Without Fear of Falling Excerpt

DECLAN

She is impossibly pretty and yet she has no earthly idea. How can
that be?
I know where I recognized her from now. It was in my
dreams, my nightmares even, but I won’t tell her that. The last
thing I want to do is scare her off.
Can I do this? Can I be normal? Sane? In love? People like me
don’t fall in love. We stalk, draw endless pictures; we write
tortured poetry. We don’t fall in love. So I think maybe I should
leave, go back to London before I lose everything I’ve built and
forgotten. But I can’t stop thinking of her…
I had to blink twice when I saw her: A face of flawless joy and
kindness, hair the colour of Prairie wheat and eyes like the bay of
her birthplace.
Ellie matches this land, lays upon it accepting and yet denying
it with that look in her eyes that says she knows something we
don’t. Will she tell me what she knows? How much of what she
hides will she show me?
Anything is possible, Mom always says. I could be the one she
lets in. It could be me.
And then I think how stupid that is. She doesn’t need a crazy
fuck-up in her life. Let her be, I tell myself. Let her be.
I stumble from my hotel bed to the mirror. I look so pathetically
sad in comparison to her, as though serenity was her race
and melancholy mine. Even when I smile, my blue eyes droop.
And I really need to shave my head. Who needs the responsibility
of a comb? Not this man.
I hear the wind outside my window as it whistles and howls
and I’m glad to be inside. I’ve always despised the wind in my
ears. It’s the fear that the noise of it is blocking out something
important that I need to hear like the honking of an oncoming
truck, or a lover calling my name.
Ellie flashes in my mind again and instantly I want to see her
naked. I would be good to her. I would not just love her and
leave her. No, I would give her all the parts of me that are
rational and I would be gentle.
I want to see her naked, but I want her secrets too. I want her
lightly-freckled arms, her morning breath, her crappy pop music
and her perfection. I have an image of her
already formed in my mind. I’ve assumed a lot of things about
her, but I’ll surrender it all for her truth, whatever that is.
Is it normal to want another person to balance you out? She is
everything sane, kind and lovely. I feel damaged at the core. At
the very least, my mind is damaged. She could help me laugh at
myself. She could help me.
God help me. I’m mad. I need some wine.

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