Luke and I have been talking every single day for weeks now and it is this lone connection that reminds me I have a soft, gooey center beneath my icy demeanor.
For almost two years now my world has been a landscape of slate and black. Jagged, torn edges that have left me bereft and alone. The Neighbor’s abrupt departure from my life shone a light on how I have avoided intimacy my entire life, how its light scorched me like the sun upon a vampire, and in the ensuing months I have bumbled along self discovery and acceptance: I have intimacy issues.
Me, who opens up and shares the most intimate of details of her sexual life with virtual strangers. Me, who entertains gaggles of friends with her lewd stories and tearful sharings of dead fathers and complicated mother relationships. Me, who bares her body for tens of thousands of pairs of eyes and who elicits both hateful and lustful responses in equal measure and weathers them all with unapologetic and not not disdainful aplomb.
Yes, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
I’m a motherfucking mess.
Man after man — 14 this year alone, I think, plus the handful that I haven’t mentioned — have added to the bleak illustration of my life, some post-apocalyptic land where even the lightening bug’s glow is dim. None have given color, none have inspired. I have been free of a muse for too long, drained of inspiration and weighted down by the pressure to impress and be loved by the masses, but I am feeling color seep back in. Because of him.
We may never meet. We may never touch. We may never taste one another, but what has happened is a tiny little fire has been lit inside. The tiniest, just ever so, like the little diamonds in the slim band upon my finger. It is there. I can feel it.
I am no longer filled with dread when I think to write and the words spill out of me much like school children down the sidewalk after school: freely, with some joy, and with purpose.
I tease him about talking to me — he’s far too sweet for the likes of me. “You’re a smooth talker,” he replies.
“Tell that to me when you’re between my legs,” I say. “Then I’ll believe it.”
He persists in smearing color on me. “You’re a great person. You need to appreciate that. I know there’s a big heart within that ice block,” he laughs. Then adds, “For the record, you’ve never seemed as cold as you think.”
I’ve been cast a bright line to the old palette I used, rich in color and light. His kindness, his ever-present warmth, his sweetness. After years of grey to see this sliver of color I find myself almost afraid. Afraid to reach for it, afraid to believe in it. But I can’t deny that it’s there. That little ember, ever so small, lit within me.
And I can almost breathe again.