“Thank you for the offer,” I say after taking a deep breath, “but I decided to go through with the surgery. I need to own this. I hope you both understand.”
“I have been advising everyone the surgery is what you needed. I knew what was best for you,” James says placing his hand on my shoulder. Something about the gesture makes me feel suffocated. I shrug his hand off and push Nate’s hands away.
“You don’t get to do that,” I say looking James in the eye. “This is my consequence for my actions.”
“Of course, we both will comfort you as you grieve—” Nate starts.
“You don’t get to do that either,” I say acidly. “Who said I needed to grieve? I will have to relearn a lot of tasks, but I want the challenge. I want to live. I want to live as a stronger version of myself. I want to be the girl who survived a month of torment to cut herself from the chains.”
“We are sorry it happened to you,” says Nate.
“Yes, we feel sorry on your behalf,” adds James.
“That’s the problem,” I thunder. “If you were listening, you would know I’m not sorry. You don’t have the right to be more upset, more offended, or more…more…anything, than me! You can’t take this away.”
“You look perfect. I mean perfectly healthy. I mean mostly uninjured,” she stammers. She places her tiny hand over her eyes.
Feeling braver than ever, I walk right up to her. I gently remove the hand from her face and hold it to my own. “See, I’m fine,” I whisper as I gently rub my thumb over her tiny knuckles.
Her eyes lift to mine and lock our gazes. I have always found the golden color of her eyes fascinating but never studied them up close. They are light brown with a golden star in the middle. I am literally star gazing as she takes in the injuries to my face. We stand there for about a minute, lost in time.
I wonder if she is thinking about when we first started dating, the hard times that followed, the present, or the future. I search her face for clues but don’t want to break the spell by opening my mouth. I decide to put said mouth to better use by lowering my head toward hers.