It’s been a week of exhaustive contemplation. I’m trying to catch myself before I run away with my thoughts– Red has been teaching me basic yoga and meditation which has forced me to breathe, to take the energy welling up inside of my mind and push it elsewhere. Most of this weekend will be spent alone so that I can take time for myself, listen with all of my senses and pause.
I saw E for dinner two nights ago. I got all my things back and we took some time to say hello and say goodbye before she moves away. She’s leaving on Friday. And today is my last session with Shrink. It’s strange to cap off four years like this. I want to get him something, but I don’t know how I could possibly sum it up. An EP of Beck’s Sexx Laws. A stained, strained belt. My shoes. I’ve always had a weird history of giving my previous therapists an intensely intimate piece of me but I don’t know what makes sense. He’s different, he’s patient, he’s unidealized and I’m a success story. He said so at our last meeting, and the rawness of the sentiment blindsided me. He’s never been one for effusive compliments.
It’s one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.
I’m someone’s success story.
Just pause. Right now, I’m cleaning up from the sweetness of the evening before and I’m listening to the sixties psychedelic we shared and making popsicles with the holders she never wanted to use. I can’t eat all the fun I had. I can’t recreate it, repurpose it. All that’s left is to breathe and go back to the start.
Seeing E brought out a lot of ache in my body. It forced the pain to the surface. We could have had it all, and we almost did, until she screwed everything up and hurt me. And I cried last night because I realized how bittersweet it was to have someone like Red, to be able to take that tenderness as I deserve it and have all the things I give reflected back at me without pretense. Now that I have my stuff back, it’s like there’s no reason to sustain contact but to reminisce, to cry, to look and search for the things we wanted amidst the wreckage of what we lost. Despite what was great about her, she was never fully good to me. Realizing that empowers me and hurts me, knowing that the things I thought I wanted were never really what was right in the first place. She doesn’t understand me anymore. She doesn’t get me.
We said we’d never let each other down. I held up my end of the bargain and she did what she could, I suppose. The things E needs, I no longer find myself grasping for. I asked her about the ring- she has it in a box of memories.
“Do you want it?” She said. Her voice was hopeful.
“No, do you?”
We didn’t know what to do. I thought of proposing we throw it off a bridge, I thought of asking her to hurl it somewhere in Paris. Swallow it with Laphroaig and put the whole thing to bed or start it up again and hope for a better result. But allowing her to keep it will be the strongest thing, a dull lump in the back of her jewelry drawer and throat until I fade from her memories, until I depart, she’ll have room for pause. Room to consider what she does until she finally understands how she can create her own happiness. I thought she was what I needed. I thought she needed me. But she’s part of my past, I felt that when I hugged her goodbye and sought that pang of longing to guide my heart and found it to be gone. That’s what I feel with Red, that’s what I feel with my memories, my mind, my writing. With E, I don’t think we’ll ever find what we’re looking for in each other. I don’t know if we’ll ever stop looking for what we’re looking for, or if we even know or understand. We’re hungry and restless, but I can eat until I’m full and fall asleep happy.
We’re not the same, and that dissimilarity allows me to transcend the flaws of our relationship. It’s an encouraging lozenge when my mind is restless. The improvement is solid if bittersweet, like a bargain on a slightly imperfect piece of furniture, like lyrics to a song now sung alone. But I’m okay. I’m good. I’m here, and I’ve been brought to a point where I’m open to goodness. I am released, and now, I can start whatever it is that I need.
Red and I had a tough week, but we ate softly last night and coaxed each other into a heightened state of tenderness, with soft, bloody pieces of sirloin and a late-night snack after a bottle of wine on the prettiest day of the summer so far. Today, we were ourselves again. We became better than our arguments and differences and woke up for an adventure, making our way deeper and deeper into the forest and stopping to take photos of signs and buildings empty and open to the world.
We make pit stops and drive leisurely, cutting through the dense verdant green and nibbling at the sandwich I’ve brought. She has made me a playlist based on tenderness and badassery and has carefully labeled a cardboard case. The playlist goes from Beth Gibbons to Drake and across the world and aches of personal love and hesitance. It reminds me of The Query’s, of my own, and it makes me want to curate for everyone I meet. She tells me there is a song she could not put on it- a corrupted file, and she will not tell me the name because it is special and secret. I never want the music to end, but we pull into Chesaw as the last song plays. Shovel and Rope serenades us and I stare wordlessly at the radio. The pull is in my heart and my ears, I smile at her sideways.
The playlist doesn’t make me cry, but it makes me realize how much I will cry when she is gone, because how can I possibly keep her close to me, fluttering, muscular beside me? Her solidity intrigues me, her dreams defy me and defray me as do my own and I can see myself listening to it curled up on the worn slats of a hardwood floor come winter, tightening into the lines of her consideration, taut to the realization and slickness on my tongue, or finding it years later and calmly reminiscing. CD’s last a good, long time. I’ve got to memorize the pattern: soon, they’re all gone. Sometimes they leave first, sometimes I do. It’s a perpetual staring contest, it’s an empty box once filled with china, it’s the last slice of pizza or the final sip of a bottle of wine at the end of an era. It (the CD and the feeling) is something flat and distinct that I can tuck away and find, and consider when the dust and fuel has settled.
We’re on a mission for things that make us sweat and tingle: hot sauce, hot dogs, pizza, and the sun, and we gorge ourselves on all but the pie. I think I can eat eight hot dogs but manage two, slowly ignoring the swell of my stomach and broadness of my shoulders against the pulled fabric of my shirt. I have been sensitive to my body lately, defensive about it. I’m clumsily pulling on the newness of being butch, grappling terribly with the notion of what my head wants and what my body has been given. I want to be a boy, I have the body of a woman. I am boyish, but with the lines and curves of indeterminate age and gravity settling too early. I yearn for the time to rebuild and reconstruct. How deeply I want to drink in the taut lines of other boys, of toothy grins splitting thin, bony faces in half with eyes sunken perfectly and bright against the shadows of prominent cheekbones, swallow them and emerge proportionate not to the largesse of my mind but the petite structure of my bones and it breaks my heart that the zaftig will not melt away as my heterosexuality did and that the meat tastes silkier in my mouth than any diet bar ever did.
Red asks me later that night if I am not a D cup as I have been wearing but something larger and I lash out at her and curl into myself, into the puffiness and distortion of my body, which I am with, my silent partner, constantly, but never acknowledge to the extent that I ought to until I need it to perform, which it does with gusto, bent over backwards over the crag of a rock in the seclusion of a state park at dusk before the gates close as she fucks me, her hand inside me and her arm atop my throat. I am delirious with want, dizzy as I walk down the road in my Birkenstocks and I cannot make it another quarter of a mile before I need her to fuck me. I masturbate in the car on the drive home. I dream of the French fries we ate and the tint of her hair behind my Ray Bans and her hand tightens my bandana. I am constricted, but the interrupted flow of blood to my brain means I am not thinking about what eludes and deludes me, my desires blanketed and smothered in a body that just won’t quit until I come hard and fast, the wind pushing my moans back down my throat.
I can’t keep my hands off her and run from the car like a bat out of hell, my pants unzipped and the vibrator clutched in my hand. I’m fumbling with a disrespectful audacity, tearing off her clothes and jamming my face into her until she comes twice and I pass out in between her legs, drifting off atop the coolness of her thighs. Later, her fist dips inside of me and I clutch it closely and scream the things I want, I want, I want, knowing that what I need will be harder to force to my tongue. But in her arms, I am in repose. She’s constantly on my mind and yet, my thoughts don’t seem to do her justice. The lull of content has not faded yet and the urge to explore still runs strong. We’ve got something, and for now, it is what it is what it is and I am still rakishly stumbling through my own and am pleased to have her and the rest of the world atop me, hot on my throat, sweet on my lips.