|photo by Paul Schnegge|
LIZ, 29 (to her non-live-in boyfriend of less than a year)
The thing is...the problem is you're not good at sleeping, with me. At first I thought it was because of me, that we didn't fit. I don't know, maybe that's it. You're a horribly insensitive sleeper. And it's not because of the snoring, I can deal with the snoring, that could be cute. It's just sometimes you hold me, obligatorily, and you let go, and I wake up and you're across the bed. And sometimes I inch my hand, my arm, to touch yours and you flinch. In your sleep you flinch. The most real honest deepest part of you flinches minutes, hours after being intertwined with me. It doesn't matter- it doesn't matter how intimate we are before or after, because then you can't touch me. Unapologetically, you just don't want to. You flinch.
And i remember the first night, before you told me that you had a problem with it; with sleep. Before I noticed the pacing and Charlie Rose, and that stuff...before I knew that it was a thing with you. I'm laying there awake, so utterly alone, wanting to just touch you, be held. And I inch over and just let my leg hover near your hand, just hover, and you roll over. You just roll away. And I felt cheap and used and alone. And I stared at your ceiling, and I watched your fan move, and I thought I guess that's it. I'll wake up early and he'll offer to make coffee I'll say no thanks and I'll go and we'll both know what it was. If there was any confusion before, the after always makes it clear what it is. But we woke up the next morning and I stayed for breakfast, a sympathy breakfast I thought, and we walked to the train and you held me, you held me tighter than I had ever been held in my life. Like you didn't want to let go, like if you did, something would happen. And you do, you always hug me like that with this extra squeeze at the end - like you're afraid to let go. Like if you let go you'll just crumble, and who knows maybe you hug everyone like that? Maybe that's just how you hug?
I love you. Against all my better judgement I do. I love you when you're awake but when you're sleeping, when you're sleeping there's a part of you that doesn't want to let me in. It's this unapologetic cold part. It's there when you're awake too, I guess. I'm starting to see that. Maybe it's there when you're lost in work, or disappear for a few days. When you go someplace else and just let me talk, and pretend to listen when I go on about school or my family. It's there in those moments where you're just done, and for a split second it's like I'm a stranger. It's rare, but it happens.
This whole time, nearly a year now, I've been afraid that that's actually you. I've been afraid that you at night, the you that flinches, is actually you. It could be, because you're not trying to be polite, or a good a guy, you just want what you want. And what if what you really want isn't me? Would we both be better off? You spend half your life asleep, and what if we don't fit? What if you were just nice and made breakfast? What if I just left and you didn't walk me to the train?