the other night as the two of us were hanging out, i explained to the kid my needs and expectations. i never really took the time to listen or ask about his. it is part of my resolve this year to be a better communicator by listening more than talking. when the subject was breached, i went in with the question, "so, what do you want?"
"huh?" was his reply.
"out of this relationship, what are you looking for?"
"well, i am a bit confused by the no more sex thing. i totally have a crush on you in case you didn't know, and i can give you the time you need to figure things out. but when you make a desicsion about me let me know and only make that decision once. i don't want to go back and forth."
these words made me a little heart sick. i am not playing games with this person, but in that moment i realized there is another person involved. another person's feelings need to be considered. it makes the making it about me and what i want so much more difficult when i care about how i affect another.
i promised to not play games and to be upfront about my feelings. i walked into the other room to continue to get ready to go out. while applying the faintest hint of eyeshadow just below my brow line a thought occurred to me. brush and makeup in hand i strolled back into the living-room. he was creating his own wii fit character-rather cute actually-and with no segue i said, "the deal is that i don't believe i take you seriously because you are so much younger. to be honest, i don't believe that you could possibly take this seriously either. in my experience and what i think i know about men is that a young man isn't ready for that long term commitment and what that means. i don't mean that i want to marry you next week or even next year, but that is the whole point of this dating thing, of what we are doing-to meet someone that you think, 'hey, i could spend the whole til-death-do with this person without killing them to get there more quickly.'"
this comment made roughly at 8:15 began a conversation that would last well past midnight. we asked an answered each others questions. our conversation turned from serious relationship talk to comfortable communication. we smoked cigarettes in my kitchen under the fan. i watched the smoke pour from his mouth and nose and disappear pirouetting into the vent. he spoke of global issues and the evils of consumerism. i looked around the room at the many things that i have accumulated. i wondered how many were made by tiny malaysian girls in dank sweat shops. probably many. i felt no guilt. i wondered how our differences would even hold up over time. i felt a little intimidated by his knowledge. i questioned the validity of our staying power. i questioned it outloud, to him, very directly. "how can you even expect this to work? you have a view and a knowledge about the world and things that are completely foreign to me. i only have my immediate sphere, and this is pretty much my only concern. how can you even think i would hold your interest over time?"
"i am trained as a social studies teacher. i teach environmental education to youth. these are the things i know and talk about. what you know, you know very well. don't sell yourself short. you hold my interest better than anyone ever has in a long time," he said.
"that is just because i am adorable," was my awkward, coy response.
"i don't know if you have noticed, but there are a lot of cute girls around prescott. if it was just because you were cute or just because i wanted sex i wouldn't be here right now. i know i am younger, but i have seen and done a lot in my life. i am not a typical 26 year old. i feel i know what i want. i am not some boy that needs to be made into a man." he looked over my shoulder at the green glow of the digital clock on my microwave, "with that, it is time to go."
i could feel inside me how i wanted him to stay. i wanted to reach out and pull him in close to my bosom and hip and just stand there, holding him, hugging him. i met his gaze and looked long. he broke the tractor beam and turned toward the door, "good night, [i.d.]"
i stood in the kitchen for several more minutes with fantasies dancing like fabled plum fairies in my head. i imagined him coming back in, taking me over the counter, on the floor, against the cool open refrigerator door. i broke free from the bonds of my dirty thoughts and turned the deadbolt, closed the blinds, shut off the lamp. with the lights out, the phosphoric bloom of the television creates shadows on the walls that slither and skip. with the sound muted, only the occasional clicks and whoosh of the furnace can be heard. in the semi dark and semi silence of my house, i slipped into bed. the warm tingle of him still tickling my fancy. i tickled my own fancy.