An Abridged List Of Things I’m Keeping From You

An Abridged List Of Things I’m Keeping From You

1. I sleep a lot better when I sleep next to you. And maybe it’s sex with you in its wake that blesses me with that kind of sleep you can only get after a couple Xanax, or a glass of wine followed by a few hits of Indica.

But, I’m afraid it’s just you.

I’ve slept next to many inconsequential bodies, stayed up all night, tossed and thrashed in my sleep, ran with my mind in circles and sprints, avoided the person lying beside me, and made my way as close as I could to the edge, so that they could not touch me.

And then there’s you. Even in my sleep, I search for you.

I don’t just not mind your touch, but I crave it. Your big arms wrapped around me and your heavy legs tangled with my own under the sheets have a soothing effect on my mind and skin.

Sometimes, I wake up and we’re not touching, and I throw my leg over yours, settle under the safety of the crook of your arm, reach out with my arm and rest my hand on your chest, or just brush my fingers against yours.

I want to be close to you.

2. Hearing you snore and breathe heavily is one of the most calming sounds. It actually puts me to sleep. If I wake up, I hear you and fall asleep again. That soft snore has become a lullaby, and so have the words you speak in Serbian in the middle of your dreams.

I wish I knew what you were saying.

I wish I knew what you were thinking.

3. That triggering experience the other day resurfaced trauma directly and indirectly associated with it. I felt lonely, I felt afraid, I felt pain. It’s not something I felt like I could discuss in depth with anyone. For days, all I wanted was to get in a bubble bath and put my head beneath the water, hide under my covers, roll up in fetal position on the floor and pretend I didn’t exist.

In the midst of all of that, I had one thought: how badly I wished you were in town. I wanted those arms of yours. Even if I wasn’t able to speak of it or open up about it with you, I thought about how much serenity your company and your touch would bring.

You have a soothing effect on me.

4. If I told you, it’s because I trust you.

I am still in disbelief, because trusting anyone is so very not on brand for me. I am skeptical of people, I question everyone’s motives, and I expect the worst because I have seen the worst.

Yet, it feels so easy and comfortable to just let myself go with you.

5. I hate how capable I am of missing you. It’s too soon for that. Isn’t it?

Those two weeks you were gone, well, I wouldn’t use the word unbearable, but I will say your absence was something to be endured.

You’re leaving for a few days again, and though I only kissed you goodbye this morning, I’m ready for you to be back.

I already miss you.

6. I could kiss you for hours. I know that’s cliché to say, but fuck, it’s so very true. I am so very into the way you kiss, the way you move those lips and that tongue. There’s both softness and force behind it. You take your time, yet your mouth dances with mine with an urgency. It’s the perfect ratio of aggressive and tender. You kiss me the way I want to be kissed. The right way. The only way. The kind that keeps me up at night when I’m alone in bed. The kind that creeps back into my mind and brings a smile to my face in the middle of the day.

Damn you.

I want to come over underdressed in thin black lace, play some of Lana’s best, or maybe some of those Deftones songs from that one night we fucked and fucked, and hang on your mouth for a half hour. Fuck it, let’s make it a full one. We’ll make a game of it. I’ll strip for you, slowly take off my scarce clothes, sway my hips back and forth.

I want to stand in front of you and put on a show. I want to stand in front of you exposed.

7. I’ve already written this somewhere else before, but I’ll write it here again: I don’t want you to be the inspiration behind anything I’m writing. I don’t want to be thinking of you. But you are, and I am.

I can’t help myself when it comes to you.

8. I am afraid of you.

I am afraid of you in the way there’s something to fear in what makes you feel safe. You hold a power in making me feel that way. It’s not a thing I do – let myself get comfortable with anyone. I keep everyone at arm’s length, I hold so much to myself, I let myself be touched only because I know I won’t feel anything. But you make me feel…things. And the scariest of all is the desire to be soft again.

This is not me being bored, I’ve been there and I know the difference. This is me wanting to just be myself, not anyone’s version of who they’ve fantasized me to be.

I wouldn’t stand in your way if you came in with a bulldoze in front of these walls.

9. There was this night you offered me tea after a grueling day. You put the kettle on and prepared it for me. Just like that. No reason. You weren’t buttering me up for convenience or asking for anything in return; you didn’t want anything from me. You were just a person doing something nice for another human being. Nothing complicated. But there I was, holding the hot mug between my tiny hands, blowing at the steam, and thanking you, struggling not to make it visibly obvious how much I was taken aback.

It’s tragic, how much of a stranger I am to benevolence in men. I’m conditioned to associate acts of kindness and displays of affection to the cost of something. My thighs, my neck, my mouth, my dignity, a blow, a sting – somehow always pain or a piece of me. And there you were, being just you. I’ve never had anyone be kind to me, you know.

I am taken aback by your warmth.

10. It’s not just that. I am transfixed by you. In a plethora of other ways, absolutely captivated, too. You’re truly wonderful, magnetic, even. But for now, I am going to keep all those many things that mesmerize me selfishly to myself.

I struggle with letting myself be seen, letting my thoughts and feelings be known, and just talking. I write like a beast, though. Chances are, you’ll read something before you witness anything slip from my lips. I am afraid of being vulnerable, even in small ways.

I so very hope you are not reading this.

11. I don’t know what this is, or if it’s even anything; where it’s going, or if it’s going anywhere. This is too new, whatever this is. I am keeping myself open, and my expectations exceedingly low; I want you, but not the disappointment. I’m riding this, whatever you want to call it, and just hoping to take up some more of your time.

I want the chance to know you.

About the author

Natalia Vela

Houston-based writer and artist.