[[begin]]blink blink awake. you turn over to see him next to you. [[hey, are you awake?]] [[hey, wake up]] [[say nothing]]your whispered words wake him up. "huh...?" he sounds like he's in a fog. [[say hello]] [[apologize]] [[pretend to be asleep]]you wake him with your command, half a shake to the shoulder for good measure. "what...?" he rubs the sleep from his eyes. [[say hello]] [[apologize]] [[pretend to be asleep]]you decide not to say anything. you turn back over, shutting your eyes tightly. it hurts. [[say something after all]] [[say nothing|say nothing2]]you turn back over in a flash, too quickly. he stirs next to you, confused. "...what..." you freeze in place, a dead rabbit. [[say hello]] [[apologize]] [[pretend to be asleep]]you say nothing, again. and again. and again. your heart cracks in place. it takes a long time to fall back asleep. [[>|end]]end [[try again?|Untitled Passage]] - A Some Strange Circus Game Written by Chelsea Sieg Copyright 2015 Thanks to Naomi Norbez for being my first Patron."hello," you whisper. "what...?" he's foggy. "what time is it?" "i don't know," you answer quietly. "did you wake me up?" [[yes]] [[no]]"i'm sorry." you swallow, hard. "sorry...?" he sounds tired and confused. "sorry for what?" "i..." he takes a deep breath. it sounds kind of painful. "did you wake me up?" he asks. [[yes]] [[no|no2]]you shut your eyes and fall silent. he waits, but nothing. it takes a long time to fall back asleep. [[>|end]]"yes," you admit. "wha..." he rubs his eyes. "why would you do that...?" [[i wanted to talk to you]] [[i wanted to tell you something]] [[no reason|no reason2]]"no," you say. he sighs, rubbing furiously at one eye. "ugh..." you hesitate. he notices. it hurts. "did you need something...?" he sounds innocent enough. [[i wanted to talk to you]] [[i wanted to tell you something]] [[nothing]]"i wanted to talk to you." "talk to me...?" he sounds puzzled. "this late? what about?" [[it's about us]] [[...]]"i wanted to tell you something." "tell me something...?" he sounds puzzled. "tell me what?" [[it's about us]] [[...]]"n-no reason..." your voice stutters, cowardly. "no reason?" a glass breaks. "you woke me up for no reason at all? seriously?" "ah..." you're frozen, unsure of how to answer. you know he's wrong. but is he really? he rolls back over in an angry huff. "get back to sleep. don't wake me up again." tears fill your eyes, and you take your place back beside him, shaking. you don't know why you fuck up everything. [[>|end]]"no," you say. he sighs, rubbing furiously at one eye. "ugh..." you hesitate. he notices. it hurts. "did you need something...?" he sounds innocent enough. [[i wanted to talk to you]] [[i wanted to tell you something]] [[nothing]]"nothing." the word burns, liar. "i don't need anything." "okay..." he sounds a bit doubtful, like maybe he might see it. [[take it back]] [[keep silent]]"actually, there was something..." he looks toward you. [[it's about us]] [[...]]you don't say anything else. in the darkness, you can see him shrug before he turns back over and goes back to sleep. you remain sitting upright, breathing quietly, for hours. you feel wrong. [[>|end]]"it's...about us." "about us..." his voice trails off, melting into a sigh. you're scared. "hey..." he reaches out a hand hesitantly, as if to touch you, but slowly withdraws it. "i know it's been weird lately. but...it's really late. can't we talk about it tomorrow?" [[you're right]] [[no, we need to talk about it now]]your voice catches in your throat. he waits. [[it's about us]] [[keep silent]]"yeah...you're right." you feel both relieved and let down. "tomorrow, okay?" his words are meant to be comforting, but they fall a bit short. "we'll talk tomorrow." you both lay back down, but you note his careful avoidance of touching you. maybe he's right. maybe you will talk about it tomorrow. maybe. you aren't so sure about maybe. it usually lies. [[>|end]]"no." the surprise in the air is palpable, from you and him. he wasn't expecting you to speak up. you weren't expecting you to speak up, either. "we need to talk about it now," you continue. "we've been saying we're going to talk about it for a while now, and it hasn't happened. we need to just...talk about it." you stop suddenly, aware of the fact that you've said more than you intended to say. your face turns red. "...wow." he chuckles a bit. "i'm impressed." [[thanks...?]] [[what's that supposed to mean?]]"uh...thanks...?" "sorry," he says. "i just...i guess i'm used to us not talking about it, maybe. but...you wouldn't take that. you aren't taking that." [[no, i'm not]] [[yeah, i guess you're right]]"what's that supposed to mean?" "it's not a bad thing," he clarifies. "it's just that, you know, we haven't really talked about it. we kind of...just...don't. we don't talk about it. but now you're just...not taking that at all, you know?" [[no, i'm not]] [[yeah, i guess you're right]]"yeah...i guess you're right." you sigh. "okay, so..." he pauses for a few seconds, leaving an opening for you, but continues when you don't answer. "so what are we talking about, then?" he asks. you wrestle with your feelings, struggling to put them into words. [[i feel like we're growing apart]] [[something just isn't right]] [[i don't know]]"no, i'm not taking it," you say quietly. "i can't..." although his smile is hard to see in the dark, you can tell it's very sad. "so what are we talking about, then?" he asks. you wrestle with your feelings, struggling to put them into words. [[i feel like we're growing apart]] [[something just isn't right]] [[i don't know]]"i feel like we're...growing apart," you whisper. "growing apart? how?" "like...just, like we're more distant from each other. like...we aren't as close as we used to be." "what makes you think that?" [[you've been more distant lately]] [[i've felt more distant lately]] [[we both seem more distant lately]]"something just isn't right." you're immediately annoyed at yourself for how vague your words sound, but it's hard to come up with anyone else. "i know that's not very descriptive, but...it's just...something isn't right." he seems like he sort of understands. it makes you a little hopeful. "okay, um..." he thinks for a moment. "i guess...focus on what doesn't seem right?" he sounds doubtful, but you give it a try anyway. it feels like forever, but eventually you settle on distance. the spaces between you are growing larger. but why? where is it coming from? you think harder. [[you've been more distant lately]] [[i've felt more distant lately]] [[we both seem more distant lately]]"i don't know..." you bury your face in one hand, frustrated. "i don't know how to say it. i can't find the right words." he reaches out toward you, but his hand falls just a bit short. "try anyway," he offers, his voice small. [[something just isn't right]] [[i can't]]"i can't!" you feel tears welling in your eyes. "i just...can't." [[give up]] [[don't give up]]"i'm sorry..." you hang your head. "i've just wasted your time." "it's okay..." he doesn't sound okay, though. nothing is okay. you know before you lay back down that you're making the wrong choice, that you shouldn't be giving up. it's too late now. it was always too late. [[>|end]]you can't find the words, but...you can't give up either. you fight harder. the words are within your reach. [[i feel like we're growing apart]] [[something just isn't right]]"you've been more distant lately." you think it over some more. "there are things you won't talk to me about anymore...and when i try to ask, you push me away. or you get mad." he sighs. "maybe you have a point. but you've been distant lately, too. you're always holding back what you want to say, even when i can tell you're upset." [[you're right|you're right2]] [[you're wrong]]"i've felt more distant lately," you admit. "i feel like i'm...disconnected. like i'm really far away from you." "oh." his answer is tiny. "it's just me?" "no, it's not you, it's..." you groan in frustration. "i don't know what it is, exactly. but it's me. it's me feeling this way. it's not..." your voice trails off hopelessly. "okay, so..." he sounds like he's walking on glass. "what am i supposed to...what can i do?" [[work with me]] [[be there for me]]"we both seem more distant lately." you tread carefully, not wanting to offend. "we've both been farther apart from each other. we both aren't talking about things. it's not just one of us; it's both of us." he starts to say something, but before he gets more than a couple of syllables out, he practically collapses into a sigh. "you're right." he chuckles bitterly. "i hate to admit it, but you're right." "i'm sorry," you say reflexively. "what for?" "for being right, i guess." "heh." he shakes his head. "you shouldn't be sorry about that." your heart aches. you want to reach out a hand to him. [[do it]] [[don't do it]]"work with me," you respond. "help me figure it out." you feel guilty. "that sounds unfair, doesn't it? i feel like i'm pressuring you or something." "it's not that, exactly..." he says. "it's just...i don't know how to help. i don't feel like i even know what the problem is." "i'm going to figure it out." you pause. "i mean...we will figure it out. together." he seems surprised at that, but agreeable. "yeah..." he nods slowly. "together." you lean towards him and pull him into your arms. "together," you repeat, holding him as tightly as you can, trying to absorb the worry radiating off him. you can figure it out. with him by your side, you know that you can figure it out. [[>|end2]]"be there for me," you respond. "be there for me while i try to figure this out." "so...just wait?" he doesn't sound very happy with that. "it's not like that." you aren't sure how to explain it properly. "i just...i want to figure this out so that everything is better for both of us." "well, yeah, but..." he rubs the back of his neck with one hand. "it feels like you're just asking me to sit around while you figure things out." "that isn't how i meant it..." "what did you mean, then?" you don't know how to answer him, and after a long silence, he shakes his head. "i don't want to just sit around and wait," he says. "i want to work on it with you. i don't want to be left out." he lies back down. "think about that, okay?" he doesn't say anything else, and neither do you, because you have no idea what to say. he has to be wrong. he's wrong, isn't he? it wouldn't be waiting, would it? you aren't leaving him out, are you? you have no fucking idea what to say. [[>|end]]cautiously, you reach out a hand and place it on his. he flinches very slightly at the touch, surprised, and you half expect him to pull away. but he doesn't. "we can do something, can't we?" you whisper. his fingers tighten around yours. "do what?" he's shaking. "what can we do?" [[we can figure out the problem]] [[we can keep going]]your hand almost drifts over to him, but you stop it. he's shaking a little bit, making his shadowy figure blur. "can't we do something?" there's desperation in your voice. "like what?" his quesiton mirrors your own. "what can we do?" [[we can figure out the problem]] [[we can keep going]]"we can keep going," you respond. "we can stick together." "but we aren't fixed," he points out. "what is fixed, anyway?" you toss your head. "no one is perfect. we just have to keep going. we want to stay together, don't we? so we will." he nods slowly. "what you're saying...it kind of doesn't make sense, but...it kind of does, too." you smile. "we should probably talk like this more," he adds. "you're right." the two of you hold up your entwined hands and grin. it seems almost laughably simple. if you don't ever want to leave...then fight to stay. [[>|end2]]"we can figure out the problem," you respond. "and once we know what it is, we can figure out how to fix it." "easier said than done," he shoots back. "we can do it," you say simply. "what makes you think that? we haven't figured it out yet, have we?" "so let's think about it now." you both fall silent. he's right; thinking of the problem is hard, even when you're trying your best. [[maybe we're scared of something]] [[maybe we're too comfortable]]end ''fight for the ones who are precious to you.'' ''one conversation is not enough to fix a relationship.'' ''but everything begins with one step.'' - A Some Strange Circus Game Written by Chelsea Sieg Copyright 2015 Thanks to Naomi Norbez for being my first Patron."maybe we're scared of something," you suggest. "scared of something?" he sounds confused. "like what?" "i don't know..." you think wildly. "maybe...maybe that's it. maybe we don't know. maybe that's the problem. we're scared because we don't know." he tilts his head. "do you mean...scared of the unknown? like, the future?" "yeah, i guess so..." he ponders that for a moment. "i guess that makes sense." he looks down. "is that how you feel? are you afraid of what's going to happen in the future?" [[yes|yes2]] [[no|no3]]"maybe we're too comfortable," you suggest. "maybe we've gotten too...used to each other." "hmmm." he ponders that. "maybe you're right." "what do we do, though?" fear creeps slowly into your voice, to your disgust. "we can't just..." "maybe..." he's quiet again. "maybe...we just need to mix things up. do things we haven't done. make things more exciting." [[i think you're right]] [[i'm not saying you're boring, though]]"...yes." you're loathe to admit it, but it feels accurate to you. the future is a vast, empty space; it doesn't mean anything until it's happened. and there's no way to know what will fill it until you're already there. what could be more frightening than that? "i think i understand," he says reassuringly. "not knowing what's going to happen is scary for a lot of things. and this is our lives. those are the most important things of all." you nod. "i...i don't want to be afraid." he places a hand on your shoulder. "we just have to try and face things as they come. together. that's what we have to do." "we...we shouldn't try to do things alone," you add. "we should solve things together." "yeah. exactly." you both look at each other for a long time, then embrace. it feels warm. [[>|end2]]"...n-no." it's a lie. you know it's a lie, and it sounds like one too. you immediately regret it. he can obviously tell, too, but politely waits for you to continue. "i..." you try to say the words, but they make your throat hurt. "hey," he says. "it's okay. not knowing what's going to happen is scary for a lot of things. and this is our lives. those are the most important things of all." you nod. "i...i don't want to be afraid." he places a hand on your shoulder. "we just have to try and face things as they come. together. that's what we have to do." you nod in agreement. he rubs your shoulder for a minute, comforting you, and you close your eyes and let him. you're glad that he knows what to do. [[>|end2]]"i think you're right," you say, nodding. "we need to...inject more life into things, i guess. make it fun again. that'll help." he nods back at you. "we can do that." you let out a small, relieved sigh and nod again. for a while you both talk about different things that you could do together. things you've wanted to do but haven't done out of worry for the other person's feelings. things you're a bit scared of but are willing to try anyway. things you've never thought of doing but feel like good ideas. you try your best to remember each and every idea. you don't want to forget any of them. [[>|end]]"i'm not saying you're boring, though," you insist. "that isn't what i meant." he leans toward you and brushes his shoulder against yours playfully. "i know," he answers. you smile, relieved and grateful and careful all at once. he reaches forward and takes your hand, resting lightly against your side, and the two of you sit there for a while, content. "we'll be okay," he whispers to you. you think maybe this is what you needed. [[>|end2]]"you're right." your reply is reluctant, but you know it's the truth. he isn't the only one at fault here. "you're right," you repeat. "i'm sorry. i wasn't being fair." "it's okay," he answers gently. "it's both our faults, not just one of us." "but...what can we do?" he doesn't answer right away, and this worries you. you want to reach out a hand to him. [[do it]] [[don't do it]]"you're wrong." you shake your head. "i don't really feel like i've been distant." "well, you kind of have been," he says defensively. "maybe you aren't the best judge. i'm not just making things up." "i'm not saying that you're making things up. i just don't feel like i've been distant is all." he sighs, a bit frustrated. "okay, fine. you still admit something is up with us, though, right? how are we going to fix that?" "i don't know..." you can feel his anger growing, radiating towards you. [[apologize|apologize2]] [[remain defensive]]"...i'm sorry." he stops. "i'm sorry," you say again, quietly. "you're right...i shouldn't have said what i did. it's...it isn't your fault." the anger bleeds away until it's just him again, and you can't help letting out a sigh of relief. "okay," he says. "okay. so hey. let's just...talk about it, okay? let's figure out what the problem is." you nod slowly, and try to think. your head hurts. but you keep trying. [[maybe we're scared of something]] [[maybe we're too comfortable]]"why are you mad at me?" you demand. "i'm trying to help." "i'm frustrated that you aren't acknowledging your own fault in this," he answers, his voice tight. "you're pushing it all off on me." "i just want us to be okay again!" "so do i! but if we can't have a real discussion about it, then how is that going to happen?" "i'm trying to have a discussion about it!" he crosses his arms. "a real discussion, i said. not one where you say it's all my fault and don't offer any actual insight." "maybe i don't have any insight!" you shout back. "maybe i don't know what to do either." he shakes his head and turns away. "if you aren't going to even try to think about the problem...then maybe we don't have anything to talk about." he goes back to bed. you're left alone, just sitting there in your own mire. your hands, shaking, reach up to cover your face. what have you done? [[>|end]]