Don’t You Dare Cry For Me
“Don’t you DARE cry for me. You understand me?” Liam took my chin in his hands. He stared into my eyes. He could tell that I want so badly to cry right in front of him. And yet, I couldn’t. I couldn’t because I knew if I did, he’d die hating me. I didn’t want him to leave me feeling the same way when we first met; angry and alone. I wanted Liam to leave me with happy thoughts. I want him to close his eyes forever with a smile spread across his face like peanut butter. I wanted Liam to die laughing so that his final memory before he leaves is us.
But in my mind, I knew this could never happen. I knew Liam could never be happy. I knew he could never die with happy thoughts. I knew he couldn’t die with a smile spread across his face like peanut butter. I knew he could never die laughing. I knew all this because he wasn’t the one dying.
I was the one lying in the hospital bed. I was the one who’d been stupid and gotten sick in Minnesota. I was the one who was gonna die angry and alone because I couldn’t help Liam. I couldn’t be there for him. I couldn’t make Liam happy. I couldn’t do anything anymore because I was the one who’d leave Liam the same way I found him; angry and alone. “I can’t promise you that, Liam. You know I can’t,” I turned my head away from Liam. I couldn’t let him see me. I couldn’t let him see me cry and yet, he squatted down next to me. He placed his calloused hand on my shoulder.
I shuddered at his touch. “Look at me. Lia. Look me in the eyes and tell me you won’t cry for me,” he told me not to cry for him. He told me to be brave and to look fear in the eyes and say “No.” Liam grabbed my chin once more and turned me to face him. “I’m sorry.”
Tears ran down my face. The salty tears stung my eyes. I could feel it in my nose and taste it on my tongue. My face was red and I’d felt flustered. My eyes were as red as an apple. My head was hot and it hurt to breathe. “I’m sorry, Liam. I really am. I’m so sorry…,” Liam tucked me away in his arms. I could feel his heart beating against my face. The reassuring thumps pounding from his chest calmed me down a bit. Enough for me to give Liam a chance to speak his feelings.
“Lia, did you know that when we first met in Minnesota, upon the waterfall, you were the first thing I saw? You were down in the stream while I was at the top. I was a pretty sad and lonely kid back then, so when I saw a face in the middle of the woods, I was shocked. I didn’t know anyone would be out there during the winter. But you were. You were there but… you were alone. You were alone in the middle of the woods clueless about the dangers of being in that scenario. And yet, you didn’t scream. You didn’t cry for your parents. You didn’t worry or panic at the time. Instead, you stayed calm.
“That’s why I don’t want you to cry for me. You can’t cry for me. Because I’d you do, I’ll cry too. I’m sorry, Lia that I couldn’t give you a happy life. I knew how you felt. I knew you were feeling miserable, but I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t do anything. I let you fall and I left you there because I thought you were going to die. I didn’t want it to seem as though I killed you but, I guess in a way I did.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t help you in school when you were being bullied. I spent so much time focused on my life, I didn’t look into yours. When I first moved to New York, I didn’t know anyone. I had no friends or anyone I could talk to. You came to me looking to be my friend and I pushed you away. You asked me to the school dance a few times but I rejected you. You even asked me to join you and Kori every now and then but I shot you down. Then, when we went on the trip back to Wisconsin, I relived that moment when were kids and let you fall from the cliff.
“I made your life a living hell and all you did was care for me. When I found out who you were, it was too late. You were in the hospital and I had no idea. When I did learn of your condition, I came every day but you didn’t know because you’ve been in a coma.
“I know I’m not the best person in the world, but I’d like to try. I like to have a proper introduction with you. I want to dance with you every day. I want to go out with you and Kori and all of our friends. Maybe just you and me sometimes. I want to travel the world with you and protect you with my life. I want to be there for you. But the one thing I don’t want to do with you is cry. Because I know if we cry together, it means one of us is sad and I never want there to be a day when you’re sad. Never.
“I love you that much.”
“I love you so much. I don’t even care if you don’t love me back because the thought that you are even alive makes me happy. So please,”
Liam took my head in his hands and planted a kiss upon my lips…
“Open your eyes…”
…it didn’t matter, though…
…because I couldn’t feel it…
…because I was dead.