You kiss in a dark, hazy bar. It comes out of nowhere, sudden but almost expected. You take it and you run with it. It feels better than you thought it would. He’s better than you thought he would be. How do you measure up?
You wander through your favorite art gallery, then down gusty city streets with both sets of hands wedged firmly in their own pockets. He pays for lunch. You want to kiss him goodbye, but don’t.
He crawls into your bed, high off the floor. You wonder how long you should wait before you sleep with him. You feel more than you thought you would. You both laugh. A lot.
You think about how there is no mystery left. He knows everything about you, the last holdout was how you looked undressed. He knows how annoyed you can get with little things, he knows how quickly you can finish a pint of ice cream, he knows your favorite movies and your favorite songs and how you cry when you’re really happy but not when you’re really sad. He knows about your mother and about your father. He knows everything about you, now.
You spend your week working, studying, sleeping, dreaming. He’s always playing in the background of what you do. Are you on his mind, too? You get big job offers and try to make big decisions and you want to share them with him, first.
You sit on opposite sides of the living room. He asks to talk, but you don’t talk much. You study his ceiling as he takes off your sweater. You wonder if it would be okay to unbuckle his belt. His roommate comes home early. You both laugh. A lot.
You’re naked on your couch. You ask if he has a condom. He doesn’t. He kisses you on the forehead instead.
You spend two snowed in days alone. You thought there was no mystery left. There is.
You make him a Valentine. “You make me smile, I’m glad we’re a thing.” You buy him a cupcake. You eat the cupcake for breakfast on Saturday morning, disappointed. Mexican hot chocolate, you thought he’d like it. It tastes bad.
You walk and talk, asking for a step forward. He needs time. You wait for him.
He says it’s better to just be friends, if that’s what you need. You come home and cry. A lot.
You cry for three hours. You go and sit and drink tequila with him. He asked you to, and that’s what friends do, right? You walk home together, quickly. You’re studying his ceiling again. You both laugh. A lot. You so badly want to sleep with him that night. His roommate comes home early, again. You stop, back at square one. Or at least, you think. You feel special again, for a minute.
He leaves your city to follow something he’s passionate about. You leave to do the same. You don’t speak for a month.
He comes back. You fall into place. What is your place, again?
You so badly want to connect with him, again. Tequila makes you sad. Tequila asks questions. He says he thinks he wants things this way, that you’re better this way. He says he’s happy you can joke about it. He laughs a lot. You laugh a little bit.
You bring home a boy, after tequila. You don’t laugh. You let that boy take your clothes off on that couch with the lights on. That boy tells you how beautiful you are. You think of how he never, not once, told you you were beautiful.
That boy thought you were beautiful. You drank tequila and let a boy see just how beautiful you are. You tell him about that boy. He laughs about it. You wonder if he cares.
You play pool and drink beer and stand close together, touching arms and legs and hands for a little too long, or so you think. You wonder if he thinks about that other boy, or if he just thinks about other girls. You wonder if you are special to him, like he is special to you.
You say you’re proud of yourself, for getting back to how it used to be. It doesn’t look a damn thing like it used to, but you pretend. Until you drink tequila and you can’t pretend anymore. You wonder if it’s worth it. You need time alone. You can’t ask for it. Time is running out. You watch his mouth while he speaks and wonders how his hands would feel on your skin, again.
You wonder how you got to where you are. You wonder if you’ll ever let a boy see you with your clothes off and the lights on without thinking of him. You feel scared, and sad, and alone. You drink tequila. You go to sleep. You wait for this to end.