My pride doesn’t want me to admit this but my heart will not let me lie: I am a cheater.
I didn’t start out this way. It was never my intention, never my desire to act in a manner that made a liar out of me. But life gets in the way, reality has a good way of showing just how useless your plans are and how unskilled you are at acting in the way you think you are capable of. That said, I am not disavowing my role in the matter – I was there, me and her – but I am trying to set the context, trying to properly explain that this is not how I wanted it all to turn out.
I wanted her but I never wanted us to get it this way.
She knew just how to touch me. She knew the spot on my neck, right at my hairline, which she could stroke and soothe me faster than any medicine, calm me faster than any blast of cold air. She would curl up on my lap and press her back against my face, her neck against my nose, close enough for it to feel, and be, dangerous, but just high enough for us to have plausible deniability.
As if plausibility is cut and cover for the infidelity of the heart.
We would take sport together, basketball and running, darts and drinking, and would end up sweaty and entangled, bruised and languid, and we would be so close, so close that sweat could drip from one nose to the next, breath was shared, but still, still just far enough away for, yes, plausible deniability.
As if it weren’t an impossibility for us to close the space of a centimeter; as if it weren’t an impossibility for others to already have imagined that intertwining.
I ached for her when we couldn’t talk or text. She had once returned from a trip and grasped my face in my hands and said she’d missed the shape of it, my brow, my nose, traced my lips with her thumbs, pushed the crown of her head into the crook of my neck and breathed me in, as if I were sustenance. Her yearning was evident in the times I pulled away, stung by the nearness and farness of her; my weakness was evident in how quickly I accepted her back, accepted her apologies, punished her for hurting me and punished myself by letting it happen.
In the end it came to an end because this life, this lie, was unsustainable. She wanted, needed more than a secret – as did I – we needed a consummation.
And there is the twist: that consummation was not with each other.
We had already lay that ground fallow. We had waited too long, played too close to the edge, flirted and teased and left desire unmet and postponed too long for it to keep hope, to keep faith that this could be righted and we could be free for one another.
I am still picking up the pieces.
I am still a “cheater.”
Somewhere, deep inside, I still remain sick with the wanting of her.
(I will never be free)