to crash to the ground, to cry, but, that seemed so far away. Like all this was happening to somebody else, somebody in a bad sitcom. Like any moment a new character would burst through the door and announce something funny, and somehow everything would magically get better. This wasn't happening to me, it couldn't be happening to me.

"Don't you see? This is for you. This is all for you." He gestured to the grand building around us. "All of it. But this, this," He looked pointedly at the images of the two of us shown in the silver mirror, "This I can't do. I love you, I love you so very much, but I can't do this anymore. This is all for you. You understand, right?" It was too late. I didn't care what was for me or how much he loved me or how much, how very much, I just wanted to be in his arms now. It was just too late. And no, I don't understand. I never understand.

I always catch myself running. I never have particularly liked to run, or wanted to run, but; when something happens, when somebody tears me in two, I run. Always. The faster I run, the more likely it seems that I can leave all of those memories in the miles behind me, the more possible it seems that each beat of my foot hitting the ground is productive, the more it seems as if maybe, just maybe, this won't be as bad as last time. As last time a boy stole my heart and trampled on it. But this will be, and last time was just as bad as the time before that, and the time before that. It's always even worse than I remember it being. It's always the feeling of the earth crashing, and the sun exploding, and the trees falling, and my heart being ripped out of my chest. Just like last time.

In a passing car I caught my reflection, blond curls flying free from their loose knot as if rebelling from all the chains that tied them down, tied me down, blue eyes shinning in the moonlight, swimming with the tears that were yet to come. I felt my lips tremble as I sigh with defeat. Here come the tears.

Every time I lose one it feels like this. Invariably I feel as if I am drowning, sinking in the ocean of my sobs. It's just me, alone, paddling in this ocean, a small dot amidst the sea of grey-blue. Just me, alone as always. Each time one of them throws me a life preserver I find myself so blissfully happy to be rescued, until one day they tire of me and dump me back into this cold ocean. Alone.

They always tell me they love me, and this is for me, they say they just can't give me everything I deserve, but they always say they love me first. They don't love me, if they loved me they wouldn't throw me from their life-boat, abandon me out here in this cold, cold water. They always plead for me to understand. I never do. So I swim out here, trying not to drown, trying to just hold on a little longer, trying to fight. Alone.

"Hey, what's the matter?" Before me stands a boy, hunched over himself in a hopeless effort to keep warm. "Tell me, its okay, you can trust me." They always start by telling me to trust them.

"I, I can't." My voice stutters and cracks over the words, fighting another wave of tears, a losing battle. I don't want to hurt this boy but he's just like all of them, I can't trust him.

"Please," he begs, "don't cry, just tell me what's wrong." They always tell me not to cry, they say they hate seeing me unhappy, they hate the results of the one that marooned me here in this ocean before them.

"You know what? Just go away. Get lost. Leave me alone." The words come out harsh, tasting bitter and sour in my mouth. My unkindness stings my throat. The look of hurt in his eyes makes my breath hitch, my body tenses in preparation for new sobs. He doesn't deserve my anger or resentment.

"I don't understand." He says, trying to make sense of my pain, trying to decode my reaction. Trying, and failing.

"Yeah, pal, neither do I," I take a deep breath, "I don't understand what I did wrong, or what I always do wrong. Or why they say that it's never me, it's always their fault, even when I know I did something wrong. I don't understand how I'm still alive after drowning this many times. Or how I still have tears left to cry. I don't understand how they could tell me they love me as they plunge a knife into my heart, or how I haven't given up yet. I don't understand how come I'm a glutton for punishment, or why I always go back to them-" before I know it his face is right by mine,

"Then don't go back." He whispers, leaning in. After this kiss, I never will. He isn't another boat, waiting to pick me up. No, he is an island, permanent and holding fast to my raging ocean.