22nd pageMature

“Are you alright?” He sounded concerned.

“Why did you do that?”

“I thought you could use a distraction from those thoughts of yours.”

“Oh. I forgot you knew about that.”

“It's nothing to be ashamed of. We all have them, right?”

“If that's true, then why do people try and convince others they don't?”

“Because they're afraid of their own weakness and self-doubt. They'd rather be around those who push away the fact of their cruel reality with ignorance. It's much easier to not swim against the current, you know what I mean?”

“Yes, I can see how you'd come to that conclusion.” I nodded slowly, pondering his words.

He seemed distracted as he looked away and looked deep in thought once more. I inched away from him and bent over to pick up some snow in my hands. Darek still had his attention elsewhere when I threw it at his coat in probably the most clumsy way I'd ever done anything. His expression lifted when he brushed it off.

“Don't put it down my back. Or...I'll do much worse next time.” I said awkwardly.

“Oh, really? What ever could that be?”

“I feel like I'm being mocked.”

“And indeed you are.”

“I should've done more than just throw it at your coat.”

“There's this feeling I can't shake. It's telling me that your threats might be empty.”

“What do you honestly expect?” I looked away.

“Nothing, I guess. If anything, I want to see you happy.”

“Why the hell would you want that?”

“Because I bet you have a nice smile.” He grinned innocently.

“How...meaningless.” I said as I struggled to form the words.

“I doubt you'd see it the same way I do. To know that the one person that I was able to share that particular interest with, was right here all this time, is rather surprising.”

“How would someone like you enjoy such a hobby?”

“Someone like me?”

“Nevermind. Forget I said that.” I turned my back to him again.

“You think I'm just one of them, right? That I'm going to judge you the same way? And pretend that I've never felt anything like you?”

“It would be easier if you were.”

“Blake, I'm not one of them. If I could only get the chance to prove it to you.”

“I am not sure what I see when I look at you.”

He walked over and stood in front of me, his expression serious. I watched him carefully as he came in closer and gently held my face in both of his hands. Of course, this had all happened before I'd thought to back away.

“What do you see now?”

“I...” The words wouldn't come.

“Don't think. Just say whatever comes to your mind.”

“There's...someone maybe a bit like myself. Only, he seems to embrace life rather than hide from it. Maybe it's because he doesn't need to.”

He slowly let go, his expression remained unchanged.

“I have many reasons. I just figured that I should try to focus on why I chose to be out here in the first place, other than listen to whatever's saying to hide.”

The End

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