or, you know, maybe nothing ever happened, not fingers brushing just a centimeter too low to not mean anything, not lips at the corner of a mouth in the drunkest hour of a night, maybe it was all ever just touches and excuses to touch and the kind of insular closeness that leaves no breathing room for secrets but sometimes there are things you can’t say even to yourself even to somebody that’s so close they’re almost underneath your skin so you have to hold your breath around those things, shut your eyes, stay holding someone tight because you can’t tip this kind of a thing over into something more because how could there be more (but there could be) (but how) and you can’t let any air in between you, and it’s always us us us us us but no matter how hard you try secrets get between things like a rock in a shoe and rub them raw. and there’s touching and touching and touching until slowly it hurts too much to touch, because that’s right where the the wound is, the whole of your skin, and you can feel on your skin this thing that’s between you and the person you’re touching but not touching, the pretense that goes sour and turns into almost a kind of resentment, a falsity where there should be none. and maybe it’s that distance, that tiny crack of space when you pull back from the hurt and let the secrets fill the vacuum that lets you realize what’s there, you can breathe for a second and step back and open your eyes and think, oh, that’s what’s been happening, that’s what this feeling is.
and what do you do with that once you know, once you know that there’s something that’s always been there, from back when you latched onto each other because the shapes of the desperate pulling needs in each of you fit the other person just right, to now, when those needs are less grasping, when you’ve balanced each other and settled down into your own skin a little, when your pulling needs are different, when you no longer know whether the easy adjectives you would have used to describe yourself—or them—just a few years ago even apply at all. and maybe you’re yourself and somehow you’ve gone from running screeching through the night to someone who curls up on a couch and you’re different now and you’re not so sure you need that particular kind of chaos anymore, or maybe you need it on a smaller scale, and maybe once your capacity for endless motion was what they needed, they needed someone to teach them how to never stop, they needed someone to see all the weird shapes inside of them and show them how to throw them out into the world in an endless manic stream but you’re yourself and you have kind of stopped, not really, not exactly, but your world has shrunk while they’ve expanded and you know they need to go out into it, to let the zillion fragments of themself bounce off every surface, and you hope that when those shards are thrown back at them they’ll eventually coalesce into something good and beautiful and happy but either way they’re going to shatter a bit for a while, they’re going to be expansive, they’re going to be strange and sometimes awful and they seem so young, even more than they did before, and you need to give them the space to do that so instead of using that sliver of air that’s developed between you to draw them closer in a new way, in the way you maybe wanted to all along, you let it drift into a bigger space, you let them leave you, but you have never been good at being left and you have never been good at leaving so to fill that space you draw other people closer but you’re still so angry, sometimes, so angry that there could be anything more than you, even if it includes you, because you know you have a universe inside of you and you wish that expanse could have been enough for them to live inside of, but it isn’t, they need this universe.
and what if you’re them and you’re so so scared that you’ll blink and miss something even though you know you’re never gonna stop, you need to go, now, and you don’t understand what’s happened exactly because how you learned to go is because you used to be running laughing behind somebody with your hand in theirs and now it’s just you and they seem so young, you feel like they stopped running and you accidentally left them behind, their jokes aren’t not funny anymore but other people’s are sometimes more funny, and you feel bad about feeling that way but they’re staying in and you don’t really understand the reasons they dislike the people they dislike, actually you do, you do, but you don’t agree or at least you feel differently and for the first time maybe you feel ok about that and you don’t know what to do with that exactly all you know is that there’s something pulling you out into the world and they don’t look at you the same anymore so there’s maybe nothing pulling you here, but it’s kind of ok because you’ve found other people who look at you in ways. you didn’t know that you could find other people who looked at you in ways and they aren’t the same ways but you aren’t the same to look at anymore, are you. and at one point you needed something so desperately and you found out that it was for that person to look at you in the way that person used to look at you but now it’s been years and you’ve still got a need inside of you and maybe you always will. maybe it can’t be filled, maybe it seemed filled for a sort of beautiful suspended moment but things change and people change and the holes inside them change shapes and keep on yearning and now you are reaching again and maybe that is not about what you are reaching for but just about how you are a person who needs to be reaching.