You don’t exactly know what you’re doing there, in that room, in that bed. You recognize everything, of course — there is still that same stain on the ceiling you cannot stop staring at over their shoulder while they are on top of you — but everything has changed somehow. There used to be a warm, calming feeling of “You belong here” that washed over you when you laid your head against this very pillow, but now you feel that the scenery has changed since you last left the territory. Where you were once greeted as welcomed royalty, now you are a stranger who is being aggressively asked to show their papers. That couch, that toothbrush, that hand towel — they all want to know what you’re doing here.
There is also the familiarity. It becomes like a kind of drug, something you can’t take big enough hits of when you are looking for something, anything, to make sense to you. You want to go somewhere you’ve been before because you know you can escape it with little bruising and get out of it exactly what you’re looking for. You want someone who has seen you naked, who likes it, and who knows exactly how to touch it so that you will fall asleep within a few short minutes of orgasm. You want to orgasm again, and having someone else do the majority of the heavy lifting seems pretty appealing after months of having to do it yourself.
But this is not your home anymore. The things your ex is saying — even if they are all the right things — are all part of a story that has written you out. You were supposed to die at the end and yet here you are, back from the dead, running into other character’s plot lines. The tarnished, heavy air of other people’s presence is all you can sense. Where you once felt so certain about your domain, you now feel that you are just one in a list of many who will pass through, no more special than any other. How many people have they touched since you left? How much did they care about them? How long ago was their last? You want to know, but couldn’t bear to hear the answers. If they told you, it would ruin all of this.
What is “all of this,” though? You are a bit unsure of what you are seeking here… except, of course, that easy validation and the familiarity of pre-treated pathways. Even if there was some chance of the two of you reuniting, a vague pattern of sex-then-awkward-distance is certainly not the route to recovery. You just sort of fall into it, and before you know it, you are attached to the deeply seedy feel of being with someone long after your mutual expiration date has passed. On the one hand, they are someone with whom you have developed a certain degree of implicit trust. On the other, you have no real guarantees that this person in front of you is the same one you remember.
You look up at them during sex and want to see something more, something rewarding, something that confirms that all of this means something. But there is no specific meaning you could ever really glean, and even if they told you “I still love you,” it would only make things more complicated and ugly. But for now, your body is warm. It is being held by someone who deems it attractive and worthy enough to go back to. And even though you know, on some more primal level, that this is not anything like a real compliment, you are ready to take what you can get. Even if that means staring at the stain on the ceiling while someone you used to be sure about proves to you that we can’t ever be sure of anything.