“casual encounters (a reply to an m4w ad on craigslist)”

(The tears are flowing again tonight. You told me to breathe, and I still am, just… with a few more tears streaming down my face.)

I slept around before I met you. I still did even after, not because you were not enough, but because I was afraid that I wasn’t. I wasn’t yours, you weren’t mine, and this–what we had–was not a thing. Casual, you said, and drama-free. I liked that.

I remember thinking of how disappointed I was upon meeting you: too short, too typical-looking, strange smile… I made a list in my head, I decided that this meeting was a bad idea, I had every decision of running away from you, blocking you from my e-mail, never wanting to see you again for fear that I deserved better.

And then you opened your mouth and introduced me to your fascinating world, your complex mind. In your bubble, things operated like maps, and your syntax made sense because it was narrative. I was enthralled. From that moment on, I had become smitten.

I looked forward to those times you would invite me for a movie, or when I would hesitantly ask you out for lunch or follow up on some movie date I’d promised to show up for. I always showed up late, getting ready to meet you beforehand with eyeliner and mascara and foundation, to cover the ugly bits of myself. I would starve for our dates, only because I wanted to eat with you during them, eat as much food as possible. Then, getting comfortable on maybe the third date or so, I wanted to reveal, slowly, who I was. I ate food before I left the last few times.

We had sex after our first movie. I don’t know if you were turned on by the hot actress or by my breasts, but I didn’t care. There is this sort of physical chemistry that happened somewhere down the line, something that made your hands wander and caress my leg, and this carnal part of myself reached out and grabbed your hands, holding on to them like a vise grip would. We kissed each other, after (still the best kisses I’ve ever felt), in a quiet room we’d both paid for.

I wanted to kiss you before we left, during our last date. I looked back at you, and you didn’t see me, but I wanted to push you towards the wall and suck the life out of you, cliched though it may seem. I wanted to do a million more things with you. I wanted to ask you if we can make this a thing, you and me, and it wouldn’t be much different from what we already have. I would not expect anything more than for us to go out on dates this comfortable, where I would not need to be anything more than myself, and you would not have to give me flowers or chocolates, you don’t have to reply to my every text message or instant message, you don’t have to make us “official,” you don’t have to affirm my beauty, you don’t have to pay for my dinners or be my knight in shining armor, you don’t have to tell me you love me–but what I would want is to unlock you more, for you to tell me more about yourself, with the premise of maybe something significant, I don’t know what, but I would be falling even deeper into this obsession I have with you, including your crooked teeth and your maniacal laughs. And I would stop sleeping around with other people, because I would feel a total, all-encompassing commitment towards you.

Three days after, I told you, after a few rounds of sex with a stranger whose name I can’t even remember now, that we should end things. I felt feelings for you, I said, and feelings complicate things. I had not even asked you what you wanted, if you were willing to accept a woman so endeared and smitten with you. I had not said the truth for reasons I cannot fathom. At the final assessment, my feelings with you were (and are) quite straightforward: I want you and what you can offer. You offered decency, and I lapped it up like a puppy. It’s only a shame that I didn’t commit to you the same decency you afforded me.

“I understand,” you said. I didn’t believe a word of it. You didn’t understand the anguish I felt having you tell me, simply, that you understand. You didn’t understand the disappointment I felt when you hadn’t reciprocated the beginnings of feeling even remotely the same way, of feeling anything at all towards me. You didn’t understand how I didn’t want things to end, I want them to begin, I wanted us to begin, but I was too afraid of the consequences of doing so. I was afraid of you saying no, and there are a million reasons for you to say no (she’s boring, she’s dumb, she’s short, she’s chubby, she doesn’t look East Asian, not even remotely, she’s insecure as FUCK, she’s negative as hell, queen BITCH–).

Or–you understood, perhaps, and refused to let any of this drama get to you. You got to read this from me before I even sent you that message because I’ve been acting obvious, desperation written over my every word, my every message, my every action (take, for example, the kiss I gave you, that one, when I jumped towards your face, when I didn’t even let you speak, when the heat of the moment was enough and I said, through my lips but not through my voice, how much I wanted this, how much I wanted you).

I always wondered what would happen, had I acted truer to myself: would I have asked you the question, even knowing that perhaps you might get put off by the sight of an aggressive girl? Would I have actively pursued you, would I have initiated any contact we had between us? Would I have held your hand, even after the lights turned on at the cinema? Would I have leaned my head against your shoulder, would I have kissed you in the dark while Paul Walker was on screen, jumping between buildings and shooting guns?

Would I be less afraid of rejection?

(That last question is funny, because that conversation still sticks in my mind, until now: rejection may not be about you, it may be about them, and perhaps I should see it that way.)

These are things I may have the courage to say to you, one day, or I may, perhaps, take the less courageous route and link this post to you, instead. Or, out of my fear, I may not say this to you at all. But should you happen to stumble upon this one day and wonder if I’m talking about you, then you may ask me, and ask meĀ anything, and I promise to be as sincere as I can be.

The thing is, it’s no longer NSA with you.


About hookedonoxygen

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