When I was young – and smaller than I am now, if you can believe that – I learned about something called skin hunger. And now I understand. At night I fill the spaces you left hollow, creep into voids where you exacted your lust, thrash over keys to write you letters like these. I find excuses to make you remember me, beseech your body to stand in the way of mine so I can alight on the small of your back as the rest of me brushes past.
Do you remember now? Do you remember when we first met? Your mouth breathed into my ear the words, “Look at us holding hands,” and I tore myself free of you. You had touched things too precious to me. You weren’t mine to hold.
But I was small, delicate. You – with the scars of masculine pursuits, the indelible violence of progress – you wouldn’t be denied. So the next time we touched your voice said, “Come here.” You reached for me, and I didn’t run away.
Holding one another descended from danger to comfort, and that left me itchy, ambivalent. I trusted you but wanted you to do things that would defy all trust. I wanted you to run free over other terrains. I wanted you to take without asking, and give without asking, too. Palms to the sky, I told you as much.
By dint of our labor, we cultivated agency. We took liberties. I busied myself with your skin, buried myself in your hair and clutched it tightly while other bits of me were trembling. You made me believe in gestures more powerful than prayer.
We swore, to ourselves and to each other, that it was only this. But it’s easy for hands to confuse feeling with feelings. And something tells me there’s a reason we’re closer to our hearts than to our heads.
I had lost myself in you, couldn’t feel myself when you were around. I mean, what was I thinking when you didn’t – when you couldn’t – text her back because you were making your way up my skirt? I wasn’t thinking. How could I?
I felt you, like the sand and shells that cling to memories of my childhood, slip right through me. While I was folded in on myself, my eyes saw you intertwined with fingers other than mine. But I had read all the signs – you never could keep to yourself. I’m not surprised. I just miss you, that’s all.
In my veins I’ve always known you are of a wandering tribe. It was silly of me to believe I could hold you forever. Just know, when your exploits have left you weary, I’ll be up late, challenging these keys to tell you the things my mouth could never say.