Why can’t you want me like the other boys do?
They stare at me while I stare at you
It’s summer. It’s sticky and sweaty and my blood is so hot I feel as though it might boil over at any moment, cooking my insides and leaving me poached on the pavement. The night doesn’t bring any comfort. We’ve all gotten dressed up and gone to a bar near the water. My long black dress hangs off my shoulders and touches the ground as I walk. It’s too warm to wear heels. My hair is wild; the heat gives my curls a mind of their own. I learned a long time ago to stop trying to control them.
He is there with us. I don’t notice because I am talking with an old friend.
Whenever I realize he is there, I am always aware of the amount of space between us. Three people. Two people. A table. A chair. A door. Now, he is next to me.
He says hello and I feel it through my entire body. No one notices but I can feel my heartbeat in my fingers. Drums. Cymbals. The board game, Jumanji. I am sure that everyone around me can hear it as I coolly say hi and continue my conversation. The cold welcome against the hot air is noticeable and I slap myself for playing too hard to get. He is already talking to someone else.
Why can’t I keep you safe as my own?
One moment I have you the next you are gone
We are outside of a hotel on Boylston Street and have been drinking for hours. He came to meet me at this bar; He came to save me from boredom. What a good friend.
We are standing outside to get some air and he is telling me jokes. I can’t tell if they are funny or I am drunk or I just want him to like me, but I can’t stop giggling. He stands in front of me with his hand leaning against the wall directly behind my head. He is cool without trying. He is casual.
He is Humphrey Bogart. He is James Dean. He is Paul Newman.
Between giggles, I look up at him and he talks, his mouth close to my face. My foot slips and I pray he doesn’t notice that I fell slightly while standing up. His voice gets quieter and quieter and I find myself moving towards his mouth to hear the words he is whispering. He kisses me quickly, a flash of something. He tells me he has to make a quick call and will meet me inside, but never comes back.
It’s true I crave you
The next morning, I am in bed. Coffee, water and toast on my bedside table. My phone vibrates and I curse it for being so loud and powerful. A text: Sry I disappeared. Don’t remember a lot of last night.
Rehearsed steps on an empty stage
That boy’s got my heart in a silver cage
I knew I was going to see him, so I dressed for the occasion. My eyelashes are heavy with mascara. They give me away. I am nervous, excited, anxious. I arrive late and make my way around the small, two bedroom apartment, saying hello to everyone I see. Queen of the party. I know he is there and I am acting like royalty. I can feel myself putting on a show and am embarrassed by my own behavior. I see him immediately. If he sees me, he doesn’t acknowledge it.
I spend 30 minutes or so in every room. In a bedroom with the girls who live there, we talk about our outfits and one of their boyfriends. The living room with a friend from college who tells me about her boring job and we play Cards Against Humanity. In the hallway, I run into an old friend and we are so excited to see each other we just stand in the hallway talking, blocking everyone’s way to the kitchen. I finally bump into him in the kitchen.
“I was wondering when I would see you,” he says and smiles.
I walked into the room dripping in gold, dripping in gold
A wave of heads did turn, or so I’ve been told, or so I’ve been told
My heart broke when I saw you kept your gaze controlled
It’s three in the morning and I should have left hours ago. We are standing outside and it is noticeably cold. It is the end of September, the first night when summer officially becomes fall, and I am dressed like it’s still July. I shiver; my teeth chatter slightly. He laughs at me.
“What am I going to do with you?”
I remain silent. He quickly starts talking about something else, a friend we both worry about, a band that I have to listen to, that guy I used to date who he thinks is an ass.
Around his little finger, that boy has got me curled
I try to reach out, but he’s in his own world
This boy’s got my head tied in knots with all his games
I simply want him more because he looks the other way
It’s after midnight at a house party. He has been attentive all night, sitting next to me, putting his arm around me, whispering jokes in my ear. Whenever he tells a story his eyes shift toward me, searching for a reaction or approval.
We find ourselves alone in a front room. He’s filled our drinks and we’ve slowly run out of topics. Now, I am just looking up at him, shorter than usual because I lost my shoes hours ago. He leans toward me slowly, never breaking eye contact.
He kisses my cheek. He kisses my forehead. He kisses my chin.
“What are you doing?” My voice is quiet and my words run together.
Why can’t you want me like the other boys do?
They stare at me while I crave you
Months later, he walks into the bar I checked into on Foursquare. He looks right at me, smiles and immediately walks out of sight. I slowly make my way to the other side of the bar, aware that I am now following him. I walk into the next room and he is looking in my direction, anticipating my move. I turn around quickly, moving my attention toward the bar. I look back and he is gone again. Bourbon, on the rocks. I hear him laugh and he’s on the other side of the bar. I look his way. I am always chasing him.
I am craving you.