Ours was a relationship of postcards. I would make them and send them to you. All the places we dreamed of but never went or would go to. Places of our imagination. Or my imagination. Destinations born of my own brain ooze and years of reading. Words can build cities.
You were the saddest thing I ever laid eyes on. I just wanted our lonely hearts to hold hands and be contented for a bit. You would watch birds go by with the intensity of cat-eyes, rubbernecking like a flying wreck. My heart would go out after the birds until you would catch it with your teeth and bite down. I often find myself wondering how one person can be so sad. If only we had had each other to ground the restlessness in younger years.
I like to talk to you. For some reason the pressure is OFF. The pilot light wasn’t even lit. We just sit in the dark and talk about nothing and everything. And every now and again we will hold each other for a bit in some sort of solitary reassurance. But it never goes further than kissing. I am terrified of having sex with you. I think your teeth would rip my walls down in a second and I have spent years building them. Years and years of work undone in a second. That is what you do—undo things. I won’t let you undo me. Not over sex.
I am making you another postcard. You seem so distant lately. Maybe it will bridge the gap? Maybe you will really believe that I am on an island somewhere, in some obscure city, without you. You will perhaps imagine me sipping on some nameless fruity drink bred of tourism and paradise. You will perhaps imagine me laughing in delight at life’s little pleasures and talking to strangers. You will perhaps imagine me dancing to the quiet hours of morning when the moon hangs low and friendly on the horizon. You will perhaps imagine me in other men’s arms, giving into loneliness—but never coming undone.
Then I will come over, as if from a long vacation. And we will laugh and talk for hours and lazily lounge in each others company and you will make a joke about my “vacation glow” and it will be like I never left. Because I didn’t really leave. I just made you a postcard and sent it from a few blocks away. And you watched for it in the mail with those cat-eyes and bit down on my heart when it arrived in the post.