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282 pages, Paperback
First published November 21, 2013
Love can be the ugly beautiful
„In an instant, I’m back on earth. I’m no longer floating, removed. I’m here, next to her, and my chest is cracked open, and I’ve given her my bleeding, beating heart, and she’s holding it in her hands, and she’s not crushing it, she’s not destroying it. She’s doing the opposite. She’s getting me. She’s understanding, she’s burrowing her way so far under my skin, into my head, and around my heart that I am dangerously close to joining her in the tears department.”
“I mean, we’re sitting here, and your dick is in my hand, and I’m asking you for tips, and you’re giving me advice for my first blow job, and I’m laughing, and you’re laughing, and it’s kind of awesome.”
I am nineteen years old, I have kissed twenty-four guys, and my mother thinks I’m a whore.
The past is alluring. It puts on rose-colored glasses and seduces us. But if you return, you’ll only need more of the drug. You’ll need a bigger dose. You’ll need more to take the pain away. Remember, the pain is the arrow coming out, not the arrow going in.
She brings her hand to her chest, and her shoulders are shaking. The tears fall like a fucking rainstorm now, unleashed, and it’s so strange to watch someone else’s reaction. I’ve been living my own reaction for years, inside of me and locked up in my head, and now this story that’s only been told in hieroglyphics on my body is someone else’s to own, to process, to feel. It’s as if I’ve given her a piece of my heart, and said there, do with it what you will.I’m frozen in time, waiting, to see if she’ll kick my heart away.
“I can’t believe you kept that all inside, Trey,” she says in between sobs. “I can’t believe that’s your history, and your family, and you never said a word.”
‘Love isn’t a quilt. Love isn’t patient, love isn’t kind. Love is a game, a chase, a thrill. Love is wild and war-like, and ever man and woman for himself.
I can play the game.
I can control it.
I need to feel in control. I need to hold the world in the palm of my hands, my world, my life, and be the one who sets it in motion. The only one. I’m not controlled. I control.’
‘I gasp quietly as his fingertips reach my bare skin.
“But there’s this other girl and I remember everything about her,” he says, and in an instant, all I see, all I feel are his words. They have their own heartbeat and pulse, a living being, surrounding me.
He traces lazy fingers across my stomach, and I want this feeling to last forever because it’s so out-of-this-world intense. I swear my body is sliding into another plane of existence, some realm of pleasure I’ve never allowed before, as feelings spill over – want, desire, fear all wrapped up in a messy package, without a bow.’
“You. Are. Brave.”
I scoff, then sneer for good measure. “How does that make me brave?”
She grips harder. “You are brave to tell me. You are brave to let me in. You are brave and crazy and you are stupid to think you can handle that all yourself,” she says, laying a gentle hand on my cheek, her smooth skin on my rough stubbled jaw.
“So I’m stupid. Like that’s news.”
“You are stupid brave. And stupid courageous. And stupid amazing. And I won’t let you go through any more of this alone,” she says fiercely, eyes blazing with an intensity I’ve never seen before.’
‘“I am so fucking in love with you,” he says hungrily, and he loops his arms around my neck, tucks his face in my hair, and breathes me in as if I’m his oxygen. I’ve never known what it’s like to be cherished, but I’m starting to get a sense, and it’s a heady feeling. I’m no longer a prize, but a treasure. His treasure.’
‘Now I know. Now I get it. I understand. This is love. It’s not a game. It’s not a razor’s edge. It’s not a transaction.
The poets are right. The dreamers are right. The lovers are right. This isn’t nothing. This is everything.’