But of course your mum would never allow that. She wouldn't even allow your tutor to come over if no one else is home, let alone your boyfriend. You know that nothing close to what your mum fears will ever happen, really. You've only barely hugged him once. He's a shy guy, and you're a shy girl, and all you're seeking is a sanctuary -
Some couples, they're okay with all that PDA, but the both of you just aren't like that. To people like you and him, the air is acid, the eyes that pass you by are daggers. The walls have ears that distort and echo, you've come to learn in your painful preteen years. Now all the two of you are seeking is a refuge, an escape from the scary outside world where you can be free. The closest you can get to this sanctuary? A musky stairway, the back seat of an empty bus, a lonely park at night, where he dares to hold your hand, touch your face, where you whisper i-love-yous that no one else will hear.
All you want is a place where the both of you can feel free. You want to show him around your place and the bed in which you lie every night to think about him. You want to show him your childhood photos and the diaries you kept in primary school, and maybe have a little fun cooking. You want to be able to talk openly about feelings without having to whisper, or having to check if anyone else might be around. You want to feel like it isn't wrong for you and him to be in love.
You have every right to feel so.
Held back, by all these restrictions you impose on yourselves. You imagine an enemy and end up suffocating yourselves. So because mum will never let him in, on his birthday the two of you look up some budget hotel, the kind that reeks of one-night stands, because a sixty-dollar room's all a couple of kids can afford. And five beautiful hours the two of you sit at the edge of the bed and talk and laugh and look into each other's eyes without having to worry about anyone else noticing. You walk out to the balcony, boldly hand-in-hand in bright daylight for the first time, and for the first time he says it out loud, those three words, for the first time it's more than a shy whisper. Here you find your sanctuary. Here you're free.
Five hours later the sheets remain creaseless, the bed untouched. Maybe they would have charged less if you told them all you wanted was a room with a bench. You walk through the glass doors onto the street, back into the big world. The calm of the evening air. For the first time he dares to hold your hand in the open. Maybe he's learning to let go of unnecessary mind-barriers and love like he wants to. There's nothing wrong with it, is there?
And a step too early, a wrong turn of the head; you see a pair of dagger eyes staring, a hand covering a mouth that's waiting to spill over with gossip. I just saw them walking hand in hand out of that sixty-dollar hotel.
Nobody will believe you.