April 22, 2015 § Leave a comment
We’re sitting on the couch, but not the way we used to. He’s pushed himself deep into the corner, and I’ve wrapped myself in the blanket, the blanket he took a Polaroid of after our first date, a Polaroid he showed me with a sheepish smile a few weeks later. That evening it was brown and fuzzy and warm and we buried ourselves beneath it, feeling sleepy and hopeful from that dry red wine he had bought, and when his hands found my lower back, and then my stomach, that alarm bell just beneath my skin was surprisingly silent, there wasn’t even a slight ring, and so I pulled him in too close and pushed his hands in too deep because I couldn’t believe my luck, I couldn’t believe these hands that didn’t make me want to run away, and so I grabbed them, begged them not to leave.
His hands are tucked inside his sweater now. He shuffles in his corner, struggling to be comfortable. I sit still in our blanket. It hangs limp over the couch’s edge.
“It’s that I love you, but not the way I should. I hate to say it.”
He hates to say it. I believe him.
“Sometimes I feel more like…like it’s a paternal love. It makes me uncomfortable.”
Paternal love. Paternal love? I move slightly and like a scared animal he pushes back hard against his corner, but finds there’s no where else to go. He sinks deep in the cushions. “Maybe it’s the age difference,” he says, but they feel like silly words, words he threw out to cover his fear, and now they hang awkwardly between us.
“Because of the way I’ve been?”
“Maybe. It scares me when you’re…vulnerable. I feel like I have to…have to…”
Take care of me, I think. Wrap your arms around me and let your hands lie across my chest, and make me feel like I can stay there, for as long as I want, as long as I need. Be the person I can tell the things I never tell. Be my person.
“I can’t. I just can’t.”
He just can’t. I believe him again, far away from me on this small couch, looking into my eyes in such a tragic way it could shatter my heart, but I can’t let it. Because he can’t let it. Because he just can’t.