“Don’t leave me. Please,” he begged.
I sighed. “I have to. I don’t even know what I’m doing…”
“No one does, that’s the point! It’s a learning experience, and honey, you’re losing.”
“I’ve barely even done anything!”
“And that’s the problem. You can’t give up now! If you do, I’ll….”
“I’ll ruin my life.”
“I’m serious. Without you, I’m nothing.”
“You’ll be fine, Luke.”
“No, I won’t. I’ll become an alcoholic.”
“Sure you will.”
“And I’ll sleep with tons of women.”
“Not my problem.”
“And…I’ll…become an angry cat lady.”
“You’d need to be a woman for that.”
He pouted, grabbing my abandoned pencil and throwing it across the table at me.
“Hey, that hurt!” I whined, snatching it out of his reach.
He paused, his eyes unmoving, the anger subsiding beneath them until all that was left was a dimmed star and a sadness I knew I would never comprehend.
“Nothing.” His grin faded, and I felt a draft sweep between us, though the window was closed. “Just tell me one thing…If you stop, what will happen to me?”
“I…I don’t know.”
“Yes, you do. Writers don’t create characters, they create people. If you stop writing, I’ll die.”
That’s not true dissolved on my lips. That’s when he stood up and walked away, waiting for me to follow, for the moment when he would hear my footsteps and feel that comforting rush of relief.
But I didn’t know if I would.
A voice in my head whispered, Coward and Failure, and other lies that left the metallic taste of blood in my mouth.
I pushed the chair back, slowly, letting the feet scrape against the wood floors. Without looking back, I stumbled to catch up with him.
When I did, he smiled. And it was that smile that made me want to stay.