I’ve loved men who aren’t here. I don’t change the sheets after they leave. I keep hung the towel they used after getting out of the shower. I use it for days hoping that it’ll help me remember what it felt like for them to be here, that some part of them remains in the fabric.
I’ve loved men who were never here. I fell in love with the man I thought they were. Or hoped they were. Loving them is an excavation of the stories I’ve made up. The things they promised and didn’t know they couldn’t keep. “Don’t worry. This is for real. Trust me.” The replay of that begins to feel dirty, like sheets left on the bed unchanged.
Can I love men who are here? Who wish me good morning and not goodbye. I haven’t loved anyone like this in a while. Will I remember how? Is it like riding a bike. Clumsy at first but bound deep to muscle memory. A part of me feels like my freedom will be clipped. But the other part thinks there just might be freedom knowing. Them. Me.