I’m really happy you’re my girlfriend, but here’s the thing:
You don’t really know we’re together.
Before anyone calls me crazy, let me backtrack a bit. You’ve been my friend for awhile. I like you and you like me and I know this because you actually told me. You’re brave that way. We’ve kissed before and it was amazing. We can talk about politics and feminism and that thing that made you cry yesterday, about F.R.I.E.N.D.S. and Breaking Bad, about your brother and my sister. We’ve shared poems and songs and fears and plans freely, knowing we won’t be judged for anything we say.
In the past, you had your boyfriend and I had my girlfriend, but it didn’t work out and now we’re unattached. We’re free to do as we please, so got closer. But after all the time we’ve spent together, after all the words we’ve said, we’re stuck in a limbo we never saw coming.
Basically, nothing is happening.
So I started making this picture. The borders began with daydreams, and my imagination filled the rest in. In this picture, you like Japanese food and staying in during the weekends. We read books and travel together. We have similar tastes in movies, and our conversation never falls flat.
In that image, I am interesting and you are interested, and few things are awkward between us. I am comfortable with your hugs, and you feel safe with me. We have intellectual conversations and silly ones, but we understand each other even in silence. I cook for you and you actually like what I make. We’ve been sick, ugly, dirty and disgusting with each other, I’ve showed you my freaky and you’ve let me inside your weird. That picture shows us going past the first “I love you” and saying many more intimate things since. In that photo, we are together at last and it’s all amazing.
If I were to be honest, though, if I were to set that picture aside for a while, something is telling me that I’m doing this because I am afraid. I’m afraid that the image of you in my head is vastly different from who you really are. Maybe you hate sushi and prefer reading comic books over novels.
Maybe you’ll think I’m silly for loving autumn when all you can see are dead leaves. Maybe you’ll love cold weather better. Maybe you can’t stand the way I’m quiet most times, and I can’t bear your need to be around people so much. We might be so bored with each other, we’ll prefer cleaning the house instead.
I also like this picture of you because it has no power to hurt me. It gives me pleasure, the empty kind yes, but pleasure nonetheless. This picture is mere wind that passes through me while the real you can crawl through my veins and rupture them from within should you so choose. I am not up for that, and I can feel that the intensity of a new relationship is something you aren’t prepared for, too.
So let me be happy with this picture of you for a little while more. I will rip it up and throw it away when I’m ready and when I’m finally certain that you are, too. I’m aware that inaction still brings with it the possibility of losing each other, but I believe that this is a risk that we don’t have to take yet.
Perhaps we still need time to heal from our previous relationships. There might still be things in us that we need to fix by ourselves. Maybe it’s not true that nothing is happening, but that at this moment in our lives, simple friendship is what we need the most. We need to take it slow, to know each other more, so that you can be more solid to me than any picture will ever be.
I have a confession, though. Right now in my head, we’re cuddled on my messy bed, gently tangled in each other and finally watching that movie we’ve always wanted to.
Right now, I am satisfied. Right now, we are perfect.