What I’m doing now- it could be called a ‘defense mechanism,’ if you wanted to be a shrink.
I have never seen a shrink, unlike both of my siblings. My parents don’t seem to find the need (or the money) in my case. But I'm not complaining.
A defense mechanism.. such an antiseptic phrase. Harsh, decisive, devoid of any human emotion whatsoever. "It’s just a defense mechanism"- not my personality, not anything to do with me, really.
A phase of teen angst.
Call it what you want. But wouldn’t sugarcoating be considered a defense mechanism, too? Wouldn’t life itself be a defense mechanism? There is not a moment in our lives when we are not defending ourselves. Everything we do is a form of protection.
He thinks this is a defense mechanism. He thinks I'm pushing him away. And he's absolutely correct.
"Harriet, you've been... I don't know. You have never acted this way before... what is going on with you?" His eyes can't even find mine. "Something at home?"
He wets his lips, and I stare at his tongue, captured between his bright teeth for that one moment. He starts getting all shifty.
"No. Why are you so nervous?" I cock my head to one side, imperceptibly.
His brow furrows over his eyes angrily, accentuating their soft brown hue, almost amber in the right light. "I'm not." He sighs, looking over to the left at the empty football stadium.
We've been talking for an hour, but we haven't gotten anywhere.
"Henry, get a grip. I will not love you, I can't lie. That would hurt you worse than anything else in the end. I'm sorry."
Every one of his muscles stiffens. Whether it's because of anger, or sadness, or just another cold gust of winter air, I'm not sure. But I lean forward, kiss his cheek gingerly, and whisper, "You are a sweet boy, and you can find someone much better than me."
The shiver-inducing wind shakes his wavy hair. He wraps his arms across his chest.
"We're still great friends," I say as I begin to walk away. "And that is better than anything else."
He looks at me, disappointed, and then at the ground. No tears, though.
Even if he's hurt, it isn't so bad. He'll realize that in a week or two.
Once he feels better, he'll tell me. He'll probably feel the need to let me know just how better off he is.
Henry will feel on top of the world, in just a little amount of time. A negligible amount of time, compared to the rest of his life.
Just wait-you'll see.