Through These Eyes: The Amazing Shadows


It’s so hot he’s naked, this heartbroken boy, curled up on his bed, hands on his stomach, wrenching out his pain. It’s a breathtaking pain, you know, that’ll make you stutter and gasp for air. His voice trembles when he talks to himself. “Stop crying,” he whispers. He wants to vomit, but he can’t.

And there’s his stupid phone sitting on his stupid nightstand. His phone brought on all this, where there are text messages stored from earlier in the day. Unhappy messages solidifying what should’ve happened some time before. Messages that list reasons to break up, and the boy in his bed knows they should, but only his boyfriend is brave enough to execute.

The phone, it’s the thing of recorded memories. First Message Ever: “It was nice meeting you,” dated nine months before. And since then the phone recorded times when butterflies fluttered, when the first dates were made, when dreams were swapped.

He reads the message that says, “We shouldn’t be together. It’s better for both of us” and his heart sinks. His lungs fill with fluid. Suddenly he is drowning. And he sees what once upon a time was their future: he sees himself looking into his boyfriend’s eyes, sharing their vows, putting rings on their fingers, moving into a home, buying a dog. He sees in this text message lawns mowed, dinners cooked, children raised, love made. He sees what they say you see just before you die: He sees all his life before him in a single burst so bright that it makes him cry…

I am not an affectionate person.

It’s partly why this all happened.

I am a hypocrite. I write about silly, romantic things. I write about living loud and loving deep. On paper, I wish I lived this way. But I’m an impostor. I can’t execute in real life the romance in my mind. I stand on my soapbox and scream to you sappy messages of intimate bliss, and all the while I can’t find the courage in me to live my words.

I am self-absorbed. I’ve had always this hunger for everyone to like me–an unrealistic, egotistical want if ever there was one. And I’m too aloof for even a try.

“Maybe it’s because you’ve felt no affection,” a shrink once told me. Yes, Maybe, I think, and I think I can’t be the only one (am I?).

I can think that there are three people in my family who ever showed me any affection, who ever made me feel wanted. Two of them are dead, and I’ve never had chance to spend much time with the third. Everyone else seemed ambivalent to my existence, Dad included.

Mom died when I was 11, and thereafter I was raised as the butt of too many pranks, too many cruel words, too much degradation, from the people I depended on as “guardians.” I was a nuisance with no friends. For seven years after Mom died, no one in the world wanted me, or so I felt (and how pitifully self-absorbed is that?).

In college, I fell into an abusive relationship. The bastard showed me enough affection to keep me at his side, but to him I was a dog, submissive and pitiful. I was something to have dominion over, something to own. Cruelty knew my name then as never it had before.

Then he came along, my second boyfriend, to remind me about happiness. He took me on dates, bought me flowers, held me at night, gave me my kisses. And we’ve broken up…

So there’s now this boy on his bed, wrenching out his pain, having been unable to show affection to the man who was the first to show affection to him.

But the boy has real friends and the boy has seen affection. What once was a dark, wretched, affection-less station in life is shown now to be mere shadows in the face of first light.

When we realize that our scars are shadows, we remember shadows require light.

And your shadows… Have you seen them?

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