the thing is, “the boy who couldn’t hold his breath underwater” is a lie. isak’s been holding his breath, holding himself in, for years. to protect himself, maybe, to make sure he wouldn’t step out of bounds and have everyone start watching him like they know who he is. like, that’s the gay boy, the boy who can’t get it up for girls—he’s a little bit sassy, isn’t he? isak’s had practice at stopping himself before he lets his lungs fill with air, drink in life the way seventeen-year-old boys are meant to. he’s used to waiting on the sidelines.
and then there’s even, kissing him like he’s a treasure—the best kind, the kind you never expect to find but maybe that’s what makes it shine brighter than the others. and then there’s even, cradling his face like he’s worth all the patience and longing the world. and then there’s even, pulling him from beneath the surface with the strength isak doesn’t have, not yet, but maybe he will some day.
for so long, isak has kept himself hidden underwater that he never stopped to consider that breathing for the first time could ever feel this effortless.