For the first, you taught me that love was all about exploring. Your hands explored mine, innocently at first, then more desperately. You taught me that a well-placed kiss could beat away young insecurity. Your lips made my body a sacred place and that love was the easiest I’d ever known. The way you could figure out all the right spots to hit and the way we could be honest about the connections we were or weren’t making was the best part of our relationship. You taught me that love could come from places that I never expected to look and you taught me that love could grow complicated, but I loved you. And god I loved the way you could give me everything I asked for and how you never gave up until I asked for too much.
For the in between, you taught me that it was possible for someone to care more about me than I did them. You taught me that I could be mean and heartless to someone I didn’t care about, that breaking people is easy when you know how to hold on before walking away. That it’s possible to see all the right strings to pull and just how cruel I could be to someone who loved me.
For the last love, you taught me how awful love could be. How deep and painful and wonderful it really is. The way your insecurities ate away at you and how “I’m not good enough for you” really means “I don’t care to do enough to deserve you.” You taught me that I will put up with so much more than I even think is bearable. You taught me that sex could be transcendent, that it wasn’t just a learning experience, but that it was a connection and an exercise to feel good. You taught me that love can be isolating, that “us against the world” meant me against my friends. You taught me that falling in love isn’t just a saying, but a trap; falling creates a lack of control. You taught me that I am a glutton for punishment, that I will repeat the same mistake if I think it’s worth making. You taught me that the way to break me is to hold on and then walk away. You taught me that no mistake is worth making.
For my last in-betweener, I find your number conveniently at 2, 3, or 4 AM, when I am drunk enough to remember that I am alone and that you will come over. Having sex with you is like playing a game of bop it, your body fumbles for all the right places to touch, to hit, trying to make all the right sounds come out. You try and try, but I just wait for you to be done, to go to sleep next to me, to not feel so alone. I’m ready for the morning after when you or I slink out and pretend it never happened. When we recollect our clothes and bodies and find ourselves alone in a shower of our own shame. I’m ready for the “this is the last time” lie I breathe to myself. I’m ready for the confusion of your cuddles and kisses and the way they all disappear when you leave. The way you can leave breakfast at my house and then ignore me for two days after. I’m ready for the complication that you bring.