I can’t help it – I want you because I don’t know how to not want you. I don’t like not knowing how to do things but incidentally no one has any helpful advice. Sometimes I wish I could just remove the want, extract it, but I get the feeling the want is not one of those things you can readily extract, like rotten teeth or slow-moving venom. The want is undulating somewhere in the ether. I tell myself I shouldn’t want you because you’re not mine, and I can understand all the sensible and convincing reasons I shouldn’t, but when it comes to the actual practice of not wanting you, something falls off that table of logic and splatters unceremoniously all over the floor.
I try to train myself to pass your name through my head neutral like everyone else’s but when I hear someone say it, or when I say it to myself like I do, my heart forgets what it’s doing and starts to pound in double bass, and it’s equal parts exciting and squirmy-uncomfortable, a lot like being somewhere uptight in the daytime but also being on drugs.
Everyone says that time is the answer but I honestly feel like time makes it worse.
I want you because there aren’t any good words for who you are. The only ones that come to mind are earnest, sad clichés like “amazing” and “magnetic” and “fascinating” and I don’t want to use them, but on the other hand they are the only words, and cliché or not they are honest words and I’m not sure consulting a thesaurus at this point would be genuine. And it’s not that I want you officially, like I want your last name or your Sunday mornings or your hard shiny promise, I just want to absorb you. I want to know what you know, want to hear your stories, want to filter through them gently and get lost in them, them and the soft hypnosis of your hands in my hair.
I want you because I know you can make me forget about time.
I want you because you and I, the thought of you and I. Those letters forming those words, those words sticking together, the jellyfish swell and shrink in my chest when I think about what they mean. You and I could be something together, that’s why I want you. Something that’s made of us and also isn’t, something different, the way hydrogen and oxygen are indistinguishable in a molecule of water. And I know we can’t be anything, I know that, but when has knowing anything stopped me from feeling it? Knowing better stopped me from wanting it?
And I want you because I can’t have you: I want you so bad sometimes I don’t want you at all because I know that having you, keeping you would change you into something else, something neither of us ever want you to be. You’re not that type. Some moments I wish you were, for my own selfish and transient reasons, but then I know it wouldn’t be you anymore so I stop wishing. The truth is, I want you as you are, but I’m scared of wanting you like that because if I happen to slip, if I lose my footing, if I slip and spiral down the twisted tunnel of possibility and grab onto you too tightly, I know you’ll fold in on yourself and disappear without a memory; wither and blacken in my hands like fresh radium that disintegrates instantly when exposed to air.