“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 too.”
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 extension, it’s terror. If I wasn’t laughing, I’d be asking myself the same thing.
I can’t stop tracing 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.
“It’s all starting to feel kind of invasive. First, you read my mind; then you ask me for more stories. There’s only so far down I can dig before it hurts, but when I do – I find you there already, waiting for me.”
“Have I just seen fear in you?” he smiles, and I can almost feel the warmth in his voice, warming up my skin. “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 I want to talk to?”
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.
“But that’s only what someone who doesn’t love you can do.”
When the armour breaks I curl next to him, my bare skin still covered in rusty traces of the metal. I don’t want to be untouchable. 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 easy now.
“If anyone else was acting this way about me, I’d think they were a little crazy,” I say.
“Wanting to see beyond what I’ve polished for them to see. I’ve made a whole catalogue of me, presentable and acceptable by most standards,” I laugh. “You’re asking for the drafts. They’re all over the places, got food stains on them. I have to look long and hard to find them again.”
There’s a thunderstorm outside, but he brings hot coffee to bed and I selfishly think that the world can burn, or flood, or do whatever it is a world so strange does. My world softens 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 for a minute. There are flashes of lightning up in the sky and a delicious smell rising up from the ground.
He says that I, too, must have a thunderous mind, even if it’s been quieted recently. I catch him smiling to himself as I try to explain that it’s not always a pretty sight.
“I don’t care,” he says. “Show me everything.”