Do you want to know what it means to live like me?
It means being forced not to look at him, not to touch him, not to be left alone in the same room as him.
Not to seek him out. Not to want him.
Not to love him.
Do you know how it feels to spend your entire life pretending to be someone else? Do you know what it’s like to love someone who doesn’t want to be loved?
I’ll tell you how it feels.
It feels as if you’re living in constant torment: you know which path you should follow, but you also know that, if you follow that path, you can never turn back.
And I can’t do that to him.
Every day I come back, because I know that he’s waiting for me.
Every day I promise him that he will never have to live without me.
Do you know what it means to live like me?
It means being forced not to touch him, not to kiss him, not to be able to leave the room while he’s still in it.
Not to breathe him in, not to lust after him.
Not to love him.
Do you know how it feels to spend your entire life pretending to be someone else? Do you know what it’s like to love the only person you’re not allowed to love?
I’ll tell you how it works.
You can’t seem to feel anything other than him; when you walk away, you know that you’re turning your back on the only thing that’s good in your life.
Yet you still walk away.
Every day I leave, knowing that he will be standing there, watching.
Every day I ask him to promise me that I will never have to live without him.
He turns towards me, and I immediately regret getting so close to him, in the darkness, the roads around us almost deserted. No one can see us. I regret even coming here tonight, having watched him for three hours with my stomach in flames. I can’t believe I thought I could do this.
I can’t believe I told him that we couldn’t do this.
Not that it’s easy every day, seeing him in a crowd, always surrounded by friends, or with his family. Paddling around in a kayak, or playing a gig, talking, laughing.
He moves quickly, grabbing my face between his hands and bringing it closer to his, until our foreheads are touching. I can’t feel anything, can’t think, can’t speak; his hands are touching me, holding me against him. His large, warm hands are against my skin. I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed them until I felt their heat again. I didn’t think that wanting them on me, all over me, would be so painful.
And then, Andy kisses me, stripping me of my anger and making me forget why it was even there in the first place.
I grab hold of his wrists as he pushes against my mouth, breathing into me, reminding me of the reason I could never want anyone else.
Andy’s kisses aren’t easy to handle: they’re strong and powerful, fuelled by impatience and uncontrollable desire.
Andy’s kisses are laced with bitterness and silence. They taste of lost nights and bad timing.
Andy’s kisses taste of lies, of shortness of breath. They taste of mistakes and decisions we never made.
Andy’s kisses are pain and regret; they’re anxiety and frustration; they’re darkness and desperation.
I hate Andy’s kisses. I hate them so much that I can’t help but love them.
Alex Kelly writes uplifting, emotional and heartwarming Romantic Fiction and Family Sagas. She’s a bibliophile, a Yogi, a lover of English literature and a baking enthusiast. She was born in Italy but lives in Ireland with her husband, two children and a cat named Oscar. Also writes as A. S. Kelly.