she shone bright in the darkness, the subtle glare of red reflecting off the one streetlight beam peeking through the curtain. her darting eyes scanning the room and smiling in recognition.

i knelt beside the door as she approached me, dug my intestines out through my naval and stretched my heart down into my crotch. it felt fluttery and warm down there. i curled around the sensation and felt the solace radiate through my body.

her lips were full and gentle, her hands captivating and soft as she held my face side by side prompting me to my feet. i held her face and pressed my nose against hers as the cold fumbled around our bodies.

i knew she didn’t feel what i felt but i was happy that she let me kiss her and hold her like that for a minute.

she didn’t encourage my feelings but she was kind enough to let me indulge in them.

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Let’s just have sex because love, love means one of us has to fall. I don’t want to fall and I don’t want you to either. So let’s choose not to. Let’s choose to stay afloat and be guided by the current, to grow and ebb with the tide. To contort our bodies into each other, to wrestle with the mania and to listen to that song which speaks the feelings we can’t articulate. Let’s take our detachment and fears and forget about them for the evening, to only know this reality. 

As lovers we are image makers and artists and unique. We’re story tellers and dream chasers. We’re the fingerprints and snow flakes and forgotten child memories, metaphors and desires out of the ordinary. The impulse is deep and old and persistent. A drug, chasing the highs but not naive enough to not anticipate the lows as consequence.

We can’t be in love because this is not how love is made. 

The only things binding are the shackles on wrists. The only things blinding are the scarfs and dust bags. The only thing warm is the melted wax from burning candles over skin. It’s concrete and viscera, it’s the wet and the hard and the dirt and the rope, it’s the only love I want to know.

 

I’ve grown compliant. My life is easy and I sleep side by side with my best friend, sometimes we touch each other. I make promises of monogamy and those promises sometimes last three whole days. Maybe this is normal. Maybe feeling unfulfilled in a relationship of four years is normal. But I can’t stop my mind from wandering, thinking of others, lying about me, my existence, my responsibilities. Maybe it’s normal for people to fantasise about others. But maybe it’s not normal to act or pursue those fantasies.

Maybe I’m not normal.

Plenty of Fish, Tinder, HER, OK Cupid, I’ve had them all and more. I think part of me enjoys creating new profiles, creating an illusion of myself because I am a narcissist. I have a palm full of sweeties, come and take one, come and taste the mystery. You’ll assume they’re sweet but it’s only me who knows they soon grow sour…

Usually I am the pursuer. Girls want to feel special – and I am good at making girls feel special – but this time it’s not me who makes the first move. One day passes and you suggest we meet for a drink.

“Number one,” you say while pointing at the recent spilled beer mark on my thigh.
“Number two,” after I knock the tobacco out of my would be hand rolled cigarette.
“Number three,” when I trip over the last cobbled step in that eery pub.

“Are you always this clumsy?” The question hangs in the air while I blush and try to regain composure.
“Are you always this judgemental?”
“I’m never judgemental but I am always observant.”

We talk a lot, mainly about me, and you quickly discover that I don’t live alone. I quickly discover that you love games. You tell me your life is all about music, food and sex. You have a sex friend. I tell you I have more than one.

From there we started to play with each other. Not a normal game but a fucking psychological war to see who would fall first.

Later, the next evening, I’m at your apartment, “what do you eat?”
“Anything but cheese.”
“Are you allergic?”
“No, I just don’t like it.

You order pizza topped with four cheeses and I fucking eat it. We fuck. I don’t come and you tell me it’s psychological. We’re laying together, you’re kissing my forehead, stroking my hair, tucking that one strand back behind my ear.

“Are you staying here tonight?” Tension and silence fill the gap between our entwined fingers. I can’t look at you but instead bury my head beneath your chin.

“I don’t do sleepovers,” I whisper as you climb on top of me, staring into my eyes, smirking. “But I do want you to fuck me.”
“I’m not fucking you.”
“I want you to fuck me.”
“You’re not here. I’ve lost count how many times you’ve looked up at the clock.”
“I am here. I’m here. I’m right fucking here,” guiding your hand to my cunt, “fuck me please.”

The smirk on your face quickly fades and I think I have gotten my own way but this isn’t for my benefit. This is about power. You’re bigger than me, stronger and you make me feel so small, weak even. Eventually you stop and we’re laying in a puddle of your accomplishment, my humility.

“Now fuck off back to your girlfriend.”
“I don’t -“

Later, another evening, I visit you after a night out and I get defensive when you ask if I’m an alcoholic, subtly reminding me that I had three beers that first day we met while you only had two.

“You make me feel uneasy and uncomfortable.”
“Well if it’s comfort you’re looking for…” you hold your arm out and I cry.
“I barely know you but you make me feel naked and vulnerable, but safe too.” You run me a bath, pick out some pyjamas too big for me and I stay the night. In the morning you heat up croissants and brew fresh coffee and we smoke too many cigarettes. You ask me if I would mind if you fuck someone else and I tell you I couldn’t know. I ask you the same and you say yes.

When I leave it’s more than two days before we talk again.

“How are you?” A text that I reluctantly send but less than a minute later you call me.
“I’ve booked for us to go away together next month. Don’t make plans that week. Don’t ask me where we are going. Don’t ask any questions. Just say yes.”

I want to ask questions, mainly why haven’t you contacted me, where have you been, and what the fuck? Instead, silence again.

“I’m sorry we’re just friends.” I say, attempting to fill the void.
“Did I ask you something?” You say my name as though I’m being summoned by my Head of Year all over again. Your accent think and full, and how my name rolls off your tongue gives me instant goosebumps. “We are incompatible. I’m the definition of possessive and you’re not ready for that. You’re not ready for me. But you do intrigue me. And I like you. And I like it when you come.”

We had plans to meet on Tuesday but after a horrible day I needed to be at home with my best friend.

You call me. “The problem with you and I is that I like to plan and you don’t. The difference between you and I is that I respect the people I schedule time for and you don’t.”

We erase each other’s numbers and agree that it maybe could have worked if we were both emotionally available.

Last night we matched on Tinder. I think part of me fell in love with her. And when I think about her I get sad. She probably won’t sleep alone tonight but I know she will still feel lonely.

“Don’t burn all your bridges down,” he warns her. “You won’t have anyone left to turn to.”

“I’ll still have you, won’t I?” Her words slurred with pain or too much beer, he doesn’t know. “You always come running back even when I make your life miserable.

You can’t stay away from me.”

He wished he could tell her she was wrong.

This is the love I know

A loveless love, a convenient love, an after dark, occasional weekend away kind of love. It’s a love I like, a love I love.

Don’t pity me because I have love at arm’s length. This love gives me a radius of love in abundance, a love for whichever direction I choose to face, a love suited to match whichever feeling, want, and need that I’d like in any moment.

A nameless love, quiet, waiting in the shadows. A keycard love, a backseat love, a £3 a minute love. A judgeless love. A let’s tell all our secrets, turn the sound off, be present, kind of love.

A love where I can be the best version of me, the version of me you like, the version of me you love.