(His brown eyes drink me in. His easy smile melts me. He doesn’t allow me to embrace him as he knows I’ll never let him go again. But he does gift me with the simple touch of his hand on mine. He understands that physical connection will be enough to keep me afloat and yet ground me at the same time. He is exactly as I remember him from twenty-two years ago, but yet the love and appreciation in his gaze makes me forget all the grey, wrinkles and weight that I’ve gained during that same time. At this moment, time is forgotten and only our connection is cherished.)
Talk to me, Whiskey Girl. No need for pretty words or your poetic prose. It’s time to stop hiding behind cryptic images and put it all on the table.
You know me better than that, Dave. You have to ask the right questions or I will insist on giving bullshit answers.
(His eyes, the color of Grandma Moses’ Molasses focus on mine. I see a flash of amusement before his gravelly chuckle vibrates between us.)
Fine. We’ll play it your way, but no charades today. What is it YOU want, D? I’m not asking about your family so don’t give me your Beauty Queen charm. Tell me the one thing YOU want most.
I want to be someone’s priority.
(Silence descends between us as he allows me the time to process what I just said. He, as always, knew the answer before asking the question.)
And what would that mean … exactly? How would you know that you’re their priority? What would it look like? How would it show?
(I take a deep breath, because my first instinct is to bluff my way through. I can feel the tension building around my heart and I know this will be hard.)
First of all, there would be this. (I lift our hands slightly before settling them back on the table.) There would be the understanding that I need to be touched — not always erotically or sensually (and I smile mischievously at him as he knows how much I love erotic touch), but tenderly and lovingly. I need the hand-holding. The strong, all-encompassing hugs. I need the brush of a finger along my cheek. I need the hand at the back of my neck, showing possession and giving support. (I hesitate. I feel the dam breaking and have the overwhelming compulsion to shut it down now.)
(Dave takes his other hand and puts his finger under my chin and directs my gaze back to his. I feel his strength pour into me as he quietly reprimands me.) You can do this.
(Another deep breath to regain my composure and train of thought as his touch easily undoes me.)
Damn it, Dave. I feel like I’m asking for a fairy tale and you know how much I despise those. I learned too early in life that there is no such thing as a Prince that rescues a Princess. And even if there were, I wouldn’t want glass slippers or glittery gowns. But yet, my wants/needs make me feel like a little girl daydreaming in a castle turret.
Stop worrying about how it sounds. Focus on what you WANT to feel.
(I let out a bitter laugh.) I want the mind-reading. The ability for someone to know me so well, I don’t have to struggle to be understood. ( I feel a gentle squeeze of my hand, so I stop speaking and look at my soul mate’s lips – knowing he has something to say.)
Why must he mind-read, D? There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with your ability to speak.
(He only smiles at my glare. I’ve never been able to intimidate him in any way.)
Because I’m stubborn and proud, Dave. I hate asking anyone for anything … at least for myself. I feel like if I have to ask for these things, then it becomes less of a choice and more of an obligation. (I quickly wipe away a tear and spit out,) This is YOUR fault. You gave me these things at one time. You made me feel valuable. You took the time to learn me. You listened to everything I said and made me want to tell you things I hid from myself … like now. You made me believe that this mythological relationship I seek was possible. And now that you’re gone, I realize it’s not. I no longer know if I’m reliving real memories or if I lived some kind of deranged fantasy.
(The tears culminate into hard sobs that I’ve refused myself the luxury of for many years. I feel the protective arms wrap around my aching body, giving me the shelter I always crave. My cheek is pressed against the chest that always brought me comfort in his steady heartbeat. )
It was real, D. And all this can be yours again, as soon as you make yourself a priority.
(I swear I can feel his lips brush against my forehead, but know before I even open my eyes it is not possible. As once again, I accept the fact that I am, indeed, alone.)