Not Thinking of You

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I try to busy myself filling out paperwork for my new job. I’m not thinking of you, not thinking of you, most certainly not thinking of you pushing my hair off my forehead or your hands caressing my stomach. Not thinking of the coldness with which I shut you out. My mind is not whirling through all the ways I can get you back into my life. Just yesterday we were standing shoulder to shoulder on the beach. You put your arms around me, laid your head in the crook of my neck. And I was still with fear. Paralyzed by the knowledge that I would never be important enough to you. That I would never affect you in the way you were already affecting me. The ultimate terror: that we will love another more than they love us.

Why am I so afraid of this? I picture myself being squashed like an ant under your shoe, my emotions spilling out on the sidewalk.

You clambered down a tangle of tree roots. I followed, but I was slower, and once I reached the edge of the water you were out of sight. Where did you go? I sat down on a bench in the sandstone. The way the rays of afternoon sun hit the bay was so beautiful I could hardly believe I was witnessing it. It was too beautiful. Everything felt surreal. The beauty and the pain were together, and they swept over me. I wondered if I was truly seeing this, truly present. I gathered my legs up to my chest and started to cry. After a while you walked over to me. You had been hidden by a rocky outcropping. You had been so close, that whole time. You sat next to me but didn’t say anything.

I can’t let myself be vulnerable. I don’t meet your eyes. My voice comes out sharp and bitter, but I’m too far away to notice.

Why am I afraid of loving? Of being loved too much, or too little? Today I can’t do anything but fix myself dinner and stare at the newspaper. Can’t do anything but not think of you.

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