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Writing is all I can do to keep from going insane. I still haven't figured the universe out but I'm trying one word at a time.

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“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” -Albert Einstein

Holding Hands

February 13, 2019


Jay and I were the last two up talking for the third night in a row. We had been practically inseparable since he came back. I didn’t dare let him out of my sight. I had the suspicion that he felt the same considering he found any excuse possible to always be in the same room. And when we sat together we were so close that I could feel his body heat, but we weren’t quite touching.
    Tonight everyone had gone to bed and we were reliving old memories, “Do you remember that time that we were playing Red Rover and you nearly broke all of my fingers?”
    “Oh, yeah,” he laughed, “but to be fair we did win, and you only had a small cut. A cut is worth it in exchange for victory, but I probably would have felt bad if I broke your finger.”
    “Probably!” I said in fake outrage. “I wouldn't have gotten cut by your ring in the first place if you hadn’t insisted that we link hands in a ‘superior manner’ as you put it.”
    “I still stand by that. Most people hold hands like this.” He grabbed my left hand with is palm perpendicular to mine and wrapped his fingers around the back of my hand. “This way is easy to break apart, but this way...,” he said as he rotated his palm parallel to mine and interlocked our fingers.
    My heart began racing as soon as he started to hold my hand. He was just using it to make a point, but when I looked at him smirking at me I didn’t want his demonstration to end. I just returned his smirk and raised on eyebrow. “And what about this way is so important?”
    “This way is stronger, more committed. When we hold hands like this, most people can’t break us up unless we let them. As long as we hold hands like this, we’re inseparable,” he said it with meaning that went far beyond Red Rover. He punctuated his point by rubbing his thumb in a circle on the back of my hand.
    “We better not let go then,” I said leaning my head on his shoulder with a smile. He returned my smile as he started playing with my hand in his. I closed my eyes so that I could enjoy finally being able to accept that fact that he liked me just as much as I liked him. It was one of the few peaceful moments that I’d had since arriving in this place.
    That peace was chased away quickly when I felt him trace a line across my wrist and I realized that I wasn’t wearing my bracelet. It felt like everything in my mind froze. The only thought left was, Please don’t ask about the scar.
    “How did you get this?” Jay asked as his finger continued the path back and forth over the white line. His tone was a mix of curiosity and concern that I had grown used to hearing over the years. I didn’t want to answer him, but I would be mad at myself if I hid this part of me from him. I opened my eyes but I didn’t look at him. Some shame that I didn’t even know I still had made my eyes move to the floor instead.
    “It’s from a-” I paused not wanting to say the words, “a mistake. A mistake when I was sixteen.”
    My stomach twisted as the memory of the pain came back to me. There was physical pain from what I did, but that was short lived. The emotional pain was much worse. It was the pain of fear, sadness, and doubt that made my future seem black and impossible. Then there was the instant regret that only comes from making a mistake so massive that any path you take from there is going to be difficult and scary.
    “A mistake,” Jay repeated. I don’t think he knew what else to say.

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