By Carol D’Souza
Illustrations by Nikhita Thomas
Is he licking her ears?
Is his finger on her clit as he chokes her?
Is he wrapped up in her warmth, breathing her neck in?
Does he prefer her smell to mine?
How does he like sleeping next to her?
What does a different love feel like?
When he holds her tight, does ILoveYou escape from his lips irrepressibly, like it couldn’t be held back, however impractical?
When he holds her, does he know, whatever the differences, however fleeting the union before the light of day, does he know that there’s a part of him that fits here? That there’s a part of him, on impulsive, reckless nights, that wants to never leave. He holds her and something clicks?
Does he see her smile across the room and feel pleased for no reason?
Does he laugh as much with her?
Does she kiss him on his stubbled cheek without reason?
Does she also have trouble keeping her hands off him?
The force of persuasion he brings to a pursuit, it’s in the face of this openness that I am disarmed. Not to say, in clearer moments, I don’t sense that there may be more going on. The shadow of a cop out lurking on the flip side of radical honesty. But then, there he is, showing all his cards, for better or for worse. What does one do with such cheek?
I know you are far away. And in someone else’s arms. Probably even happy. Leaping on the bed, getting yourself closer to the fan switch. Touching her breasts in your sleep. Getting your hand inside her T-shirt, to the warmth.
I am okay. Knowing you has been such an enriching experience, if not always pleasant or easy.
I may learn to love again. I hope I can.
Carol D’Souza: tea-drinker, walker