Maybe Don’t Kiss Me
Stop, wait. Seriously, stop, for your own good. Because you’re about four centimeters from my face and you’re making those googly eyes at me that you’ve been trained to make so that I know you’re about to kiss me. And then you’re probably going to ask me to stay over. While that’s all fine and dandy, while I get that, while I’ve “been there, done that,” I don’t want that tonight. I don’t want that for any of the “tonights” in the foreseeable future. I’m about to ask you for something: I’m about to ask you for honesty and risk-taking and frightening frankness, so I figured I might as well start on the same note.
People our age are afraid of the idea of love. It is binding, it is daunting, it’s not cool. Well, for fuck’s sake, I’m not cool. And I want to fall in love; I might even want to fall in love with you. I have this tremendous capacity to love and I am drowning in it. With the effort it takes for me to remain aloof and unattached, I am quietly, quietly submerged in this innate and overwhelming need to love. But here’s the thing, I can’t “kind of” love you. I can’t fall “a little bit” in love with you. I am going to love you in a way that is going to warm you, in a perpetual sort of way. I am going to love you with the patience of the Pacific Ocean, with which I grew up. I know the resilience of the sea. Some say that this is my fatal flaw but it is something I refuse to change. Because how sad is it, to dull that part of your humanness? As we grow up, so many aspects of our lives turn to gray scale with the dawning of reality to temper our aspirations. But I will not learn to love hesitantly. I do not fall often, I’m choosy, but when I do, it will wash us both ashore.
We as a society are so quick to label women “crazy” and, while I deeply disagree with that stereotype, I must also make sure you understand that my love is not the needy kind of love. It is not greedy. I will love you wholly without expecting to seep into every crack of your life. I understand the necessary distance, I respect it, and I will love even that pocket of space we hold between us. With that said, I want to shine with you. I don’t want us to be something kept shamefully dusty and hidden beneath the floorboards.
You’re looking at me with a suspicion that I know, too. You want to have fun, you say. You’ve been hurt before, you say. Well me too, me too. But I didn’t say I wanted to Emily Brontë-love you. Our love could be fun, and it doesn’t have to hurt. We’ve all fallen. Get back up. I’m asking. I’ll help you.
Let’s start with sex, because it always seems to come down to that, doesn’t it? Fine, it’s all right, let’s just address it straight up. It’s Friday night and we’re at that bar you “hate” but always end up at because friends. Because lonesome. Because cheap drinks. And the hours wile away until it is three in the morning, when Ray Bradbury said the soul is most vulnerable. So let’s go, baby, let’s go home bathed in the glow of certainty while him and him and her settle for the closest hand to hold and stumble back to apartments dark — where they will have sex with the lights off because they are afraid of love handles this or scars over there. And while their drunken middle-of-the-night debauchery will be tainted with insecurities and unfamiliarity, while she will be hating the way he smells after six beers as she fakes her orgasm, you and I will enjoy the way our bodies fit together. You will know what concaves you should hold, and we will bunny fuck our way to oblivion. Tell me you don’t want this, I dare you.
Then, tomorrow morning, I will make you a breakfast burrito and bring you Advil because I will love you even when you are hangover-ridden. We can stay in all day and alternate between Call of Duty and making out until your body forgives you for the abuse you put it through the night before. We could do that, I would love that, tell me you wouldn’t. You would.
You don’t want love because you aren’t ready to be tied down? How many strangers must you bed, how many people must you dehumanize into conquests, before you’re ready? What are you trying to validate, anyway? I’ve been there. You don’t believe me, but I have. And it was immediate satisfaction, it made me feel powerful. But then the glitz and glam subsided to an old-soul exhaustion. Maybe we could save each other from that? You say you’ll let it happen when you’re ready. You say you’ll know you’re ready when you feel it. But we are creatures of habit, of comfort, and there will not be a switch that is flipped to change you.
Is it worth it, to adhere to the acceptable social conventions of ‘casual’ and miss out on this? I could forgive you for your ugly; I could love your ugly. When your dog dies, the one you grew up with, I could cry with you and hold you until the heart that suddenly feels like it’s too big for your ribcage to carry calms. When you are immutably angry at a force beyond your control, we can line up beer bottles on the balcony and smash them into the infinite city night with a baseball bat. All the weird kinky shit you want but won’t ask for, you could ask me. You could pretend you don’t know me and pick me up with your worst pick up lines. My father must be a baker because I have sweet buns. I want this, I want to love, and I don’t know if you are the one I want to love but you could tell me that. Maybe it’s bad form for me to just come out and ask for it, maybe I should be embarrassed. But I have learned that, if you don’t ask for what you want most, you have no one to blame but yourself when you don’t get it. Think about it, before you close the distance between us for this kiss.
The love I have to offer you will simultaneously set you aflame and bring you peace. Poe once said, “I love with a love that is more than a love.” I will love you with a love that is a smell, honeysuckle and old wood burning in the Southern California heat. A love that is the way your breath seems to tickle all the way down your windpipe and fill your lungs with something more than air: helium. A love that is a color, the color of oxygen. It smells like sky-blue. And it doesn’t make any sense when you try to talk about it, but the moment in which you own it, own this love with me, it will make more sense than any other truth you can buy.
Go ahead, take your time, you don’t have to give me an answer right now. I can be patient, but I will not wait forever. And if you truly, deeply feel that you do not want this, that this scares you, then maybe don’t kiss me. Don’t kiss me.
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It was excruciating. I was so bored. All we did was hold the throttle and sit there. All the coffee in the world couldn’t have kept me aware and upbeat. I stared at my odometer. Miles passed so slowly while time raced on.
He holds my hand in his lap, looks me directly into the eyes and says, “I love you more than the amount of sperm a blue robin makes.”
Took my own braces off with nail clippers.