Target in sight. He doesn’t hesitate.He goes straight for the kiss. His lips are unfamiliar which confuses me because this is not the first time our tongues have met. We roam each other’s mouth for a minute, maybe two, and then his hands wander to my hips, and his hands are on my ass and he’s pressing our bodies together.
This doesn’t feel right. He is grabbing me as if I’m faceless and I don’t like it. I pull away and roll over.
He reaches for me, murmurs into my ear and hope makes me cave in. Our mouths meet again but it’s still faceless, faceless. My mind yells, “CUT!” and the action stops.
Don’t be that girl. Don’t be dramatic. Snap out of it, you stupid girl. Don’t be a cocktease. I panic. I don’t know what I want, but I know it’s not this. I don’t want cold, fleeting kisses or fumbling hands.
I don’t know what to say. Our conversation is discombobulated. Him alternating between cold and confusion. Me, angry and nonsensical. I don’t make sense. I know this. I’m afraid I seem desperate. And then I am, because I know I want something so simple that it’s impossible to express. I am a mess. Here, in the midnight hour, my usual breezy bravado eludes me. There is a silent reel running through my head: flashbacks of fire and heartbreak and diagnoses. I can’t speak. I don’t want to say anything, I just want him to understand.
I had a rough year and I’m still dealing with the aftershocks. Post Traumatic Stress, Round II (shh, don’t tell). Am I really in control of my emotions? Maybe I should be back to therapy.
“I had a rough year.”
“You’re not the only one.”
He’s right but that’s not what I meant.
Hope Dies Last said, “I want intimacy in CAPS LOCK (not in parentheses).”
Even if it’s for one night.
I am desperately misunderstood. I don’t know how to ask for what I want without coming off as too intense. Do you sense the irony?
He says, “Should we just sleep?”
“Are those my options? Fucking or sleeping?”
That’s not what he means.
I burst. I grab my shit and I walk out. I am already on the stairs when he comes after me. He says, “That’s not what I meant.”
“Where will you go? The cabs are on strike.”
I want to go back inside because he’s right, because I’m tired, because I’m hoping to salvage the evening. I want to go back inside but I say, “No. If I do that then I’ll feel stupid.”
He says my name once, a coaxing command, “Lex.”
I go back inside and climb into bed, silent, withdrawn, awkward.
We lie apart, separated by tension and conflicting desires.
And then he is sweet. I am satisfied. But I am not satiated.
In the morning, I call her immediately and we discuss my dysfunctions.
I say, “Why am I so fucking intense? Why can’t I be mild and normal like everybody else?”
“Because you’re not like everybody else. You try. You seem cool and detached and unfazed, but the moment you feel vulnerable…”
“All hells breaks loose.”
“Yes, you explode. If you weren’t so damn macho, you wouldn’t be so vulnerable at moments like that.”
“Shit, I’m that girl. I’m the psycho guys talk about.”
“Yep. Women are crazy.”