The beginning

by Sje

You didn’t look at me or say anything or move, except your chest rising and falling.

I also lay still and quiet, repeating in my head, promising,

promising to be strong,

that if you didn’t reach out and touch me in

10…9…8…7…

I would move, leave without a word. Never see you again.

6…5…4…

everything dark and still.

I wait, hating myself and hating you.

You reach over and wipe off my back with your boxers.

I inch closer but my pride won’t let me touch you. So many lonely places I’ve been.

You mumble something about sweat. I put my clothes on and leave.

Five in the morning.

3…2…1…

never see you again.

Now you say you love me. That I snuck up on you, real good.

You never want to let me go. You beg me to stay longer, to let you make me come.

I let you do these things. I tell you I love you.

But when it’s quiet between us, and nothing holds our bodies together

except a prideless hope that everything will be OK if we are loved,

I almost cry, conjuring the tears,

never letting them go,

and I get scared when you’re holding me, you clever stranger,

that you’re this close to the blood in my heart, because I have no idea who you are.