I’m Stepping Out
I used to think we’d all shine on, but I don’t know that I believe it anymore. He didn’t know what kind of sunglasses to wear, so maybe John was wrong about that too. These are the things that I think about, staring at the ceiling with her bare breasts resting warmly against my chest. Her leg is draped over mine, as if she’s laying claim to a boy she doesn’t necessarily even trust. The want is there, she’s clinging to me like a tick. The lust is still there, dripping from between her legs and down my thigh. But there’s something missing and now matter what I seem to do, it isn’t coming back.
I was never one for post-coital clarity. My ability to speak or form coherent thought tended to leave with ejaculate and reappear sometime after a long nap. She hadn’t looked me in the eyes once. She hadn’t said my name. My request for dirty talk was completely ignored, but we both finished all the same, and she wrapped her arms around me and held on like she wasn’t trying to push me away. It hadn’t been like this before. Even when it had gotten bad, there was still the overwhelming feeling of “this is where I need to be.”
Yes, I had left her. And yes, I’d felt justified in doing so. But I was never one to give up easy, and that meant being back here, laying wide awake at two in the morning, not quite drunk enough to be content, trying to ignore the smell of dogwood flowers and wondering if I’d made the right decision. She used to tell me that she loved the eyes I seemed to hate, that they were a fitting bourbon brown, and not shit colored like I had always claimed. She couldn’t bring herself to look at them when she mumbled “I love you” and turned off the light. It’s funny how a little eye contact can go a long way.
Without change, life together seemed more like a sentence than a commitment. I smacked at the volume button on my phone, turning John up a couple of notches, hoping to stir her from sleep so that I can roll over into freedom. I know that I can’t stay unless she asks me to, and I know it’s my fault that she won’t ask. In the morning I’ll rush out and grab her coffee, sneak a smoke or three in, and when she kisses me goodbye I’ll promise to come back soon. I won’t make eye contact.