She counts his Scars while he sleeps. His chest rises and falls to a steady rhythm as his breath warms her body. His arms are wrapped around her snuggly, as not to crush her. He sleeps peacefully, while she doesn’t dare close her eyes.
She runs her fingers through his hair and inhales to take in his scent. She can’t believe he is actually here. Again. Surely she is dreaming. This is why she cannot sleep. She fears if she falls asleep she will awaken and this will all have been some horrible nightmare disguised as a dream.
She is blissfully tired. She loves the way his skin feels, so warm and soft next to hers. She is content in knowing he knew he could come back to her. She feels sorry for his pain and wants to heal all his wounds. She just doesn’t know what else to do but to show him love, understanding, patience, and as always, loyalty. She would lavish him with her body and her heart.
She gave him both so long ago. But, he didn’t treasure her gifts and ran away, either in fear or simply because he did not understand. He left her alone, broken, yet changed in a way no other man could have done. He didn’t know how much he hurt her when he left. Her pillow saw her tears more nights than it saw her dreams. When she did dream all she dreamed of was him.
He left some scars on her as well. These scars cannot be seen so easily. She did not know how strong this pain or this love was going to be. She wasn’t sure she still felt this strong about him. What was sure of, is that she never wanted to see him hurt again and that this time he would not leave her. He had come home. He trusted her. He felt safe and secure, as was evident in his peaceful slumber in her arms.
Sunbeams began to invade the room signaling the approach of a new day. She reluctantly and slowly slipped out of the bed, careful not to wake him. She threw on her robe and slippers and silently closed the door to her room behind her.
Coffee was always the first thing she did every morning. She started her pot and stared out the kitchen window. Today was the first day of the rest of their lives. She would be honest this time. She was hopeful that he was here to stay.
Her mind began to wonder how she would fit all this in with her new life. She would figure it out somehow. She had a job and responsibilities. She had bills and goals and she was also still in love with this man who had come back from the past to haunt her.
She felt the warmth of him as he slipped up behind her and wrapped his arms around her. His breath upon her neck made her quiver. His lips upon her ear made her knees weak. She turned and draped her arms around his neck as their mouths met and they shared a long, slow, good – morning kiss.
“Mmhh. Good Morning,Beautiful.” he whispered. He left kisses along her the nape of her neck and breathed slow warm breaths in her ear. She melted in his touch and felt so alive.
“Good Morning, Handsome.” she managed in response, barely able to breathe with him so close.
She felt him tense and pull away. She looked up into his eyes and saw the anger and hurt.
“Don’t do that !” he said between clinched teeth. “You know that is not true! You know I am a hideous monster! Don’t lie to me with that bullshit! You’re not blind, you can see perfectly well I am NOT handsome. I am disgusting!”
She reached out to hold him and he pulled back. She could see tears of anger, sadness, and self-pity in eyes and it pained her for him to feel this way.
“I’m sorry you feel this way. But, to me, you are the most beautiful person I have eer seen.You were a sight for sore eyes when you came in last night. I have missed you more than you will ever know. There was a hole in my heart while you were gone and I don’t care what has happened to you or how you look, you will always be what I want and who I want to see and wake up to for the rest of my life!” She was on the verge of tears as she said this. Never before, had she been able to let him know how deeply he affected her.
“You can say what you will, but I know the truth. I am an ugly disfigured monster. I still can’t believe you would say I am sight for sore eyes.I am sorry if I was a bit harsh a moment ago. I still haven’t adjusted to this, this- face.” He turned and began to fill his cup with coffee and had a seat at the kitchen table. She fixed herself a cup and sat down across from him.
” I know this a lot for you to have to deal with. But, you know you don’t have to go through this alone. I am here for you. I always have been. You should know that by now.”
“I know you always have been. That is why I came to you. You have always been a true friend and loyal to me. But, I DO have to go through this alone. You won’t be there holding my hand every day while strangers stare and gawk at what a hideous monster I have become. You won’t be the one constantly hiding his face when in public. Not that I plan on being out in public much. You don’t have horrible Scars covering your face and body. YOU don’t have to bare this pain of knowing you are no longer desirable to the world…” he sighed and bowed his head.
“I WILL feel the pain. I feel your pain now. Don’t you understand how I feel? I feel the pain you feel and it hurts me to know this hurts you so much. I want to hold you, I want to shield you. I want to protect you from cruel strangers. I want to teach you how to cope and I want to love you always and forever. I thought you understood that? You didn’t understand it before, but we were young and you were still sewing your wild oats. But we have always had this connection. I feel your pain. I love you , DAMMIT, don’t you finally see that?”
He lifted his head and looked in her eyes. He saw them holding back tears. She didn’t truly understand how he felt. She couldn’t. No one could. The accident had left him with a face not even a mother could love. This woman was always there for him no matter what he asked of her and he could never understand why. She was ready to do anything he asked no matter the cost. Why would any one human being do this for another? It made no sense to him then and none now.
It was always so easy with her. She mothered him and she babied him and gave him her time, her attention, and her body so easily. If he needed to vent, she listened. If he needed food, she fed him. If he needed to be satisfied her body did the trick so effortlessly. She was too easy. She was not a challenge. She was not as exhilarating as the others.
The others may not have been as experienced or as good with their bodies, but the thrill of changing their minds always excited him. He felt so alive when he had conquered another. With her, there was no conquering. She was his captive and would do anything for him.
Sure, she was exquisite with her expertise. No other woman could make his body feel the way she made it feel. This could be why he had always come back or kept her around. This is why he felt tied, or tethered to her back then. This is also why he had left. She had become too close and wanted too much. He would never be able to give her what she wanted or what she felt she needed from him.
He never understood the way she looked at him. He didn’t think he would ever understand this. The only thing he understood now was pain and anger. He would never be the same. He would never again be the man he was before. The man who could have what he wanted because he wasn’t afraid to put forth the effort. His manhood was gone. She made him feel better last night. But, she could never give him the boost he longed for and missed. She could not give him what he had before the accident.
She had never directly told him how she felt. Not even years before. He knew she loved him, unless he was blind. She was loyal, trustworthy and he could always count on her. She was the best friend and best lover any man could want. Her body ached to please him in any way it could, and so did her heart. How could she help him this time? He truly wanted, or needed the help. Why else would he have come back to her?
The familiar pains in her chest began to start and she slowed her breathing so as not to panic.She hurt for him, and was hoping this hurt was also not for herself as well.She fought back tears as the bliss she felt this morning was beginning to fade.
His silence and strange look in his eyes was causing her anxiety to well up. She was hoping to get through to him and at the same time was thinking again she was up against another brick wall, which seemed to be common in their peculiar relationship.
“I know you would do anything for me. I always have. You have been one of the best friends I have ever had. You just can’t begin to understand the anger and pain I am feeling now. You don’t have to live with these scars as a constant, painful, reminder of what your life used to be”
“Pain?” It was a question, and not a mere response. “You think I don’t know pain?” She could feel her own pain, entwined with anger, building up inside of her.”I know pain is not always a physical one. I know pain is this horrible demon that can fester inside of you until you are nothing more. It changes people and it causes you to be careful of what caused it in the first place. How do you think I felt when you left? ”
He started to fidget in his seat as her voice began to rise. He was unfamiliar and uncomfortable at her growing anger. He had never seen her this way before. Time had obviously changed her, as well, and it was a bit unnerving.
“I felt as though my heart had actually been ripped apart. My chest ached with every breath I took. I could not concentrate on anything. My head throbbed from thinking of you every day and every night. I lost countless hours of sleep wondering what I did wrong to make you not want me! I have never felt so low, lonely, and less of a woman as I have when you left! I did everything for you within my power to show you how I feel. All I did was hurt and cry and you want to tell me I don’t know what pain is? How dare you! How dare you come in here and not understand that I completely fell apart! Didn’t your accident teach you anything!”
She was shocked at her outburst. She had never been this way toward him. He was just as shocked. His eyes seemed to show sadness and a pity she was not sure she liked.
“Don’t you ask me if the accident taught me anything! ” He whispered but his anger was boiling just below the surface.” You don’t know anything about what the accident taught me. I learned that I am no longer the man I used to be. I know that I will never be what I once was. I have no reason to be happy about anything anymore. I have no motivation.”
His voice was booming now and he spit the anger and words with intensity she had never seen before, “Who are you to be angry with me for not feeling pain. I feel pain every day and not just the physical kind. How dare you be angry at me when it was you I came to see! You should be grateful I came back here, but of course you aren’t because I am not the same man that left, just this monstrous shell of what used to be. You have become just like all the others! I thought you were different! You have NO reason to be angry with me.You never have before, I cannot fathom why all of a sudden it should be any different! Last night was the first time in a long time that I felt halfway like a man, and here you are making me feel like less of one!”
The tears began to fall from her eyes and the words were on the tips of her lips but, she was afraid to voice her concerns. She couldn’t let this fear stop her. He had to know that she loved him. He had to know how she felt. He had to know that she would have walked through hell and danced with demons to make him happy. But the only thing he seemed to know was how he was feeling. Not how she felt.
She was beginning to see that he had never understood how she felt, nor had he cared. He didn’t care now. He didn’t want her. He wanted her to make him feel better. He never had or never would care how she felt.
“So that is why you came back?” She fumed as she stood up. ” You just wanted another stroke of your ego? Is this all you think life is about? Is this why you always chased skirts? It boosted your ego and made you feel manly? Was that all last night was about? You just wanted me to make you feel manly again? I am your FRIEND! Or at least I have always tried to be. You don’t know what that means, You have no friends or know how to be one. This is evident in the fact that you had to come back to me to see if I could make you feel better. How dare you think that you are the only one who has scars? ”
Her anger and hurt and pain boiled over and she could no longer look at him. She didn’t see the scars on his face. She saw the ugly, demented, soul he had become, or had always been. Perhaps she was always blinded to this evil, selfish, confused man. She used to see the potential he had. Had hoped he would eventually live up to it. He had so many other qualities but he was stuck on how others made him feel. Was he truly incapable of understanding how others felt?
” Don’t tell me about scars!” He challenged as he fought back tears.
“NO!” She yelled vehemently “Don’t YOU, tell ME about Scars . Not all Scars are as obvious as yours. Sometimes they are in your soul. Sometimes your heart breaks so much that it stitches itself up and is left with Scars that no one sees. Try hiding that pain! Try hiding the hole inside your heart from the whole world. Try putting a smile on your face when the person you love most in the world is telling you about another adventure with some two-bit whore! Try going on with your life when the person you love with ALL of your tattered heart leaves and doesn’t come back. Try giving your all to someone realizing your effort is fruitless. The pain you are feeling now is a selfish pain. The pain you feel is a self-inflicted, pathetic pain that only a selfish bastard would feel. You don’t know true pain. You don’t a thing! Big deal your ego is bruised or hurt and you aren’t what you used to be. Maybe it’s time for you to be more than just a man whore. Perhaps you should consider other people’s feelings and emotions. You should take this pain and learn from this. My scars are just as important as yours. You just can’t see mine. And the horrible thing is you put mine here. YOU gave me this pain! You are so incapable of understanding how I feel ! I feel for you. I feel your pain and mine and my scars will haunt me forever, just as yours will. But, I will have to suffer my pain in silence and no one will see how badly I am hurt!”
She ran from the room and slammed the door to her bedroom. She hoped he would leave. She no longer hoped he would learn. She just wanted this ache to stop. She was tired of the pain. She never wanted to see him again. He had never learned. It was possible he never would. She was certain that unless he made the effort on his own, there was no one else in this world who would take the time to teach this man the joy and value of love. No one would ever feel for him the way she did. He would never be as lucky to have someone this loyal.
He was in shock. He never understood how a person could put so much energy into another human being. Sure, he put effort into his conquests, but this wasn’t the same. She used to be easy. Easy to get along with. Easy to talk to. Easy please him. This time was so different. She scared him. Hell, she had always scared him.
He packed his things and put on his jacket. He left her a good bye note. He no longer felt welcome here. He had hurt her. How ironic, he thought to himself. I had been so afraid of getting hurt, that I hurt her.
He pushed back the tears, pulled the hood up on his jacket closed the door behind him. He was just going to face this alone.Now his sadness had grown. He knew her Scars were far worse than the ones he wore across his face. He knew she could have faced him in all his hideousness but, he could no longer look her into her eyes and be reminded of the pain he had constantly caused her. He was ashamed. He would forever bare this burden.