Day 1 was a 20 minute free writing session!
I might skip ahead and do some other prompts today- I’m itching to get started on my Art Journal, but I’m too broke to get a book for it just yet. I am yet mournful.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,”
“It’s okay, John, baby it’s okay.”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,”
“Leave your arms down. Don’t try to see- they’re even baby, you did good, it’s okay.”
John is crying, trembling as he continues to whimper his apologies to you, all the way from one to twenty eight- the way he did everything. Twenty eight was his number. Sometimes he got stuck on things and he did and redid them until he’d done them twenty eight times.
So when he’d accidentally nicked himself in the kitchen, he had to make it even.
There were little bloody lines running down the pads of his fingers and thumbs, down his wrists to his elbows, he got stuck on the colour, he’d said, saw your eyes in the blood and he can never have less than as many as he can fit of whatever reminds him of you.
Your boyfriend obsesses, and you’re just trying to help him cope.
“Did you stop your meds again, Egs?”
He nods eight times. “They make me feel like shit.”
“Maybe that’s because it’s working.”
He nods again, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
“Baby boy, I forgive you.”
“I love you- I love you, I love you,”
You murmur your love for him back as he continues, all the way to twenty eight, and you kiss his forehead, eight times, like you promised you always would, because one forehead kiss wasn’t the right amount. He asks you to redo three of them because your lips weren’t in quite the right place. You try your best to make them perfect for him.
You stay right next to him through the whole process, playing idly with his hair and making sure he kept his head down- stop looking, John, they’re perfect, all the cuts are even, I know you can feel it but you have to be mistaken because I checked and they are /perfect/- and helped him through talking to the doctors and nurses.
One tries to rush him and cut him off when he gets stuck- you snap at him. If you’re not going to be patient with him, you really shouldn’t be a fucking doctor, should you?
His dad is there by then, and he lays a hand on your shoulder to soothe you.
But you won’t be calmed down. Your disabled boyfriend is in the hospital but the people who work there won’t show him some basic fucking courtesy? You don’t think that’s fucking acceptable, and you make it known.
When you’re done tearing the nervous looking Hispanic man a new asshole, you settle back in to your chair and brush John’s hair off his forehead.
“Go ahead man. Finish what you were sayin’.” You encourage him.
He looks up and you and his smile says “thank you” and “I love you” more eloquently than his lips normally could manage.
You tell him you love him and he tells the doctor again why he did it.
They keep him under suicide watch, for close to two weeks, and you are livid.
“He’s not suicidal! He doesn’t want to die, doesn’t want to hurt himself- he just got hung up, you’re mental health professionals why don’t you get that?!” You snap at them, every day after the third.
“He didn’t injure himself because he loves you, that’s not how it works.” They tell you every single time, and every single time you shout at them until you are asked to stop or risk being removed from the building.
You end up just sitting in a chair next to John’s bed, sharing your earbuds with him and letting him pick the tunes.
He picked mostly ones he knew you liked already, but sometimes he would choose ones for him, because he knew that doing things for himself makes you even happier than him doing things for you.
He talks to you, chats idly, all day, mostly about all the things he loved about you, all the things about you that made him happy and why.
He asks you to kiss him a lot, and often you’re trying that kiss over and over until it’s just perfect.
When he does get it perfect, he reaches up quickly with his bandaged arms and holds onto you, lingering as long as he could, because when your kisses were perfect they were better than all the other kisses and he wanted to hold onto them like he could hold onto your hands.
You tell him you love him about every ten minutes. You can see that it makes several of the older and more conservative nurses quite ill, and you make sure you lean in to kiss him, or tell him something especially sappy, when they’re in earshot. You loved making others squirm. They should be uncomfortable- you were two teenagers in love. They should be frightened.
He still gets hung up on his scars, even after he’s healed.
“They’re not even. Dave. They’re not even.”
“I’m proud of you. You’re doing so good- keep ’em closed and healing. One day they’ll be gone and they won’t bother you.”
But that day couldn’t come fast enough, not for your John.
So you take to drawing on him with gel pens, covering the scars with much more appealing things, things that could make him look at them instead of the scars.
He loves your little pictures.
You make up a world where you and your friends are gods, drawing elaborate scenes and depictions of these alternate selves, and his dad asks you to stop because of the normal “ink poisoning” reasons parents usually use, but you confess that you’re scared that it might be the only thing keeping him from evening out the cuts and you don’t want doctors near him ever again.
You don’t trust doctors. The doctors never understood him- not because they couldn’t, but because they didn’t care.
John can’t play piano, until his hands heal, so to distract him, you tell him to teach you how to play.
He teaches you scales, for a while, all starting at middle C, and then he teaches you old folk songs. You don’t think you’re very good, but John focuses hard on teaching you, and he wants it to be perfect, because you were perfect and everything you did had to be perfect or it was wrong and scary.
He held you on a bit of a pedestal, and to be honest it was a lot of pressure. What if you weren’t perfect for him, and he got stuck and upset, and you triggered another panic attack because you just weren’t good enough? What if he worked himself up so much he had to be institutionalized again?
Sometimes you just can’t deal with it. Sometimes you know that you aren’t ever going to be able to be perfect the way he needed you to be, and sometimes it made you just sit and cry.
But mostly you’re okay and mostly you just try your best. You love him, more than anything, and so you try as hard as you can for him.
When the wounds have scabbed over fairly well, he can play piano again.
It’s an exciting development because the last few weeks of his summer have sucked for him- he got antsy when he couldn’t play piano. It was the only thing that came easily to him- he loved it. Playing piano was an integral part of his life.
One day, when you take a day to go down town and shop around, checking out book stores and café’s comic book shops, and you happen to see a clunky old toy piano in the window of a store.
You need it. It was a cheap, impulsive purchase- you were so bad for that, but you just /had/ to get it, for John.
“You gonna keep practicing? Maybe we can play together some time.” He teases you gently, laughing and squeezing your hand.
“Maybe we can. That’d be pretty cool, I think.”
“Everything you do it cool. You’re Dave.” He laughs again. “Not really though. You’re a huge loser.”
You smile. Calling each other names was just something you did- it was affectionate, not degrading or shameful. Sometimes that startled other people.
You walk to the botanical gardens, and wander around for a while, hand in hand, enjoying the autumn weather and kicking leaves around.
The stone paths are winding, and if you didn’t know this park so well you probably could have gotten lost in it.
You sit at a bench in a pagoda and take pictures of John, and the gardens. Mostly of John.
His dad told you that you took too many photos- you figure, it wasn’t like you were going to get old and think “hmm, you know, I actually wish I had less photos of my best friends”.
You feel pretty justified in documenting your world. It wasn’t like you were doing something detrimental to your health, it wasn’t like you were taking a risk.
You don’t see how it can do any harm.
John finds a leaf the colour of your eyes, and opens up his backpack and puts in between some pages in his journal.
He likes collecting things the same shade of red as your eyes. It reminded him that you loved him, and missed him, when you were gone. It reminded him of all his reasons to be happy and try his hardest at everything.
It’s sappy, and it makes your heart go “wibble”.
Your boyfriend was the cutest boyfriend. It was simple fact, at this point.