We were perfect. Truly.

"Young love," they'd say, looking at us. But they were wrong: What we had was true love.

And why I cast that away, I have no idea.

Soft Hands. Warm Smiles.

"Sora! Rise and shine, lazy bum! You have five minutes!" I groaned loudly but showed no other signs of life.

"… Seriously dude, get up. We're going to miss the plane!" I grumbled and pulled the white sheets over my head. Kairi flipped on the lightswitch and blinded me in an attempt to rouse me. I heard her approach my bed and grasped the sheets tighter. As expected, she tried to rip them from my body.

"Back off, bitch!" I whined, holding onto the covers with all the strength I had.

It wasn't much since my arms were still wobbly from sleep, so Kairi won our game of tug o' war and sent me flying off the bed, along with the sheets. I hit the floor with a thud. Kairi nudged me with her foot, laughing slightly as she took in my disheveled appearance.

"Look what the cat dragged out." I glared at her with drowsy cerulean eyes, so I doubted it was very intimidating.

"More like hag…" I muttered under my breath, closing my eyes to resume my slumber on the floor.

"What was that?" I didn't answer her, I just turned around onto my side with a smug smile on my face. Kairi started lecturing me and it was the perfect lullaby to lull me to sleep. My eyelids grew heavier and heavier as she started talking about some trip to Florida and an expensive plane ticket. In the short few seconds I was allowed to lay on the ground, I nearly fell back asleep.

Then it hit me like a bucket of ice water.

"Oh, shit! What time is it?!" I exclaimed, shooting up from the ground and quickly rummaging through my suitcase at the end of the bed. Clothes, clothes, clothes… Where are the damn things?!

Kairi giggled, seating herself on the bed. She reached into her pink jacket pocket and pulled out her iPhone. Kairi pushed aside a few stray strands of her rosy-red hair with her left hand as she read the time.

"4:43. Two minutes. And I can tell you this right now, I'm leaving this hotel with or without you."

I was already finished getting dressed by the time she finished her sentence.

After a quick hygiene check, we bid hotel suite number 73 farewell.

The best part about flying in an airplane is definitely the silence.

Well, that and the view.

I munched on the complementary pretzels the airline provided and looked out the window, feeling at ease. The desaturated colors somehow managed to still look beautiful, regardless of the lack of hue.

"We all share the same sky, you know. One sky." Kairi startled me when she spoke from beside me. She was looking out the window as well. She rested her elbow on the armrest between us and held her chin in her hand. Kairi's violet eyes contained a certain sparkle to them. I wondered if she saw its beauty, too, even though it wasn't at its prettiest.

"...So you don't have to feel sad about leaving. You'll always have a connection. Besides, we both know it was for the best." She continued.

I didn't say anything, just basked in the silence of the morning flight.

Kairi sighed a little quietly, but it wasn't a sad sigh, more like a distracted one. I turned my head towards her and watched as she reached under her seat to grab a book she stashed there. Welcome to the Madness. That's her kind of book, alright. I chuckled a little.

"Welcome to the madness? Kairi, you are the madness." She groaned and elbowed me roughly, but otherwise said nothing.

We sunk back into the comfortable silence. I ought to have fallen back asleep, but the morning's drowsiness fled me now. I was content with simply breathing in the stale airplane air.

It did get a little boring after a while, sitting there. Kairi had fallen asleep, still holding her book. It threatened to slide onto the floor, so I grabbed it, marked the page, and set it aside. She pulled her hands closer to the face and seemed to curl in on herself, but otherwise remained undisturbed.

I reached under my seat and pulled out the journal I kept there. It was stark black and had a golden tiger on it. Don't let them tame you, it read in golden lettering.

I opened the book and flipped through the pages. My thumb caught on the corner of one of the middle pages, and my curiosity took over. I read it.

March 29, 2011.

I can't tell them. I can't tell them anything. They'd never understand… they'd push me around and make fun of me and.. And god knows what else they would do to me… god, what have i done wrong? I didn't ask to be like… this. I don't want to be like this! I'm a good kid, i dont… i dont want anything to change. My family LOVES me and they CARE about me. They don't anymore. Or, they wont if they ever find out. That's why I have to hide this from them, they can never know. No one can ever know. Its my dirty little secret.

Tear stains lined the page. They're mostly old, from the day I wrote the passage, but some are from days I revisited the page. Even now I feel a little sting of behind my eyes. This was seven years ago… I was eleven year old, and hurting. Hurting so badly that I couldn't even say what I was, what I am, on page: Gay. I closed my eyes and brought the journal closer to my face. I kissed the page gently, so grateful to be past that dark time. I looked at the page a little sadly before resuming my page flipping.

Another page caught my attention; it was written in blue ink instead of graphite like all the other pages.

January 4, 2015

There's a new girl at school today. Her hair is a weird shade of pink, but somehow it fits her. She's kind of small, but she's really quite pretty. I think I might try to be her friend! I wonder what she'd say to that. She seems nice enough. Maybe tomorrow. We have the same schedule all day, so it should be pretty easy to talk to her. I think… I think her name started with a C. Or maybe it was a K. Ehh, I can find out tomorrow. Maybe I'll walk her home.

There was a wide gap between the first passage and the next, as though I had an afterthought.

I wonder what she'd say if I told her my secret. ...Maybe I can cast it away… maybe she can fix me.

I tisked at past me as I trailed my hand down the lined paper. I knew it wasn't going to work, but I used her anyway. I glanced over at Kairi from where she's passed out beside me. I brushed a strand of hair that hung in front of her face behind her ear. My closest friend… I'm so grateful to her. She's helped me so much.

I returned my attention back to my journal and flipped through the pages with a destination in mind.

February 12, 2015

I can't do this to Kairi anymore. She's so, so sweet. It's not her fault that I'm not attracted to her. I wish I could be everything she wants, but I just… can't. I can't Kairi, and I'm sorry. I have to tell you the truth. You don't deserve to be lied to anymore. I can't lead you on further than I already have.

Another gap in the page.

She already knew.

Kairi claimed to have always known from the second I stuttered out a measly hello. I never questioned her, but if that were the case, why would she put herself through the hurt of a relationship? Maybe she was hoping it wasn't true, like me.

I flipped past all my old entries to a blank page. I rummaged through my coat pockets to find a pen and dated the paper. I had to scribble on the edges before ink would show.

March 29, 2018.

Hello, hello. It's been… a while since I've written, which is a shame. This journal has helped me through some tough times in my life. I've become a much, much stronger person than before.

I paused, unsure of what to say.

Today, my best friend Kairi and I travel to Florida with one-way tickets. She's asleep now, or I probably wouldn't be writing this. We've been through so much together, but you probably know that already, given you're reading my journal.

I chuckle quietly at my humor.

My 18th birthday was yesterday, and I decided it was a good time to tell my family that I'm gay. They… they didn't take it very well. They didn't kick me out, no, but leaving was the best option for me. I think we all need a little bit of space.

The pen rested against the paper, unmoving. I struggled to find words to write. I rolled the pen between my thumb and index finger before finding any words.

It's a new beginning, kind of. It's like that quote says: "You can't decide where you start, but you chose where you go from there." ...or something.

Kairi reminded me that I don't have to be sad about leaving everyone behind because we're all connected by the sky. That's actually pretty reassuring. Kairi always knows what to say. I'm so glad she came with me.

I put the pen down and closed the journal. Breathing out a sigh of relief, I felt so much lighter. I don't know why I ever stopped writing in my journal; it always helped me alleviate stress. I only picked it up again because I didn't want to leave it at the house, so I packed it along.

A voice came through the speakers, announcing that the plane would be landing soon. The attendant requested that everyone remain seated and buckle their seat beats. I nudged Kairi gentle, rousing her from her sleep.

"Rise and shine, nap queen. We're landing."