Before a guy cums I dismiss anything that comes out of his mouth. Only problem is that most of them fall asleep right after. So I learned. I learned not to fluff the pillow to chat. I learned to spoon. I learned not to ask the inevitable third date question, when was your last relationship. I learned to stroke. I learned not to ask the inevitable third month question, where is this headed. I learned to hold tight.
Now, I'm learning that a tight grip doesn’t mean that you have a hold on anything.
I need some time to organize my thoughts. That's what I say. Always. In a taxing effort to say only meaningful, relevant words, I lose it all. My mind included. The mouth opens to a gape then lips meet again. No words, just a squirm of sounds. That's my problem. In trying to place my thoughts, my feelings lose rank. But I like and respect my thoughts. It was my thoughts that kept me from chasing wrong men (for too long anyway), from falling for people too quickly or from giving my heart to someone who wouldn't be careful with it.
It is my thinking that says, I don't need to ask about the ex-girlfriend. I'm not that girl. I don't open ex-files. I don't need to know the details of the break-up. But my heart, my heart tells a different story. It pumps. It yells. Everyone has a past but a past like yours is shocking. Uncommon. Nine years. Others mention their lovers' past like it was something they tried, an experience. Like summer camp. Whether the memories are fond or frowned, there's alienation from it. It's from another time. But yours is in your inbox. Has tails and roams around your home. You two named the cats together. You two live in the same neighborhood that you once set up a home in. Put up pictures together. Asi from the corner bodega knows the two of you as two. He sees me with you now and realizes that there's someone new in your life. How long will he see me come around before someone else comes around and asks for Lotto and litter. Do you wait at the bus stop thinking about how the two of you used wait together, holding bags of groceries for dinner. On your way to the park do you pass her place and in passing check to see if her light is on. Are you lonely at the laundry mat. Do you two write to each like summer camp pals. With politeness and care or do you two still talk about you two? Has there ever been talk of me? And you don’t ever slander her. There are never kind words to me of, “She was crazy. Nuts. I learned a lot from the relationship but it’s a closed chapter. We don’t work together.” The lack of these words comfort me in knowing that I might get off scot-free too. Aftermath thoughts like, “She was just another emotionally tight-lipped girl who needed to get over her fears, get over herself” won’t be said about me. But this also puts everyone in their own corners. We’re not on the same side. There isn’t an us.
Slowly my thoughts are leaning and I think I could inquire. Not only to learn more about where you're at but to show you where I'm at. That I'm at a place where I care about this now. All of this. That I'm finally succumbing to my curiosities and uncertainties. Uncertainty. That's a good word for us.
My thoughts also tell me not to engage in a conversation about the future. Goals, dreams and destinations. Moving to another time zone falls under this category. How could I continue with you knowing that every move you make is with a bigger move in mind. But my heart begs the question, how could the T-Mobile guy know more about your life’s outlook than me. He knows your plan to not commit to a one-year plan while I think about you making it out to California next year. To sleep in the room that I grew up in, to watch you get fed eight times a day by a Korean mother who will speak to you in Korean even after you respond in English. What's near the equator that entices you so much. A move that big must entail a lot of research. You must have gathered a lot of information by now. Isn't it hard to conceal your findings about such a life change from me. We email each other pictures from college, Bill Murray movie trailers that aren't even coming out for another year, and indiscriminate video clips as a hello in our day. Do you come across pictures of villas and waters that you can't wait to get to and die to show me but keep from me for the sake of me. For the sake of you. That’s thoughtful. That’s selfish. Do you job search in that country. Do friends and family know your agenda and ask you about it while I’m away, while I’m in the bathroom. How foolish I must look. Does 'she' know what your future plans are and I'm in the dark.
I suppose I chose the dark. You've gone to switch the light on and initiate the talk and I tried to appear dim to your mild efforts. And mild they were, they weren’t assertive which makes someone like me, who’s already diffident, immediately recuperate from the stiff moments with a subject change. Except you’re too smart to fool. Those were the moments I leaned in and kissed you because I'd open my mouth, ready to speak and that's all I could do. Put my lips against yours. Some of the hardest kisses I've ever had.
When we finally have the talk we've both been pushing back for so long will I receive neatly bundled answers? With bows. ‘We're not together but she's someone that will always be in my heart.’ I wonder if I could accept that. I don’t think this is something I could compromise on. I’m thinking no negotiations on this one. I don’t want to share you. Your love has to be all mine. To my knowledge, this the most honest and fair thing I will ever say to you.
I think about the guy who felt bad the entire walk home from pottery to the subway because he forgot someone’s name who said hello to him in the street. How is this person going to ever let down someone he’s known for a third of his life. And I can’t compete with that. I can’t compete with the countless photos. Trips. Arguments. Reconciliations. Apartments. Weddings. Waiting in wait rooms together. Shopping for a bed together. Less explanations are needed with her. You can say Matt Thomas to her. You have to say ‘my college roommate’ to me. I can’t compete with that.
But I am going to try.
I want to fight for it now. I want to fight for us. Even six months ago, I had a different attitude towards it. I would have thrown up the white flag and wished you and your past a brighter future.
I was able to let it all go last year but now things are different and I can’t go back. We can’t go back. I knew in my mind and heart that there were topics to confront. Both my top and center finally agree. But I was scared to ask, to tell. Scared to cause a shift. I wanted to appear unaffected and unchallenged by it. I wanted to appear like anyone but me. In efforts to not lose you, I started to lose me.
Missed moments and looking back on them. My specialty. In spite of you trying to retract it, I wish to go back to when you uttered the three words in a hard breath and hit reply with the same three words so fast that I almost cut you off. But not with a ‘too’ at the end because my love isn’t dependent. I love you because I love you. Not because you sent it first but because I have images of you all day. Your chest that was built for my head. When I’m on my toes. How could I be without your arms. Embrace. Squeeze. Your cunning remarks that make mine seem ordinary. Your single brow-lift to indicate misbehavior from me. The feeling of your eyes on me when I look away.
You told me you weren’t supposed to feel this way. That this isn’t what you were looking for. I know this. You said this from day one. The idea of casual relationships isn’t a novel idea. When was the last time someone refreshingly expressed that they were looking for a relationship. My first reaction is to console you. To let you know that you’re understandably equivolcal. But my heart scolds you. Get over it. Deal. Things change. You changed. Besides, you’re taking away my speech. That’s my line. I’m the one who’s supposed to remain a solo sexy stranger. Be the cool aunt. Be the cause of uneven table seating. I don’t imagine wedding details. I don’t mark anniversaries. I don’t have children’s names picked out. I don’t want a backyard. But I do want to find out what could happen with you.
I love you enough to tell you that you should try living all the lives you want to. That I’d stand by you. That I’d wait. That this is how I define love. No terms, no deadlines, no geographical requisites. But I’m vain. Pride, the purest form of vanity and I’m a victim. But I don’t completely reprimand pride. It is my pride that kept me from pursuing guys that weren’t good for me. It is my pride that kept me from foolishly giving it all away to someone undeserved. It is my pride that has kept me from telling you that you have been to me unlike anyone else. But now, I’d rather let go of my pride than let go of you.
Who knows what could happen. You could win the lotto and become a fisherman alongside Andy Dufrane. I’ll get an occasional post card from you with no return address. But you’ll check into Internet cafes and glance at my blog and see that I got it. I could win the lotto and blow it all on shoes and éclairs and be forced to be go back to waitricing and meet another light handsome stranger. I can safely say his won’t be with milk.
But for now there are still so many movies to be late to. So many reservations to make. So many drunken sex-less nights to make up for in the morning. So many channels to switch. So many debates on who’ll get the water. So many trips to save up for. So many cab rides to kiss in. So many kitchens to fight in. So many I love you’s, I hate you’s. So many more talks like this.
Thanks for the tea,