There was a stillness in you, that I’d always liked. A stillness that I’d already fallen for. It was in the way your eyes focused. How your fingers had touched mine with such tender intention. I saw it in your interactions with my family; the way you’d sat through dinner with a hand on my leg and a line of conversation and a small smile that brought my blood unrest. You’d proved it when you’d held me on a lazy Sunday as I told you nothing in life was ok and I’d wanted release. You’d counteracted my wild with your calm, cool, collected. And I think slowly that stillness found a way into my voice and my heartbeat and my want for you. We became the rested souls. But maybe that was too little to live with. Maybe that stillness had settled over the burn of the way that I thought I’d loved you. Maybe that intentional touch became unwanted and the unrest too permanent. And maybe I’d found that release in the stillness of your body, but maybe that was the problem.
I got lost in the ocean once. When I was six I found myself in a place where my toes couldn’t touch the sand. I wanted to breathe in the color of the waves that crashed in my hands. I tried and I panicked. The water didn’t want my body // I worry now that you do not want my body. I want to breathe in the blue of your eyes and the wash of your love. I can no longer touch the sand. Please do not let me drown.
Your thumb brushes my bottom lip and suddenly I’m crying in earnest. The palm cradling my white hot cheek is rough, worn-in. Your fingers are reaching for the base of my hairline, holding the bones of my spine in place. I love you here. Forehead to forehead, waiting while my body breaks within yours. We are the love they talk about, here. The grandeur and the painted picture and the good honest truth.
You look at me the way all women want to be looked at by a man. You press lips to the skin between my eyes, say ‘it’s ok’ with your fingers down my back. Here, I am vulnerable. I am a target that I know you will not shoot. Here, I am all yours.
I hold your fingers in mine. Let myself feel small. Trace the life-line, heart-line, fate-line of your palm. I think about us inside those lines. Suddenly your body yanks at mine. Suddenly we are two people once again. But as you wrap me fully in your arms and squeeze just tight enough, I know I am safe as myself. Head tucked into your neck, arms instinct-X’ed over my heart, body rebuilding; I let the tears hiccup and stop. I can feel the smile in your chest, the heat of your happiness. ‘Enough for us both’ I (always) think.
You tangle your hands in my hair, distance us and watch. I let a smile tease my lips. You let yours fly the coop. Then you kiss me. But you don’t just kiss me, no. This time is different. This type is different. It’s the type where you know you’re in trouble. The type you’re already an addict for. The type that people write books about.
It’s the grand theft of the heart, and no one is around to catch us.
My parents warned me about drugs in baggies sold on the street, but never ones with teeth and a heartbeat.
But sometimes, just the affirmation of time passing is enough. Because we were little. Little people living someone else’s big lives. Borrowed. Un-earned. We weren’t caviar. Weren’t hired gardeners. We didn’t tan, or say I love you with diamonds and reservation dinners. We were little. Like, picnics and hikes and scary movies half-watched in the dark. Something different. Something I cannot impose upon your senses, make you see. Something small. But something, always, unequivocally, irrevocably important.