You’ll never know just exactly what you mean to me. And you know why? Because I’m too much of a fucking coward to tell you. Because I don’t think I’m worth love, and I’ve been too stupid to realize that was my problem this whole time. Too stupid to realize I was wrong.
I took a shitty situation and instead of making something meaningful with my life, I rolled over. I played dead. I let Caradon take everything that ever meant anything to me. I play at being strong, being a fighter. But I’m a coward.
I don’t know when I realized I loved you, but I remember all of a sudden being terrified of you. Like, honest to goodness terrified. Isn’t that weird? You’re like, the least aggressive person I’ve ever met (which isn’t hard if you know where I come from) but all of a sudden being around you made me weak and shaky, and I couldn’t look at you or else I would feel the need to turn and run as far as I could. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I chalk it up to not having experienced any sort of love in a very long time, but honestly, how is one supposed to understand the big wide world when she refuses to grow up? That’s my problem, really; not that I can’t love, because I obviously can. I loved my mother. I love our life, what we do. I even love you, although I can’t admit it. No, my problem is that I refuse to grow up and take accountability for my actions, and it’s seriously hindering my ability to live a normal life. That’s not your fault. It’s not my mother’s, it’s not even Caradon’s. It’s entirely mine.
I’ve learned that you can get addicted to pain. Not in a weird, sadistic way, although that is obviously possible as well. A person can be so hurt, so betrayed, so utterly lost in life that it’s the only way they know how to live, and it becomes a crutch. An addiction. I think that’s my problem, really. I think I would grow up if I could, but this crippling addiction won’t let me become the person I’m supposed to be. The person I should have been if my life had been normal, filled with love and laughter and learning and all those other important emotional developers. Instead I have the emotional depth of a puddle and a lack of maturity to go with it.
Ever since you came into my life, you’ve pushed me to be better – which is weird because we’re not very good people. But you make me look at life in a new way, and I think that I could possibly see myself growing up. Moving away from the pain, coming to terms with it, and actually doing something worthwhile. Is that strange? We’ve stolen, we’ve extorted, we’ve murdered – but still you make me want to be a better person. That must be the definition of love, right? You take me, all of me, the way I am, and you love me anyway. It’s pretty unfathomable to me because I haven’t had someone love me unconditionally in a very long time. But you do. And that’s terrifying.
I don’t know why I can’t tell you any of this. Obviously, you’d be thrilled, and you’d kiss me and we’d run off into the sunset like they do in all the stories. But I don’t think I want that. Do I want to make you happy? Of course. Do I want you to kiss me? More than I’ve wanted anything in my entire life. But if we cross the line – The Line, as it were – I have this terrifying, nagging, persistent feeling in my gut that it would just ruin everything. Our entire life, the world we’ve built for each other, with each other. Crossing The Line wouldn’t just take us a step further, it would destroy The Line. Demolish everything we’ve built on the other side, and we couldn’t ever go back. And you and me, right now, the way we are? We’re pretty perfect. The Line is there to protect us from the scary unknown, from crushing the only good thing I’ve ever had under the heel of Inevitability. I know we’ll end up together – all the stories say love conquers all – but I fight so hard against it because we won’t ever be the same. And I love the way we are, in this moment; it’s a simple sort of eternity if I keep putting off the next step. I don’t want that next step. Even as I want it with every fiber of my being, I don’t want it, because if we cross The Line, you’ll cease being the Lancer I love, the Lancer I fell in love with. You’ll become this New Lancer, and I don’t know who that will be, and it scares me. And I’ll be a New Aradia, and that scares me too. The only constant in my life, besides pain, has been myself. Before you, I could only rely on myself. And if I’m not myself anymore, then who am I? Who will we become if we change the very fabric of our relationship?
I should sleep; I can see the first twinges of pink on the horizon out this dingy tavern window. You’re curled up around a pillow next to me. I wonder if you know you hold my hand while you sleep. They say we are our truest selves while we sleep; I should have you watch me one night and tell me who I really am, but then I would have to admit to watching you sleep, and I can’t do that.
Because I’m a coward. And I love you.