Every one of us is entrusted with a lock and a key — a lock to represent that person’s heart, and a key for that person’s love. I have never tried using my key for fear that it won’t open his lock. I have seen people with their locks opened by each other’s keys and I envy the way their eyes seem to follow their partner’s every move; their lips seem to widen when their hands touch and their laughs mix. I long for that.
“Where have you been?” he asks.
“Out,” I answer with a smile.
“You shouldn’t stay out this late at night,” he says.
We have always been together since our parents died. We have treated each other as family though my blood and his were like different rivers from different parts of the world. But I treat him with more love than he does with me and he doesn’t know it. He can’t.
“Today I saw her at the end of a boy’s line again. And it seemed no one has opened her lock yet. You still have your chance,” I tell him the words that are the complete opposite to what my heart have always shouted.
A tinge of annoyance crosses his eyes before he stands and blocks me and my path to my room.
“Aleix,” he drops my name and I scramble to catch it.
He drops his gaze, stares into his shoes for a minute, then glances back at me.
“Have you used your key?” I watch his blood slowly color his face.
“What? No,” confused, I ask him, “have you?”
Instead of answering, he cups his hands and a bluish light starts to glow. When he opens them, the most beautiful thing — my most favorite thing — floats between his hands, his key. His are colored from midnight with tiny sparks of stars. Without knowing, I mimic his actions and draw out my key. We used to do this when we were little, to calm ourselves on stormy nights or after a fight. My key borrowed the colors of dawn. Both of us were quiet for a few heartbeats.
“Do you remember our promise when we were little, that when we grow up, we’ll at least try if our keys fit our locks?”
I’m afraid to answer, to speak, to lie and turn back. So I nod. He touches his chest and there his lock emerged. “Over the years, I’ve deceived myself. I let you roam free and see others the way I wanted you to look at me. Every night when we sleep I think of what we could have been — what we could be — if I tell you how much you mean to me. Every night, I pray that your lock would open to my key, that my love would be enough for you to love me back. But I am a coward and my heart is weak. So I gave you lies of wanting that woman, so you could somehow find a man that I desperately wanted to be. And I see now that that has not happened yet, and here, I am offering all of myself to you in the hopes that you feel the same way towards me too. No matter what the outcome may be, my feelings for you won’t change. So, if—if you would be willing…”
He offers me his key and I am frozen in place, thinking that this couldn’t possibly be true, that what he just said wasn’t what I have always dreamed he would say. But he is looking at me with those irresistible violet eyes that seem to put courage into my heart. So I take a deep breath and place my hand in my chest.
“Over the years, I’ve held myself back. I watch you fawn over her the way I wanted you to notice me. Every night when I couldn’t sleep, I think of what could have happened if I’d just toughen up and tell you of my feelings for you. And I pray. I pray that when that time comes, when I finally hold out my key for you, you would accept it and I’d hear your lock opening.” I look at his eyes and let out a small laugh. “But the gods have a better idea at fulfilling our prayers.”
We hold our keys directly across our locks and for the first time, we look at each other with the same expressions of vulnerability, of trust and of love.
“Together?” he whispers.
“Together.” I answer.
When we turn our keys and hear the soft clicks of our opened locks, we meet each other’s eyes and he mouths “I love you” and I say it back. Together, we watch our locks grow bright — the sunrise of our love.