Adam Parrish does not love.
To love, means to trust, and Adam hasn’t trusted in a long,
Instead he is well practiced smiles that slide slick and
oily across his face, nerves that skitter and jump beneath his skin when Gansey
lays a harmless hand on his shoulder; he is eyes wide open in the middle of the
night on Blue’s sofa, a back never to a crowd, knowing that he is safe with
Ronan beside him on the bed but shaking anyway, seeing six different ways out
of a room the moment he walks in one.
He is panic behind grace, disdain behind kindness. He is two
faced and silver-tongued and a liar.
And he is scared.
Adam is eighteen when he realizes there’s something inside
of him that is missing. That little spark of belief; that people can be good
and problems can resolve themselves and that he doesn’t need to fight for
everything he wants, the knowledge that some things are freely given.
It’s the earnest pleading in Gansey’s eyes, Blue’s anger at
his own self-hatred, Ronan’s completely selfless worship and adoration.
It’s those moments where for a second he forgets and his
smiles come freer, his shoulders go looser; Ronan’s hands rubbing up and down
his back feel safer.
It is also tin walls shaking from the rise and fall of
voice, beer bottles smashing, the smell of alcohol sticking to his clothes as
he washes them so desperately in the sink, tears in his eyes and blood on his
face. It is being taught to ride a bicycle when he is six by the same man who
breaks his arm when he is eight; it is long walks in the park with his mother and
a laugh like church-bells turning to icy silences the week after when they’re
both bruised and miserable.
It’s growing up in a war zone where everything Adam did was
a tactical decision thought out six or seven steps in advance. It’s knowing
that it’s wrong, that he can’t live like this, but doing it anyway.
It’s being seventeen and finding a gun in your father’s
bedside table and wondering how long you have left before he uses it.
The others though, they don’t understand. That just because
Adam is out from beneath that roof does not mean he is safe; that just because
he came out healthy does not mean he came out whole.
He thinks about telling them sometimes, when Gansey pushes
too far or Blue too soon; in the sleepy silences with Ronan when they’re curled
close and for a moment Adam almost makes the mistake of thinking it could be
alright to trust this beautiful boy beneath the church roof where surely he must be safe.
But he doesn’t; he never can.
The words weigh themselves down with a dozen what if’s and Adam is helpless to fight
them because he comes from a place where a what
if can keep you alive just another night.
One day, he tells
himself, one day I’ll trust them enough
to say it.
And in the meantime Adam Parrish does not love.