You said you were afraid of failure, then told me I was too.
“Nope. Rejection,” I corrected you. “Not abandonment or failure. Rejection.” I was firm on this shade of emotional pewter; I’d spent a day in it, wearing yellow ducky boots.
You were solid on the failure idea, and I was quite wrong. “Failure and rejection are codependent,” you said without saying codependent.
“You must think so because you’re a boy. As a woman, I’ve never seen rejection linked to failure. I’ve felt rejected because I’m a girl, not due to my failure at being a boy.”
“Enough,” you said, “You’re afraid you won’t be enough of anything.”
Not pretty enough. Witty. Loving. Patient. Enough. No matter how I try, my biggest fear is that my heart has been too broken, and you see that in the text messages, in my silence, in my sigh. I’m just a little scared puppy girl. You see through me, right down to my inner Kasey Chambers, the cut you heard in Tower Records from the only song on the album you liked.
I sat on you like a teenager, placed your hand on my breast. It felt like walking down a street, where I called your name, but you wouldn’t turn around.
After sex, a cry kind of happened. You might have heard. It was fast. “I hate that I’m so broken,” came out. I want to be better, to have a handle on all of the mess that stirs in the middle of the night, when I cry out in my sleep for a dishtowel or manila envelopes. It’s hard to make my habits disappear. To stop holding everything I’m afraid will slip away. The only things about which I worry are the ones I cannot control. Transience.
“I shouldn’t be in a relationship. I need to make sure I’m whole. Why am I so insecure?” I try to be enough, to me, for you. I want to make you laugh and cry, enough. And you see through me.
“If anyone is whole, it’s you, and you’re not broken.” I’m under construction. “Besides, I’m not letting you go anywhere.”
“Good.” Then I stopped crying, and we fell asleep, my foot over yours. It was more than enough. I’ll catch you next time.