Like you, I wanted to smile. The question was, could I? When it was clear that there were tears in your eyes. When it was clear that your heart was hurting inside.
So, I didn’t smile. And slowly, your (fake, never genuine) grin faltered too.
It’s not your fault, I wished to say. It’s never been yours.
The question was, still, could I? Since you punished yourself harder than everyone else. And you despised yourself stronger than everyone else.
So, I stayed quiet, hoping the silence would kill us sooner than later.
(Hoping the silence would bring us alive sooner than later.)
It never did.
(Would it ever?)
So, life went on, just like that. Your smile was back. Your words returned. One day too, I would learn your way to fake a grin before finding a genuine smile, somewhere along the way.
For now, though, we could just hold hands. Like this. Without smile. Without words.
Your heart was hurting. Just let me hold it close to mine.
I would stay.
(Since my heart was hurting too.)