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I need the hand that lays across my hip and reaches up to hold my breast in sleep. I need the ritualistic spooning in the morning, as we roll back and forth, backs against fronts, lips against shoulders, feet intertwined. My face buried where his arm meets his chest, inhaling, full of warmth & safety. Grace, as he stretches out of bed, arms lengthening over his head, shoulders rising and falling, covered in freckles that I've counted a million times as he held himself over me. I gripped those shoulders in fear and in love, holding on for dear life.
Regret, grief, remorse, apologies, changes, memories, arguments, repentance, lament, mourning, reminisce, despair, despondence, disbelief, trust, lose trust, fight for trust, rebuild trust, new trust, second chances, lying, confessions, truth, talking, please, giving up don't give up, refusal to give up, blind until too late too late too late, amend, alone, deserted, solitary, sinking drowning suffocation, fall apart, break apart, come together, you are home, epiphany, realizations, understanding, apprehension, come back come back, holding on, against the odds, yearning needing wanting, appeal, knowing, hope, wish, faith, hold on, desire, anticipation, time, only one, perfection, satisfaction, fulfillment, love had to be you.
It was me who carried all these sparks, who harbored this heat. So much I lit us both on fire, bursting wide doors and bodies to possibilities, creating comfort, a safe haven to lose inhibitions and release fantasies and desires. It came from me. You gave me the friction to set the sparks to flame but now that I am lit, I won't let it die. I'll carry this torch with me from lover to lover igniting passion in my wake, demanding satisfaction, teaching technique, leaving them panting and dazed and unwilling to let go as you so easily were.
I rocked back and forth pressing into him, bracing myself against his chest with my hands, gripping his freckled shoulders. Dropping down to kiss, frantically yanking my hair out of my face, out of our mouths. A slow building of fire in my toes, a delicious but common feeling that always subsided. But this time I felt it rise over my body like a tidal wave, climbing over my head until it crashed and broke on my shores. My body vibrated, pulsated and my heart became inextricably tied to him forever. No man would ever touch me like this again.
I left because the idea that he could anywhere was too much to bear. Living ghosts, we'd pass each other by, me with head down hoping not to see; he with head up watching to avoid me, to avoid feelings of guilt if I caught him in my gaze and fell apart on the cobblestone streets.
This monstrous city disguised as our savior. This city that was to rescue us from our failings, to heal our wounds instead infected us, stripped us down to skin and bones and tore him from me, tucking him away behind her gothic walls.
He was so cool and reserved when we met in his long black coat drinking Scotch playing pool speaking quietly walking with long strides through the city like it was part of him.
He moved with animal grace when we shed clothing, prowling around me in the bedroom, coming in for the kill, leaving his mark – I was never the same again.
Inebriated on his sharp musky skin, my resolve lay beside me, flopping about like a dead fish, no help to me now no matter what he'd do I'd want him.
I was a goner.
And now he's gone.
I miss the smell of his skin, sharply musky. The smell of our sex – sweaty, primal, almost tropical. Like something out of the jungle. He monitored my biology by my scent, saying it changed as the month went on, became earthier.
He said I tasted exactly like watered-down honey.
The sound of him panting, sighing my name, growling instructions or observations while I would writhe under him howling and grunting with every thrust, whimpering, sighing, whispering, crying and collapsing utterly fulfilled, neighbors woken.
Now there is only the smell of salt, the sound of crying and loneliness. Whimpering in despair.
We were going to save up for a vacation in Belize. We were going to take train rides through Europe, get naked in a train car and make out like bandits. We would have stayed in Prague a while, maybe moved on to Portugal. We were going to make our own home, a cottage in the country that I would decorate with lush fabrics, deep reds and browns, and I was going to make him elaborate dinners every night, spinach omelettes every morning. We had movies to see. We were going to spend our lives together, spooning into our deathbeds.
At night, I go to bed wondering, feverish, when I'll feel a warm body again. A mouth, starting on my neck, behind my ears, traveling downward, leisurely. Hands grasping with downward motion, sliding over every curve. Friction, warmth, backing into him slowly. Back arched, propelling myself onward and upward over and over again. Nerves ablaze. Bodies attached, striding, gripping, pulling one into the other. Fullness. Satisfaction.
Getting up, completely exposed and naked, taking my sweet time to walk away, allowing him to see me, daring him to see me. Refusing to hide ever again, baring every inch of flushed skin.
There I was, in our restaurant – it was night, the room was filled with low light and candles but it was not you sitting across from me. I stared out the window, tried to make witty conversation. I found myself giving him the recommendation for that dessert – YOUR dessert crepe – and he took it, loved it, pushed the plate in my direction. I cut pieces off slowly, carefully. I left the blackberries on the plate, those were his favorite parts. This new one, he loved the blackberries, too. But he wasn't you. I excused myself to the bathroom and cried.
Wanting a warm body to give me peace in the night, a warm body that feels like yours and tucks me away into the fold between hip and stomach as perfectly as yours, a hand the size of yours that holds my breasts in sleep and turns me over for kisses that I can pretend IS yours. A warm body to grasp upon waking from nightmares that I've lost you, to hold tightly while squeezing my eyes shut and knowing you're there you're there.
Peace for just one minute before remembering it's not you and feeling colder in the end.
There was a night I went out without you, new friends, eager to meet you. We drank, laughed, played pool while I kept my eye on the door, eager to show you off and introduce you as the one who held me so completely. Out of the corner of my eye, there you were. I found myself catapulting towards the door to leap up into your arms and you caught me. You caught me, stunned and delighted. We kissed and everyone envied us, wanting someone to leap at them like that.
And I wish I could leap at you now.
There were nights that you didn't know of where I would wake up and lie beside you, staring at you in the dark and wonder,
what would I do if I ever lost you.
I told you once, tearfully, as I pulled you into me, "I would be devastated if I ever lost you,"
and you smiled, stroked my face and said that I never would.
We kept going for hours and I hung onto you extra tight the entire time wanting to hold onto that moment for the rest of my life.
And still I'm hanging onto that moment.
We gave lip service to trying, but kept going around in the same vicious circles, stabbing at each other's open wounds till fault and blame could not be laid on anyone one person. Fingers were pointed, insults were hurled, love was made, teeth bared, peace found only in the night where we could sleep in silence, pressed together in sadness.
There is no substitute for time.
And I wish on every moment in the day that time will do what Prague could not, that time and distance will bring us back together and heal as all our efforts could not.
"What a coward," is the response to his having left..
I cringe. I think the things I don't want to say or admit.
… it wasn't a surprise. I don't find it that cowardly.
We needed change. A brave thing to do, and I'd never have done it - make a stand, refuse to watch this relationship that was so remarkable and worth much more continue to be eaten away by cancer.
All the talk was insufficient, falling on ears blocked with anger. And I hold on to hope that time will heal all wounds so that we may return.
Thousands of miles apart, we'll swim in different oceans that mingle together somewhere in the middle of the world, currents rushing together, bringing water that days before washed over him to my shores.
While we are thousands of miles apart, I'll sit on the beach and stare out where the water makes contact with the sky, hoping that distance brings us closer, that the tide takes me back to him after this saltwater has healed our wounds and the sand polishes away the scars.
Thousands of miles, hoping for change, hoping that if you set it free, it comes back.
Alone in bed, I think of you. I put my hands where I wish yours would be, try to imagine your beard tickling my thigh. Just the thought of you, and I'm drenched, fingers traveling down a slippery slope, disappearing into chasms I wish you'd fill. Rhythmic motions turn frantic, hips coming up off the bed ever so slightly, and then more and I'm pretending that you're right there, watching, waiting to take your turn slamming into me until the neighbors are woken up but I'm alone, and your name tumbles out of my mouth at just the right moment.
I send him love letters in the form of porn – pictures and videos, displaying myself as only he's seen. Messages sent with a camera held craftily in one hand while writing with the other, lying naked on my bed or the floor.
Solo sex did nothing for me until I knew he'd be watching. And I try not to flail around too much, keep the camera steady and I practice, hold off, trying to find the perfect angle.
And when I'm done, I replay my handi-work before sending it off, and think, "Yes, that's exactly what I wanted to say."
I love you. I love how you made me feel brave in love, gave me a passion to rush headlong into something terrifying, and that for the first time gave me something I wanted THAT MUCH. I loved giving up my safety nets to become blinded by all but you, wanting to try, to be good, to feel what it was like to openly give everything I had. I blissfully let go of control and all inhibitions.
I love you with a dedication I never thought possible for me. I believe in us with a clarity I've never had before.
I remove the straw from the wrapper, stick it in my iced coffee and then return to tie the wrapper in a knot, as I always do. Tie a knot and pull on the ends.
If, upon ripping, the knot comes undone, it means that someone is thinking of you. Like pulling petals off a daisy one at a time. He loves me, he loves me not. Someone is thinking of me, I'm forgotton.
I do this obsessively, take extra straws and rip off the wrappers hoping for answers. Today, three of them ripped in a row. I'm not forgotten.
It's 4 am - I'm awake, lying on the couch avoiding going to an empty bed not shared with you. I have not slept alone in 2 years, I never thought I would again.
The stars are fading and I worry that we will, too, that I might fade from your life and never be asked to return.
I finally go to sleep and dream of you, of us taking a road trip in a small red car. We pull over to a parking lot to kiss and say, "I missed you."
I don't want to wake up from that.
My favorite nights were not the nights of drinking and dancing and falling into bed. They are the quiet, domestic nights – calling you down for dinner, and you'd come bounding down the stairs, fussing over everything I made and always eating way too much. Sitting on the couch to eat together, eating, while the dog watched us hopefully. And when we were done, she'd climb up into your lap and we'd lie there in a pile, a happy family and watch tv. At night, lying with my head on your chest watching Leno, laughing together, and then falling asleep peacefully.
I try to keep up positive thoughts, believe my instincts to be right, believe we'll make this work. I imagine the airport, dropping my bags behind me to run at you, jump up into your arms, kissing and holding on for life. Going to bed, together, after so many separate nights – sometimes you are above me, sometimes I am – but always, "I love you… I love you… I love you…" and kissing frantically, making up for lost time, then slower… and then we are just still, blissful, grateful for second chances. And we sleep, the best we have in years.
I packed all my knitting away, left behind, when I moved to Prague, intending to have it shipped to me later. In that box was a sweater I had started for you, many months ago. I hadn't gotten very far, always distracted by other projects.
Today I pulled out the box, opened it up and dug out the sweater. In a stubborn display of perseverance, of refusing to believe we won't be back together, I dug out the sweater and began to knit. Row upon row, unyielding in my faith, I will finish that sweater and give it to you.
Opening boxes, things that had been packed and left behind, I find all the notes you had left me, that I'd stored in bags with my knitting needles, between pages of books, tied up in fat balls of yarn. Notes you'd left in those same places for me to find.
I love you. You make everything possible. You make me want to be a better person. You make me look forward to the future. You make me happy.
You are so far away now. I wonder if those things still hold true. If they held true when you wrote them.
Interesting to find, when I am forced to be quiet, when I cannot speak but only listen
that I finally hear all those things I've always wanted to hear
When I am forced to not question what he says, or discuss and stop being angry he finally comes to me full of emotion and loving words instead of turning away and leaving me completely. And I'm once again sure, as I was from the start, that he loves me. And I hear new reasons every day to hold on and continue to fight for what I believe should be.
I wake up, naked, my body always curved in sleep to fit against yours like a piece of a puzzle, if you were to show up at my bedside. Rain blows through the open window and I roll from side to side, alternating positions as I did sleeping by your side for the past few years. The empty space at my back is cold.
If you were here, I would snuggle up against you, throw my leg over yours, rub your beard and fall back asleep. The rain would be cozy. But you aren't here. So this rain is unwelcome.
There's a roll of film sitting on the table that I'd forgotten to get developed for months. It's sitting on the table and I watch it suspiciously, afraid to get it developed now, afraid it will break my heart.
What's on it? Pictures of us, smiling? Or of you walking the dog, or her climbing into your lap? My silly attempts at taking self-portraits, you looking straight into the camera while I grin like a fool, head tilted up, eyes focused on you.
Maybe pictures of snow – you bundled up in the scarf I knitted for you, walking the dog.
I'm lying on the beach in Costa Rica, peeling a mango and thinking of you. A month's worth of sun soaked into my skin and I am lean from snorkeling every day – always wondering if I have the strength to swim across all the water between us. My hair is wild and knotted with salt. The men stopped approaching me after weeks of rejection, now watching me and wondering who it is I'm always waiting for. Always I have an extra mango by my side, imagining you will surprise me, curl up in my hammock with me while I sleep.
You are sitting in your office, at your computer – we've just gotten out of the shower and neither of us is dressed yet. Standing next to you, run my hand through your hair and kiss the top of your head.
You grab my hand and pull me around and down, to sit on your lap. I stand back up, readjust and sit back down, our bodies physically linked now. I lean back and you reach around me, writing emails until I start to slowly swivel my hips, and you push me off, stand up and carry me to our bedroom.
I feel your absence strongest in bed. I think of crawling under the sheets beside you, nestling in the crook of your arm, one leg thrown over yours. Waking in the night to see you there, moving closer if we drifted apart in the night and I blissfully fall back asleep feeling so safe in your presence. Closing my eyes just to hear you breathe. Rolling over and sliding my hand over your stomach, pulling myself tighter against you. Waking up to find we had turned again and I'm not folded in the shelter of the bend in your hips.
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