“It was just an experience.”
She says after I’ve asked what she thinks about that time we kissed. That time in the dark hallway of her building, when I tangled my fingers in her long hair, when she placed her hands gently on my arms. That time when I did not want to let go. Ever.
“I mean,” she continues, her eyes darting anywhere but my face. “There were no feelings, so I thought nothing about it.”
I can almost see my heart pack its stuff, and take off with the last breaths I managed before blurting it out.
“Only on your part.” I say, and my hands shake inside my pockets. My legs tremble. I’m scared.
But what was I scared of? What terrified me about her nonchalant response? Was it my before-hand knowledge of her rejection? Or was it because of the small trickle of hope that said there could be something to that kiss? Or perhaps, and this is the most likely reason, that she was a girl, and I was a girl, and the world was a pot of tears that chewed and swallowed us?
She’s silent. I can hear her faint breathing beside me, on the mattress.
“Say something, please…”
Chuckling nervously, she removes a forelock of hair away from her face. “I… I don’t know what to say, I mean-wow…”
My heart is hovering in the corner, with its heavy load, waiting for the train to come take it away. It glances towards me, waves, and hops on the rails seconds before the train comes crashing in on my world.
I sigh, I will have to pay for it to be treated now. But I knew. I knew that boats cannot be fixed by stitching. I couldn’t even recognize the presence of anything to stitch back.
It was, ultimately, a losing game that I have chosen to play anyway.
It is in that gentle manner of hers that I find myself stranded. Stunned. Not because she smiles and we both know it’s fake, it’s because I believe that smile anyway. I cradle it. I want to nurture it and feed it and make it grow bigger.
Perhaps I convinced myself that, even if it was now fake, I could change it. I lied to myself to feel better, to feel that I was in control as my heart crashed on itself.
Thinking that, maybe if I wore just the right face, and said just the right words, she’ll come over, hold me like she did back in that dark hallway, and put her lips gently against mine.
But it was all fake. I felt that she could create a space for me in her heart, without knowing that it was already so full, so bitter. In that little corner, in a breezy summer night, when she rested her head on my thigh, and my hands cried for her; for her skin and her eyes and her hair.
I followed the script so blindly, and failed to give the perfect act. Somehow it all seemed so convenient, like nothing could break the glass, and nothing could hurt us. Except us, I guess.
And in the space of a breath, I knew that I was just fooling myself. That all the things I imagined were wish-fulfillment that perhaps I could fill some void that I fooled myself existed. I wanted to carve a corner for me in her life, when she had already packed my room there and sent my stuff away in a wrecked car and turned it into a gymnasium.