"Holding Back"
By ZealPropht


Just one more word and I'm going to break.

You knew that, didn't you, when you came up to me? You said all the things I didn't want to hear.

You know how I feel. Why do you hurt me?

I'm sick of trying to hide from the blows. Velvet covered hammers drop on my brain every time you say those three dreaded words.

I love you.

You ask how come I can't love you back. You make me sick. Stop looking at me with those eyes that are filled with tears, liquid accusation dripping down your cheeks. Stop making me want to pull you close to me and wipe my fingers through the salty trails and tell you everything is going to be all right.

Even I have my pride.

I swear I'm going to hit you if you keep staring at me with those wounded, puppy-dog eyes. Dark and warm, pleading with me for answers I can't give. I don't know them myself.

They say I should leave you. Did you know that? They say I am not good for you. Analytical love is not real love. I'm supposed to be romantic and passionate, all that good garbage they write about in soap operas to draw the masses.

I don't like holding hands for very long. My palm gets hot pressed against yours. I don't want to offend you with something as base as my sweat. I don't like to kiss, not because you're especially bad at it, but because it's like an invitation for you to come into my soul and I don't want to give you the wrong ideas. Intimacy scares me. I bet you never guessed that, did you?

My walls come down for no one.

I put up barriers for a purpose, you know. I don't like being hurt. I've had enough bad experiences in the past to make me wary of love in general. They say the only two things in life that can be trusted are yourself, and family. I know this to be somewhat true. I've never had a family to fall back on, so I only had myself. But when you look at me with those eyes of yours, I feel as if I don't know the person I see reflected in their depths.

Who are you, stranger? Why do you sit there with that unfeeling facade plastered like a cheap mask all over your face? Stop it! STOP IT! Don't shrug and say those words you know will only hurt.

You love it don't you, you sick bastard? You like cutting with those sharp words of yours. Does it make you feel big and important? You do it because you can, isn't that right? She opened her heart to you and you trampled it like dirt. You dragged her through hell and back, and for what? To see how far this declaration of love would go?

You led her on. Maybe she would have been better off not knowing you. Did she really think you could change? Years of habit compiled and compressed into sturdy barricades against the world are not to be broken in a single day. So you saved her life, and kissed her under the moonlight when all was said and done. The fairytale couple, suffering like so many other couples do.

How much more fun do you think romances would be when you see them taking place inside marriage counseling, or a divorce court?

Monster. Sad, fucking monster.

That's all I am, isn't it? That's the real me I see in your eyes. Yes, that callous, cruel person who takes you for granted and doesn't know how good they have it until it's gone.

How much longer will you stay by me? Friends say, not long at this rate. They say, if I keep this up, I'll lose the only person who ever loved me. And even as they say that, I can feel that blankness on my face, and crazy laughter bubbling at the back of my throat like some horrific acid eating its way out of my heart.

You make me want to hit you. I want to stop those words coming from your lips.

It's okay, I understand. I love you for who you are. I love all of you.

All of me? Even the faults? How can you love me when I don't love myself? I don't deserve your love. I don't want your love. I want...I don't know what I want. I want something, probably out of my reach and unrealistic.

I want to stop feeling guilty. Am I dragging this out? Should I just leave? Do you want to leave? Stop looking at me that way! This is hard enough as it is.

I don't want to lose you. As much as I hurt you, you hurt me too with every sweet word you say. Each term of affection feels like just another bullet piercing my body. Is this what love is? To hurt and hurt and never have it feel good? Is love where you have to feel dependent on another person for your happiness?

They say I should make compromises. They say, I shouldn't allow my personal wishes to interfere with the relationship. But I was raised to believe that if I wanted something and worked hard for it, I could have it no matter what. You were handed everything you could ever want by a doting father, something I can't even begging to relate to. You never had to fight to know who you were. The daughter of an influential man shouldn't have such worries. But an orphan with no past and a bleak, probably short, future struggles daily to define himself. That's the way of the fighter. My way...or the highway.

But then again, I trust you. Someone help me. Part of my walls have weakened. Somehow you've wedged your foot in the door and part of you is inside. You're an intruder in my home, in my life, in my heart and soul and mind. I don't want you in there. I don't know how to love. I can't be what you want me to be. Don't you see that?

But you don't care. You love me. How in Hyne's name can you fucking love me?!

You don't know anything about me! You don't know what it is that makes me tick. Get out, get out of my life! It's always been me, only me. I've never had to worry about someone's life cluttering my own. I've never had to worry about how my actions might offend others. After all, they're just people I know. They aren't close to me. They can be replaced. There are a hundred billion people in this world. Why do you get special privileges?

Why me? What do you see in me? I don't know you well enough to say what it is I see in you. I could say I like your smile, or the way you tilt your head when you're curious or being a flirt. I could say that your laugh makes my chest feel warm, as if a giant heater were burning inside my ribcage. I could say a dozen more corny lines to you.

Pride keeps my mouth shut. Or fear. It's hard to tell between the two, sometimes.

Maybe I am aloof. I always told people I am cold and unlovable. They say it's my fault. They say that I am the one to blame. I should be able to open up to others if I really wanted to. But it's so hard. It's like stretching a muscle that has been cramped for a long time. It's agony the first few times you do it, and then it gradually gets better. But now and then, I get phantom pains and just want to curl up in a ball and hide. This folding and unfolding of myself is what's thickening those walls I've put up.

I need patience and understanding. It may take me a long time to ever fully grasp the gist of all of this. It may be years. Maybe a whole lifetime. I hope I don't find myself alone at the end. I don't want to be alone. One is such a lonely number.

You hug me now, your head on my shoulder, sighing into my neck in just the right way to give me chills. Desire, apprehension...Will I ever get used to bringing you so close? You tighten your arms around my shoulders and I push you the slightest bit away. You sigh, and I hold mine in check. I always hold back.

I always hold back.

~The End~