She smiled at him again.
To be frank, he felt a bit embarrassed that he even remembered it, but it was no use trying to stop noticing these things.
When they were together it was night impossible to not read into every one of her actions.
Not when every glance, every reddening of her cheeks, every sweet little giggle of hers made his heart constrict in a way he'd never experienced before.
If he was being perfectly honest, there were many things he'd never experienced before he met her.
He'd never experienced happiness the way he did when she laughed hard enough she'd cry at some stupid joke he'd made.
He'd never experienced fear the way he did when he lay awake at night, unable to convince himself that he'd ever speak to her again.
He'd never felt love the way he did when she smiled at him so beautifully.
Love was an odd one. He still wasn't sure if it'd be accurate to classify it as an emotion. It felt like it was more than that.
More than some fleeting seabird that could come and go as it pleased.
Love, he thought, was more like the sea itself. The waves came and went, but they never truly disappeared. They only lay dormant. Still visible.
And the sea was turbulent and beautiful and terrifying.
It was a difficult day, the one where he realized what that felt like. He could see her even now, lying on her side as he regaled her with some tale from his youth.
Her smile was brilliant that day. She'd begun a conversation with him in the middle of his story, as she was prone to do. He could never bring himself to be irritated, though.
He was all too happy to entertain her, and hours had often passed by the time he'd finally had the chance to finish his story.
"Let's say," she'd said, "That in order to save the love of your life you'd have to kill yourself." She'd looked at him cockily, as though challenging him to defy her expectations.
"Of course," he'd said. "I would do anything for you."
And her smile had died.
Vicious, violent thoughts raced through his head whenever he saw them together.
A more just and rational part of him knew that it was only an attempt at utilizing his emotions in a proactive way, but he didn't pay it any mind.
Eventually, the only thing he knew anymore was that the sight of them together made him want to vomit.
His chest constricted in that way it did whenever she was present. Her smile was tainted. That smile that was once for him now illuminated another man’s life. That made him want to vomit, too.
“Enough,” he whispered. The empty beer bottles on the ground did not respond. Defiance proved fruitless, and the tears he tried so hard to keep at bay spilled forth. No. They didn’t spill.
They crashed. Like waves upon a jagged rock, they sent him sprawling onto the ground. "Enough."
Reaching for the knife, he stilled. It felt like a cruel joke. Even now, he didn't want to hurt her. After every single thing he's experienced because of her.
Maybe that was the reason he didn't want to cause her pain in the first place. He stilled. He found a paper and wrote.
And in case she refused to believe his final words, he tried to ease her worries. He wrote.
Still, I love her.