“Why do you want me?” he said and I almost sighed of relief. That he wasn’t going to ask what this meant. That he wasn’t going to ask if we were. No guilt trips, no pressure, no questions I can’t answer, just –
“Because I see you?”
- and his face relaxes and he leans back into the idiotic cover of the futon that I always forget to change.
How do you go about describing the purity of a love that stems from a friendship of years? And that love, if it moves to romantic love, where does it leave you?
In a corner. Alone. Knees against your chest, and as far away from him as possible. Are you supposed to start to cry? Is he supposed to notice, when you cover your face with one hand, bracing your elbow against your knee so that you can wipe the tears away with the sleeve of his sweatshirt?
Or is it later? When your lungs, your heart, for very gut cry out in pain and in a sharp intake of breath, you’re sobbing and he’s sitting awkwardly on futon, wondering if he should hold you. Wondering if that now too is a line he shouldn’t cross.
“I’m so sorry,” he said. He had moved across the room and was sitting, cross-legged, in front of me. “I misread, I thought you wanted.”
There’s a pause. He’s silent and my rough, raw, uneven breaths make the silence jagged. Pregnant.
“I don’t know. I don’t know, Sam, can’t you just…hold me?”
What shapes our relationship, I think some what incoherently (“of course, Lydie.”) is that I have always been able to ask him for what I need.
We fall asleep, and it’s not the first time I’ve fallen asleep next to him. I’m not sure how he sleeps, but I fitful, exhausted sleep. I wake up in the middle of the night, freeze, furious at myself for reacting like this to what was a normal and tame progression of this relationship. Confused that he’s suddenly become the protector.
The last time I wake up, around 5, he’s absentmindedly rubbing his thumb in small circles on my arm and I just want to freeze my life in that moment. I don’t want to think about what it means that we kissed, or that I reacted so strongly to something so...accepted. I don’t want to face what I know I must – that this relationship cannot work. That neither of us, really, can date without the long term in mind. That the idea of life without the other terrifies us.
I must have shifted – he noticed I was awake – and I’m shocked again at the role reversal. He leans in – I can feel the beginnings of a beard – and whispers.