Eventually, I will have to say no. The day will come when we finally see each other again. The universe will have granted our hectic crazy travel lives a rare break. It will have been eleven months, three weeks, and two days since the last time we were together. I’ll run down the street, or up the stairs, or through the hall. I’ll hug him for all the days I couldn’t, and he’ll hold me and kiss the top of my head, and I’ll feel so safe. And it will feel so right. I’ll bury my face in his chest, and I’ll tell him how much I’ve missed him.
He will say he’s missed me too, and how it’s been too long. Again.
See, this happens at least once – sometimes twice – a year. We’ll meet up in this city or that one, in a fancy hotel his company is paying for. It’ll be across from the stadium or have a view of the downtown skyline or be just down the street from the local brewery. Twice a year, I get to see my best friend. I’ve known him through the most important years of my life. We met in college and it went the same as every friends-turned-something-more story goes. We’re no different. It’s not a fairy tale story; we’re just like every other cliché. I fell for him, he wanted to keep his distance, and I told myself that was fine – as long as I got to keep him. As long as I could hang on to whatever we had, because when it got down to it, we were friends first and I would do almost anything to keep that. Almost. Because to keep that friendship in its purest and truest form, I would have stopped this a long time ago.
It’s always the after that hurts. It’s a few days of bliss: careful touches, caring words, and sweet kisses, and pent up need exploding into hours of raw passion.
But then I leave, or he leaves. Either way, we’re back to reality, where we aren’t waking up together or holding hands as we drift to sleep at night. And then I’m back to feeling the hurt of not being wanted, of feeling like I was just the weekend fling. The weekend brought thoughts of “maybe this could work” and so many what-if’s and if-only’s. But now I reside in a place of self-doubt and confusion. My heart twists when I can’t talk to him every day, and the knife digs deeper when it feels like he doesn’t even try.
So here we are. The nice boutique hotel in San Francisco, and we have 3 whole days together. But I’m exhausted from the plane ride and he just got to the city a few hours ago. He couldn’t sleep on the bus, he said. I’m excited to explore this city, but first, maybe a lie down on the couch. He leads me to the bed, and we sit and talk. His hand grazes my leg, maybe on accident. Intentional or not, it sends a chill all through my body. You’d think after so many years, he wouldn’t make me feel like this: all the butterflies and shivers.
Eventually, I’ll have to say no. There will be a time when I’ll remember that hurt that he unintentionally leaves me with after our weekends. I’ll bring that feeling up to the top of my heart, and as he kisses my ear, my cheek, my nose, and moves toward my mouth with his perfect lips that I’ve been missing for almost a year, I’ll have to say stop. I’ll eventually say no, please, not again. I can’t take it anymore. My heart is tired of this game. But then he kisses me so gently. I melt into him and I’m in the safest place in the world. I am wanted, I am loved, and we are the only people on earth. For three days. So eventually, I’ll tell him no. But maybe next time.