My parents bought a little two-bedroom house when they first got married. It was run down, falling apart, but most importantly: cheap.
Two years later, my mother fell pregnant with me. She immediately abandoned her job for some plaster and paint and set about decorating the untouched spare room. She splashed pastel yellow across the walls, replaced the dingy carpet and kitted out the room with furniture.
Sixteen years after my birth, and the yellow paint is flaking off the walls revealing the kiwi green beneath. I can peel back the corners of the carpet to reveal the worn underlay and half rotten floorboards. I can examine the fringe of my cream curtains where the bright yellow hasn't been bleached by the sun. The room is, more or less, unchanged. It has merely lost its sheen, much like the inhabitant of it.
I remained an only child; filling my days with quiet solitary games and elaborate stories whispered under my breath. My isolation only increased as I grew too big for the room that entrapped me. I found myself spending the majority of my days outside in our overgrown garden, entertained by everything and nothing.
I learned that even in nature, living things thrived with the company of each other. I longed to stretch out and touch the smooth skin of another human, to hear the tinny laugh of a child. Instead I was condemned to my loneliness; hours of pitiful yearning for companionship that seemed a lifetime away.
A few weeks after my sixteenth birthday, a family moved in to the dilapidated old house beside ours. My mother told me that they had a teenage daughter too, and that perhaps we should meet. I was afraid: to interact with her would act as to bare my soul. I shied away.
It was on the fourth night of their residency that I spotted the girl in the garden, silently watering the plants. I soon found myself glued to the window, misting up the glass with my shallow, fearful breaths. She moved with fluid grace, a simple and charming elegance that struck a chord inside of me. A fascination was born.
Daily I watched her go about her chores. I quickly learned her routine: a jog up and down the streets after breakfast; dance practice of an evening in the living room; and watering the potted flowers outside at night. I gazed after her blissfully, taking pleasure from simply studying her movements. I didn't know her name: but I knew that she had rapidly become the most important person in my life.
I was happy with my distant watching, until my mother asked me to drop over some dishes the family had asked for. Nervously, I stepped from the comfort of my own front path onto the one beside it, and rapped on the door. After several moments it swung open, and the teenage girl stood behind it with a smile.
I wanted to drop the plates and run. Something about her both terrified and enthralled me, and I think perhaps she knew that. She stepped out and took the dishes from my hands, her skin brushing my own. Though the contact was only fleeting, my heart lurched in my chest. I tried to speak, to utter a word of greeting or thanks. Instead, a strangled murmur tumbled from my mouth, and I clenched my jaw tightly.
She spoke to me then, easing my fears with words as gentle as her motions. She invited me inside whilst she placed the dishes on the kitchen counter, and I blindly followed without objection. I cared not about what the house looked like: my eyes were glued to her. She told me that her name was Amy, and that she longed to be a dancer but hated the thought of failure. She spoke for a while, and I lapped up every word with muted appreciation. I said no words to her, and she asked me no questions. At some point, we headed back towards the door and then she was gone, and I pined for her.
Over time, my days became intertwined with Amy's. Soon I was indistinguishable from her shadow; as silent and as loyal. Amy confided in me her darkest secrets and innermost desires, and I listened with care. If she cried, I would wipe away her tears with my thumb and squeeze her shoulder gently. Though I uttered no words of comfort, I knew my gestures meant more than any phrase could.
I desperately loved Amy. Her warmth and strength was overwhelming, as was her effortless beauty. She had her faults, but I saw nothing but perfection as I stared into her hazel eyes. Her lips, too, were flawless and beautiful. The first time I met them with my own, we stood in her garden at the dead of night, surrounded by the plants she so strangely adored. It was a chaste kiss, and I didn't think for a moment about the fact she was also a girl. To me, my adoration transcended gender. I saw her heart, her mind and her soul. It was that which I fell so completely in love with.
We kissed and held each other on many occasions. Each time I felt her warm body against my own it filled me with an irreplaceable joy. I never needed to utter the words 'I love you', Amy saw the look in my eyes and she knew. She knew as I caressed her soft olive skin that I cherished her more than any words could express.
And then, inexplicably, it changed. I hadn't realised how much time had passed in my unmoving endless world. She had grown evermore wonderful over the two years we had shared, and was out longer and longer of an evening. One night, she broke the news to me that she was moving away, to be married to a man she called her 'sweetheart'. My heart shattered into dust, and my mind refused to function. I locked myself away, refusing to even allow the light to touch my empty shell. The day of her departure crawled ever closer, but I couldn't bear to tear myself from the isolation I had despised for so long.
I watched from my parents' bedroom window as Amy said her emotional goodbyes to her mother and father. Her 'sweetheart' leant smugly against his car, his eyes full of a love so twisted and unlike my own. I wanted to scream out that her decision was wrong, but no words would come. As she walked towards the car, and climbed inside, I bolted for the stairs. I sprinted out of the door and with as much voice as I could muster I cried,
But it was too late. The car had driven away, and the only words I'd ever said to Amy remained unheard. My eyes glazed with tears and I sank to the ground, clutching at the very real pain in my chest. I wondered if my heart had deserted me altogether, and gone with the one person it truly belonged to. After some moments, I climbed to my feet and up the stairs, and locked myself in the yellow room I would forever be locked in.