For the first time in a long time, I’m seeing someone, and objectively, this is really great news, and subjectively, it’s fucking amazing news, and when I think of him I want to run through the streets skipping and singing and laughing and dancing with him around him beside him foreheads pressed together hands clasped gazes locked grins spread so wide across our faces that our mouths slice into our cheeks and we press gaping wounds against each other and the human ink that splashes to the ground is just ours, together, together in devotion and trust and blind desire mirroring affection
and then the madness lifts, and the world appears around me: the scratch and hum of crows and cars in the distance, the weight of his arm sinking into the dip of my waist, and the flushed thrumming of my heartbeat as he pulls me in just a whisper closer to kiss the crown of my head,
to murmur “Good morning” as I loosen my grip on time, as it slips away.
So here I find myself, only a couple of months into “the thing,” this improbable, modernity-powered thing, and already, my heart is a furnace and the flames are leaking through the bone slats.
I’m afraid of even brushing against him in public because I’m afraid I will explode, light up like the water-starved desert dweller I am. Forget candy hearts and chocolates and lurid bouquets of flora and any of the other socially-condoned trappings of romance; if he were to ever give me flowers, they would burn, and I’d sooner eat the ashes than let him know how I burn, how incendiary I could be, have been,
Because it’s so easy to slip into a second skin, to close your eyes and give the world over to your other senses. Sounds become songs, smells become scents, taste disappears into texture and touch reigns over everything. You can trace yourself in someone else’s fingertips, palms, lips — skin seduces skin and heathen needs suddenly become sacred, and good god, if the decadent language weren’t a dead giveaway, I’ve got it baaaaaaad, and it’s only gonna get worse,
but that’s not all that matters, the raw fire of belief can’t endure, so then after it all, we’d still be nothing but future cinders, ashes begetting ashes,
dust begetting, well, y’know.
Dramatics aside, how long can this giddiness keep going? How long do we have before everything else crashes in on us, before the world breaks and we’re both dragged back into the water? “There’s plenty of fish in the sea.” But I don’t want to play this game anymore, I don’t want to have to flail around and gasp for air in between the coy bullshit and straight up silence, I don’t want to deal with, well, any part of anything, ever again,
and yet I’m scared, maybe unreasonably so but still, so scared, of me, of mine, of things I can’t pin down, of strangers who say my name like it’s a spell, and the fear is so real and I’m so so scared of falling falling faaaaaaaaalling
but wait. I’m different now, and he’s his own person, and he chooses to reach out to me, and when I say dark things, he doesn’t shy away, doesn’t flinch, doesn’t judge. He chases down the darkness and settles it next to me and asks me, never forcing, to look at it in the light.
Sun breaks the slumber, and he breaks through to me.
He steps out of the bathroom and sees that, in the time he’s been gone, a blanket-cocooned figure has sprawled itself across his bed. He sighs, and within it I hear his smile, and then the edge of the bed dips as he pivots himself above me and then drops himself on me. He’s heavy, and though the weight’s even, air is still crushed out of my lungs and I squirm to turn myself over, to fight off this grinning giant with the downy-soft hair and the scarred, gentle hands.
A look, and then a familiar coronation on the crown of my head.