When my eyes open, the room is brighter than I expected it would be. It's 9:13 in the morning. The sun is shining through the blinds that cover the sliding glass door of your bedroom. You're sound asleep beside me and I don't know why I'm awake.
We've been together for over eight months now. It might not sound like a lot, but it feels like forever. Ever since we were introduced it feels like I haven't gone a week without seeing you. And really I haven't, other than once – and what a painful and strange week it was.
You're asleep and I find myself wanting to wake you. But you look so peaceful that instead I just kiss your shoulders and you don't move a muscle. Your chest gently rises and falls in a slow, steady pattern. I want you to be awake because I am awake. I want you to be with me. I think I always want you to be with me. I feel so needy, jealous of your dreams, a world without me in it. I want you to be with me all the time.
But instead I decide I will cherish the solitude before you wake. I slowly pull off the covers, sneak out of bed. Go to the mirror, restrain my bed-head-hair, and quietly close the bedroom door behind me as I tip toe down the hall to the kitchen.
This isn't even your house. It's your parents' house, but the past few weeks they've been out of state on vacation, your sister in another country, and we've recklessly ruled the manor like a King and his Queen in their place. We don't go out much. Mostly we stay inside in our pajamas, hiding out in the basement, smoking pot, having sex, watching movies neither of us has seen before, as well as TV on DVD.
I find coffee in one of the kitchen cupboards. It's not my house, but I'm here so often that I know where everything is. I only make four cups worth because I know you won't drink any. You don't like coffee, and I think that's strange.
The truth is, Daniel, I don't know what to do with you yet.
Now that you're such a huge part of my life, I can't imagine living without you. I love you so much, but being with you has changed me so much. Sometimes I feel as though I have stopped living my life as it was to become an extension of yours. And that would be so much more debasing if I didn't love you so fucking much. I don't want to be without you, but the less time I spend with myself, the less I feel like myself.
I've lost weight. I feel more attractive than I ever have before. I feel loved, cherished, and wanted. I've seen lots of good movies with you. I've had lots of good sex with you. I've had lots of long, meaningful, tear-soaked talks with you. I've argued with you, I've apologized, you've apologized, we've gone bike-riding, we've shared meals, we take showers together, we brush our teeth together, we go to bed and wake up together, we watch television together, we drive together, we listen to music and smile at each other and hold hands and kiss cheeks and necks and lips. We kiss every place that can be kissed, and I love it, and I love you, and it's great.
But I've stopped writing. I don't read nearly as much as I used to, if at all. I don't see my friends much anymore. I gave up the prospect of being an English major for the possibility of becoming a physiology major and doing something in the medical field, probably optometry. I've never wanted money more than I do now. I never used to care about money. I used to be poor and make the best of it, embrace it and accept that it was the way my life was always going to be. I used to waste my ones on free refills of coffee at the 24-hour diner in my hometown with my best friends, who are even more broke than I am. Now I waste my money on nicer clothes, on gym memberships and smaller bras for my new, smaller boobs. When you lose weight, you lose it everywhere, I guess.
I pour coffee into one of the plain white unchipped, unstained coffee mugs sitting in the cupboard. I made it strong. I add lots of creamer and sugar – that much, at least, will never change.
But I can't deny that I feel like I'm changing, and I'm not quite sure yet how I feel about it. When did I start wanting to be an optometrist? Since when did it matter how nice my body looks compared to other girls? Why has your penchant for straight-haired blondes caused me to consider lightening my wavy brown hair? You tell me you love me just the way I am, and darling, I don't think you're lying.
Then why do I feel like I'm changing so much?
Then I hear your footsteps on the tile in the hall. You emerge into sight looking sleepy and adorable, wearing only your green plaid pajama pants. You smile at me and you scratch your head and you have morning-wood and you're so goddamn cute.
And you walk over to me and you say, "Hey," and you have morning breath, but I love you so much that I let you put your tongue between my lips when you kiss me.
And you lay a soft kiss on the base of my neck, and you smile again, and you sit across from me at the dining room table and ask me, "Why didn't you wake me up?"
"I don't know," I say, "you looked so peaceful."
I take a sip of my coffee and stare out the window. It's another gorgeous day. I anticipate spending it underground in your office, playing online, watching Comedy Central, eating microwave meals and fooling around on your bed.
"Did you make any more coffee," you ask me.
You scratch your hair. It's getting long. I keep reminding you to get it cut and you always make the same sideways face at me. Then you stand up.
"I think I'm going to have some," you say, walking into the kitchen.
Confused, I say, "I thought you didn't like coffee?"
"I don't, but you're always pushing it on me," you answer, returning to the table with an identical pristine white mug, your coffee nearly as white as mine – lots of cream, but probably not as much sugar.
You sit down, take a drink, and place your hand over mine. "It must be growing on me," you say.
And I smile, because I love you, and because I could probably be with you for the rest of my life and have a big beautiful wedding and a gaggle of adorable kids, like I've always wanted. I could probably be successful and beautiful and afford to take better care of myself. I could be one of those girls who goes into a salon to get her hair done whenever she feels like switching it up and not have to worry about what it will cost. I could probably start getting mani-pedis on a weekly basis and cheer you on as you play high-stakes poker and go through periods of winning and losing thousands of dollars on a day-to-day basis, while I work in my own office, asking people, "Which looks better, one or two?"
You kiss me again, stand up with your mug of coffee and head for the basement, saying, "I'm going to go play in some tournaments." You are talking about online poker.
"Okay," I say, "I'll be down in a minute."
And drink my coffee and I stare outside and I cross my legs and I bite my nails and I smile, because I love you, Daniel. But I don't know what to do with you yet.