That feeling when hope dies. The initial tear of its wings which fall down like stones around you. The sudden pain of it is startling, something that doesn’t even register. You just know that it hurts. It’s not until later --just later; a minute, an hour, when you’re least expecting it-- that it hits you.
A burning ache in your chest that spreads like seeping lava. Except it never cools; it doesn’t go away. It just spreads slowly, taking its time in consuming your body until your fingers begin to tingle, the nerves in your hands and face telling you that you can’t take too much more of it. You can feel your body fighting against the tears which are damming themselves back behind your eyes because you don’t cry.
You can’t cry.
So then it starts to sting behind your nose, in your throat. Your hands begin to shake. Its a small tremble at first, controllable as long as you don’t do anything that requires precise movements. And that’s when you think you’ve got it under control. You’re not crying. You’re not shaking. You can still feel the pain in your fingers, the pain in your chest now only a dull ember of what it was when it first started. But no.
That’s when you’re the most venerable.
That’s when you need something to occupy your mind.
Except there’s not always something there to take your mind off it; so the pain spreads through you anew. It washes over the thickening crust of the first wave, heating it again while slowly encasing you in it. You can’t escape it; wave after wave after wave until you can’t take anymore.
That’s when you buckle.
That’s when the dam breaks and your tears flood to the surface to try and cool the pain. Except they can’t cool it, they can’t ease it. And now you’re just a hardening mess of tears and pain; aching and wanting and needing. But there’s no one around to see you like this. It only happens when you’re alone, when you isolate yourself from everyone. They can’t see you like this. They don’t want to.
So you pull yourself together again.
Your tears will evaporate, they’ll harden the outer layer of pain, keep it locked away inside where it belongs because you’re supposed to be strong, not weak. You’re supposed to be the rock that everyone leans on, its expected of you. So you give them what they want, what they need.
You stand up and dust yourself off. You swallow around the lump in your throat, rebuild the dam, and clench your hands a few times to push the pain back to your chest. And when you lift your chin up and look him in the face, you keep your cool, you give him what he wants to see. A smirk, a small smile, a lame joke, a smart-ass rebuttle. Because if he ever saw what was beneath the surface, if he ever knew enough to ask you what was wrong, you’re not sure that you could keep it all together anymore.
And as much as it hurts to manage the pain that you’re keeping burried deep inside, the pain of pushing him away, the pain of not having him at your side is so much more unbearable that you have no doubt in your mind that you’d simply melt away with it all.
And maybe that’s what you do, little by little;
piece by piece until all that’s left of you is the shell of who you used to be. That cool guy that everyone gets to see.
And maybe that’s enough. For them (for him). For you. They’re happy (he's happy) and that’s all that matters. That’s all that’s ever mattered to you. And maybe you’re a little happy to. A small beat of what’s left of what used to be your heart. A flutter of the hope your heart used to contain before it was taken away so abruptly.
You don’t blame him, you can’t. How could he know that he was slowly killing off each of your hopes, ripping their wings to shreds, with the all the little things he tells you (secrets between just the two of you)? He couldn’t know. And that’s what kills you the most.
It’s your own damn fault.