Interim

Credit: Geralt on Pixabay via Creative Commons

Credit: Geralt on Pixabay via Creative Commons

To clarify, this is a fictional composite of many situations faced by myself and other men and women I’ve known. The parties could be either gender, and no one aspect of the story is representative of anything singular. It was written as a way of processing many stories and personal encounters.

She knew he wasn’t good for her. Good enough for her. Some part of her knew it. But the louder part, the insistent part, the dry and thirsty part stabbing her in the chest every time she opened another textured envelope full of invitations and registrations and fulfilled dreams, that part just knew that it felt something when his icy gaze caught fire behind the chill as he peered at her.

Her favorite part of any night was when all the friends slowly filtered out the front door, singing goodbyes over their shoulders as they rushed to their cars to escape the bitter winter wind. Audience gone, he’d grow handsy as they sat closer than they needed. They’d talk about sex and friendship and God and politics and family and morality. The kinds of conversations, with the kind of energy between them, that seem to dissipate over years of marriage and kids and mortgages. His head would end up in her lap, her hand slowly combing through his soft curly hair, as they’d flip on some show to drift off to.

The heat always evaporated when she closed her eyes. They’d wake up, sore from a night on the loveseat, and say a groggy good morning. Voice and limbs alike would stiffen as he raised himself, gave her a quick half-hug and disappeared through her front door before she could offer him coffee.

He had a toothbrush in her bathroom, half a dozen shirts in her closet, and one pair of boxers stuffed in the back of a dresser drawer. She was the first one he called when he got the promotion, when his dad died, and after every first date. In between girlfriends she was the wedding date, Friday night movie companion, and go-to for a night of cooking and cuddling by the fire. He told her when a song made him think of her, texted the random “Hope you’re having a good day, beautiful,” mailed her handwritten cards with poetry and quotes intimately reflective of some conversation or aspect of her soul only he had been privileged to see.

So when she asked him if there was more than friendship between them, watched his face fall as he raked his hands through his hair and avoided her eyes, heard the regret and hesitation in his voice as he said…again…that he never meant to lead her on, she felt a flash of rage. As she listened to him tell her, quivering voice pouring over her, that she was his home, his safe place, his rock, a wave of guilt would crash against her throat stopping every argument rising to fill her mouth.

She wanted it to be enough. She wanted to feel the way he did about the “friendship.” To take it as it came, grab a quick fix once in awhile, and just appreciate the connection for what it was. But it felt off. It felt cheap, half-assed, unfinished that way. She’d joke that she was his interim girlfriend, but so much was left unexplained in the “interim.” She wanted to be free of the longing for more, when she knew, knew she didn’t want more. Not with him.

Too bad she didn’t feel so much with any other man she had known. She’d never felt it with a boyfriend, a mate, a buddy. Only with him. He made her feel seen, known. When he touched her, she felt it. Not just the chemistry, the charge. She felt him like a branding, on her soul if she believed in such a thing. She felt like she was his. He felt like hers, in a way he could never be someone else’s.

How do two people belong to one another in a way that is tangible, visceral, intoxicating? Is there a belonging, a love, an intimacy that flows deeper than eros? Should it? Or should she reject it as unnatural, illicit? Was it a wrong to be rectified, an addiction to be detoxed, a love to be cherished?

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2 Comments

  1. Adiel said,

    January 27, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    This is lovely. I mean, it makes me feel sad and frustrated for this poor girl, but that’s how you know it’s good writing. 🙂

    • MandyK said,

      January 27, 2014 at 10:16 pm

      Thanks 🙂 It’s an amalgam of a dozen of my own situations and those of a lot of other girls (and guys) I know. Wrote it trying to process what causes those situations.


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