Friday, October 31, 2008

Doubting You, Doubting Me.

They walked along the dirt path under the stars. Shelly could feel Adam's eyes searching her face in the darkness. She could make out his shrug against the blue-black sky.

"I don't know why you ask me. I like every picture you do."

She blew the cold air out, watching it mist across the stars overhead. "Maybe it's what I need to hear."

"But you already know I like it."

She didn't answer. He knew it didn't matter if she already knew. She could feel what was coming and it annoyed her. He was going to make this about him.

"Come here." They stopped walking as he put his arm around her shoulder, drawing her close. She pushed her hands into the front pocket of his sweatshirt. He always found a million tiny ways to remind her of how wonderful he was.

Adam kissed the top of her head. Shelly smiled, laying her head against his shoulder. He smelled like a wood fire and rosemary. He drew in a deep breath. She looked up at his face and saw he was crying.

"What's wrong?"

He shook his head. "Nothing."

"Tell me." She was mad again. She always felt like he was against her when he shut her out, like they weren't really part of something together.

"I don't know. I just never get anything right with you."

"What are you talking about?"

Adam took her hand. Their eyes had adjusted to the dim light of the night sky. "Can we walk?"

"If you tell me what's wrong."

Adam breathed in and they started again, up the trail. "You always doubt little things. I mean, you wonder if I like what you cook or what you paint or whatever, but I get worried about stuff that makes things really hard for both of us."

He was going to make this about him.

Shelly could feel her stomach turn. She could almost fill in the words. He was going to tell her he'd done something bad or that he wanted to break up. Her voice was weak in the cold air. "Like what?"

Adam stared at the ground as they kept walking. The grass was a tangle of gray, black, and blue beneath his feet. "I just fuck things up. I'm not smart or successful. I mean, I just don't know how to be one of those guys." He wiped his nose off on the sleeve of his free hand. "I just always feel like you're about to get tired and go find somebody else, you know?"

Shelly was quiet. She couldn't argue against his characterization of the situation, as self-defeating and pathetic as it was. She could still smell the wood fire smoke on him. She pulled at his arm and stopped him again. "I don't love you for all the things you're not. I love you for the things you are." She could feel everything inside him as though it was carried through their touch.

He looked at her with empty eyes. He didn't believe her.

She put her hand behind his head, pulling him down into a kiss. It was her own way of reminding him of how wonderful she was and erasing the hurt. She looked in his eyes again, starting to cry a little herself.

"Hey. Come back to me."

Adam breathed out and tried to smile as a whisper trailed off his lips, "Sorry."

Her voice was soft. "It's okay."

His eyes were tired as he let go of her hand. "It's cold. Do you want to go back?"

Shelly put her arms around him, burying her face against his sweatshirt. She needed his comfort again. She wanted to hold him until he knew how much she loved him. He wrapped his arms around her as she kissed him on the side of the mouth. "Not yet."

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