He had his card out on the bench, ready to pay for our drinks and sushi dinner. I swooped in and put my phone onto the machine before he could. It was a really lovely date and I hoped he wanted to see me again, too.
I don’t like the presumption that he has to buy me dinner for a number of reasons. Mostly I feel there’s an unspoken agreement that I owe him if he does. No-one would say that out loud, but I feel it and maybe he does too. He is not entitled to anything and I want to remove any chance this could be misconstrued.
We went home to my place and we laughed about stupid shit and ended up naked, as you do, kissing and touching. I have no problem getting intimate with someone I have only just met. If two people are down to get down, I don’t see the point in those rules about waiting for the third date. That seems like a game I have no interest in playing.
We texted, for a few days and it was fun and it was easy and he told me I was beautiful. He told me I was intriguing and I’d had an affect on him. I am usually dubious of expressions such as these, especially soon after meeting. It was nice though. To be talked to in that way and to be told that I was lovely and wanted. I felt attractive. I believed him.
I didn’t hear from him for a few days and that was confusing. I resisted the urge to text him and ask if he’d died and needed me to avenge his death. I told myself that he was probably busy and that was fine.
After three days, like Jesus, he rose again. His tone via text was clinical and distant and I was confused. I thought maybe I was reading into it too much. He came around and did some handy jobs around the house like he said he would. We hugged and he said it was good to see me. He kept me at a distance. He left and there was no kiss.
I felt anger more than confusion at his withdrawal. I felt we’d crossed a distance and become close and I deserved more than I was getting.
I wondered whether my falling into bed with him on the first night was my paying for dinner.
It could have been the wind, that possessed your hair. It could have been the sun, that coloured your cheeks. It could have been the sand that made your toes curl.
But I like to think it was me that affected you.
When you’re scared you run away
When I’m scared I clarify
Imagine what we’d be
if we weren’t scared
I am no-one’s secret, lover
I am a prize, just as you are
As I hope I showed you
I don’t only exist in the dark
when you need an ear, a cuddle, or to come.
I’ve needs and thoughts and I hoped you cared
enough to see them in the light, too
I just wanted you to hold my hand in the street
where people would see us
because I am no-one’s secret lover
I am the in between one
a bridge between two others
I will gather all your pieces
when you thought them lost
painstakingly discover them
through long conversations
filled with hair stroking
kissed fingertips, tears
and all of my labour
and once I find all the parts
I’ll glue you back together
Make you see how perfect you are
how perfect you were already
perfect enough for you to thank me
and to float on to the next
and for me, tomorrow
there’ll be another almost-whole
to discover, collect and embrace
but what about my pieces?
He’s a tall man. A full two heads closer to the sky than she is. She turns her head when they hug or else she’d suffocate on his sternum. He makes her belly ache with laughter and with butterflies. Often at the same time.
When he holds her she feels like a tiny gift. He tells her she’s small when he holds her feet in his hands or when she wraps her arm around his waist. It’s endearing in a way she’s not felt for a long time.
What a precious thing – to be precious – she thinks. What a skill to make someone else feel that way.
Can only small people be made to feel precious? Or does she have a chance to affect him in the same way? There’s all the time in the world to try.
With tears in his eyes, he angrily told me I didn’t understand him. I could tell he was pushing for me to challenge; to prove him wrong. I knew he wanted desperately to be heard, to not feel alone. I wanted so badly to be the one to give him that.
I wondered, then, as I looked at the furrowed brow that had always been so soft and loving before now, whether he was saying this to me or his ex girlfriend.
I agreed that I didn’t understand. I wouldn’t dare argue with his truth. All the same my heart broke; I didn’t understand him even though I tried more than he realised. I tried as hard as I could. But trying isn’t enough.