He’s sitting next to me now, with his knit hat over his eyes and a smirk on his face that twists his faint mustache to the right. He’s whispering “Hi” and I’m smiling and trying to make my tongue push words through the gaps in my teeth, before I realize that the gaps are much too small to push out the size of words that are sitting on my tongue. Then, I’m looking at my hands, scrutinizing how chapped they are at the knuckles due to my lack of wearing mittens on my walk to class every day.
He’s grasping my hand and leading me toward the elevator, his keys jingling between his fingertips before he releases me to turn the key for floor four. I’ve been there before, but I’ve never been there like this, for this reason, for this person. I’m stumbling with intoxication and he’s holding me up despite his own drunkenness, one hand on the small of my back and the other clutching the door handle. Once we’re inside, he’s touching my face and my body and my heart is in the palm of his hand, pulsating rhythmically, beautifully.
His hands, my hands.
The bus is lurching forward and I’m clutching the seat in front of me to keep from falling into him, from touching him in the slightest way. Because to do so would burst the glass bubble between us, the one that I built in my brain and slyly placed in the space separating us. He’s leaning too close now and I’m bracing myself for the shards of glass to sprinkle my skin when the bubble breaks under the pressure of his movement. Stop moving, I’m thinking. You’re getting too close.
He’s laying me on my back on top of his tangled up sheets on his twin sized bed, which feels utterly personal. I’m wondering whose been here before, on his tangled up sheets with his warm hands against their skin and his lips dancing on their collarbone. Did they arch their back when he pressed against them, dug his teeth into their neck like a piece of glass breaking the skin? He’s moving with me now, our skin ignited by the action on its surface, and I’m trying to think of a time that I’ve ever felt better than now.
The gaps in my teeth open and my tongue pushes the word that has been idle on my tastebuds out through my lips. I’m whispering “Hi” back and he’s looking down at the ground. And then the hum around us is becoming silence and we are succumbing to it, too, pursing our lips and closing our eyes, drinking in the midmorning peace. We are not saying anything, and the bubble is safer when there is no threat of interaction. My heart is beating, crying, but my world is still.
He’s holding me on the top of his tangled sheets when the early morning light floods into the room and encompasses our bodies. My body is sore and his lips are red, and his chest is moving up and down while he sleeps. I am laying still. He is laying still. My skin is starting to get cold and so I reach for his chest and he pulls me in. And I’m wondering if you can be in love with a stranger.
I am standing to exit the bus, to walk back to my world without my stranger. He stands up to let me through, and then he is gone and I am gone and we are gone.
I am standing to exit the room, to walk back to my world without my stranger. He stands up to close the door behind me, and then he is gone and I am gone and we are gone.
Written by anonymous