Thursday, April 11, 2013

While he sleeps

He sleeps half sitting up with his mouth gaped open and I watch him silently, glad that I’m awake first. He overwhelms me sometimes, with all the breakfast making and sweet text messages. The pessimist in me waits for the asshole to emerge, to open his eyes and say, “What am I doing here?”

He hasn’t exactly said he loves me, but I know that he does. When we made the decision to pursue this relationship, we were sitting on this very bed facing each other, legs crossed and hands clasped. There were obstacles, things and people in the way, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to progress from that point, but I knew that I wanted it to.

“You were sitting in front of me at a basketball game and you were wearing a navy jacket with stripes on the inside of the hood. Your hair was in pigtails and braided…I loved your hair like that. I’ve wanted you ever since that moment; I’ve always wanted only you.”

Years ago, he said those exact same words to me and I ran like my life depended on it. But when he said them this time, I was ready. Ready, but amazed none-the-less. I treated him terribly in the past and not once has he ever admonished me for it. Instead, here he lies…with his hand stretched out reaching for me, vulnerable once again. And for the first time in the history of our multifaceted relationship, so am I.

Last night I was trying to watch TV and he wouldn’t stop bothering me, leaving a trail of loud, smacking, wet kisses up my neck.

He makes gnawing and growling noises and chews on whatever limb he can get to. He’s always staring at me, asking me what I want. And sometimes, when we’re having sex, he tries to talk dirty…but for some reason it just doesn’t work. Coming out of his mouth, the word “pussy” could just as easily be something as mundane as “potholder”. He wears the most ridiculous clothing and he talks about his job incessantly.

All of that crap would’ve been a deal breaker for me a few years ago. Now, I talk to him about the things that I can’t live with (like the chewing and the clothing) and I let the rest go, accept it with the good.

I sleep in his arms and I let him spend time with my kid, who thinks he’s the best thing since sliced bread. I hold his hand when we walk down the street and I sing in the shower even though I know he’s listening in the next room. He lets me be exactly who I am. He makes me happy.

I scoot closer to him, wanting to get warm again, and his lids start to flutter. He opens one blue eye and smiles. “Good morning beautiful”, he says, pulling me to his side.

“Good morning.”

“Have you been awake long?”

“For a little while”, I say, winding one leg through his.

“What have you been doing over there so quietly?”

I smile. “Watching you sleep.”

“Hmm, I’m sure that was interesting.”

“More like…enlightening.”

“How so?”

I don’t answer him, because I’m not quite ready to yet. But I feel it happening, like puzzle pieces sliding into place, so very different than all the instantaneous flash and burn of previous relationships…but exactly right. Scary and comfortable, all at once.

He continues to stare, waiting on an answer. I think he knows how I feel, he can be very intuitive, but he’s also still a man. I’m not going to rush this one. And until I’m completely ready to say the words, until that last piece falls into place, I’ll keep quiet.

“Well”, he says, one eyebrow up.

“Come here.”

I pull him on top of me and wrap my legs around his waist.

He growls and nips at my neck. “Are you trying to distract me with your pu…”

“Potholder”, I say loudly, making him jump. I start laughing and, though he looks extremely confused, so does he. Maybe he’ll figure it out while I’m sleeping.