NOVEMBER 6: callous

He stared down the barrel of the gun, imagining how it might feel to pull the trigger.

Loneliness was a bitter ache, deep in his bones. All this time, he thought by remaining detached and callous, he could keep his heart guarded. All this time, he didn’t even believe he had a heart to guard. Who in all this time had he loved as much as his younger brother, whom he loved as much as he resented, whom he missed and who seemed to have forgotten him. Then when they saw one another again, he was met with anger and misunderstandings. Miki was too quick to jump to conclusions. And what must he think of Hiro, deep, deep down, for him to believe that Hiro willingly melted into the shadows and out of his life.

Hiro didn’t want a heart, when it felt so heavy as this. He thought of all those nights he came home late and Joo Won looked at him with those hurt eyes but smiled as he tried to understand, tried to logically piece together the reasons Hiro stayed away or the way he touched him, the way he tried to keep pace when Hiro was disgustingly voracious or when he was dolorously incapable, his body unable to react even when his heart was at its fullest.

Joo Won was a man of science. Logically, if Hiro said one thing but his body said another, it was easier to believe the body. A body wasn’t supposed to lie while the tongue could elicit and create untruths, hundreds of them, thousands. He watched for a long time, the way Joo Won’s mind tried to be practical when he was feeling emotional, the way he tried to apply emotion to logic later. What would he do, in his place? It was frustrating.

He wished lately he had no heart to ache and he wondered if it would be better that way in the end for Joo Won. He lowered the gun. It would be easier for him to pull the trigger but deep down, deep, deep down, he knew it would do Joo Won no favors. Lying to himself about why he wanted to do it made it no less easier to put the gun down.

The heart inside him, that was a testament to the human still left inside. He touched his hand to his chest. It ached even to touch, as if his body sympathized with his heart and mind.

Rachel Aseltine

R.A. Aseltine is an author and roleplayer living in California with her husband, guinea pig, and five cats.

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