"Tell me something I don't know," I say. It's a sort of game we'd been playing this visit. I started it, and then he'd ask me. I've been popping it out whenever there's a lull in our conversation. Sometimes it's a goofy answer, sometimes it's something pertinent.
"Hmmmmm. I was chatting online with my ex-girlfriend, the German one, I guess a couple of months ago now. We don't talk much, just when there's a reason to usually. Anyway, she said she would still fuck me, and I said ' Yeah, I don't think that would be a really good idea.' And then she said, 'O! We wouldn't have to talk to each other afterwards.'"
And we both chuckled knowingly.
"But, I already have a person that I sometimes hook up with."
And I knew this; that there was a fuck buddy. I knew there was someone in the ether, a person who gave him pleasure. I knew there was someone other than me. I think I can recall him saying I was better, that fucking me was better.
"When was the last time you fucked?"
And I level my eyes on him. I do not shirk. Courage is what you have in the face of fear, not instead of fear. And, yes, my body hummed with tension. And, yes, my heart raced. And, yes, my mouth was dry. And I think to myself, "Please say 3 months ago. Even better, say 4 months. I can live with 2 months, 2 months would be ok."
"Ummmm, about 2 weeks, a week and a half ago?"
Drop. Sink. Cold. And I feel empty and swollen at the same time. I become consumed with envy and self-loathing. Envy for a nameless, faceless person. Self-loathing because I'm not good enough.
I don't say anything, but he sees it. My face is a stone mask, but he sees the change. He feels the shift. I feel exposed, and I turn my head away. He makes some chit chat about my sneakers, and I'm not terribly responsive. I say I'm ready to leave the restaurant. I wrap my arms around myself, and he reaches out to stroke my side as we walk to the car.
He's uncomfortable, and I feel sorry for him. It's not fair to subject him to my disappointment. He doesn't deserve for me to be upset just for being honest. I asked, after all, and I'm thankful he told me the truth. I don't want to delude myself into thinking that he feels things for me he doesn't.
We drive away, and he continues chatting. I try to participate, but I'm doing a really shitty job of it. I laugh half-heartedly when I'm supposed to, offer directions when he needs to make a turn, answer his direct questions, and stare out of the window. My mind is somewhere else, but I can feel him run his fingers along the side of my leg. And when he places his hand on the top of my thigh, his fingers curling over the curve, the warmth of his palm makes my heart ache.
When we get to my apartment, he tells me he had a good time, and smiles at me. I smile back, and say I had a good time, too. And I mean it, I always have a spectacular time with him.
"See ya," I chirp, insincerely cheerful. With a close lipped smile I turn away, and step out of the car.
"Hey," I hear from the car before I close the door.
"What?" I ask turning back, hand on the door.
"Can I have a kiss?" M asks quietly. So quietly I can't recall if he's said "May I?" or "Please?", but I know he's asked me to kiss him goodbye.
I duck my head back into the car, and I lean in with my eyes closed. I don't look, I just present my face. And I'm thinking, "I'm so ugly, why does he want to kiss me?" I want this kiss more than anything. I war with myself about if it's what I should do, but I know for sure it's what I want.
He brings his perfect mouth to my lips. And he kisses me softly, maybe hesitantly. His tongue slips between his beautiful lips, and runs along the crease of my mouth. I part my lips slowly, and I try to let it reassure me. I try to let his kiss tell me he wants me, let it tell me that he doesn't want me to go away. I feel his hand come up to my throat, and he places it there firmly without squeezing. I stop myself before the sigh escapes.
I don't remember how the kiss ended, I know I didn't want it to, but that it had to at some point. As I again turned away to leave, I let his "Talk to you later," go unanswered before I closed the door and walked away.
I didn't say anything, because I didn't know what to say. I still don't know what to say, or think for that matter. Except, today was the first time I had to correct someone when they referred to M as my boyfriend.