YOU tell me YOU feel numb.
I imagine YOU naked in a tub of ice water: your toes and fingers pruned, head back, jaw hung open like a puppet. Your legs involuntarily kick, heels jab the tub’s porcelain skin, the impact rattles your ankles, shins and a Charlie Horse knots behind your knees.
I roll back my sleeve and submerge my hand into the water. The chill wraps my wrist and spirals up my arm like a centipede. Your legs, crossed at the ankle, stretch down the stomach of the tub and cover the drain. YOU shake your head. “I like this feeling,” YOU say.
We had another fight, this time over touch.
Your hands explored me like a lover; your words cooed me like a friend.
“I’m comfortable with you.”
Your door – closed and locked – never seemed so out of reach. I see myself struggling to sit up and YOU pushing me back down, giggling and whispering that we are playing.
I think I need a time out.
“What about boundaries?”
My phone rings. It’s him sailing by. I want to dive towards him, catch a ride, but I know you’ll tilt off my island, dunk into the sea and plummet like an anchor. You’ll have no one to weigh down but yourself. I let the call go to voicemail.
YOU cannot speak. YOU are numb.
How nice that must be to be numb. If YOU can’t feel than I can’t do anything wrong. What if I left for no reason? Packed up my bag, threw on my jacket and left you alone?
That must be your least favorite word to come across and conquer. It’s more of a challenge to be alone than to avoid interaction.
A: The stomach stretches like a bridge, but you’re already floating in the water with me.
L: The spine of a skyscraper, steeper than any drop, and you’re too scared of heights.
O: The outline of lips saying “no.”
N: YOU lay down, legs tucked back, on one end of your pillow, wanting someone to fill the void.
E: YOU sit up, legs stretch out, arms extend, “hug me.”
I look over at my phone. He has texted me goodnight. So far from him, I feel as though my island is sinking yet, your hands find mine.
Why won’t YOU fucking talk to me?
Our fingers are interlocked, wrists are crossed; we are beyond average touch.
“Don’t worry about me.”
YOU don’t get it; you’ve left me with no other choice.