For the life of me, I cannot erase her from my mind.
I've tried. I've tried so hard. But her face, those brown eyes, the shape of her smile, the sweet sound of her voice ' it has etched itself, burned itself into my mind. I've never considered myself weak. But whenever I stand before her, I swear that I feel my body bend. I feel myself yield. Yet as my strength ebbs from my being, something else stirs within me; something stronger and much more powerful than any power that I have ever possessed. There are moments when she simply makes me feel invincible.
I didn't ask for this. Never wanted this turmoil of emotions or this intense awareness of her presence, of her every movement. I can sense her before she appears, and I can recognize her scent even before that. I can no longer count the times when I have watched her, wanting to capture her innocence and quiet strength and paint it across a vast canvas.
Each day, my impending demise shrouds me in its darkness. Death is always with me, haunting my steps, whispering bittersweet promises in my ear, and waiting ' waiting for the very moment when it can snatch my soul.
I know what I have done. I know that there's a pit in Hell with my name on it. I do not fear my death, nor do I fear what comes after.
But I fear losing her. I fear being taken away from her to a place from where I can no longer reach her, see her, smell her. I fear the moment when that tiny shred of light in my utter darkness shall be ripped from me. This fear, this peculiar fear, it tears at me. And I despise it.
Yet I love her.
Whenever I look into her eyes, at my own reflection, I only ever see a man. Not a beast. Not a killer. Her trust in that man frightens me but renews my strength. Revives me. It is a rush like no other. The blood on my hands seems to fade at her touch, dispersing as if chased away by her purity. Like light chases away the dark.
It is the way that she looks at me, the way that she touches me that tames the beast within me. Her gentle smile, the understanding in her eyes, and the way that she reaches for my hand without hesitation, without fear, without disgust. I crave the emotions that she has awakened inside of me. I crave her love. I crave her light, needing it to drown my darkness.
My attempts at hating her have only made me love her more. Her persistent presence, her persistent love for me ' I can do nothing but drop to my knees in utter surrender.
I have always known of love. Of its pains and pleasures. I have let myself drown in it twice before, cherished it, and then throttled it with my own tainted hands.
Yet I find myself tripping whenever my eyes fall upon her face. I find myself falling, rapidly, spiralling through the atmosphere with a velocity that has my head spinning, my heart pounding ' only to calm when she looks at me, when she smiles at me.
That is when I know that I am really alive.
That is when I become a man.