Because there were days when he really did tried. When he was able to talk with Evan. When they bumped into each other in the store, in the pasta section, which Jared hated, but Evan loved. Or when they passed each other in the park with this nasty fountain that he sometimes visited, although he always claimed to hate it with all his heart. Or when he caught Evan among the people in the botanical garden, which he often went to, hoping that he would see him there.
And sometimes Evan answered his „hi” with a timid nod.
And sometimes he even paused for a moment to exchange a few words.
Simple, meaningless conversations about the weather gave him a false sense of normality. Like nothing happened.
As if they just went back in time to the beginnings of their acquaintance. As if he had a chance to start everything from scratch.
Sometimes he really wanted these random encounters to be their firsts. That the day, when he found Evan with a book with the title he had seen for the first time in his life, was the first in which he saw him. That he would start to pay attention to how Evan's eyes shine in the summer sunshine. How his hair looks funny and charming when he stands in front of the mirror for hours, so that it looks like he does not care. And how the freckles on his nose come down, down the neck, until they disappear under that nasty shirt that made him go weak in the knees.
He would sit down next to him, ask him what he is reading, talking calmly, with a smile, as not to scare him too much. Evan would then answer quietly, under his breath, as if he was afraid that someone would actually hear the answer. And then maybe he would smile. Uncertain and gentle, as always.
And then Jared would grab his hands, apologize a thousand times, for everything that can happen, for an asshole he will become, for all the late night fights, after which he will sleep peacefully, and in the morning on Evan's face will be traces of not only tiredness, but also tears. For all these times when he will have to apologize, but he wouldn't do it, because he will not have the courage to admit he was wrong, looking into Evan's big, bright eyes. For all the broken glasses, plates and bruises that he would leave on his wrists, but not on purpose. But Evan will want to leave the apartment, and Jared would not let him go. Because being left alone with his thoughts will seem much worse t than the next hours of fights and screaming. And for all these times, when Evan will apologize to him, for another stupid and unimportant mistake he made. Because Evan was practically perfect. Even his flaws were additional points on the list of things for which he should be loved. But maybe when Jared convinces Evan and himself that it's not like that, he'll feel better with his own reflection in the mirror.
But it will not happen.
Time can not be undone, and sleepless nights, long hours of staring at the ceiling, suppressed crying and holding back the desire to reach for the phone and dial a number that once appeared in it as an I.C.E, will not make the other person's heat on the left side of the bed appear again.
But even the painful memories (which were also his best) associated with Evan weren't the worst part.
It was the thought that Evan does not feel the same way.
He forgot about the annoying voice telling him to leave his noodles and buy something „edible”. He forgot that on some tree in this park is still engraved: „J + E”. He forgot what a nightmare it used to be to buy new plants into the apartment, when the other person moaned over your head to better go back to the house, and that they have enough of these weeds.
Maybe he even slept at nights.
It used to be rare, so he always layed on the left side of the bed. In order to be able to silently get out of bed at night, put on his shoes and disappear for a few hours.
Jared sometimes didn't even notice that he was not there. It was only in the morning that he was informed by fresh mud on his tennis shoes.
Jared never got an answer to the question of where did he go and why. He always thought that probably there is simply no logical answer and he quickly threw these thoughts out of his head.
When he thought about it now, maybe Evan had his places. The ones he always went to when the thoughts just got too loud and despite the silence in the bedroom, he could not sleep because of all the noise. Perhaps there he was able to finally breathe a sigh of relief and give himself a moment of peace that he did not experience in the company of people.
And the thought that Evan never shared this part of himself with him, caused a strange contraction in his stomach. Because if he did, he would not be his place anymore. And in them he would too have to control what he was saying, because one wrong word led to thousand mocking ones.
The thought that he had never wondered how uncomfortable Evan felt at his own house made him want to cover the bathroom mirror with a towel.
Yes, now Evan definitely slept better.
From under his eyes disappeared, once present, dark spots, his cheeks turned red again and even his smile was a wider one. A true one.
Jared was able to count a few times when Evan smiled at him like that. And even then it looked like it cost him a lot of effort.
And now he grinned at the ordinary cashier.
Evan was just happier.
And on the one hand, Jared loved looking at him in this state.
And at the same time he hated it with all his heart.
Because it usually meant that they were not allowed to remain alone for long.
Connor Murphy seemed to appear out of nowhere. He seemed to be such a bizarre figure from a completely different world that when Jared first heard his name, he didn't even bother to remember it.With his long hair, heavy boots and dark eyeliner, he looked like everything both of them tried to avoid in their lives.
He would never guess that after some time the same guy would be with Evan in the store, tossing him pasta from the highest shelves. That the books that Evan will read in the park by the fountain will have dedication on the first pages and notes on the sides of the text in a handwriting that did not belong to Evan. That the same Connor Murphy would refer to him as „honey”, asking which ficus fit better into their living room.
Because it didn't matter that Jared was trying.
So what if Evan answered his „hi” and even tried to have ordinary conversation with him.
There was always Connor. And one word, one rubbing his hand against Evans, one hug from behind, and Jared seemed to disappear.
He returned to the old life, the old world, full of lonely walks, sleepless nights and screaming. In Evans new world, there was Connor, ficus, pasta and probably everything Evan had dreamed about and everything he deserved, and Jared was never able to give him.
But the looks he hated the most.
The way Evan looked at Connor.
That shine in his eye, a light smile. As if he suddenly sank into happy dreams, for a moment detaching himself from reality. As if what he saw was enough to convince him that maybe one day, all these dreams would come true.
Once this look was reserved only for him.
And that's what he hated the most.