We are lying on the floor, one half of a headset plugged in a ear each. J walked in to borrow a book from my bookshelf, turned, scowled at you and left. J has never liked you. Why should he? You never like the people who support the football teams you hate. That you are my best friend has never mattered to him. Very few things in the world matter to J.

But I think it worries him, how much I love you, how much of myself I invest in you. I don’t think he realizes that it works both ways, two-way street love. I believe you when you tell me you could do all those seemingly impossible things for me because you have in the past and it has never surprised me. J knows this. Yet, every time he sees you, he snorts and sighs like he prophesises that you will physically hurt me some day.

I wonder if it’s so painfully obvious how much you mean to me, even to my inattentive older brother. If I had a scale for how much you hurting me could break me, even the scale would be broken, broken like a broken me.

I grin at the twisted rhyme even as I know that it’s a possibility, a not-so-vague possibility. You’ve grown up with me. You know exactly what hurts and what comforts me. You know which buttons to press. You know which wounds are raw. You know everything, and there’s the trouble. Every time you upset me, it’s as if the cold fills my lungs and I can never feel happy again.

I know you’re capable of injuring me, not physically, no, but probably as much as a shard of ice piercing me in the heart. Maybe that’s where they got the idea of making those Whitewalkers from. They pierced their hearts with Dragonglass so the cold filled their hearts. And then they could never be warm again. They remained cold. Frigid, unyielding.

I will never say this to J or to you, but as much as a tiny fragment of my soul disintegrates every time you hurt me on purpose, I love you. I love you more than all the words I can ever write on paper to describe my love for you. I love you like a blind girl in a hailstorm. I love you too much for my own good. And as much as I love you, I know that one day, you’ve got to go away.

Because if I don’t send you away, I know you’ll be like that God from the cartoon we watched as kids; he ate whole worlds, moved on to his next meal and left only debris in his wake. That’s what you’ll do to me and to every one around you, because lashing out is all you’ve ever learned to do. Torn between helping you and myself, I hope I’ll choose myself because I cannot drown in my own sorrow for a lifetime.

Sometimes I hope none of that ever happens and by some miracle, you redeem yourself. But on the other days when I try to think as objectively as possible, I know I need to let you go. You’ll hurt, for a while, like an intravenous channel hurts, the first time it pierces your flesh and continues to while the fluid rushes into your body. But when you’re gone I know that all I’ll be is a little sore, but then sore is better than being cold. Frigid, unyielding. Like you.

You never told me what I ever did that turned you into the Whitewalker you’ve become.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Sanika Tillway’s story.