We only met two weeks ago, so it’s insane that I feel like this. Perhaps it was the heat of battle that amplified our emotions and made everything feel so much more alive. Combat, whatever form it takes, is always intimate. In war, your opponent is all you see and all you care about.
It was her idea to not stay in touch. I think she felt guilty, even though nothing happened, she’s inscrutably loyal, and we were returning to a real world from an unreal one. It could never work. She was right, but I really wasn’t expecting it to hurt so much; I never see these emotions coming. I made sure she had no idea how much pain I was in, I didn’t want her to feel any worse than she did.
It was so obvious how much pain he was in when he left, and what made it worse was how hard he was trying to hide it. I couldn’t look at him. After all we’d been through, and I couldn’t even look at him. It had been my idea, not to see each other again. He understood, I think. It had to end there. If it had gone any further, it could have changed everything.
He had been the perfect opponent, my only real challenge if I’m honest. There wasn’t a single day when at least one of us didn’t make it to the final round and most days we both did. He was right when he said that combat is intimate, it is. Nothing felt better than beating him and losing to him hurt so much worse than losing to the others. Both more intimate than I could have expected.
It wasn’t until the next day that I switched my phone back on; I have all my music on the little card. He probably thought it was funny, but he’d done the exact opposite of what we had promised. I should have been furious.
to be continued…