‘Tell me everything,’ he says.
It’s getting darker outside, and his room feels colder.
‘I don’t know. Everything, from the beginning.’
I smile and bury my head in his pillow, imagining the love that could grow in his heart for the baby I was before I became his baby.
‘I have memories from the age of two.’
‘That’s ok. Start there. I crave your beginnings.’
I laugh nervously, thinking of what to say this time. Then all I feel is sadness. I realise he is asking me who I am.
My laughter is extensity, it’s terror. If I wasn’t laughing, I’d be asking myself the same thing.
I can’t stop tracking was my veins, like travelling backwards to the speed of light on a roadmap of scars, remembering every time I got bruised, every time I got back on track. He puts his hand over mine.
‘You think that I want you to rescue me with your words, with your gestures, with your insistence, but they start to feel kind of invasive. You read my mind, then ask me for more stories.’
‘Have I just seen raw, undefined fear in you?’ he smiles, and I can sense his love for me in his voice. ‘Fear that you’ll lose your shiny newness, that you’ll lose your wonder, that you’ll become someone I will talk to my friends about, rather than be the one who I feel close enough to to confide in?’
Fear that I’ll soon stand on the street outside his apartment, calling and calling because I just need to touch him again. I nod my head.
‘Fear that I don’t see you sleeping in bed, curled up and silent with chests rising and falling with your own rhythm, and love it just enough to want you — all of you?’
When the armour breaks, I curl next to him, my bare skin impregnated with rusty traces of the metal. I don’t want to be untouchable.
We both laugh, and I feel easy, and I am happiness, shared happiness. I’ve always liked vulnerability, it’s the only land where I can grow love. But love is so hard sometimes; and so light now.
‘If anyone else was acting this way about me, I’d think they were crazy,’ I say.
There’s a thunderstorm outside, but he warms me up with hot coffee and caresses.
The world can burn, or flood.
My world numbs slightly under his touch.
‘Yeah, but the difference is that you like me,’ he replies. ‘So you like it.’
I finish my cigarette and open the window to feel the drizzle on my skin. The air was getting hot and weary inside. There are lightnings up in the sky, and he says that I, too, must have a thunderous mind at night-time. I catch him smiling, minutes later.