Photo by Greta Unetich
It feels like we are lovers.
You come over and we just hold each other while we look out the window, down at the cold outside, down at the groups of people walking by below us, down at the light of the streetlights hitting the pavement. We lay down and feel one another’s backs. Instead of kissing, we rub our faces together with our eyes closed. You sit at the edge of my bed, looking at me when my back is turned, waiting for me to button your shirt back up. We pseudo-sleep, remaining just awake enough to remember that you need to go back home soon. You hold me again. We know everything about each other and that barely scratches the surface. Your body heat is on my pillow long after you’ve gone home, pressed to my face.
We are not lovers.
When you’re wide awake and I’m one more second away from sleep, I tell you that your touch makes my body feel like it’s there, feeling you more and more the longer my eyes stay closed, that your skin on mine clears my head, that I feel totally and wholly clean when we are in the same air together.
I sit next to you and hold your hand with both of mine, I tell you how beautiful your face is, how good you are. It’s the same every time. I wish I could tell you different things, better things. I tell you how cold it is where I live, that no matter how much I shower, I never feel clean. I feel the cleanest when I’m showering before you come over, when I pull you in, when I can feel the sweat across your back. My skin raises but doesn’t crawl.
Fully clothed now, we hug. There is a vision of a black landscape behind my eyes. A faint gold strip, slightly curved, glitters somewhere in the middle of it, like the beginning of a sunrise. This is what will remain when the empires fall, when the seasons stop shifting.