Sketch and I have so much lust for each other, we speak through gritted teeth under the blankets. Naked, there is just this man, whose body I want to collide with as hard as I possibly can. In bed, it works. But we all have to put our pants back on at some point, and when I do, I walk around dreading that it will happen again, this cyclical fucking entropy that he and I are caught in, where one of us sends the other packing. Clothed, there is just the glum certainty that our circle can not hold.
I wake up in Sketch’s apartment, step on a cat by accident on my way to the bathroom. My ass is still sore from last night, and my neck feels funny; I don’t sleep right unless I’m alone, but I never admit that out loud, not after those lonely months without him. I used to wake up and think I saw him laying there, but it would just be the way the blanket was folded, not actually the back of his head at all.
The sex is great. Our bodies line up perfectly, and when we are in bed it feels like when you bring home a bookshelf you haven’t measured for and it fits the room perfectly. Our bodies line up, but everything else clashes with misunderstanding. I can tell he has found me irritating all night. Our conversation over dinner was awkward; I kept asking questions about things he already told me about, because I can’t just sit there not saying anything, wishing our entrees would come faster so I’ll have something to talk about, so my mouth will be full and I won’t need to try to spin a story about eighth period into anecdotal gold.
I am exhausted. I love him, and I want him, but by the time we get back to his apartment, sex feels like one more bucket of water I need to lug up the hill, one more rock to break. I am on a relationship chain-gang. He says: I love you, but I hate dating your schedule. I know I have nothing left, but I keep insisting that I’ve got enough fumes in the tank to see me safely into the driveway.
Of course, after the sex, which is predictably amazing, the momentum swings me right into wakefulness. I lay awake wondering how much time we have left, listening to his cat puke voluminously on the bathroom floor, laying booby traps for my bare feet.
Sketch is aggravated in the morning when I want to leave at seven, but I need to get out of there. I want to come home and be in the sunny cube of my own space, putting words into order, watching my rabbit. She has dragged a cookbook that once belonged to my grandmother under the bed and is tearing out the pages with her teeth while I type; I am too tired to try and take it away from her, and I was never going to actually make Baked Alaska or Beef Wellington anyway.
I love Sketch. I do. But sometimes I only tell him I love him because I don’t know what else to say, and I want to fill in the quiet with something.
I recently dreamed that I met some guy and within a week, he had asked me to marry him, with the stupid ring and everything, and I said yes, because that is the usual narrative and despite my best efforts, the cliché still exerts an almost tidal pull on me, the tug of supposed to. In this dream, I realized of course that I did not want to move in or share a bank account with this stranger, and I called it off, already mentally composing the blog post in my dream. When I woke up from blogging in my sleep, I was disappointed, because I no longer had this thing to write about.
I keep a drafts document with all my essays, open on the computer, but as time rolls on I barely stay ahead. Each blog post feels like my last, like I will have nothing else to write about after I put this one up. Each blog post feels like a miracle, never to be repeated.
I come home from yoga and I open up my computer, and I look at websites to submit work on. I find one called Review Review, a comprehensive catalogue of every single place you can submit your shit to. It is the OKCupid for the literary slut, and I am composing winky-faced emails to editors all evening as the living room gets dark around me. I don’t get up and turn on the lights; I don’t want to stop to make dinner or to put away the groceries that I dumped by the door on my way in. I write things and then I send them out, eating a sleeve of crackers in the dark while I type with one hand.
I didn’t think it would ever be this way. For twenty years, it seemed like I had nothing to say. I used my computer to write email to men who weren’t right for me, to watch porn, to roll around on Facebook comparing my life unfavorably to others. I used to take solice from tales of artists who didn’t get any traction until middle age: Paul Gauguin didn’t start painting until he was 39. Toni Morrison didn’t write The Bluest Eye, her first novel, until she was 40. It’s that same persistent delusion that I have in all things, the one that tries to convince me that how I feel today is how I will feel tomorrow. That this should still be so believable is hard to fathom.
The blog changes the focus. It makes me more curious about what will happen next, because the thing that happen are things that I can write about even if they are terrible things. Especially if they are terrible things.
I didn’t have anything to say to Sketch at dinner, but that’s OK. I have things to say now, and here I am, saying them.