Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night. Very dark, but there were stars — points of light and reason … And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliancy, there was beauty. When you were gone, when the meteor had fallen over the horizon, everything went black. Nothing had changed, but my eyes were blinded by the light. I couldn’t see the stars anymore. And there was no more reason for anything.
I promise that this will be the last time you’ll see me. I won’t come back. I won’t put you through anything like this again. You can go on with your life without any more interference from me. It will be as if I’d never existed.
Don’t worry. You’re human — your memory is no more than a sieve. Time heals all wounds for your kind.
I won’t forget. But my kind … we’re very easily distracted.
That’s everything, I suppose. We won’t bother you again.
Exactly. But I never imagined it would be so easy to do! I thought it would be next to impossible — that you would be so sure of the truth that I would have to lie through my teeth for hours to even plant the seed of doubt in your head. I lied, and I’m so sorry — sorry because I hurt you, sorry because it was a worthless effort. Sorry that I couldn’t protect you from what I an. I lied to save you, and it didn’t work. I’m sorry.
But how could you believe me? After all the thousand times I’ve told you I love you, how could you let one word break your faith in me?
I could see it in your eyes, that you honestly believed that I didn’t want you anymore. The most absurd, ridiculous concept — as if there were any way that I could exist without needing you!
You will always be the most beautiful thing in my world. Of course …” He hesitated, flinching slightly. “If you outgrew me — if you wanted something more — I would understand that, Bella. I promise I wouldn’t stand in your way if you wanted to leave me.
His eyes were liquid onyx and utterly sincere. He spoke as if he’d put endless amounts of thought into this asinine plan.
I waited for the numbness to return, or the pain. Because the pain must be coming. I’d broken my personal rules. Instead of shying away from the memories, I’d walked forward and greeted them. I’d heard his voice, so clearly, in my head. That was going to cost me, I was sure of it. Especially if I couldn’t reclaim the haze to protect myself. I felt too alert, and that frightened me.
But relief was still the strongest emotion in my body — relief that came from the very core of my being.
As much as I struggled not to think of him, I did not struggle to forget. I worried — late in the night, when the exhaustion of sleep deprivation broke down my defenses — that it was all slipping away. That my mind was a sieve, and I would someday not be able to remember the precise color of his eyes, the feel of his cool skin, or the texture of his voice. I could not think of them, but I must remember them.
Because there was just one thing that I had to believe to be able to live — I had to know that he existed. That was all. Everything else I could endure. So long as he existed.
But if I were to go to Jacksonville, or anywhere else bright and unfamiliar, how could I be sure he was real? In a place where I could never imagine him, the conviction might fade … and that I could not live through.
Forbidden to remember, terrified to forget; it was a hard line to walk.
Time began to trip alone much more quickly than before. School, work, and Jacob — though not necessarily in that order — created a neat and effortless pattern to follow. And Charlie got his wish: I wasn’t miserable anymore. Of course, I couldn’t fool myself completely. When I stopped to take stock of my life, which I tried not to do too often, I couldn’t ignore the implications of my behavior.
I was like a lost moon — my planet destroyed in some cataclysmic, disaster-movie scenario of desolation — that continued, nevertheless, to circle in a tight little orbit around the empty space left behind, ignoring the laws of gravity.
I didn’t keep track of the days :hat passed — there was no reason, as I tried to live as much in the present as possible, no past fading, no future impending. So I was surprised by the date when Jacob brought it up on one of our homework days.
I trust you, It’s me I don’t trust.I don’t trust myself to be … enough. To deserve you. There’s nothing about me that I could hold you.