when we say what we mean.

I’m trying this weird thing called not thinking every man I date I have to marry. Or that I have to make the exact right choice. It’s an in between step for me. From serial monogamy, to long distance lovers, to not projecting my life on another person. To meeting them where they’re at and allowing them to do the same with me.

“I can’t be here for you more than this.”

He’s tender in a hard sort of way. Like the underside of an armadillo. The handsome man version of that. I don’t know how to describe him because I don’t know him. Only pieces. But I think that’s always true with someone. Even when we want to say we know them in their entirety. We don’t know their corners. Where dust collects with things left unspoken.

He presides behind a barricade. You must be granted entry. Skin, being turned over by tattoos. Color taking over his extremities. An encyclopedic knowledge of rom coms placed alongside a proclamation of no feelings. This kind of contradiction is my achilles heel. His feels like goodness. And yearning. And stability.

“I can’t be here for you more than this.”

This being intermittent texts about our days and our workouts. This being nights spent together where dinner doesn’t happen till nine because the bedroom is more delicious. More needed. This being long, late night drives home listening to podcasts because we live in different cities and our dogs haven’t met. Because our lives haven’t met.

“I don’t need you to be. If I need more from you or from a person who isn’t you, I’ll let you know.”

So many times in my life I’ve said some version of that line. Except with an echo. “I don’t need you to be, but please want to be…” “I’ll let you know, by becoming exactly what you need so what I want becomes irrelevant…”

Tonight there are just hard stops. “I don’t need you to be.” “I’ll let you know.”

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