We had a scare, prematurely in the scheme of this thing we’ve found ourselves in, perhaps even imagined, but a scare it was. It’s terrifying when your body does exactly what your mind does not want it to do. We dealt with it. We had a talk, not to evaluate where we stood, but just to summarize and put an end to something that shouldn’t have happened, but did and some part of me is glad. It made me happy when you said some part of you was also glad because whether we liked it or not, the stakes had changed and this was an acknowledgement of that. It didn’t mean we owed each other anything, or anything more, but there is something to be said for collectively dealing with the same thing and getting out not demolished. We spoke of things we had steadfastly avoided, we had spoken about not speaking about it because speaking about things make them real and we didn’t want them to be too real too fast. I told you I liked knowing where I was with people. It didn’t mean that I needed validation in words, but I just needed to know that you were there, and you were, and my statement was an affirmation of that. I told you I didn’t know how to go slow, and that not having access to you all the time and in every way I wanted to was forcing me to process things slowly. You said you knew I didn’t have access to you, and while for a second I found you mean for withholding yourself from me, I was grateful that you were perceptive enough to understand this about me early on and push me to inhale this thing you and I are doing slowly, to extract the most from what it is now than to dwell on what could be. I should apologize but I won’t and I don’t think you’d want me to, because despite how ever much I may want to be immune to the seduction of it, I’m a girl who falls, and falls hard when I do. Something tells me you actually like that about me. You know it about me so you’re treading carefully. I went to a friend’s exhibition recently. It had a quote from some Jane Austen novel, and it read, “A woman’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.” After the first time we went out, I came home and googled you and saw some photos you’d taken and was floored, thought I could love you and mentally said your last name after my first. This was before the exhibition, but you can imagine how mortified I was when my shameful self-indulgence was so explicitly displayed in a public forum, grouping me with every other girl who met a man and flashed forward into their future. You’ve taught me to rein myself in but let go once in a while, and I’m beginning to see the beauty in this balance. It’s something alien to me, so try and understand my fascination with it, and my exhilaration at somewhat achieving it.
You’ve left town for a few days, and even though a couple of months have passed since that initial flutter I felt when I first became excited about this, I googled your name because I can’t call you and saw those photos and thought, I wish I knew more about you, or knew you then. But I guess you wouldn’t have been the kind of man to spend time with a girl like me then. You were out searching for adventures and catastrophes – you still are – to capture and I was, as you love to say so often, barely legal. Sometimes I find myself scrambling for these secondary sources of information about you because there’s so much I don’t know, and then I stop myself immediately, thinking how much more satiating it will be to have you show and tell me these things yourself. You’re private about yourself, and I like that slowly, I’m finding my way into your inner world. But who knows? I might be wrong. You once said jokingly, I’m your delusion, a voice inside your head tarabedi, and it had been a while since I’d seen you and I thought, my god, he might be right. And if you are a mere figment, then I should congratulate my imagination for giving form to you, because, you, my love, are beautiful.
I hope you never read this, because I know I’m revealing too much. But I feel like you already know this, so maybe I don’t mind that you do. Maybe I want you to, I am the girl with the key to her heart on her wrist. But I know that despite all the easy access, you like that I can still surprise you.
Robert Pinsky wrote, when I had no lover, I courted sleep and my lover, while you’re gone, what better way to fall asleep than while thinking of you.