He is dark where I am light.
This is what everyone sees.
My hair golden blond. His jet black. My eyes blue. His the deepest of browns. My skin pale, unmarked by a single freckle. His a rich olivey tan.
They see the white and gold of my cheer tunic against the black of his T-shirt, the slate gray of his hoodie. My smile bright next to his dark mask. My laughter echoes against his solid silence.
No one sees under the facade. Alone, together, we are more than our shells.
Dimitri sits stretched on my bedroom floor, my bed bracing his back. He laughs as I silently move about my room, making a token attempt to straighten the clutter.
The movement makes me warm. Too warm to stay sheltered in the long-sleeve sweater that hides my skin.
I peel away the prickly layer. Underneath, a black camisole hides the worst of me.
His laughter stops as the sweater skims over my head.
I think it is appreciation of my almost perfect form. Then I look down.
The cami has not protected me. It slid up my torso, drawn in the tracks of my sweater. My stomach is bare.
I toss the sweater aside and lock eyes with Dimitri as I tug the traitorous cami back into place. I will him not to acknowledge what I don’t want to talk about.
That’s why it is the way it is. I don’t want to talk about it.
The pressure of not talking builds. I am always worried that I will rupture, spill out into the world. My mess will infest everyone and everything around me.
A quick slip of a blade across my skin lets a little out at a time. It dribbles down the drain, washed away by running water.
It’s not cutting. It’s pressure management.
Dimitri stretches out a hand. Catches my fingers in his own. Pulls me down onto the floor beside him.
“Tell me, Tess.”
His words are a command. They pull the excess out of me.
This is what no one sees.
He is light where I am dark.