All Danger at Certain Distances...
@choosyfruit reminded me again about our joint project managing the romance and break-up of Oz and Ez. This is a piece I wrote a while ago that I guess I’ll finally post. Oh boy.
Everything everybody had said about him had ended up being true, and that hurt. It was a deep hurt, but somehow distant, as if the further it cored into him the closer it got to slipping into some endless expanse within. An empty dimension folded up inside him where things could be different and their weird no pain receptors.
He smiled at the thought. “Ez, you windbag.” “Easy, no more purple prose, alright?”
It wasn’t such a bad thing, per se, that everyone was right about him: he’d known so many people and all of them had said such different things. The more he was what they said, the more he was nothing at all.
Nothing at all.
There were days where the thought scared him—because it made things ‘make sense’ in a way that panicked him most. When he discovered he’d meant nothing at all to Ozark Shepard (or meant ‘not-enough’? Meant ‘too-much’? Again, enough conflicting viewpoints to make it not really worth it anymore to decide what the truth was today), he thought for a long time it was because Oz’s experience on Akuze had made him incompatible with Ezra’s stay-at-home kind of living.
They had only been engaged, but sometimes at night he whispered the word ‘widower’ to himself. He tried, for a time, to mourn Oz, as if the man he loved had died on Akuze and a clone had returned from the field. One with incomplete memories of their life together that could remember all they meant to one each other, but couldn’t connect them in any way that looked like ‘love’. Ezra tried telling himself: “I couldn’t love him, either. Couldn’t love a clone. Would be disrespectful to the man I lost to love the version who came back.”
He hated this though. Hated what it meant for the fiances returning from other tragedies to find a way to make it work with their boyfriends. Wasn’t fair to them.