I know this guy who is practically my ideal partner. But he is not you. He is imperfect in all of the right ways. You are not. He works at his art and puts his soul into it whereas you work at yours as though it’s a formula. He can be a little bit arrogant sometimes—at least he is not as pretentious as you. His arrogance is justified—he really is as good as he says he is—and yours is not.
He is my best friend for many reasons. We cook breakfast at 7 p.m. and watch the weather channel like an old married couple. He practices Blackbird on the guitar until the calluses are thick on his fingertips. I sit and I listen and I think about how content I am just absorbing his song.
We cuddle and I sleep in his bed. We went night-swimming one time and he let me borrow his clothes and take a hot shower after I shivered for 10 minutes. He sat on the floor of the bathroom as I warmed my cold, naked body in the warm water. We talked in a way you and I haven’t in months. He texts me all of the time, you know. He texts me things that make me laugh and horny and think and long to be near him.
He makes me feel like it’s okay sit around and eat sugary children’s cereal while watching cartoons on Netflix. You would scoff, tell me the cereal is so bad for me and that I’m being boring. Then you’d suggest we watch a long, dialogue-less documentary and rave about how amazing it is. “See! Isn’t it great?!” And I would sit there stewing in my momentary hatred of your short-sightedness.
You don’t see me. In all of the time we’ve been together you’ve never seen me. In your mind you built me as this fragile girl. A damsel in distress. When I have fits of depression or an anxiety attack you frown, whimper and look at me with such heart-breaking pity. You don’t know how to handle my crazy. You tell me to “choose to be happy” but when a chemical imbalance in your brain tells you to be sad there is nothing you can do to even fake a half-assed smile.
You held me as I cried that one time. My body wracked with pain. I was crying over him. How I longed to be the girl in his bed that night instead of her. It hurt knowing that she would feel the stubble on his face and wrap her fingers through his hair as he kissed desire into her skin. You would do the same to me after the storm in my body subsided. And I’d let you because that’s how we always resolve things isn’t it? I’d let you love me into my bed until I didn’t exist. Not that I didn’t enjoy it. I did. But faked orgasms and unprotected sex only goes so far until you feel like a glorified sex-toy.
All of this leads me to admitting that I slept with him. Just once. After alcohol and eye-fucking across the table all night. He wouldn’t let me drive myself home so I went back to his place — a common occurrence — and we cuddled up in his bed. Then his hands came alive and my body responded in a way that it hasn’t for a long time. It remembered what desire felt like. My lips searched hungrily for his and our bodies grabbed desperately for one another. We consummated our emotional affair.
I had been cheating on you long before I had sex with him. The nights where I stayed up talking to him were more fulfilling than the few texts you shot at me during the week. The time I spent wrapped in his close by arms versus your long-distance ones outweighs that of our entire relationship. He cared for me when I broke down about missing you. He cared for me when you couldn’t. He is more of a lover to me than you are. And I feel no regret for sleeping with him. He reminded me what it feels like to be wanted.
It will hurt you if you ever find out. But you lost me and you eroded my humanity.
I love him in a way that had escaped me with you.