Yes, child, it hurts. I know it hurts. That’s why I’m holding you close, even though it’s not what you think you want at the moment. You beat your fist on my chest, trying to break free. A futile gesture, with no more effect than a newborn’s feeble reflexes against a professional lineman. I just press you closer, not wanting your small hands to bruise on my will.
Realizing the futility of your efforts, your palms move to my face. Though they leave no bruises, I remember the sweet, childish kisses you once gave me and weep. Oh my child, I hold you. I am your only safety as the world falls apart. Breaking free of my arms would only bring death.
I would follow you even there. But your strength is ebbing now—the blows are less and less frequent , until they stop. The air is heavy. Then the tears.
It doesn’t always come like this: sometimes the tears are first, sometimes the heaviness. I wipe each tear away, cupping my hands till they’re brimming full. And I drink the bitter draught, freeing you to live in love.