The only one with a hard due date is the sci-fi piece and I'm hoping to have it completed by the end of the month. Keeping Faith is an M/M/M drama/thirller and will be the longest of the group at an estimated 90k. Leap of Faith I'm reworking from the existing short story which is currently 9k. I'm keeping the first chapter and expanding it to around 40k. I'm also considering renaming it to When You're Not Listening.
There was a flash fiction piece that I wanted to make into a story this year,
Anyone who tells you that walking away is easier is a liar. And those who heckle you for doing so, with their snide comments about cowards, yeah, well, fuck you. What do they know about it? Nothing.
When someone you love is hurt, scarred inside and out, they change. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. Sometimes so much that the person they used to be is no longer there and a stranger looks out at you from their yes.
Life it's not like in the books where love conquers all if you just persevere. One day your partner is fine, and the next, the trauma slowly steals them from you until the only things left are memories. One day you are everything they ever want, and the next there is nothing about you they like or need. It seems suddenly you're not enough and your love can't fix it. That's not how it works in the real world. I have learned that love, it fixes nothing. Pouring your love into a relationship or a person gets you nowhere.
I thought if I stay long enough this trauma would pass and we would have a deeper, stronger relationship, because we're soul mates, aren't we? I mean, that's what we said, what he said. I believed him—right up to the end when Adam burned all my belongings on the front lawn.
Six months earlier
I had come home and all the things Adam thought I cared about, he had set fire to making an illegal bonfire in the front yard of our condo. The neighbors stood on their porches and the street curb watching in rapt fascination as Adam burned me out of his life. I had continued to believe there would be an us. I had thought that one day he would heal.
He stood off to the side watching the fire with no expression, occasionally he'd squirt the blaze with lighter fluid, kicking the flame up.
"What are you doing?"
Adam took a drag off his cigarette, a habit he'd picked up after the night that fucked up our lives.
"I told you to get out. I don't want you here anymore." He kicked a duffle bag toward me. "If you don't take this and leave, I'll torch it too."
On one hand, I was stunned. I didn't want to believe he could, and yet, he did. He stared at me with eyes so full of anger and hate. There was animosity in his words, it seemed to be a constant nowadays, but I could always read his eyes. They never matched the behavior he used to sometimes lash out at me. But this time was different; the hate wasn't only in his words but in his eyes as well and directed solely at me. Seeing that look took my fucking heart out.
"Why?" I choked. I'd done everything the doctors had said I should, every goddamn thing and none of it helped.
"Because every time I look into your face, you remind me. I'm sick of it. I've done everything I can to get you to leave. I made your life fucking hell, and you hung on like a bull dog, like you believed every stupid line I ever told you. So I'm making sure you hear me loud and clear. Take the bag and get the fuck out of my life." Adam flicked the butt of the cigarette and it bounced off my chest before he strode up the walk and sat on the porch chair, lighting up a new cigarette.
Numbly, I picked up the duffle bag and hefted it to my shoulder. I didn't remember how long I simply stood there, waiting for God knows what.
"If you don't get off the front lawn, I'm calling the fucking cops." Adam called from the porch.
Every step I took tore a piece of my heart out. The hard pavement under my feet, the cool night air, nothing really registered. That neighborhood had been home to the both of us for several years. It bordered my favorite strip of ocean but I noticed none of it as I left, putting it behind me. Everything that I loved was gone and I had nothing left.
So once again, I did what Adam wanted, and I left.
See, trauma affects everybody differently. Some of us just show it more than others. So while Adam burned me out of his life, I would walk him out of mine. Because, you see, Adam hadn't been alone when he was drugged and attacked. Everything that happened to him—yeah, it happened to me too. I had done everything I could to be there for him because there was no one who could be there for me. But I couldn't save him, not then, and not now. So go ahead. Judge me for leaving, for not sticking it out to a happy ever after. Walking away wasn't easy, even when it was the last thing I could do for him.
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