Don’t envy me.

It’s boring to keep saying I have an amazing sex life.

But, I do.

I can’t help it.

I live next door to a young man who has grown exponentially in the almost two years we’ve been dancing inside of each other. He knows the switches to flip, the dials to turn, the words to seethe between gritted teeth.

He’s mastered contrition and acquiescence with a look and a softening of his bones and he’s become fluent in my language of sensitivity and large need.

I was asleep before he came along, walking through a dream. Now I am awake, the breeze slick on my eyeballs, the birds in my ears, the flowers tangled upon my face.

I cannot go back to less than this. I will die. Like I was dead before him.  A hull of a woman.

It scares me, this new Technicolor life I have with him. I don’t want it to go away.  And that in turn terrifies twice over.

Does this mean I make compromises I shouldn’t? That I roll when I should dig?

Should Love be a part of my vocabulary, fill the space around me with its sound and feel? I believe I feel it, but I never hear it.

Does my fear of loss keep me from asking for what I really want?

::

I cried to him the other night while faced with the terrible thought: him or my baby? Of course, there is no question, no hesitation, my baby would win. My child needs me to fight and advocate, to protect. The Neighbor has permission to be a part of our lives only, but he’s not in it. Not yet.

“You need to understand that Peyton is innocent, TN, and I do not appreciate the way you’ve been behaving around my baby the past couple of days.” The tears leaked down my cheeks as I said the sad words. “You will not be welcome here if you can’t be better. That child is everything, my number one priority, and it’s my job to keep it that way. Do you understand me?”

He looked at me silently over the chess board he’d set up for us, shocked.

“Anyone in my life would feel honored to read a bedtime story, but not you. You roll your eyes and run out of the house on an errand and an excuse.” I paused and put my head in my hands again, then lifted my tear-streaked face to his waiting one. “Please, please, tell me I have this all wrong and that you do care for Peyton, that you care for the little heart that’s in that body and that you don’t just ‘endure’ the child.”

As the words left my mouth he jumped to respond.

“God, no! No, not at all!! Hy, I’m so, so sorry if I’ve made you feel that way. I just didn’t want to be around anybody tonight. No one! I didn’t mean to roll my eyes when Peyton was talking to me. Please, you’ve got to understand I’m just in a really terrible mood!”  He sounded sincere.

“Then don’t come over here. Don’t do me any favors. If you’re in that bad of a mood to not see the perfection and love that’s in that little person, then stay away. You’re not welcome.” I said it gently, but with a mother’s righteousness.

He nodded that he understood and I cried some more as I remembered my own stepfather, the eye rolls, the impatience, his lies and deceit. And how little I felt, how useless and empty.

“Or maybe,” TN suggested quickly, “You’re dealing with someone with absolutely zero experience with kids.” He let that hang in the space between us.

“Is that the case?” I sniffled, hopeful. “Really??”

“Yes,” he said earnestly, almost panicked that I might not believe him. Then he seemed to have a sudden idea, that maybe this was going in the wrong direction.

“I like being around Peyton, Hy, but I don’t come over here to play with your kid, I come here to be with you. You know that, right? There’s a difference. ” As if to say, Don’t make this more than it is, Hy. We’re still just “having a good time together.” “But, I do enjoy Peyton’s company. It’s just hard for me sometimes.”

I nodded sadly, but I felt better  I get it.  Little kids are nose-picking, million-question-asking, innocent angels.  It’s a tough combination for the uninitiated. “I’ve never dated anyone while I had a kid before, TN. This is new to me. And you and I have,” I searched for the right words to convey “idiotic”, “an unconventional, non-traditional type of relationship. We’ve never discussed Peyton before in relation to our relationship before. We needed to talk about this.”

He agreed.

“I don’t know what Peyton see’s at my ex’s and with his girlfriend. Am I modeling the wrong kind of relationship by not having certain things??” Namely, the unspoken Love and commitment that TN and I never discuss. “Does it matter? Does our loving, positive, sweet relationship make up for what it’s not??” I let the questions hang and TN said he didn’t know either.

Then he said he was a little hurt that I didn’t seem to see any of his sweetness with my baby. He reminded me about how wonderful he has been over the last year he’s been in our lives. The long talks, the patient playing, the sweet hellos and goodbyes. And it’s all true. He’s always been good to my baby and Peyton loves TN like any little person can.  He’d only been noticeably cranky with my sweet one for two days.

I don’t know what kind of impact he’s having on Peyton in the bigger picture.  Peyton would surely notice an absence if we separated — like when the neighborhood stray cat finally disappears: Where’d Kitty go?  Hmm.  Ooh!  Look at that bug!  La dee da — but my baby would be ok.  It’s my job to ensure that people’s’ departures don’t cause the house to crumble, after all.

We smiled sweetly at each other from our chairs and I giggled my relief, happy we had survived this small tempest.  I felt closer to him.  And then I nearly beat him at chess, my first game ever.

::

Are moments like this a bigger deal than I make them out to be because I don’t want to know that TN, my sweet lover and love, really isn’t a good fit for my life with my baby? Do I make excuses for him?

My amazing sex life — and my easy heart — have me confused.

So, yes, I have a lot of great sex, but I also have a half-cocked heart and a muddled relationship. It’s not all roses for Hyacinth.

When you read about my hot encounters remember I never hear, “I love you, Hy.”  I don’t see love in his eyes, I don’t plan for our future together.  I don’t hold his hand and I don’t even know if I should invite him to my baby’s upcoming birthday party.

::

In the days that followed, it seemed that he made special efforts to connect with Peyton and with me.  My shaky worrying about the state of our affair abated.  Just a little.  I felt lighter, back floating on a little cloud of denial.  Or maybe it’s real happiness.  I honestly can’t tell.

Big, juicy cock, fingers in a cunt, eyes locked in lust, tears slipping into the shells of my ears, blooms of orgasms that opened my soul.  Just the usual bullshit in these parts.

“I’m happy to know you,” I said one night, curled in his nook, tears wet on my face, as my body fell back into place. It was my “I love you.”

He sighed into my hair, maybe he kissed my temple. “I’m happy to know you, too.”

Perhaps it was his “I love you, too.”  I don’t know, but the sex was good.

It’s always good.