I Love You

Bob Okroi III

I just wanted to hold her after she told me. That’s all. She was worried before, during, and after the conversation. I don’t know how best to describe her fear, yet I guess on a scale of ten she started at seven, grew braver during, which lowered her to a four, but after my initial reaction I would say it went to nine. Maybe ten, but she knew how I could get.

One time, about a month after our second year anniversary, I saw an older gentleman staring at her while she worked as a waitress in this shithole, “Barrel o’ Laughs”. I told him to stop and she got mad at me. Told me it was a part of her job, so I let it be. He had a few drinks and I had a few drinks, and I said something to him. Everyone in the bar saw that he threw the first punch and that’s probably why the judge was so lenient on me, after what I did. I told the Police I just saw red. My lawyer explained that I just needed anger management. I went to the required meetings for a year, but I still saw red sometimes.

It had gotten better.

She knew that. I don’t know why she did what she did. I loved her so much. When she was telling me she was crying and shaking, and she couldn’t look at me. I was looking at her and I probably looked pathetic, wanting, willing her to just stop. If she could just stop maybe everything she was about to say never happened. Everything could have been perfect.

I remember when I was holding her how soft her skin was beneath my touch. How warm her skin was and how it creased to my calloused fingers. I wanted to hold on forever. I wanted her to know how much I loved her. I wanted her to know that I would hold on forever, I would never let her go. And I began to fear that if I did let go, I would lose her forever. I could see it in her eyes. Those wide amethysts peering up at me while I stared back… lovingly.

She put her delicate hand upon my wrist as I held her. I held her harder. She shifted and brought her other hand to my cheek. It drifted. She brought it again. “I love you.” I whispered it through my teeth. Her skin had flushed to a pink and her mouth opened. Her lips were gentle and delicious. So beautifully sculptured, moist, thick… They felt like silk. Tasted like cherries. She couldn’t find her voice. Her lips rambled with soundless motions, like an old black and white.

Her fingers drifted down my wrist to my hand and she pulled upon my fingers, but if I let go she’d drift away and so I did not budge, could not budge. Her skin had transformed from that pinkish hue to a more rose coloring. Not rosy, but rose. I could see her features straining, and her lips quivering. I quivered with her.

Why did I let her hurt me so? She had her hand on my cheek still and I had to turn away from it, I had to force my eyes from hers. I could not wallow in the pain, in the misery, but I did love her so. My body was tense ever since she finished telling me what she had done, but it felt as though it was ratcheted up to a red seeing level. What was that mantra?

“I loved you so much.” I said as I held her tighter. I rose above her, eclipsing her from the bedroom light and coating her in my darkness. It felt like forever that I was holding onto her… but it had barely been a minute. “Why did you do this to me?”

A question which received no answer.

My angel drifted from red to blue, much as I had. Blue like my soul and heart, a melancholy moment shared between us for different reasons. Please, baby, don’t leave me. She had her nails in me, so deep, keeping me here forever. She was inside of me and I dug in to try to get inside of her. Become one.

Crescents had formed on my forearms while my grip had been forged in her flesh. I knew she would be gone one way or another, I could see her legs already flailing … and knew if those feet found the ground she would be out of my life forever. Running. Only a memory.

I imagined what would happen if I let her go. I saw myself scouring her facebook page. Sitting at the B-O-L while she worked, watching the bartender stare at her ass. I saw fist shaped cracks in my walls. An apartment littered with empty bottle, horses fallen from, following her in the rain, I heard her name echoed off my walls, hair pulled from my scalp. I saw a prison of gray with color just beyond my bars, with life and love beyond my reach. She would never come back if I let her go, if my grip even slipped, it’d be over and I’d be taunted and teased forever.

I hated her. How could she do this to me? All the things I had ever done for her, I would have given my life for her. I would die a thousand times if she had only loved me as much as I had loved her. Why was this hurting me so much… Why?

She had removed her hands from my face and wrist some time ago. Her running in place had even ceased, but I did not notice. I held on. I held on until her hot flesh had become only warm.. Now I only had her lies… Her eyes… on me.

Lovely eyes. So soft. So empty.

Euphemism Campus Box 5555 Illinois State University Normal, IL 61790