As a teenager, I learned that my display of affection was “too much”, and that I loved “too hard”. I was told that the fondness I bestowed on my first love made people “uncomfortable”. I didn’t know who these “people” were, or if it was the messenger herself who felt this, but what I heard was “You’re expression is wrong.”
You open up and tell him the things, matters most people are not privy to. It rushes out of you. You haven’t so much as thought about these incidents in quite some time, but here they are, knocking around in your head and you want to share them.
He’s lying on his back, his eyes focused on the ceiling while he tells me about his day. My hand is on his leg, the texture of his jeans against my fingers feels gritty, the muscles supple and strong.
We’re sitting on his front porch, discussing afternoon plans. The air is chilly, the sky gray and heavy with clouds. I’m staring out at the leafless trees across the street, my head resting on his chest, my arm across his belly. His head is on mine, his arm around my shoulders. I want him to come over later.
I was spacing out with some coffee in a café when I overheard some girls talking about one of their mutual friends one afternoon. An open notebook and a ballpoint pen accompanied me, waiting for my next sentence to arrive when one of them said, “Do you know that Stephanie has never been heartbroken? She’s been with the same guy since high school and has never experienced heartbreak before. She’s so lucky.”
I’ve felt skittish when it comes to love and being fearlessly intimate with another person. I could accept you, and love you through whatever you were experiencing. Doing so allowed me to maintain a sense of control. It kept my focus on you and not so much on me.
I have the biggest crush on you.
The kind of crush that reduces me to my thirteen year old self and I don’t want to go there again. I can’t feel the sting of your rejection, the laughter behind my back, the perception that you’re not interested, or that you fancy someone else.
Every now and then someone comes into your life and provides the kind of shelter you need to get out of the three ring shit show that is your life.
I am deeply flattered you want to take my clothes off, and I may want to take yours off as well, but hang on a second. Take a step back. Let me look at you, hear the sound of your voice, and listen to your stories. I’m more interested in what’s beneath the surface of your being more than what’s under your clothing in this moment.