Sometimes I look at your picture and I don’t feel anything at all. I just feel blank. I think about you and it doesn’t send my heart thumping up my throat and my stomach doesn’t drop to my toes like a bag of concrete. I don’t feel anything. I feel like a big white sheet hanging on a wall. And that’s good.
I do not want anyone to touch me. I don’t want to be anything or feel anything. I want to be blank. I do not want another man to draw his marks all over my skin like I’m a plot of land, a map as yet unexplored. I do not want anyone to move in close to me and mar this perfect space that I have created.
That is not your fault. I wouldn’t let you touch me either, not now. I just want to be alone.
Alone is good. Alone is safe. The safest place for me is enclosed in my bathtub, in my bed, in my car. Me, alone. Because I am the safest place for myself.
And it’s nice not feeling anything. I guess I still approach most things with a sense of trepidation, still – you still lurk around and make your presence known once in awhile, jumping out like a ghost when I least expect you and then I have to grasp at the nearest hand to pull me back to earth. Once my feet are back to solid ground, I’m OK. If I’m prepared, I’m OK.
“Please don’t leave,” she said, and I imagined it in your voice immediately. I couldn’t help it. I imagined it coming from you. I remembered the heavy weight of your head rested in the space between my ear and my collarbone, where the heat of my hair keeps my perfume hot and where my pulse bangs, bangs, bangs. I imagined it in your voice.
What would I say? What if you were here right at this very moment, asking me, begging me, not to leave? Not to pack up my car with all my worldly possessions – or at least half of them – and take off clear across the country? To stay. “Please don’t leave.”
I don’t know what I would do. I feel like though I’ve built myself a tower of steel and iron and cold these past few months, blockading myself in my solitude, I would be powerless against you. That’s why I’ve stayed away. That’s why you’ve stayed away.
You cut the glossy curls I used to play with and the last time I saw you, by complete accident, you looked like a stranger.
The lightning of that kind of pain we shared only strikes once; it didn’t strike in the bar the way I thought it would. I just felt sort of empty, desensitized. And that was good. I think I’ve gotten used to it.
“Only time in and of itself can fix these things,” my friend said to me. She was referring to herself, but it rang true for me. How quickly a month goes by, how quickly it becomes nearly a year since things ended for good? They ended with you pleading for me, begging hotly via phone lines, me collapsing into your bed coated in vodka and carrying myself shakily home the next morning. That’s how they ended.
If you asked me to stay, I wouldn’t. I shouldn’t.