He looks at me with a strange kind of peace in his eyes and tells me one day he’ll stand on the wings of angels as they fly. They’re dark angels, he tells me, they’re angels he hopes I won’t see him on.
He’s the one who helped me up when I was sitting on the speckled linoleum with my face crumpled and my eyes burning. He was the one who sat with me on the top of the picnic table just because he was scared of what would happen if I took the bus home. And now he’s the one with his face smoothed over and eyes clear, and I can see his heart twisting and I have no idea how to help him. I tell him that, that I don’t know how to untwist his heart, that I’m scared for him. He looks down at me with a glimmer of his old self shining through, his mouth turned up in one corner, “Why don’t you kiss it and make it all better?”
And I hit him lightly on the chest, wishing it were that simple.
“Don’t leave me, okay?”, I say, not caring how much desperation leaks into my voice.
He runs his hands through his shaggy brown hair and exhales loudly. He know’s I don’t mean ‘don’t leave me’ in the way Seventeen would say it, or the way the girls with the smoky eyes would think of it. I just don’t want him to leave me in the kind of way that I wince whenever I see a bottle of Aspirin peeking out from his coat pocket.
“I won’t”, he whispers, “promise.”