PART 3: Headlights
It is maddening. Why now? After all the emotional outpouring. Why is now the time he’s come to collect the sex? He’s smooth…slick as an oiled railing. Now is the moment he chooses to ignore our awkward behavior and immaturity? We are in an endless cycle of us reacting to each other’s reactions and trying to then process how to react to that. If this is what he needs in order to cope with the gravity of our connection, then sure, I’ll buy in. Not that it’s ever been just fucking, and we both know that. But he works so hard to deny the connection, and to be honest, I let him. Because, after all, I’m horny. I have needs. And before any judgment is passed, I am not using him. This neediness and craving is not just for anyone, but for his particular brand of tortured love. I need him; a heady thirst.
And he is coming over. He is actually coming over.
I totally need to shave my legs. Do I have dark circles under my eyes? Ugh. He says 12:15 so I have at least until 12:45 to do maintenance. Not like it matters. I could be Venus reincarnate and it would still be this clusterfuck–the way that it has always been. Amazing. Confusing. Awful. Tempting. Phenomenal. Essential…like air.
“I can’t keep on losing you over complications”…
I rap Mac Miller’s words in my head like a chant and I wonder. Does he hunger for me with the same zeal? He certainly fucks me like he does. He has to…it wouldn’t make sense otherwise. He touches me like it’s more than…a fuck. I feel him search my eyes for the tormented innocence of my soul. And he has found me there. Over and over. Is that enough for me to sustain this…this thing we have?
As I finish dressing and pour myself a glass of wine, I think that I could die today. Any of us could. And yet I live. I live and I feel and I hurt, and I keep choosing him despite of it all. I dream all of the things that are heavy in life, but they are unresponsive in my consciousness. I desperately try to clutch them in my mouth. I dissect them across my mind, through my eyes. What does he see when he looks into them?
And then I recall every small detail about us.
I wonder what it is that makes us so complex, lacking the simplicity of home. But that isn’t fair either; I guess the feeling of home is relative, something we cannot standardize. And then I become unmoved, fixated on the ways I can’t touch him, how I don’t know which him I am going to get from week to week. Shit, if I am being honest…from day to day. I remain suspended in the tragedy of us, and yet I still push to resurrect our beauty.
12:38. 12:39. Will he?
As I wait and dread and worry and wait, I imagine I live in the belly of a lily. I try to bask in the solace of his being, visualize the last time that his smile was only for me. I try to avoid the facade of all that destroys us, like dainty baby’s breath, deceiving and vindictive. He is my temptation. His intermittent silence is familiar and overused, in the way we say that it is an “accident” or cling to some fabricated excuse, like this will excuse all the poor behavior and inconsideration. Does control slip through my lips? Clearly, it does, and he is an irreversible something that can’t be undone. Maybe I am ruined. Maybe I am ok with that.
I wait. I wonder. I wait and I wonder.
My phone dings again and I just know it’s her. This excites me and bothers me at the same time. Why? I don’t fucking know why. I really can’t explain most anything that has surrounded us, continues to, throughout this whole crazy ride. I am definitely fucked up about it. We have been talking again kind of regularly and I do enjoy it, but it also makes me uneasy.
LIke I said, I’m all screwed up over it.
Look–it isn’t because of her, really. She is amazing and beautiful and so fucking smart. I don’t know. When I try to sort out my shit I just feel confused, or maybe scared of what I am feeling (though I would never admit that) or what she may be feeling or where this is going, if it is even going anywhere.
Fuck. I don’t know how people know when to be in a relationship or how to act in one. What the hell is a relationship anyway? I don’t know how people know how to make another person happy all the time. It is just too much to think about, and sometimes I feel like I get it, but mostly I think I have no fucking clue.
Of course I can’t help but think back to when we first started talking, because it was instantly so good and fun. From the start it was exciting and easy and she understood my need to live, to not be so safe and polite all the time. I could fuck with her and she would give it right back. Ugh. The best kind of talking. But fuck…
It is all so hard for me to wrap my head around or to talk about. I just wanted to keep talking to her…because I liked it. I don’t really like talking to people a lot of the time, because people mostly suck, but with her it was…is? Fun. She made me laugh. This is what fucks me up the most…she isn’t just something I can toss in the trash like so many other girls I hung around with before, but I don’t know where to go from here. I see so many complications. I can’t stop thinking about all of the them. They play over and over in my mind.
After a few months, things seemed forced for some reason. The easy disappeared. I knew it would happen. I always get to a point where I cannot handle it. It is so fucking confusing, even now. I don’t know if it was me pushing her away or her expecting me to be ready for something I wasn’t ready to give. I don’t even know if she really was pressuring me the way I thought. Maybe I was expecting her to, and so I created this shit show. I don’t fucking know. I just don’t know. That is definitely fucked up and probably even unfair because I just kept on talking to her. All I know is that one day I felt smothered–trapped and freaking out about what the hell we were doing.
What the hell are we still doing?
I know I must look like an asshole (maybe I am actually an asshole…I think I even warned her about me being an asshole), but when she texts and calls and wants to make plans and I am freaking out? I just don’t know how to act or what to do or what to fucking say. I have a weakness that I am always fighting. I have thoughts and fears that I just can’t face.
Look. I hide away.
I don’t face things. It is easier to avoid all the bullshit. But listen…I don’t want to hurt her and I don’t want her mad at me. That is the fucking truth. I do respect her and I do want her to be happy. But, what the fuck? I don’t know how to act and what to say and I feel like whatever I imagine myself doing is going to end up being the wrong fucking thing. I feel like I always fuck it up. I am pretty sure I warned her about that, too. But did she hear me?
When I am in my messed up mindset and just want to be alone and wallow and she reaches out, it goes something like this–I end up either indulging her or ignoring her.
Indulging her makes me feel like a piece of shit and dishonest. I am weak, a fucking coward, because I just can’t say that I can’t do any of it right now–her and life in general. It isn’t really her at all, but I am just not with it in any way. Because that’s the thing. I do want to talk to her. She is interesting and hilarious and mesmerizing, even. And I want to tell her all of these things because they are true. But, what the fuck message is that sending? That is too much of me to give. So, when I indulge her, I know that I am being a jerk because she is so fucking happy and alive, but I don’t know if I will stick around, if I can stick around. And she believes I will. Every time.
And, if I don’t indulge her, then my other go-to is to ignore her, which makes me feel strong, like fuck this, I don’t have to be tied down to another person. I am here for me. I have all my own shit to sort out. I have self-control and I don’t have to run and answer anyone except for me. And maybe if I don’t answer? Maybe she will eventually get fed up and leave me be and she can just find someone else that can actually get their shit together and be the open person she so craves. But…this also ends up making me feel like a shit. What the fuck?
Yet, here we are again.
Earlier today, we made plans for me to go to her place so we can hang out and “have fun” and “enjoy each other” and “talk” and all of these things that will, of course, turn into kissing and fucking and holding and staying over and sleeping so close. All the things that make everything so confusing and complicated. I want to go and yet I haven’t even gotten dressed. I don’t feel like picking out clothes. I have been avoiding that (and the fact that I said I would go there) by filling my time with distractions, like blankly scrolling through my phone or playing video games.
I said 12:15. It is now 11:58. Fuck. Where did the time go? I need to text her if I am going to be late. I know I should. Even if I throw clothes on now and go, I would never make it on time. But, I just can’t bring myself to text right now. Maybe when I am actually on the way. What if I change my mind? What if I say “fuck it” and don’t go. Go the fuck to sleep instead. More indulging and more shitty things.
I’ll just get dressed and see what happens and decide what I want to do.
As I finally throw on comfortable sweats and one of my favorite t-shirts, I decide fuck it, I am just going to go. I am going to have a fun night and if we don’t talk anymore, we can have a great night. What is wrong with that? But I sit in my car, and I can’t bring myself to leave yet. I reread the texts from today. Are these loaded? Maybe she thinks this is going to be more than an awesome night. I don’t want to talk about any fucking relationship. Maybe there is something wrong with her or me or both of us. But I want to go. Ahhhhh. Fuck it.
As I drive to her place, I enjoy the music. It is one of the things that is clear and comforting in my life. That is another thing I enjoyed right from the start: her taste in music and how it vibes with mine. Sending songs has always been a thing, but now I always feel weird when I send one, like it means more or less to her than what I intend.
“My, my simple sir, this ain’t gonna work. Mind my wicked words and tipsy topsy slurs. I can’t take this place, no I can’t take this place, I just wanna go where I can get some space…”
Glass Animals plays as I turn left and drive cautiously down her block. I fucking love their sound. This song calms me, puts me in a place I am ok with. She likes this song too. I pull up in front of her place and park in the same spot I always do, but I can’t make myself get out yet. I look up and see her. She is waiting outside? Look at her. She is waiting outside. This is why I shouldn’t have come. Look. At. Her. I can see the jittery way she is standing there. I can feel her nervous energy. I can feel the pull to her.
Look at her.
I get out and don’t even turn it off. It would be too dark. I walk around to the front of my car, lean on my hood casually. All I can think about is how much I want to kiss her right now.
Inverses–yet they can’t exist without the other.
I notice the contrast of the streetlamps coercing the shadows to dance on the pavement, as the wind guides the trees so effortlessly. I look at my hands in the moonlight while I wait outside. I just can’t bear to wait in the house any longer–it is excruciating. Somehow, feeling the air and the placid chill of night, has a calming effect on me I didn’t expect.
We are like this. I am still not sure if I am the dark or the light or if he is; maybe we are a mix of both or we fluctuate alongside the confusion. But I think…the fact that we seem not to fit because of all the bullshit, makes me see how we need each other that much more. I don’t know, it’s like we fill in each other’s light and shadows and it merges into our darkness. When are we really us? Just us? We meld into gray–not quite as blue as pewter or as luminous as silver, but a balanced, dove gray.
As I see a car pull down the street, I begin to shake with dread. This is a bad idea. No, this is detrimental. And then…it isn’t his car. It isn’t him because he’s probably not coming at all–he must have decided I wasn’t worth it or maybe he will disappear again. I will revert back to sadness and sink into the absence of him. Every time he doesn’t show up, it is concrete and it makes me more panicky than I usually am. I feign an interest in my days, but if anyone is paying attention in any way, I gradually detach, just like the subtle crunch of shattered glass. I want to scream expletives into his eyes. I want to grab him and shake him and say, “Don’t you see us?”
And let’s be real…I’ve grieved many things. We all have. But when he denies us, it is a unique kind of emptiness, like a deliberate removal. If I could make these feelings undone, if there was a way to gather this mass of emotions and toss them away, I would do anything. I would stack them on my dresser with the unopened mail and all the books I still need to read–I’d tuck them all in a discarded magazine and find a portal to happiness.
But, of course…
Of course, each time I begin to have a moment of resolve where I feel like I could actually try and live without him, he sends a song or is there for me in a crisis or…drives down my block. Fuck. He is driving down my block. Right now. Right fucking now.
He actually showed up.
Now what? I realize that the peace I felt in the darkness just moments earlier morphed into intense dread and confusion. Why would I be waiting outside? What message is that sending? I couldn’t even properly wait inside and relax, but instead I’m overeager and…I guess I just feel silly. I just had to be outside waiting and watching, fully vibrating like the thickest string on a bass or similar to a douche. Fuck.
Why am I the way I am? Or maybe it is the way I am compelled to act because of him?
Either way, I am outside, and again, not sure what to do with my hands, let alone my heart. He pulls up in the spot at the curb, directly in front of the house. Never the driveway. Why does he always insist on not pulling in the driveway? Maybe that is too much of a commitment for him.
Does he see me standing there peering at his car? He must see me. Instead of turning off the engine, he sits inside, headlights still on, creating new shadows that waltz down the street. I notice flowers in the lawn that I would have never admired at night otherwise. Within this twenty second eternity, I wonder if he is going to pull away after all. But then I hear the door open and I could take it no longer. I must walk to him. The car is still running and the bulbs from the headlights pierce through me like a clawed trap, grabbing me at my core, pulling me closer to him.
As he leans like a casual douche on the hood of his car, I think about how maybe there should be a crowd surrounding us, where everyone applauds wildly. Him, in my space, feels perfect to me, which frightens me wholly. He is late. He showed up, but he is always late or never comes at all or is on a flighty schedule that disregards my life. And yet I want him here. Does he approve of me? Why should I even care?
Look at him.
He finally meanders towards me. He stops in front of the car, the lights engulfing his broad frame. That body. Those arms. I have never wanted to be closer to him than in this moment. And I have no flucking clue what I am supposed to do.
Because this is the thing…
He never takes the risks necessary to go for it, to take me as his own, really. He says he does. He says he will. Instead, he does just enough to make me feel capable of speaking to him again, like I am an important person that he admires, as if there is nothing inferior about me. But I just feel part of a grand performance, always expressing what I am trying to do, trying to be, trying to prove…to make myself his person, the person he wants to keep around, but never fully does.
But amidst my scattered thoughts, confusion, and doubt, I discover that he walked over to me. All I could do then, is look up. And then he kisses me. He kisses me, and I believe he means it.
Concept + Artwork By: Erica Lescota – @phoenix_designs37
Concept Development + Text By: Lanaya Alexander – @writing.for.the.calm
Note: This is a work of fiction. Any references to real events, real people, or real places are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, events, and places are results of the artist and author’s imagination. Anything that resembles actual places, people, or events is entirely coincidental.