I know that you know me quite well, even though every time you visit me, I meet a different side of you. You are constantly changing, but in ways that I don’t anticipate. I remember the first time you kissed me; I was only 11. We were laying on my bed, and I had placed my teddy bear between us because I was afraid not of what you would do, but of what I would let you do. I remember the way that you looked at me, a girl pretending to be a woman, with your endless eyes, and I remember the way that you smiled at me with piano key teeth.
The first night that you slept in my bed, I remember that I kept waking up to look at you, not because I was afraid you would leave, but because I kept forgetting that you were there. And in the morning, when you kissed me awake with your daisy petal lips, I remember that you took my breath away—but I couldn’t tell whether or not I liked that hollow feeling in my chest. When you helped me get dressed, I wasn’t sure if the cold of your fingers against my skin was painful, or pleasurable. I remember that you brushed the starlight out of my hair that morning, and I can still feel your cold breath on the back of my neck as you whispered stories that I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear. I was only 11. I was barely a girl, let alone a woman.
After that first time, you always came back to me more easily and more quickly, as if you were always in the neighbourhood, so you just decided to drop in. But the thing is, your ‘drop in’s’ were my downfalls, because every time you came and left like some rogue tide that ebbed and flowed with the beat of my heart instead of the moon—every time you held me at night, and sang to me in the shower, I think I slowly started to fall in love with you. Now the thing is, this is a love that I never wanted. I didn’t know that at the time.
Ours was not a passionate love—it was always like a reunion between two old lovers. I felt like I had known you my whole life, but for reasons I will never be able to explain, I both lusted for you and wanted you to leave every time you arrived. No one else kisses the back of my neck in the way that you do, no one else makes my body ache from a cold that runs to my graveyard bones. You visited me frequently after our first tryst—I remember because I would wake up with feather bruises under eyes that were no longer that kind of cornflower blue that the sky was. Every morning after you spent the night with me, the hole in my chest would get bigger and bigger, and I tried to fill it with your absence. But the thing about you is that even though absence makes the heart grow fonder, it also made me more susceptible to your distant charm and cold eyes.
Something about the way you moved made me melt, and I used to love the way that my knobby knees and grapevine ankles would collapse beneath me after you would kiss me, or whisper poetry into my ears. I used to like the way that your cerulean body felt against mine. I used to think that maybe, just maybe, you were good for me.
But here’s the thing; I know better now. I am no longer the grief-stricken 11 year old girl who was afraid to cry, because she didn’t know what would happen if she did. I no longer long for you when I am alone at night, and I know how to resist melting into your arms and kissing your collarbone when you pay me one of your visits. The thing is, I think I will always let you in when you come knocking on my door. And, I think you know that. I might even let you kiss my neck and hold the small of my back the way you used to when I was younger. But I will never let you sleep in my bed again. Never. Because you and I both know, that I can’t resist the way that you hold me when we are falling asleep. We both know that when we sleep together, it’s like I’m 11 all over again—putty in your hands.
So, here’s the thing. You are welcome to spend the night—you can sleep on the couch in the living room, and I will let you brush my hair and help me get dressed every morning. But I won’t let you unpack your suitcases, and fill my closet with your clothes. I won’t let you sing to me while I’m in the shower. And, I definitely won’t let you stay for as long as you used to when you would visit me when I was younger. The difference between who I was then and who I am now is that I was just a scared little girl, on the cusp of becoming something that she wasn’t ready for. I’m not a little girl anymore, you know. It takes a lot more than kind words and a wolfish smile to make a woman fall for you, because I am a woman. So, as you are standing here on my doorstep, much like you did every other time you decided to pay me a visit, I am debating whether or not to let you in. And, this time, I think I am going to let you go.