They sat together on the couch; the same routine night after night, year after year. The shows changed over time, but they remained in love...as deeply in love as when they first met...even more so, if that were possible. They loved each other and it showed. Hands held and a welcoming shoulder or a open lap for rest and comfort.
But their roles had reversed in a manner of speaking. Where once he was adamant about things and inflexible and she was open and easy to please, they now had switched sides. Her return to her childhood faith was literally a Godsend for her, but bode poorly for him. He had an epiphany of sorts; he still was filled with faith, but with a new understanding and he knew for the first time he was meant for something different than he had ever imagined. But her world didn't have room for his new understanding. She loved him, and likely would always love him. But she wouldn't like what she saw if she knew who and what he had become.
Years of love don't get swept away and discarded even if the pain of staying the same grows with every sunrise. Hearts knit together cannot be torn apart over even the most serious of beliefs about one's self. And of course, they were always free to be who they were inside...nothing had changed there. She still loved him, even if she didn't know anything about who he had become. In that regard, nothing had changed other than the outward expression, if it had been allowed room. That it had no overt means of being meant little compared to the hurt that expression might cause. So he never told her. She still loved the whole person, in whom the new part of him dwelt, unnamed and unspoken. And the new part of him always loved her because the new part of him was really there all along.
She loved her. She loved her too much to hurt her. The years of love that she harbored in her heart were enough to accept that her dearest would never know that part of her. Never share that part of her other than that she would always be there for her love, even if that meant being him all the time. No matter what might come; no matter how painful the yearning to break free and be who she was, it wasn't worth the lives of those she loved. It wasn't that important even if it was important to her and painful to neglect and set aside. Nothing, she told herself with as much honesty and sincerity as possible, was worth the sacrifice of that love, and she would be content to know that love would live and grow and change and become what it was always meant to be, watered and nurtured and fed by the loving heart of the girl her love would never come to know, but already knew intimately. All for love.
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