So, well, here's the thing--
Well, that's part of the problem, isn't it? That word. Thing. So incredibly imprecise. And it was all I aspired to. Anything else--well, 'dating' is scary. 'Relationship' is terrifying.
Well, so I wanted a thing. For Valerie and I to be a thing. A small thing.
Maybe I have Rich to thank for clarity, really. I doubt he'll see it that way. But the picture he painted, of me as the sad wanker trying to force a free-spirited butterfly into a mundane trap, scared me. Horrified me--and made me wonder--is that what I am? What I always have been?
So I thought. And I thought more, sprawled in a tub with her, while I began to try to figure out how to put this so it wouldn't scare her, how to explain what I wanted--
It was then that I realized what I wanted--was what we already were. Anything more'd be too much for me right now, as well as her. It wasn't what we were when I was first thinking this way, but it's what we are now. Everything else, everything in the talk I wanted to have, would actually be surface. Labels.
And why did I want to have the labels?
Because I'd been crushed and humiliated. Because I wanted to show people that I still had worth, because someone--someone gorgeous--would date me.
Because I'd been hurt, hurt so much I'm still not quite sure if I'll ever be quite the same again, and I saw the labels as protection. A surety that I wouldn't be hurt again. Something to hold onto to make sure I didn't have everything wrong again.
But, you know, that's not important. Especially not if it was going to scare and hurt Valerie.And not even because she might run away--but because I didn't want her to be scared and hurt. She's what's important. Far, far, far more important than all my stupid fucking insecurities.
. Lovely, sexy Valerie with the spark of mischief in her eyes, and the smirk on her lips, and the way she drinks down life, with all her curiosity and playfulness. Those shadows that linger behind her eyes, and the way she freezes when confronted with something she can't handle, like a deer in highlights. The way she matches me in ways I didn't expect--in banter, in mischief, in lust, the way she fits into my arms.
It doesn't matter if she thinks we're a thing, or if we're dating, or if she calls me her boyfriend. What matters is that she's safe and happy, and when she's with me it's because she wants to be.
I don't think I have any right to ask her big questions until I understand the shadows in her eyes.For now--I'm happy just to be.