Friday, May. 31, 2019 @ 12:32 am
Peter takes the bus over to my neighbourhood. I am stretching, standing in the middle of the lawn in a park, and I see him step off of the bus. He scans the park and sees me and smiles. His face.
He walks towards me, and I don’t move, still balanced on one leg. He comes all the way up and we hug. He starts to break from the hug, and I hug him tighter, causing him to laugh and hug me back.
We jog at a medium pace, catch up about this and that. Conversation flows easily; it feels like I’ve known him forever.
When we’re done running, we sit in the sun in the park near his place and talk.
“What is it like to date me? What is your impression of me? Your experience of me? I want you to be totally honest.”
He shifts, stops talking. I can see him thinking, which is different. He normally is the one talking without pause. I can tell that he’s working to form up his words.
“I think that you don’t know what you are doing. I’m concerned that you don’t know whether you like me, or whether you like being treated well. You are so open, so honest. I think maybe you shouldn’t be so honest - no - I mean - you should be honest and yourself but it’s unnerving. You also don’t seem… I don’t know… like when I text you, you’re happy to hear from me, but then days go by. I just think that you’re not ready.”
He pauses, then continues.
“I also feel as though I’m missing something. I feel like you haven’t told me something. You are surprising... I mean... how did you get to be this age and be the way that you are? So… inexperienced? What were you up to from age 16 to 24? University? Guys would have been all over you. Why didn’t you have experiences then?”
I look up at him, look into this brown eyes.
“You’re right about the first part. I’m having a hard time deciphering that as well. Don’t get me wrong - I like you and find you interesting - but I don’t know what I’m doing. The part that you feel that you’re missing? I’m wondering if that’s along the lines of… the person that you have come to know and the story that I’ve told you don’t match up? I’m different now than when I was younger. Guys were not interested me, and I didn’t know how to hold a conversation.”
“Were you fat back then?”
I burst out laughing, and he laughs and it eases all of the tension.
We walk up towards the bike rack near his condo. We are hugging goodbye. I shove my face into his neck, press my nose under his chin. He rubs his hand across my back, presses his palm into my lower back to pull me close.
“Now it’s your turn. I’ve told you my thoughts. What are you thinking?”
“I asked you these things because you’ve seemed distant and I wanted to understand why. I get it now, I get why it’s felt like you have been holding back. I like you, Peter, it’s not just that you’re nice to me, but you’re right that I have no idea what I’m doing.”
He is quiet. I avoided the question.
The panic that arose inside of me at him asking was a moment of clarity.
I care about him, probably more than I should, but there is no way that I am committing to him right now.
I cycle towards home into the setting sun. I stop at the store and buy strawberries and kohlrabi and carrots.
When home, I text Russell. We message back and forth for a bit, and it’s easy and funny and tender.
Sweet dreams he messages. And then sends a series of emojis that describe a girl swimming in the ocean.