Now Let Me Tell You A Story
Unlike ‘real relationships’, ‘virtual relationships’ are easy to enter and to exit. They look smart and clean, feel easy to use, when compared with the heavy, slow-moving, messy real stuff. (Zygmunt Bauman)
Like some kind of 21st century relationship junket, you took me on a speed tour of the sights. You penetrated me virtual style, got under my skin from a distance, made love to me heart and soul and had me buying a ticket for two to the future. And I loved it.
Sure I was shit scared but we fell together into the abyss – more a madness of mutual transference, but when that magic is coursing through your body who wants psychoanalysis short circuiting the pleasure.
But when my parachute finally opened and I fell to earth, it was one tough landing.
We had only known each another a matter of weeks. We only met twice, had barely kissed let alone shared a bed. Yet, you had touched me, fingered my future and caressed my loneliness. Yet, for a brief moment we had known one other.
You said such things to me. Pitch perfect you were. How does he know that? Is this the man for me? Is he someone with whom I might share a home, our children, a cultural shorthand, some serious sex and intimacy. Someone whose neuroses I actually comprehend?
It was my dumb, relentless hope got me into strife again. I listened to your stories, your perfectly erotic, intellectually quixotic bedtime stories and was rendered putty. I worried I was setting myself up for another little loss, another go at grief but I went there anyhow. Face the fear and do it anyway. Right?
You took me in for a sliver of time and it felt fucking fantastic.
When we first met we kissed a bit. Both shy. All that talking, texting and emailing, and now here we were for real, sitting together on a couch in a bar.
I must tell him I lied about my age before it goes any further.
That second time we met you brought me flowers and took my hand when we got outside. And as we walked along those familiar inner-city streets I could feel you slipping away. You didn’t let go of my hand but I knew you were already leaving me. My mouth went dry and I’d wanted to spit.
Then when we sat opposite each other in that Vietnamese café, unopened menus on the little Laminex table between us, I looked at you and saw it happen. Just like that. I saw you shift – your eyes empty of their connection with me, with the possibility of us. You were like an actor dropping out of character.
‘I can’t do this’, you said. ‘Sorry. I just can’t do this.’
No! Please don’t give up so soon, I wanted to say. But instead I got up, kissed you on the cheek and ran outside. I ran fast and lost, back through those same streets that now appeared so strange to me.
Yes it felt like we had known each other all of our lives didn’t it. But we hadn’t. It’s just that those 3 weeks had held within them the total of both of our lives and it was just too painful, too full-to-the-brim in the both of them.
You ran. I ran. Away.