Sometimes, I just pretend it isnít real. I pretend so that I can tell myself Iím not lying, which is ironic, because to pretend is to lie. Is it not? The tricky thing is I wish it were real. I wish I didnít have to keep lying to my friends and my family, but I do. I do it everyday. I have a secret that none of them have ever heard, a secret that would make them angry with me. But I know it would mostly be because I didnít trust them enough to tell.
The thing is, Iím in love. Call it crazy, or whatever you will, but I am ridiculously in love. And, yes, I am convinced he loves me too, though he has said so only once, to my knowledge. Regardless, we have to hide it because they wouldnít understand. They would learn to like him, I know. Maybe even come to love him as I do, but it would take time. They would have to discover a side of him that so very few people know. Somehow, I doubt that all of them would be willing to give it the time necessary, or he just wouldnít let them in.
Weíve never talked about it really, the fact that we canít tell. Iím pretty sure we both just take it for granted. Or, I used to think that. I did try, once, hoping that maybe, beyond expectation, heíd be willing to give it a try. He would be willing to risk it, maybe, just maybe because he loved me. It wasnít enough though. He asked me if I was crazy, or delusional. Then he asked me if I had a death wish, reminding me again and again all the reasons why his family would never allow what we had already begun. I had forgotten about them, as I normally tend to do, but already he had made me so frustrated that I couldnít help but fire back.
I called him a coward, and I swear for a moment the look in his eyes betrayed the barest hint of madness. For that tiny second I was almost afraid for my life. But just as quickly as the danger flashed across his eyes, it was gone. He called me a stupid girl, and then he left. I didnít see him for three days after that.
When he finally did come knocking on the door of my flat, he was a mess. I tired to get him to tell me what had happened, but he refused. I sat him down in my miniscule kitchen, carefully bandaging his wounds and cleaning the blood from his body. I knew it had something to do with the war going on outside our quiet sanctuary. By unspoken rule, we didnít talked about it. He let me find him a pair of clothes he had left weeks ago in my closet, and then allowed me to help him change. It was the first time I had seen him as anything less than invincible. He could tell, and tired his best to put on a strong, stoic face for me, but I had already seen beyond his plated armor. If anything, I loved him more for it.
Pulling his sleeve down to cover the cursed black snake on his left forearm, he kissed me quickly then disappeared. All the extra love I had just felt for him vanished in a wave of anger. How could he keep doing this to me? Didnít he know how much it hurt my heart to have him vanish, without knowing, when, or when I was honest with my self, if, I would see him again?
Ever the same, our secret linger on throughout the war. He would come to me when he needed me, to talk to, to fix him, or just to be in the company of someone who wasnít trying to use him. But the sad truth was I did use him. Each and every time I heard his knock upon my door, I used him in my own absurd fantasy, pretending, if only for the hours he was there, that I was in a normal relationship. Granted, my view of normal was horribly skewed by the press of war, but it didnít matter. As I said, he became my secret.
I try not to question whether or not this means Iím helping the enemy, for to do so only brings pain. It hurts, like the stabbing of a dull knife especially as the reports of injured, missing, and dead from my side continue to pour in. And I am afraid.
I told him of my fears, the night he came to me spattered with the blood of another. I didnít ask about the red stains tainting his pale hair and defiling his even paler skin. Nor did he offer any information. But he held me. He held me tightly as he whispered all the lies I had been begging to hear. Stroking my hair, he finally spoke the three I had yearend for most. The lies that fell from his lips so fluidly warmed my very soul, bringing with them a sense of false reality I had only dared dream of.
He spoke for hours of this little villa just outside of the Irish city of Castlebar, telling me that heíd take me there, if only I could give him time. Slowly, he began to spin for me the tale of a life I had always wanted. He talked of children, a family with gray eyes and red hair running around in forever green hills. His words eventually lulled me to a peacefully sleep, the likes of which I hadnít had in ages.
I awoke in the morning covered in a warmth I could only explain by love. His smell hung everywhere around me, a spiced and cedar sent I can even now remember. As I removed his heavy cloak from my shoulders, I began looking around the room. Panic took a minute to sink into my sleep idled brain as I realized what was wrong. Again, he had left. I assured myself a thousand times before I left the couch that he was in the kitchen, or the washroom, or maybe even out getting us a bit of breakfast. However, when hours passed, truing into days, and days into weeks, and finally weeks turning into months, a heartbreaking realization hit the pit of my stomach. He was gone, forever to remain a nothing in my life, a figment of a relationship that never really existed.