I wanted to tell you exactly what I was thinking. Laying there, I wanted to tell you precisely how I loved you—different from the way you think I love you. I wanted to explain the way you make me feel when you mock me in that funny way if I am being whiney, or when I catch you checking yourself out in the mirror with your chest puffed, head cocked and one eyebrow raised; you’re always fixing your hair.
Lying next to you in the dark I wanted to tell you how, to me, you feel like coming back home after a long trip. There is no feeling like that of wilting into your own bed after an extended stay at a hotel. It feels right—smells right—it’s a familiar comfort unrivaled by any other. When you wrap me up into your arms after being apart for a while there is that same relief, a belonging I feel nowhere else. I wanted to tell you how being with you is effortless—I tried to.
I wanted to roll over and melt into you—climb into your skin—show you how as close as can be still never seems close enough. I wanted to tell you how when you pull me down into you I want to remain there, suspended in propinquity. I wanted to tell you—it was just never a good time and I couldn’t find the right words.
When we finish and we’re lying together, my head on your chest in the crook of your armpit, I tell you it’s my favorite place. This isn’t exactly what I mean, but it is easier than explaining how I savor the raw spot your stubble leaves on my cheek, or how it sometimes feels like you’re filling me up until I bubble over; it is overwhelming.
I tried to tell you how much I like the sound of your voice in your chest. But what I meant to say was that the way my name feels vibrating around your heart unhinges me. I wish there was a drug I could take that would make me feel that way all the time.
I wanted to know what you were thinking as you rolled over and hesitated to put your arm around me, or when you took my hand and then dropped it. I wanted to ask you why you wanted to date me and then didn’t, and then did and didn’t all over again—I’ve tried to ask; the words don’t come out right. I wanted to know why we continue to act as though we are together, why we keep falling back into the same, familiar place.
I wanted to ask you what you were thinking when you sighed and rubbed your forehead, staring off into space. I wanted to understand the depth behind your eyes—all of your insecurities.There is a different type of quiet about you when you’re too deep in your head. I wanted to tell you that it is then, when you are outwardly silent, that I want to crawl inside your mind and stay there until I know even its darkest corners.
I wanted to ask why you always call me when you’re drunk “just to hear my voice.” As quiet as you are, you have plenty to say at 2am; your words are brimming with love and gratitude. I wondered if you always keep those things to yourself until vodka, betraying you, unleashes them. I wanted to explain to you how I know, by the sound of your voice, how much you’ve had to drink—when you might not recall what you’ve professed by morning. I wanted to tell you how much you want me then, but you wouldn’t remember, so, there didn’t seem to be a point.
I wanted to tell you about the swelling I feel in my chest when you show me a piece of you I’ve never seen before, or when you come to me for help even though you know all I can do is listen. If I could, I would make you know that nothing you could ask of me would ever be too much—if it was, I would feign insignificance.
As I laid there, awake, thinking about all the things I was thinking, I wanted to know if you were thinking that hard too. I wanted to ask you if you thought of me as many times a day as I, you. I wanted, even more, to ask if you ever imagined an “us”—there are times when it seems like you do.
I wanted to know what was going through your mind when you pulled me in close, buried your face into my neck, and inhaled in as deeply as you could. I wanted to know because when I do the same, it’s as though no lungs could ever have enough capacity to draw in all of you that I want; I wish I held the ability to keep inhaling forever. I wanted to know if you ever look at me and see something other than a friend because sometimes it feels like you do. At times, “just friends” seems like just farce, a temporary and meaningless purgatory; a time suck until we say all that needs to be said.
Occasionally I say too much—mostly I say too little. I can never find the right words; everything comes out muddled. Instead of speaking, I laid there quietly next to you in the dark. Our bodies pieced together so pleasantly, your lips resting, parted, at the nape of my neck; I could feel the warm tide of your breath. It was here when I needed to tell you how it pains me not to know what to call you when someone asks. Or how it feels in my throat when I see another girl’s name appear on your phone and I am left to my imagination.
I wanted to ask you why all of this wasn’t enough.
It was here, still, that I wanted to tell you how you have the ability to truly hurt me, deracinate me, and at times you have. I wanted to say how badly your hot and colds affect me—keep me up at night wondering what or how you actually feel. But I will never know, I will remain here, at a crossroads, driving myself mad. I want more than anything to simply ask, but simplicity comes at a price that I was never able to afford.
Lying here, curled into your body as though it was sculpted for mine, I can trace a line from head to toe where you begin and I end; you’re out of my bounds. As near as we are, there is a chasm that cleaves us. I can look at you forever—memorize every scar and freckle—gaze into your eyes for an eternity, but I will never see what lies behind them. I will never truly know all of you, only what you censor and share. My heart broke pondering all the things we will never say to one another—all the things I, and you, will never know.
I laid there wanting to tell you everything, but the more I thought about telling you, the less feasible saying anything at all became. We were worlds apart in the same bed, so, I kept my mouth shut and wrote them down here instead.