i could not sleep last night. i cannot sleep tonight either. last night he rolled to me and asked me what was wrong. what was wrong? i'm not sure. he was moving out of his room at the metro extended stay hotel and back into his house the following day after school, late in the evening because he had to entertain needy parents at open house.
this wasn't the first time he had to move out and back again, and i knew it would only be for a week, to take care of his daughter, and it wouldn't be that bad. i tried my best not to seem needy. i'm not needy. but anticipating a week of loneliness - of him not touching my shoulders or kissing me or feeling his warm breathiness on my ear, whispering - i guess i didn't want to sleep. it was a sad feeling, but i also felt fortunate to be there, to be awake.
he asked me what was wrong more times, and each time i didn't know, and said so. i asked him to tell me something i didn't know about him, but sleepy, he couldn't think of anything. finally, remembering something about myself, i asked if he had ever had mono. i am guessing this was about 4:30am, we were awake after just having fallen asleep an hour and a half earlier. we both had work in the morning, but i didn't care. i couldn't care.
"never mono, but i had mumps" his tone rose a little at the end, a lazy exclamation, "do people still get mumps?"
i said no, i don't think so. there are vaccines, MMR, measles mumps rubella. i got them when i was a baby, and had to prove this to my college when i first started. i remember calling around for the paperwork.
we talked about times when we had been sick, he doesn't get sick as often as i do, but it turns out we were both sick last winter. i had to go grady, the public health hospital, because i don't have insurance and i am poor. he has a general practitioner. of course he does. we are both allergic to penicillin.
we talked for a long time, very foggy from not sleeping. the room was pitch black and i could tell it was hard for him to stay awake with me, but he wanted to keep talking as long as i did. and sometimes it was quiet for awhile. one of these times i broke the silence with a tiny, crackling "please don't hurt me."
he didn't say anything.
"i know i seem tough, but i am not tough."
and now with confidence, "i know that it's a possibility that you may change your mind at some point. and that's fine," trying to be diplomatic, "that would be good for you," - then finally whimpering, "but it would hurt me."
his arms still around me, as we lie in the darkest dark, he took a breath and i could feel him taking in air and turning it into what he would say. then, carefully and slowly, he said, "i never thought i could feel the way i do about you. and i haven't felt this way in a very long time."
i sunk into him and kissed his hand which was settled on my shoulder. it was enough for that moment. it was a little after 6am by this point and his alarm would go off at six thirty. he reached and turned it off preemptively. we made love while gauzy, blue light began to peak out of the top of the lone window's heavy curtain.
half dressed, i sat up in bed sipping an iced coffee he made for me while he made trips back and forth to his truck. his bike, duffel bag, dry cleaning, a growler of iced coffee, several cans of seltzer in a grocery bag, laptop case. he gave me the two remaining beers from the mini-fridge, "i would get a note in my file if they saw these with my things, and they'd just get warm in my truck."
each time he'd come back up he'd sit on the bed for a moment and kiss me. "good kisses," he likes to mumble. on one trip up, as he walked back into the room, he asked, "do you ever think about us being so far apart in age?" i considered it. i said no, and that was true.
"do you think it's because you're really mature and i'm incredibly immature?" he said gathering two more handfuls of things to take downstairs.
i paused, and said "yeah, that's probably it."
we both smiled and he came over and kissed me again before he walked out the door. good kisses.