Fifteen years ago, Beckett Longstead broke up with me, then disappeared.
One stormy night, he shows up at my doorstep bloodied and bruised, begging me for help.
I should’ve shut the door in his face. Should’ve left him to bleed.
But instead, I take him in and fix him, just like when we were teenagers.
Beckett has secrets, though, and everything about him screams guilt.
He’s hiding something terrible, but he won’t tell me what.
He claims he can’t remember. That he has amnesia.
He’s sick, plagued by nightmares, and his memory loss troubles me.
But he’s got no one else.
So against my better judgment, I welcome him into my home, and back into my vulnerable heart.
Little did I know, his sins would destroy us.
Little did I know, his secrets would ruin everything.
When I think about his broken face, I can hardly breathe.I’m worried that if I exhale, he will be gone forever.An overexposed photograph in my disjointed mental album.Why can’t I rearrange that night’s events, put them in order?I can remember the texture of his rough hands, the way they squeezed my shoulder that day.Hard enough to hurt.But I can’t see his eyes anymore. They’ve been replaced by cruel black holes.“Beckett, let me go.”He had been miserable and trapped, but at least he’d been safe.I thought I was offering him freedom, but I was wrong.So fucking wrong.When I think about the years I spent loving him, nurturing him, living with him, I’d trade everything I had for an extra hour.An hour where we’d read silently, side by side, until his tired head lolled and rested on my shoulder.Just like old times.Then I’d watch his fragile chest shudder as he struggled to breathe, and think about how grateful I was to have met him.How grateful I was that he saved me and breathed life into an orphan who should’ve floundered, but thrived instead.How grateful I was that for a few precious years, when it was just him and me, I was sublimely happy.When I think about all the blood and tears, all the hissing and all that warped metal, I know I’ll burn in hell with all the other sinners.And I’d welcome its gaping maw with open arms and thank God for punishing me.But instead of casting me through the gates of Hell, God played a cruel trick on me.He made me forget everything. He made me forget all my sins.Then, He reunited me with my first love, and gave me a glimpse of hope, a taste of renewed happiness.Only to take it all away a few weeks later, and ruin me all over again.
JACKIE WANG lives in Vancouver, Canada with her real-life alpha hero and their rambunctious daughter. When she’s not writing, Jackie is binge-reading, gorging on expensive chocolates, or fiddling around with Photoshop.