the bad kind of what-ifs

Ted has a lifetime of acquaintances in this city, and I think he’s better at looking up when he walks than I am. And being with him makes the East Village feel like an actual neighborhood. We run into people.

Ted asked if he was going our way, and the answer told everything without a detail. ’Cause if he’s going uptown, he’s not going to the girl whose name, with his, has become such an easy pair.

His skin was transparent, his face bonier than I remembered. Jumpy, unfocused, he has the wide, empty eyes of a stray dog who distrusts human contact as much as he craves it.

He’s going uptown, and I forgot the M is even a train. Walking away, I wished I’d given him a more honest hug, and I wished I’d given him the trail mix out of my bag. I don’t know if he’s going home, but he’s going somewhere to sleep, and Queens is a long way from here.

My boy and I laughed at the intersection of 2nd and A where he always falls in that shallow hole.

But I’ve looked out hollow ghost-eyes, eyes that never want to close, but don’t want to see anything either. I’ve stopped eating, tried to start over from the inside out. I’ve developed a quiver in my hands, my jaw, my gut I was sure was visible from the outside. I’ve been not just not my self, but not anyone.

When he pulls his shirt off over his head, he blocks the overhead light from my face. If this were a metaphor, he would be the moon in this solar eclipse and he’d control my tides. That’s a little sweet, but mostly gross. And anyway, no matter how much the earth stretches for the moon, she’ll never touch him.

And I just can’t get close enough.

I lie my head in the crook of his arm, run my fingers up and down his chest. But what I really want to do is pound it:

Never do that to me. Never do that to me. Never, ever do that to me.


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1 comment:

Lauren said...

My goodness, this is beautiful.