It all boils down to a simple equation: the difference between the flaw you can live with and the qualities you cannot live without, x minus y. If the flaw ends up bigger than what they can offer, you’d better start packing.
It is not cruel, nor cold. Neither is it selfish. It is survival, with minimal damage. To both sides. You’ll be doing you both a favor.
In the navy darkness of the bedroom, your eyes glitter like a high-resolution capture of the universe. Black white neon blue, an inch away from your pillow. In the morning, your shower running, I roll over to the right, your side, my face buried in your pillow, it smells of you—a subtle homely scent that spells your name, my fingers tracing the wrinkles of your weight on the warm bed sheet. I wish you would come back to bed. And sometimes you do. Creeping up from behind, your hand slithers its way around my waist, your nose digging into my neck, you breathe in, I wonder what scent fills your lungs. Your face so close your molecules tickle mine, you exhale, I inhale, your breath, your life tastes sweet on my tongue as I crack open my lips to embrace yours with mine. Your cheeks lift and glow rosy, the outer sides of your eyes fold two three four times, your teeth perfectly aligned save for one cheekily tilted like a wink, you smile. Your muscles hard, your skin soft, you hold me in your arms, they lock around my waist, my back, I’m secluded from present reality, my face on your chest, your breath on my hair, I imagine I see a smile on the heat of your air.
When did it all happen. Everything I’ve come to love so.
Love. There is that word again. I love crisp white winter air. I love heat on my skin and salt on my hair. I love my fingertips on the cold keys of a piano. I love bacon. You love to dance, your body replying to each tease of the beat, you shift your whole weight on one hand, then the other, such perfect balance. I love words, arranged neatly, wildly, purposefully, riskily. You love your biscuits drizzling tea. I love dark morning coffee. You love my cooking. I love cooking for you, for us, mostly you. You love to draw. I love to paint, colors sticky on my fingers, smelling of artificial honey. You love beans. I love toast.
Overused, overrated, overanalyzed. I am too afraid to use it with you.
You are too singular, too particular, too fragile of an idea, too uncertain, too human. Too nice, you are also too easy to please, too kind, too easy. Your hospitality is world-renowned. You please everyone, single-handedly. You can settle with anyone. Too kind, too easy.
If this makes me a narcissist, then I plead guilty. But it is intrinsic to look out for yourself. And nothing promises security like knowing you’re special.
I want to be special. Irreplaceable. The One, capital O.
I am not, with you.
With you, I am amazing, accidental, coincidental. We met through other people’s choices, all too concerned with their own lives, each of us too otherwise occupied to care about how happy we could have been together, together, for the longest time. There was never you and me, there never should have been, tugged this way and that, we merely collided, a pause, oh you, so there was an oh you, small o small y, a pause, me?, doubtfully, hesitantly, we ventured on, and oh was removed, and the question mark too. you and me at last, small y still.
Now what, are you sure, are we sure. No, never. We are no fortune-tellers. Gamblers we are, amateurs, not even sure of the meaning of the cards in our hands. You lose some, you win some, but you won’t know until the end. That is the catch. Only until you are too ankle-deep in the game, too late to leave without scraping some.
My mathematics comes out like this.
I love every fracture of you, every minute, every touch, every breath, sweet, sweet enough to well up my eyes. I don’t know cannot pinpoint what they are that I love. It’s shattered, scattered everywhere, like sand in your house after a day at the beach.
Underneath the sweetness, though, lies bitter, deeply bitter, the fear, insecure, pessimistic, self-preserving, needy of the reassurance you cannot give.
So what is it then. Spit it out.
The flaw triumphs. I cannot live with fear, not for long. But I can live without one fracture, or two, even ones of the magnificent you.
Better start packing then, sweetheart. X minus y. Simple. Mathematics. Where is the suitcase.
Hope is a devious thing. A sugary counterpart of doubt. It crops up, drops sweet nothings in your ears, promises, baseless, dreamy, and disappears. My head is drunk on it.
Mathematics requires interpretation anyway.
So I continue and love in fractures. And never, never wholly you. It is easier to find fractures in others, never the whole.
I do not write because I know the answer. I write to find one.
And this is mine.