I Fell in Love with Hope

I Fell in Love with Hope


To my Sam,

And to everyone in the world who needs to feel a little less alone


This is a story that takes pieces of my heart and spreads them thin on paper. Told from the perspective of an all-knowing narrator, it is an exploration of friendship, sin, illness, love, and all things that make us human.

These pages are full of real memories given the shape of different characters, similar places, and the same ideas. No characters depicted in this novel are referencing real individuals.

It’s important I mention that many of the technicalities of disease are portrayed fictitiously in this novel and should not be analyzed as medically reviewed cases. Unnamed physical disorders are unnamed purposefully. I took some symbolic liberties in that department.

As a writer, I also believe it is my responsibility to clearly showcase sensitive material that is portrayed, described, and otherwise mentioned. This story contains domestic abuse, eating disorders, intense physical bullying, self-harm, suicide, rape, depression, anxiety, and gory descriptions of disease.

Autoimmune disorders are a strange thing from an outsider’s perspective and even more so from an insider’s experience. It’s a broad spectrum, a pendulum that swings from chronic to terminal. A large majority of people with autoimmune diseases can expect to live normal lives. A small minority can’t.

This story is for both. It is for all who know loneliness and for all who search for themselves.

I hope you find a piece of you in Sam, Hikari, Neo, Sony, and Coeur as I did.


The love of my life wants to die.

That’s a tragic thing to say out loud. No. Maybe not tragic. Maybe just unfair. But as you begin this story, I think you’ll find that tragedies and injustices usually fall under the same umbrella.

Because before the love of my life decided he didn’t want to live anymore, he told me the stars belonged to us. We spent every night together, our bodies softly intertwined on harsh roof tiles, memorizing the patterns in the sky. So even as he withered, as his body became less body and more corpse, I believed our stars would give him faith. I believed they would keep him alive so long as he could look up and see they hadn’t fallen.

Tonight, he and I stand on a bridge as the river rushes black and street lamps cast a golden halo on our winter-numbed fingers.

“Are you angry at me?” I ask because tonight, I tell him the truth. I tell him the truth about me, the truth I say to no one, the secret that makes me different from everyone he knows. I throw it like a lasso around his neck, a lifeline, something to keep him from taking that final step into the dark.

He shakes his head, grasping the railing. “I’m just curious.” The yellow-flared eyes I’ve always fallen into find mine. “What does it feel like? To be you?”

“It feels like I’ve stolen,” I say. “Like this body isn’t really mine.”

Confessions are brusk and surrendering, but mine are gentle. The truth of who I am doesn’t make sense, but it doesn’t have to. He knows that. He’s been sick since he was born. Being sick teaches you that reasons are just poor attempts at justifying misfortune. They give you an illusion of why, but why is a loud question and death is quiet.

“Do you believe me?” I ask.

He nods.

“Do you still love me?”

“Of course I still love you,” he sighs, palm cupping my face, thumb trailing my cheek.

I smile.

Love is our staple. Love made us pretenders.

As children, we pretended the hospital was a castle, and we were its knights. We used to play cards on patrol, and he let me win every time. We ate on the ground floor as he made up stories about the commoners in gowns that walked past. We slept in the same bed as he whispered about the adventures waiting for us outside the palace walls. Then, he kissed me because we were alone and each other’s and everything was alright.

We had to pretend.

The air was just thin. That’s why his lungs failed to draw breath. He was just sad that day. That’s why his heart couldn’t beat on its own. We were just tired. That’s why his muscles gave out, and he collapsed in my arms.

We spent our whole lives together pretending, but if you pretend for too long, reality reminds you one way or another that it doesn’t like being insulted.

Tonight, we argued. We fought like we never have before, and he came to this bridge alone to get away from me, I think. I’m not sure. Now that my secret is free, now that he knows who I am, what I am, the anger we shared dissipates, like it was housed in a sore muscle starting to heal.

He puts his coat on my shoulders when I shiver. His arms slip beneath mine, and he pulls me against him. I lean into his warmth, our silhouette interrupted by specks of white sinking in the picture.

“Are the stars falling?” I ask.

“It’s snow,” he whispers. He runs his touch up my spine, reverberating with chuckles. “It’s only snow.”

Cool and delicate, snow falls to my lips.

“Is snow ours too?” I ask.

“Yes,” he says, his mouth against my neck. “Everything is ours.”

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