by Lauren Saxon
I am writing to you from inside a body that used to belong to you. Which is to say, I am writing to you as love. Up and down, inch by inch. Though I could be, I am not angry with you. Instead—
I am daydreaming. That you walk boldly into the restaurant where I work. You are looking up to me, for once. Meeting my gaze. You say you missed me, and you mean it I can tell that you mean it. Still. Rather than melting into your arms or neck or lips, I don’t respond. I keep a straight face. I say oh, did you in a voice flat enough to keep my hurt both seen and level.
Of course you will ask, then, if I am mad and I’ll say no before you finish the question. Tell you to have a seat at my bar. Pour you an ice water without asking and picture this. Picture me, sliding the water slowly across the countertop and picture you, smiling. Smiling because of me.
Now you will say sorry, and you will mean that too. With all your guilt, seeping into the air around us. Despite having already forgiven you, I might be cold again. I might say it’s fine and you will say, quickly, that it is not. I don’t argue and this. This is the best part—
I will move, close enough to touch you. Close enough to brush your hand, waist or cheek with my own I will say, it’s fine, in a way that suggests I am not done talking. You will be so close to me and I will tell you this.
Tell you what I’ve rehearsed in this daydream and the one before and the one before that, I will say— I love you. So much more than you love me. And sometimes it shows. And sometimes it hurts.
You will be quiet because we both know this is true. Again, there is nothing to argue.
Here is where the dream diverges. Where I spend most of my day, deciding what to do next. What to do after you hear I love you more. There are two choices.
The first, the one that I choose nine times out of ten, is to admit that I am trying. Admit that I am working hard to give only what I receive. Admit it’s hard sometimes—getting so little from you.
My eyes will be downcast as I say this. I will laugh it off. I will lie. Maybe say— don’t worry, I am a little less in love each day. I could give you a drink stronger than water. I could forget your straw and hope that you forget this conversation, we will go home. And fall asleep in separate beds, while this sounds safe.
There is another option. A second one. It cannot happen without your consent. Which is to say— I will ask, nicely, before kissing you. I will wait for you to pull away and hope that you do not.
Again, I could give you a drink stronger than water. I could remember your straw and you would remember that I love you, we will go home. And I will hold you, as close as you will let me.
My ending— is entirely up to you. I am so much yours, that even my dreams are yours to dictate.
Take your time.
LAUREN SAXON Lauren Saxon is a queer, Black poet and engineer living in Portland, ME. She loves her cats, her Subaru, and spending way too much time on twitter (@Lsax_235). Lauren is Editor of Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and her work is featured in Flypaper Magazine, Empty Mirror, Homology Lit, Nimrod International Journal and more. Her first chapbook, “You’re My Favorite” is out now with Thirty West Publishing.
Photo by Ethan Sykes on Unsplash