Date: 1/7/05
Rating: B/J - not rated - sorta angsty
Authors notes: Not beta’d. Many thanks to Rhiannonhero anyway. Although this isn't the story she read,it is the story that popped out. Feedback is more than welcome.
Disclaimer: all for fun

I remember my Mother, slumped in her chair; head in one hand, glass of whiskey in the other. Voice sliding between vitriolic hatred and lamenting self-pity. Telling me “look what I do for you” “what I put up with for you”. Telling me how she bore the brunt of his anger. Telling me how I must always remember her pain. And I heard: You owe me. Love is sacrifice. Love hurts.

And I felt powerless and ashamed.

My father, hands heavy on my head and shoulder, slobbering into my face, “We’re buddies you and me, Sonny Boy”. Reversed suddenly by some unknown wrong-doing. “Get out of my face you little ass-hole”. “You’ll never be man enough to take me”. Listening to him rail against the bad fortune that had him stuck here with “the General and these fucking brats”. And I heard: Love is a burden. Love steals your life. Love is a cage.

And I felt angry and trapped.

And then there was Michael. A refuge, safe haven. Someone who saw me and not a cross to bear or a ball and chain. And he told me “You’re my best friend” “I love you” “We’re brothers”. But there was something else. I could feel his expectation silently telling me…your friendship isn’t enough…I want more than you’re giving. And I heard: Love is unrequited. Love is martyrdom. Love is lonely and filled with empty longing.

And I felt guilty and a disappointment.

Debbie, snapping her gum, hugging me, cuffing me, taking me in. Telling me “I love you like a son” “Your parents are ass-holes” “You have a home here”. But always the other messages “You’re selfish” “I’m watching you” “Don’t hurt Michael”. And I heard: Love is conditional. Love is impermanent. Love is qualified.

And I felt undeserving and indebted.

And then I met Justin. Who wouldn’t give up. Who imagined me better than who I was. Who withstood adversity and emerged more beautiful. Who is brave and smart and talented. Who left me because I wasn’t who he wanted and who came back because I am. Who handles my body like it’s sturdy and my heart like it’s fragile. And I hear: I get you. I love you the way you are. You are perfect in my eyes.

And I feel forgiven. Washed clean. Important. Worth it.

And I know now that love makes you hope. Love makes you feel. Love makes you risk.

And I say “Move in with me…”