I hung up on you last night.
That’s it. Nothing more but a weird beep and a reminder of whatever photo you’ve set as your lockscreen because I was gone. Out. Nothing but radio silence from my greasy, probably carrying Ebola iPhone 6s.
I cut off our conversation last night.
“I’m not talking about that.”
“Stop asking questions.”
“No, I’m not telling you.”
“It’s none of your business.”
It’s my own version of don’t ask, don’t tell. It’s my own way of saying, “Yes I told the internet but I will not tell you.” It’s the little string I have to hold on to that says, “This is yours. This belongs to you. These are YOUR secrets.” And if I were to answer any of the intrusive questions, if I were to finally give it up and be honest, I’d be surrending my grip and letting everything unravel.
I kept my face out of frame last night.
“What? You can’t see me?”
“Huh? That’s just my chin.”
“Ugh I don’t want to I don’t have makeup on.”
I didn’t listen when you told me my eyes were beautiful, didn’t break when you asked me to smile. I kept myself half on, half off. I kept myself close to ONLY myself. Kept myself at a thousand-mile arm’s length from you. Even if my only defense was letting you see my chin but NOT my eyes. My eyebrows but not my lips. I kept you as far away as I could even while still listening to the sound of your voice. Even while still stealing glances at someone I’d never admit to wishing was right here.
I think I failed at keeping my guard up with you last night.
I think maybe, just maybe, I let you in.
But I didn’t mean to! No. I absolutely did NOT mean to let you in.
Maybe I admitted that I still think about the way your arms felt stretching across the space between us over the sheets and find myself instinctually reaching back. Maybe I admitted that your smile is infectious and has somehow seeped and clawed its way into causing my own. Maybe I admitted that I still miss kissing you and wrapping myself up in you and that you were the first person in a long time that made my mind go quiet.
But it doesn’t matter.
Because no matter how far I grasp with my hands for you at the other end of the bed you are not there. No matter how much you smile at me and make fun of me for loving it the only way I’ll be seeing it is from behind a screen. No matter how tight I close my eyes and will myself to memorize how it felt to finally press myself into you it’s just that: a memory.
No matter how much I like you, it doesn’t matter because instead of being tangible, you are unreachable. Instead of being accessible you are far away. Instead of being here you are there. Instead of being mine you are somewhere in limbo.
So even though I may want to keep grasping at sheets, want to keep being vulnerable, want to keep getting lost in a smile that makes me remember what it felt like to say the words “infatuated” I won’t. I’ll shut it off. I’ll keep you at arm’s length, hang up on you, and refuse to answer questions to keep myself safe. I’ll hide behind metaphorical brick walls built out of previous relationship failures and fears I’m still not over.
With every fiber of my being, I will push you away. I will fight you and tense up and yank and pull against the very idea of letting you in. I will never give an automatic ‘yes’ and will always be confrontational. I will be everything you always said you never wanted and will willingly try to get you to run.
I will push you further away than you already are because if one of us starts to close the gap, starts to lessen the milage on either the markers on the side of the highway or the proverbial distance I intentionally put between us, I won’t know what to do. I’m comfortable in the unknown because the unknown means never having to make a decision, never choosing left or right, stay or go. I’m terrified of the day that you’re two inches away from me again because I can’t hang up on you when all you have to do is hold me and force me to have no choice but to stay.
I can’t hang up on you if you’re here.
I can’t dodge questions when you will see the answers flooding over my face.
I can’t stay out of frame when the frame is your bed and the screen is your eyes.
But know this.
Even though I’m hanging up, or I’m staying silent, or even though I’m riddled with an incurable case of poker face and pretend to feel otherwise, I want you.
I really, really want you.
I just don’t know how to say so.