I couldn’t open my eyes…


I kissed her just once, behind the tree where no one would see us. Her hands in mine, our noses and cheeks red blushing in the blowing frost—we were no different than anyone else. I thought that. She thought that. They did not.

All at once, her body ripped away and someone’s fist kissed my face. I could hear her screaming as they dug into my ribs with their feet, a chorus of threats and promises, the usual daily dialogue.

“Freak!” I felt a bone in my face break as they pinned her down.

“We’ll make you straight!”

“You haven’t found the right guy.”

“You’re confused.” I heard her begging them to stop, someone smashed their boot against my nose. I couldn’t open my eyes and I wished they’d destroy my ears because amidst the blood pounding through my veins, the cracks in my bones, the jeers of “freak,” “fag,” and “lesbo.” All I hear is her sobbing.

They laid us in the ditch together, the snow burnt with our beating. I dragged my body over hers. Though any sort of warmth was bleeding out of me, I wanted to protect her…She needed to know that I—

“I’m sorry. God, I’m so sorry.” I’ll leave, I’ll pretend we never—

“…I know. I’m sorry too.”

I felt her smile into my lips, hot tears pouring from her eyes. And we lay here. And we won’t change, we won’t try. It’s her love that’ll keep me warm.



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