by Alix St. Pierre
The painted lake stretches before us as the sun sinks, slow and heavy. A thick violet sky quivers at the seam where Heaven and Earth meet. This gentle coupling of rock and air reflects the slide of his fingers through mine. The dry warmth of his hand in mine acts as an anchor, and together, we watched the sun disappear. I look at him, and struggled to recall the boy who had raced me through adolescence. The boy who had drawn his name in wet cement and who I had built tree forts with in the summer. The kid who taught me never to trust a man, and who held me while I cried each time I forgot to listen. There was still an echo of that child in his eyes. It clung to him like the spice of his familiar cologne, and I knew that I loved him.
The sanctuary of his embrace is terrifying. I learned long ago that to love is to burn. If I were to ever lose him, I know that some part of me would never recover. So I hold him from a distance. My merciless heart wilts with his proximity and I withdraw. He's my forever, but I will never allow myself to cradle his face between my hands. I will never allow our lips to touch. The horizons of our profiles quiver at the seam where they meet. Heaven and Earth.