Then, she…

Then, she goes quiet…

After the back-and-forth, the adult banter, the giggling and smiling and touching, she goes quiet. Something stabs me within. This is when she tells me she wants to do her own things. I know there is another, or others. I always push these thoughts to where my guilt and regret reside. She takes her phone, she needs to make a call, to her bedroom, and she pushes the door back. She has never done this before. She has never made any calls while we are together, not like this. She is telling him she cannot make it, because she is with me. Yes! She comes out even quieter. Now I am scared. She knows something. What, I do not know. I cook the chicken in silence. Even before I add the spices, I fear it will not turn out the way I want it to. The chef’s attitude. I am on edge, tortured by the unseen and unknowable thoughts of my past mistakes. What I have with her is one thing good I can come back to. When she is with me, she is with me and I am with her. When she is not with me, she is not with me, and I am not with her. This is what I sing to myself.

I often wait for my phone to ring, willing it to be her calling or sending a message, some sign that she is also thinking of me. And I wait. And I wait. And my phone stares back at me blackly, seeming to absorb my questioning and not giving anything back. An abyss of silence. In these moments, I daydream and wonder where she could be and what she could be doing. Sleeping? Do I wake her up and say…. What? Working? Do I pop over quickly and… And? So, I distract myself, and pick up a book, then put it down, then pick up another one, and put that one down too. I can watch something, a cartoon. They are not so mindless or mindful, as it were, and I could use the cheering up. The abyss is in my mind and can be filled, not with my clamouring thoughts and emotions, with the world’s noise and its exigencies. There are always other distractions waiting to be explored.

Then, she opens up…

It is not about me. It usually never is, but still… Relief floods over me in a cacophony of laboured breaths and heartbeats. What she shares is no better, but it has nothing to do with my infidelities. Not with her, of course, with the others. I will not make the same mistakes with her. So, while I am with her, I am with her. While she is mine, she is mine. I hold on to her, holding on to life itself. What we have is insanity, but in its goodness, its pleasure, a slice of sanity in what has become a rambling chaos of a love life. She is warm and kind, and I could use some kindness now, and some warmth. I should not like her this much, be this enraptured by a woman I have only known for two months. She says the same thing of me. I believe her. I have to believe her, for my heart’s sake. For the sake of what is left. We dive deeper into each other, me into her, she into me. I can almost feel the quiver of her heart at the tips of my fingers and trace the contours of her insides. I like what I feel, the way all of her seems to curve so seamlessly around my barren frame.

Then, she kisses me…

Moist and fragrant, she is a fruit baked and seasoned by sun and dust. I smell her fresh skin that is hot to my touch and is smooth and ready for my lips. I could get used to this. I tell her that and she says she could too. We both ask ourselves, aloud and of each other, “What have you done to me?” Bewitched. That is the only explanation. When she tosses at night, gruffly turning in her sleep, she is reciting incantations to chain me to herself. As I am exploring my own depths in grasping and halting prose, I am really praying to a deity I claim to not believe in, for her not to leave me, and if she does, to do so completely, making me imagine that she was just a daydream. She is a beautiful distraction, and more. I am scared of being alone, with my feelings and my memories and my thoughts. I do not think I can handle the self-judgement. I have been here before, this is not new. But, I have never been here before, this is new. The heaviness shifts, a blubbering mass carried along by the tremors of the mix of all the things I am and wish I was and the things I want to be.

Then, she tells me everything will be fine…

Or rather, she implies it. It is in the way she looks at me, when she is not avoiding my gaze: soft eyes, bright and bold. I believe her. The pain is more dulled now, at least my pain is. Even when I am this distracted, I do not want to let myself believe that it is valid. How many have I hurt needlessly? Why should my cuts heal? Still, I feel the skin closing in on the emptiness, and I know soon enough the throb will be a faded memory. She says she likes me, a lot, that I have hypnotized her, and this makes me feel good, despite the emotional muck I have been wading in, the constant scare that I might not be what I promised, in whispers and openly. And I still want her thoughts and her words, and I still do not want them. And I do not know what to do but just ride this wave to wherever it will drop me. Tomorrow is for everything else.

Then, she…

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