I walked back to the apartment with him, in a daze. He was so silent, walking beside me. He looks...different. He's cut his hair, and his face is clean-shaven. He looks younger, somehow, more vulnerable. Maybe it's just my mind playing cat and mouse with me, but there's something almost frail about him.
I showed him inside, offered to take his jacket, and... He smiled at me. It was just like the smiles he put on when we had that fight, when he broke up with me. The kind where you smile because it's the only thing you can do to keep yourself from breaking apart. It's a lie, like any other. It's an illusion, come into existence simply to mask another, much more sinister set of emotions. Doubt, fear, pain, distrust...
He doesn't trust me anymore. His eyes were so open, and his smile was so frail, so fake... I never thought anything about him could be fake... Is this how he sees me now? Fake? A fraud?
"Don't do that," I told him, turning my back on him to hang his jacket by the door.
"Do what?" he replied. He sounded honestly confused. I couldn't look at him right then and there. He was just too...too different, not indifferent enough, too fake.
"Don't smile at me when...when you don't mean it."
His hand touched my hand. His warmth, seeping into my back in spite of the silence, the doubt, wedged between us like an abyss. His hand is the same. His voice is the same, and his eyes haven't changed one bit, no matter how innocent they may seem. He isn't innocent. No one is innocent, the innocence is ripped from our souls, sooner or later.
"I'm sorry..." he whispered, leaning his forehead on my shoulder. I couldn't turn around. My feet seemed rooted to the floor. "I'm sorry I--... I'm sorry. I didn't know..." his hand squeezes mine. He's so warm. He should be cold, like me. He should be freezing from the cold outside, from the cold festering inside.
"Don't apologize," I told him. My voice was shaking. I silently hated it; hated myself for being weak when I should be strong. "You've done nothing worth apologizing for. I'm the one who's sorry..."
He didn't say anything. It surprised me. He's good at talking. I'm not. I always end up saying the wrong things. I don't know who moved first. I don't know if I turned around, or if he somehow... But then, he was right there, holding me, chest to chest. I've never felt colder...
He's asleep now. We talked for hours, sitting close to each other on the couch, and he wouldn't leave my side. He wouldn't let go of my hand, as if he feared I'd run away again if he did. He's warm. He's so very warm. He's so beautiful, he's so good to me, so kind and sweet and loving, even when I don't deserve it. His breath is hot and cool against my chest, his hand clutches at my sweater, his face is slightly stubbled, and his hair smells like home.
I've found home.