Art by @nanaboodraws on twitter
“Don’t freak out”.
That sentence has followed me through my entire childhood.
Even up to this point in life, I hear it at least once every couple of days, and I say it just as many times to someone else.
It might seem like any other unimportant phrase but to me, especially when it came from the right person, could change everything.
Maybe it sounds a little harsh.
Don’t freak out.
One could also say, “Hey, it’s okay”, or, “Don’t worry”. But this sentence right here was a special one for me.
I remember that Sakusa said it the first time in elementary school, when I had forgotten to tell my parents about the project I needed glue for the next day. I went to his house in a hurry, babbled him full of anxious phrases that I couldn’t even finish until he grabbed my head and said it.
“Don’t freak out”.
Sakusa was very similar as a child to the version he was now. I mean sure, he was bigger and stronger and definitely more cynical, but even as a child he was just as blunt.
Somehow, at that time I stopped rambling and listened.
He brought me up to his room, gave me a glue stick and said, “See? You’re freaking out over nothing”.
It started from that moment on.
In a way, we have both been anxious since we were children.
I felt the intense need to lie to my parents when something bad happened, just so I wouldn’t disappoint them. Covering up small little things until they built to something huge that I couldn’t control anymore, which just made me even more afraid.
Sakusa somehow always knew when to intervene, telling me how to get out of the mess I made. I never took his bluntness negatively.
After a while, when we both got into middle school, I used his own phrase.
Fifth grade really was a turbulent time.
Some guys from his class had just thrown sand at him because he had the habit of staring other kids down and scaring them, and even though Sakusa could take a lot, I remember when I dragged him to a washroom and helped him get it all off.
“Don’t freak out”, I whispered, and his shaking hands calmed a little as I draped a clean handkerchief over them.
It was the ultimate comfort.
From then on, we both learned what the other needed to calm down again, almost as if we could detect a dip in mood before it happened.
“Don’t freak out Asami, he’s gone”, as I clutched only onto his jacket, knowing anything else would tick him off, but it was enough.
“Omi, don’t freak out. I’m going to touch your neck with the ice pack, okay?”, when he sat on the floor shivering through a panic attack.
It was a staple in our communication, and a beautiful code phrase even if it didn’t get that bad.
When I looked at him as we moved to a crowd and I just asked, “freaked?”, he would begrudgingly shake his head.
Or when I came out of my english exam for my A-levels and he just mouthed the words from afar. I recall shaking my head and giving him an awkward thumbs up.
No, I sat next to him in a library, his mask hanging loosely from his ear as he looked at me while I scrolled hastily through my deadlines.
“Don’t freak out”, he muttered as his earthy scent enveloped me.
I smiled unconsciously and already felt much calmer.
“You know, whenever you say that I already feel a lot better than before”, I muttered.
“That’s the plan, idiot”
I looked at him with a fond smile, and maybe if I didn’t quite imagine it his lips turned up a little too.
“You really should talk to him though”.
“Who?”, I questioned as I looked again at the list of deadlines only to find mine to be situated t next week.
I sighed in relief.
“You know who I am talking about”.
He nudged me with his water bottle and I groaned at the impact.
“I can see you looking at him from afar, you really should talk to him”
I hated that he was right.
Especially when it was my inner world, Sakusa was the voice of reason in my head.
When I had sneezing and coughing spells because of my allergies he scolded me that I don’t wipe the counters in my room and fluff out the bed too much.
He was right, but I still hated it.
“What should I tell him?”, I sighed as I closed my laptop and turned to him.
My arms leaned on the chair and I crossed a leg over the other.
“I’m not saying confess, but I know you”
“When you fall, you fall hard. You make up stories in your head, you swoon and sigh all day”, he stuck out his tongue in disgust, “it’s horrible”
I laughed lightly and gestured to him to continue, so he did.
“You fall in love easily, you stay in love easily. You make up your mind about liking someone and stick to it, which makes you loyal”, he squinted his eyes, “and a pest”.
“Can you get to the point?”, my heartrate accelerated at his claim, because again I knew he was right. It was hard to get someone out of my head if I planted them once, except for when I replaced them with someone else.
My stomach made a horribly uncomfortable flip and I gripped the chair handle.
“Don’t freak on me now, we’re just talking”
“Make sure you know what you want. The longer you stay alone and only think about him, the less real everything becomes. The more you’ll get roped into something you can control”.
“So?”, I asked with a whisper.
“So, a relationship is not to be controlled. If you want him, take him. Not that person in your fantasies”.
I inhaled deeply, held it for a moment and pushed the breath out again.
“I love how I just prodded at something I didn’t even know was accurate but your reaction tells me I was absolutely right”, he snickered.
“What”, was my absolutely intelligent response.
“Well, I had a hunch you liked him. But now I know”.
“OH MY GOD SAKUSA”
“Stop being loud you idiot”, he grumbled.
My heartrate picked up again, and there was a deep sense of longing situated somewhere in my chest, but there was also relief.
If Sakusa knew, that would make things easier.
“Thank you”, I mused at him.
“Everything”, and with a sigh, I let my head fall onto his shoulder.
“You’re a horrible sap”, he mumbled, but I could only hold back my tears.
He didn’t flinch away.
I guess… it’ll all be okay.