He’s walked around the room three times. He’s not wearing a shirt and it makes him seem younger, less menacing and more agitated. Like he’s been hurled out of bed by a force he doesn’t quite know but recognises.
‘I’m tryna tell you how I…feel.’
I watch him from the bed. The dawn sunbeams warm the skin that pokes out from the duvet.
‘I’m tryna make sure you…see me.’
He’s still thinking. If I wasn’t still a little drowsy, I’d cut him off and put him out of his misery. But watching him walk back and forth is almost hypnotic. Like a chain swinging back and forth or the gentle tap tap of a pendulum desk ornament.
‘It’s not easy for me to put into words just how much I…care about you.’
Then stop, I think. I don’t need him to overwork himself, stretch himself out on rack of his own invention. I just want him closer. Draped across me like an expensive fur. His taut flesh soft enough to stroke. My marble statue come to life.
‘It’s almost like a…mental block. A heart block. You know?’
The rhetorical question hangs for a second then melts away in rhythmic steps.
‘Take your time.’ I say and my voice is as thick and heavy as my drooping eyelids. He stops. Looks at me. Approaches the bed with the caution of a lion tamer entering a suspiciously quiet cage.
‘What do you want?’ He finally asks.
Honestly? I just want him to spit it out. As it is: Clunky, Half formed, Unfinished. For, as much as his agony is tantalising, it is also infectious. I can feel my heart-rate gradually increasing. I’m starting to think I might be lying in one of my nightmares, and this how thing is going to escalate to the point where we don’t recognise each other anymore
But then he gets back into bed. His soft curls sink into the pillow.
‘Can you feel it?’ He asks, ‘D’ya get what is I’m tryna…express?’
I’m not sure how to respond. I’m not sure if I can, even is I did know. I reach a heavy, limp arm out to him. Feel the prickle of the fine hairs on his chest rise at my touch. I’m definitely feeling something. But I’m not sure if it’s peace or defeat.
‘Why must we…put labels on things?’ I ask searching his troubled face ‘It’s a feeling. Do we really need to put it into words?’
‘If we can define it, we can fight it.’ He whispers.
‘Do we need to fight it?’ I purr back, tracing his central veins with my finger. I reach his neck and feel his pulse; the subtle thrum of his heart. Nothing has ever seemed so clear and so painfully obvious.
‘You are mine and I am yours’ I whisper. I press my wrist to his lips as sleep takes me again. I am not sure he understands what I’m getting at, it but he clings to me with the relief of man who thinks he’s said all he can say.