There Must Be Something Wrong With Me*

*formerly titled Say Anything

“We have to find a way to make you less afraid of me.”
I didn’t know how to respond. I felt my heart drop, and let the weight continue to sink. We were standing in the kitchen making dinner, both of us barefoot. I was leaning in the doorway as if I couldn’t step any closer. He had finished cooking the chicken and moved over to sauté the greens. I was staring at his black shirt, wishing I had the courage to stand behind him with my arms around his body. That’s what normal women would do, I told myself. There must be something wrong with me.        
I don’t have anything to say.
I grabbed a couple plates from his cabinets. When I turned around to hand them to him, he was there. We briefly embraced and he kisses me. It felt reassuring. My hand went under his shirt and I let it slide softly across his stomach. He pushes back laughing because he is ticklish. I smile because in this moment I was myself. We let go and put some food on our plates. In the living room we sat down on the couch and he asked me what I wanted to watch.
“I don’t care, whatever you want to watch.”
As long as there was something on the screen I wouldn’t have to think of something to say. I kept thinking that someone else should be sitting in my place. Surely he knows he can do better.
“What about Die Hard?” he asked.
“Sure, I’ve never seen it.”
 After we had finished eating, I stretched my legs over his lap. He looks over at me and winks. I get lost in the ocean blue of his eyes, but I’m still waiting for him to change his mind.
He is too good looking for me.
I wink back and wonder why it’s so hard for me to realize that someone could look at me that way and mean it. He kept glancing over and then turning away. He was trying not to smile and I could tell he was holding back words on the tip of his tongue.
“Yusuf,” he said.
“What?” I asked.
My heart could feel the way his eyes were looking at me. Something was happening, but it was confusing. The movie in the background was loud and a welcoming distraction.
“Yusuf...” he said. He reached for my hand.
“Islam? Do you want to listen to Cat Stevens right now?” I asked. “We just started this movie.”
There was an air of silence, and his hand was now on my cheek. His face was close to mine. Somehow I was able to put it together. Yusuf. You. I love you?
“Are you trying to tell me you love me?”
Why is it so hard for us to talk to each other?
I love you. Those were the words whispered in my ear. The words I was supposed to want to hear. When I said it back I thought it was nice I had something to say. We let the movie continue to play as we moved into the bedroom and fell into each other. 
Things changed quickly in the morning air. I woke up naked with my heart exposed. It was still warm from hours earlier when we looked at each other in a way we wouldn’t be able to recreate. A few days passed and I let the world stand still.
“About what I said the other night,” he said. “I shouldn’t be saying things like that right now.”
I was standing in his living room and couldn’t look him in the eyes.
“Then why did you?”
Why say anything at all?
              In the beginning, I had told him I didn’t want to be some kind of rebound fling. Here’s your chance. I know you’re recently divorced but I’m not that kind of girl. I have feelings for you, I said, but if you’re not ready then tell me. I had told him all this while we had been sitting in my car, going to a concert. This was the night he would kiss me for the first time.  And here we were six months later. He needed to be single for a while. I didn’t know how to respond. This was the day I had been waiting for since the beginning.


Popular posts from this blog

There's Nothing Wrong With Being Alone

How to Lose Your Virginity

My Body in Six Pieces