When you say, you in the plural, in the too many of you, “I’m not telling my wife,” I have a perception shift as a tense block of knowledge creaks suddenly into place. You are partitioning me away, removing my reality. You are creating a space for me, which has nothing to do with your solid life, that is to abandoned as soon as primary characters arrive. I’ve done this before, had to live as my role is reshaped around me into the idea of my body and grace, I know what you’re doing before you do. When I look down into my lap with resignation, what else is there to do, it is with this understanding. From there on in, your honesty diminishes every time you kiss me. You might not even see it. Every time my hand is held, every time I am told that I am loved or treasured, our light dims, laced with the knowledge that I am an eradicable betrayal that you will want later to erase.
And then we playfully kiss like sticky children outside a door, we share a glance and giggle at something improbable. I carve lines in the air around your body with my breath like prayer. You hold my hand and trace the lines there, as if you could grant me immortality with the poetry of your smile. But there never is any poetry. As soon as I am out of the room, you can reattribute your actions, decide after the fact what you meant and how you meant it. It burns, your plausible explanations, how you write all the rules, how you’ll still be cruel enough to pretend that I have any say in the matter, as if I had any power except to leave.
Yesterday the line, “cradling my hips like a warm cup of tea,” popped into my head. When I was younger, I imagined that’s what I wanted. Someone who would hold my body canted to their lips as if I was a chalice of some sort to be poured. It might have even been the word canted that gave me such a fancy. Now that I’ve found a few of those people, I’ve discovered that I was right. It’s comforting to know that not everything I thought would be nice turned out to be wrong. There’s a not a lot else that I still have, not in the long run. I had a golden summer once that taught me how to smile. I cried when it was time to leave and when my then partner held me in the cloak of his obscene hair and comforted me, “Life is long, you will fall in love again, many times,” through my wracking body, I knew he was right. What he failed to explain was how few people would bother face the fear of falling in love, how they would hold back and hold back and hold back until finally, in cowardice, lose their mind and flee to be free.