I’m the cause of this situation.
I took a long deep breath to calm myself down just so I would not start hyperventilating in front of him. The fear that overtook my whole being at the thought of my father finding me and watching our every move while circling the house like a predator before finally coming to get me was enough to send me reeling into a panic attack. I focused on taking deep breaths in and out through the mouth, feeling the air slowly filling my chest and belly and then slowly leaving them again. I breathe in for a count of four, holding for a second before breathing out for a count of four. I kept repeating ‘everything will be okay’ in my head over and over again to take away the fear that my father might have been here just now.
I closed my eyes and focused on Ryder’s strong arm flexing around my lower back as he held himself up against the wall. I grasped on his shirt, feeling the material in my hands and couldn’t help sighing at the softness of it, feeling myself come around. I heard Ryder’s uneven breathing as his hard toned chest heave in and out under my hands. ‘I’m safe’, I thought of Ryder as my protection and breathed in his faint cologne letting it envelop me completely.
I opened my eyes and caught him staring right back at me. My eyes studied his sweaty forehead and face before stopping at his bleeding lip. He winced when a drop of sweat dripped down to his busted lip. I can’t bring him into my mess. This is enough. I don’t want people to suffer because of me. I can’t bear it. As long as I’m the only one suffering at the expanse of my troubles, I’m okay. Even though it’ll be more hard keeping it all to myself, I’ll be okay. But pulling someone else into it, is something I won’t be able to even foresee. I can’t just pull him in my fight. I admit that I should be the only one facing it despite of how frightening it might get. I should be the one fighting it. I can’t though. I’m incapable to face it. I need time but that’s the only thing that I can’t hope on because time is unpredictable. Well, it’s been so for me.
Frustrated at myself, streaming tears cleansed my already drenched cheeks at the sudden revelation. Few droplets remained, forgetting their way as the path was swept from beneath them at being exposed to the chilled wind that blew through the wide opened windows of the room. The freshness that it brought over my cold cheeks froze the tears that followed. The warmness that those new tears brought along made me shiver before feeling that same keen cool bite again. As I met Ryder’s eyes once again, my vision got blurry as I was hit with waves of sadness. I was a broken mess and Ryder simply stared at me with an unreadable look on his tired face. His hold on me tightened though, maybe as a reassurance and a reminder that he’s right there for me. He maintained the silence that filled up the atmosphere, more focused on controlling his uneven breath.
It wasn’t the same kind of silence that I was always used to. This silence was not weighing me down, preventing me from breathing in peace or closing in on me. Instead, I had more than enough space to breath in peace and I felt comfortable around such silence. It was something I’ve been searching for. It was foreign but it was bringing in a sense of conformity. It was a feeling that I had before my mother left me which was only returning now. With Ryder.
“Are you okay?“, he asked, breaking the silence. I nodded but he just emitted a long, deep audible breath in relief before slowly pulling me in a hug. My chin rested on his left shoulder. This is the first time someone’s invading my personal space, hugging me in a gentle way. His gentle touch on my arms as his fingertips grazed my skin in a gentle way. I’ve never been hugged before. Since my mom left, I’ve been craving someone’s shoulders to cry on but there was no one. I’ve always been alone.
I’ve been hugged as a child by my parents, my friends but everyone turned their backs on me since that day. I was left on my own, no one to share my feelings with. Even though I was feeling grateful for this hug, I couldn’t help feeling the unfamiliar feeling that it brought along. The same unfamiliar feeling that I’ve been feeling ever since I met Ryder. I pressed my upper body into his, relaxing and folding completely into his arms. My heart was still pounding but not due to the panic that was triggered just minutes ago. It was at our closeness. Our torsos, chests and stomachs were pressed to each other. I bet he could feel my heartbeats but being this close, there’s no way he could perceive mine when his is still pounding like crazy.
The unfamiliar feeling overrides my being but I let the warmth that it had to offer envelop me. The flutter that erupted once in a while in my heart made me gasp but after a while, I just closed my eyes. I surrendered to that feeling and let it control me while I savoured the moment that I’ve been waiting for, for years. The moment of someone holding me while I cried. The salty release calmly flowed into my mouth as I choked at the emotion that wrecked my heart into two, releasing every emotion that I had kept hidden there. I could taste my own sorrow.
There was no need to say anything or to break the silence that once again filled the atmosphere. I sobbed quietly, my body shaking uncontrollably while he held me as I let everything out. To some extent, I thought that he would push me away for wetting his shirt but he did not. I was left reminiscing and indulging in my past, the memories flooding back into my head. Bitter. Unforgiving. Pain. And for once, I ignored my unverified future and tightened my hold around Ryder’s shoulders and neck while his arms wrapped themselves firmly around my waist.