Then again everywhere is slightly draughty when all you have on is a robe. You know those cute ones that make you feel adorable and sexual. Like a sexy teddy bear, or…something. My mind isn’t working very well because I am completely overwhelmed by the feeling of exposure.
But this small piece of attire is not the reason I feel exposed. I am feeling naked because you are sitting there, steadily watching me as I shuffle my feet, tracing the patterns on the carpet. You sit, not saying anything.
Never saying anything.
Which seems to be your thing. Creating silences that stare at you.
I am suddenly shy. This is a far cry from the feeling I had a few hours ago, when I decided this was a real thing to do or even a few minutes ago when I walked into the room. Initially I had felt bold, powerful, like some sort of tornado. Now I felt like one of those summer breezes that do not even attempt to cool you.
We have done this dance before, me and you. I propose a situation and you say no. In the past what always saved me was the presence of the actual word, the presence of a verbal barrier. The spoken rejection I can take because you can just CtrlAlt+Delete conversations and act like they did not happen.
This didn’t seem the case with the physical silences.
This time was different. I outright ask you for what I want, what at this moment I physically cannot do without. Taking that step past the remnants of previously deleted barriers, expecting either acquiesce or another no.
This time I got silence. I laid everything out there and you simply continue to stare at me, crowned in that eternal silence of yours. Your face gives nothing away.
‘Should I take this off?’
I am wondering if I said that out loud.
Then again, maybe not. Nothing has changed in the room so I can’t be sure. Whatever emerges, you just let it hang in the air. Eventually, it slinks away like a friend who is embarrassed on their homie’s behalf, leaving me there alone. Now even my words are treacherous. Clearly, being exposed is a solo activity.
And still, nothing from you. Just that steady gaze as if studying me like a mildly amusing and somewhat interesting subject. I need to look anywhere but where you sit in that massive arm chair, playing with the spine of the book open on your lap. You seem to be simply waiting to be allowed to resume reading once this interruption is over.
The book waits patiently after you placed it down, following my bursting into the room, delivering my rushed rambling proposition;
‘So this is me, just…here…and I don’t…or…I am offering…?’
This is the only thing I can cobble together in response to the series of stares and silences and all other manner of anxiety ridden things. It comes out, part incoherent question part rambling proposition, showing that the confidence that I had a few minutes ago has deserted me along with my words.
Was that said out loud? Yes. That one was. Even I could feel the presence of it in the room. The words tumble out, none of them wanting to be the last to leave as if the last will have to explain how ridiculous them and their cohorts are as a collective.
For goodness sake, fight the rubbish for a second will you?
But I refuse to take full responsibility. It’s the dance. This dance between us is happening again. It seemed to always happen whenever we were in the same space. But who was in control here? That is the real question. Me for having the courage to beg or you for making me? Can one stand tall whilst on your knees? #ExistentialQuestionsOf Awkardness
But there had to be something empowering in acknowledging that you had nothing to lose at this moment. That you had no control and there is nothing you can do other than just be here and make it known you are here. Something to be said about owning the fact that you have, in this moment, no power and have as much dignity as you have on clothing.
Own it and have a zero fucks.
There was no space to be coy and I get that right now. I got it ages ago but right now with the most clothing I have on being the cloak of silence and discomfort she has wrapped me in there is clearly no time.
There, that one was said in real time. You would think something like that would stop ‘the look’ or at least unsteady the gaze but no.
Your stare just continues as if expecting something else, as if I have not come all the way and you have simply had to sit and watch me. You close your book and place it on the table, the gulf now between us opening up the space to say more, give more.
What the hell else can I give? This is ridiculous. I do not beg. I do not sweat. This is…
Whatever, the carpet is interesting again anyway. So I continue to stare at it.
I shall stand and be silent. I can do it too.
You once said that I could not join a monastery because I couldn’t be silent that long. Well, I’d show you. I will stand here and continue to trace with my foot over the cream patterns in the carpet. I feel I am doing a pretty good job, bar the act of the semi-hyperventilating I now call ‘breathing’.
But I resolve to be silent so that you can feel how awkward I feel.
My silence is seemingly having no impact and it seems like, this too, is a solo event. My words have left me and it seems my courage has also gone to regroup, or maybe get a coffee. It is three am after all.
I wonder if I can just run out of here, just turn around and run out like I am being chased. I am sure it isn’t too late for that. I have already said things, thrown them into the room and they are now just lying all over the place. This place is a mess, littered with the vocalisation my desperate thoughts.
‘Just do something to me… anything…’
At this moment I have come full circle and do not consider it begging, more like negotiating with a desperate undertone. And I have awoken the books. I can feel them all staring at me. This library is old, with even older sensibilities. The literature does not approve of what is happening. Well not all of it, some of it approves a little too much.
I look around at where we are. You like spaces like this, spending time in them.
Spaces that are old, like parts of your soul. Seemingly ancient like the fragments of you that are so grounded that they allow for your gaze to not once drift from me. You say nothing. I do not even think your breathing has changed.
And now I am sure the books are whispering about me. The volumes of poetry. The piles of prose. The haiku collection in the back. They are probably throwing out the shortest wittiest quips. All rustling as I address their mistress. I have come into their court interrupting this delicate nocturnal ritual.
A hot mess of a sacrifice.
Something about this makes me feel emboldened again. Or maybe it is because my courage decided to come back and it has clearly been doing shots. I drop the robe with a simple, ‘there, told you I would do it.’ It seems a challenge more than anything.
All there is the constant rustling.
Damn whispering books.
Your continued lack of reaction makes my courage takes away again. I cover my breasts with my arms because, we all know the ‘no nipple, no nakedness’ rule. And I just need to not be naked at the moment.
You rise suddenly and walk to me. It is only a few steps but I swear It took ages. You walk around me, briefly placing her hand on the small of my back. So lightly I doubt you did it, but with so much intent I know it happened.
Your proximity is such that I feel that I could melt away. I could explode and dissolve into the carpet. Aren’t those two different things though? Possibly.
I need to steady myself so I take a step back and grapple for anything and lean against a large oak table piled high with books. In my attempts to not drop I knock some volumes onto the floor, their disdain echoes around the room. I steady myself by perching on the edge, against the cold wood.
You stand in front of me, a palm resting on either side of my hips. So damn close, I think my vision is going blurry. An antique clock attempts to measure these loaded seconds, the moments your eyes slowly travel my body.
A knock on the door yanks me out of my reverie and a small hedgehog in a monogrammed dinner jacket with a HH enters the room. He looks dashing but why is he wearing a dinner jacket?
Hedgehogs don’t wear jackets which means…
Fully awake I look around. It’s my room, my bed and just my fucking luck. So damn close.