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Agreeable

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We had a deal at the beginning of this relationship. You would only come to my house when I invited you over and I would visit yours to watch movies. The actual agreement wasn’t uttered, but we were both capable of reading each other and knowing what the rules of association were. We would stay in and cook together or for each other, listen to and discover music, share favourite excerpts from each other’s current reads. On the occasional Sunday, we would go for a long run and freshen up in our own houses, then meet up afterwards if we were both feeling up to it and you didn’t have to work.

Before we had gotten to this stage, I had spent the night in your bed. I let you hold me while we watched an old crime series. It felt good. It felt so good to be held in a man’s arms again. I like how you lie on my bed and stare at your phone or shut your eyes while I cook; neither of us saying anything, both of us feeling comfortable in the silence we sit in. When it is time to eat, you put your phone away and we talk, very often over each other. We laugh. You always make me laugh. Then we fight playfully and you hug me to yourself to signify a truce. You say that it is important to keep the peace, in spite of the jokes you make about how intriguing it would be if you were murdered at my house. I get your dark humour. It sets off no alarm bells in my mind because I too have a wild imagination. I too enjoy watching the crime channel.

After I admitted that I wanted to stop repeating the mistakes that always ended up in heartache, there was an awkward silence between us. It hurt to lose that one friend who shared my aversion for misplaced apostrophes and bad grammar, but it hurt more to not be able to talk to you. Then you reached out and told me some hard truths about myself without meaning to. You called me stubborn and came close to calling me spoiled. You shone some light on things I needed to change about my behaviour around and thinking about men. Now we flirt when we text and I scratch the hard to reach parts of your back and you massage my aching calves after a run. My world seems to be rotating at the right speed again. We even talk about the future because we seem to be on the same page on this one fact: we both enjoy what is happening between us right now. I am learning from you how to live in the now.

But there’s a problem. I am starting to read into little meaningless things. You took a piss in my toilet and said that you wanted every man who visited after that to know that you had been here. You have not returned my sweat pants and sneakers from the sleepover before our fallout. You told me that if you wanted something to happen between us, you would ask first and then get your hopes up. You stayed an extra hour over the time you’d planned to leave my house, even though you were visibly exhausted and had to get to work earlier than usual. For a few glorious minutes, you fell asleep next to me with our legs intertwined, while I stroked your Adam’s apple. Last night, you forgot your watch on my couch and left your scent on my covers. I slept well and woke up to the smell of you and the memory of your fingers tracing lines on my back and leaving gaps of desire wishing to be filled by only you. I was rubbing your scalp with my hands when you lay your head on my lap. When you started, you asked whether this is how I get people to fall asleep.

“No. Just you.”

You said nothing for a while. Later, when you left, I felt a strange sadness. You had said that we could do this again on Friday, that you would stay the night, but the dolefulness would not pass. I usually want to sleep alone and look forward to having my house to myself again whenever someone visits. It stays neater that way and I don’t have to keep straightening the floor rug or brushing crumbs from the floor. I like company when there is the promise of a departure in the near future, yet I wanted you to stay last night and woke up wishing you had stayed on indefinitely.

s.ogugu
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