I guess you can hook up with your roommate.
You can date her too.
A is for me B is for you C is for can’t
I can hear my heart in my ears. I can hear my heart most in the places I want you to kiss.
I have almost killed us twice.
You’re pontificating every single thing you want to do to me.
And I’m trying to keep my eyes on the road, but I really want to look at you.
I can’t because I’m driving, but I can’t mostly because making eye contact with you will affirm that I am so scared of you.
Because I want you more than I’ve wanted most things.
I almost rear end the car in front of us. I have almost killed us three times.
You laugh, ask if I’m okay.
I say no, I’m not okay, what the fuck are we going to do, this is a bad thing.
Just hold my hand for a little bit. See how it feels? You say.
Anxiety bubbles at my sternum, expanding at the base of my throat until a giggle releases me.
I switch hands at the wheel. I imagine your hand, then your mouth and your shoulders and hips and knees and
Right. I know.
Your knees and the waistband of your underwear and your breasts underneath my finger tips and your earlobes and your voice asking me if we should go again and
We pull into our driveway.
I didn’t kill us.
Once we open the doors, the conversation is over.
I open the door.
We step out, and the cool air hits me like a reminder. We are home.
We collect our things from the weekend. Bags and shoes and reminders of the trip to Brant Lake where we behaved so well. Where everyone stared at the two of us, wondering when we would admit our growing, swelling, burdening attraction to each other.
We walk up the stairs in silence.
You stop in the kitchen. I go straight to my room.
I don’t expect to hear from you again.
A courtship of one night spent over a mahogany bar and one afternoon milling through a concert crowd, we ended things when I took my shirt off. After, we laid on my new sheets, and you commented on my bare walls, as if I chose for them to be that way, as if the unpacked boxes of photographs weren’t just a few feet away. The silence sinks in, I think about telling you about the pages I cut out of auction catalogs of Frankenthaler and de Kooning and strung together in a makeshift garland, but that seems too weird to me, and I make eye contact with you.
It crosses my mind to do it again that night- because I know you will kiss me goodbye, but just the one time, and you’ll invite yourself over next week to try it once more, but we’ll both be kind of busy- and one-night stands always seem more valid when the sex happens twice. We’ll probably run into each other when a mutual friend invites us over, and we’ll make small talk. Then we’ll occupy opposite corners and wonder why we can’t think of questions to ask each other- where did all of the questions go, the ones that filled plains of reckless eye contact and preludes to kisses.
You say my new sheets are pretty.
Which is something you have never said about me.
And later when a friend asks me why I don’t expect to hear from you again, I will tell her that. That compliments are for the soft-hearted, birthed from a bruise left there, leveled by kindness and keen interest, anxious hope that there will be one more time, at least one more time, please, to catalog more freckles and once more to memorize the different pitches of each laugh. But you reached out in a hard way to hold me in an obligatory way, and by that point I had picked up on what was going on and I DON’T WANT YOU TO HOLD ME.
Don’t take me into your half-enthusiastic arm because you think that’s what I need. I don’t care if it is what I need.
Don’t assume that because I slept with you, I have feelings for you.
Don’t hold me because you think my feelings for you need your unenthusiastic arm to comfort the ache of not being told I’m pretty before you slept with me.
I will let you kiss me, and it was just the one time, and I will let you walk away with the satisfaction of knowing that my torso is a soft pillow of flawed mounds with knicks of shame and self-doubt.
Satisfaction of satisfaction.
Notch in your bedpost.
Knick in your belt.
A number on your list of other sexually liberated, emotionally confined women.
I’m not angry, You never led me to believe you saw me in any role other than shirtless, at your judgmental mercy. You did what was necessary to get there.
What I’m sad about is that throughout the entire evening, the only moment that took my breath away was during the first kiss, your arm draped across my shoulders, and I was reminded how long it has been since I was held with any meaning.
I do not. Want you to hold me.
I wish I didn’t keep making eye contact with you, I will keep my eyes closed, until I drift away from the present, your hands are no longer yours, but rather belong to a driftless figure of no emotional weight.
Because ultimately I admit to myself that I wanted one more time, just once more, please, to understand the pattern of nerves down the nape of your neck and feel your hand in mine under the dinner table as all of our friends begin their search for their next Friday Night/Saturday Morning.
And I hate everything about this admission.
Because how many times have I been told
to my face
that YOU’RE NOT LOOKING FOR ANYTHING SERIOUS RIGHT NOW
/the implication being/
Not because I made a move
not because I held the kiss too long
not because I didn’t wait until the weekend to contact you
or because I held your hand on the way home
or recommended that book to you
or laughed at your joke
or sighed too long after you came
But because I am a woman.
Because studies have “proven” that my biological make-up makes it impossible to hook-up without needing more.
Which is some bullshit.
Because even if I was
I don’t need you.
Because even if I had feelings, it doesn’t mean that I default to wanting you as my partner. Or even to someone that I’m seeing. I’m not going to make your life a living hell by asking you how your day was, or by telling you how nice your smile is, or by supporting the hobbies you dedicate part of your life to.
Maybe my heart sinks every time I contemplate turning over in the morning and finding someone there. Maybe the idea of going on a real date scares the living shit out of me. Maybe knowing that someone else knows the origins of those knicks of shame and self-doubt makes me blind with anxiety.
But I appreciate your jumping to conclusions.
I’ll jump to my own.
I don’t expect to hear from you ever again.
WHY DOES THIS HURT
BREAK UPS SHOULD ONLY LAST TWELVE HOURS