February 28, 2011

My own personal brand of heroin

     "Can I survive
     All the implications
     Even if I tried
     Could you be less than an addiction?"
                                                                    -Melissa Etheridge

Despite everything, it's tempting to say yes when she calls and asks if she can come over.  I remember soft skin and soft lips and hips and hair in my face, and it takes all my strength to wiggle out of that offer.

It occurred to me that if I needed cuddling, I could crawl into bed with the man who sleeps downstairs in the guest room. But I know that in his happy comfort, I would lie awake staring at the ceiling (still empty inside) and wonder why those hands don't feel good to me, as I did for more than a decade.

But ultimately, either option would be a false-start, you know before a race and that guy shoots the gun into the air, and then they realize that someone crossed the line before the shot and everyone suddenly stops running and they have to return to the starting line?

Training for months for this one moment, finally getting your body and mind to come together, perched, ready, on the starting line...and then some jackass can't hold his wad long enough to wait for the gun.

Yeah, just like that.  Except I'm the jackass.

The next day as I drive 75 miles to her, I bargain with myself. 

I'll meet her for lunch but not at her house. 

Okay, I'm at her house but I'm not going into the bedroom.

"Wait," I breathe into her ear as she moves above me, "We need to think about what we're doing.  We need to be deliberate about this."

"I am deliberately going to fuck you right now," she whispers.

I run out of excuses.

I'll be able to walk out of here as long as I don't say I love you.

February 23, 2011

Wedding Ring

I never realized how much
I fondled that ring on my fourth finger
Until I took it off

Eventually the white stripe
Faded in with the rest of my skin
Erasing every tangible proof
That I used to be his

(Originally published in Connections literary magazine Fall 2005)