We’re at crossroads. Thousands of vehicles with their incessant honking and blaring lights pass us by. But I guess that’s how it always has been: you running your hand through my hair, and laughing when it gets stuck, laughing that loud throaty laugh that is so dissimilar to your grunts and growls and your hands stuck on my face that changes my life and realigns my priorities every time it happens. You and I, standing at the crossroads waiting for the other to move.
I’ve always disguised my feelings for you, arguing with myself every time I do that. You ought to know how I feel, you ought to know how you make me feel. But I just can’t and it breaks me. I guess that’s why I’m an actor, after all. My performances transfer from stage to screen to life, just to entertain. You, them, everyone. So I keep mum. I show off a mask. A cold, iron mask. Fire can’t burn me till I’ve got my mask. So what if I’m burning from inside? As long as noone sees it. And I keep mum, and laugh at old jokes, and cry when it’s expected, and get angry when it’s appropriate.
I remember being love struck the first time I met you. I was 18, and you were 20. I was in my sundress and you looked like you rolled out of a black and white photograph, with your hair all tousled, in your grey tee, and your black jeans, and your leather jacket carelessly just put around your shoulders, holding a cigarette in your mouth, smirking at nothing in particular, as you lean against the wall. Damn, I remember thinking, you’ll be the Delilah to my Samson. I didn’t know then that I’ll tire out of your cigarette burnt lips and your ash-ridden tongue. I didn’t know that you’d quit smoking just for me.
I didn’t know that it’d be your face I see the first thing every birthday for the next five years, and I didn’t know that it’d be your hands that steady me every time I fall. I didn’t know that it’d be your eyes that motivate me to work harder- how they light up every time I crack a joke, or darken every time my character kisses another, or how they start swimming in unshed tears everytime my character dies- and no award, no recognition ever ever motivates me as much as those do- grey orbs floating their way through a crowd of faces, before settling for mine.
But I guess that’s why I break every time you touch me. That’s probably why my heart beats faster when I see you staring at my face in a crowd. I guess that’s why my throat elicits a cacophony every time I see your lips narrow. It’s because I know what will happen when we reach home.
I don’t know why, how, or when. But I fell for your lies and your excuses. And I cannot tear myself away from you. And when that popular magazine called us the couple of the year, I don’t know why I accepted those thorny roses from you. That’s what it was- our relationship: thorns with a couple of roses stitched together, and that’s all everyone saw. Beautiful roses. But I and only I saw the deadly thorn in between.
So I tell myself that the next time we meet again, I will tell you. I will not let words unspoken or be understood in silence. I will tear away my mask and end up shattered, body, soul and all. I will not let your hard fingers ruin my mascara, or even touch my face. I will not let you leave fingerprints on my face, and I will not let you kill me from the inside out. Because baby, I’m a shipwreck, and you are my constant distraction.