You lay there, breathing heavily, your chest rising and falling and you swallow, feeling parched. She is quiet, and you know she’s too quiet, but at this point you’ve stopped caring. You’re tired of trying to figure out her figuring out you figuring out her figuring out you. What used to be wonderful and happy, is now just a complicated game of who is going to figure out the other person first, and you’re just tired of playing this game over and over again. You’re tired of getting your heart broken, so you stop trying.
You don’t mean to – you never mean to. You want to trust again, you want to give your all to someone and have the life that you always wanted to, the life that you always dreamed about. But she’s never asked about your dreams. You’re always the one who has to come up with the information, and although she seems interested in finding out who you are, she never asks. And you feel guilty about making her feel guilty for such a small thing, because maybe she just feels guilty about making you talk about your past, what you want, and what you need. Maybe she’s tired of hearing about your ex and how your ex girlfriend broke your heart in the clutch, and how it’s changed you. Maybe she’s tired about hearing about how hard it is for you to talk to her, how hard it is for you to open up again when you think that it’s all going to shit in the end anyway. Maybe, maybe, maybe. So you just don’t say anything, and the silences get longer.
And before you know it, the seconds tick by and she’s staring at you and you’re staring off into the distance, quiet and reserved, not sure what to do. You’re tired of giving up information about yourself, the things that you’ve always dreamed about and wanted, without her asking about it, so you begin to close up. She’s something different now, something different than what she had been in the very beginning when you were first getting to know each other and she seemed to want you for who you are, the man that you presented to her, instead of the novelty of it all. And you realize that inbetween it all, guilt has seeped in, regret and mistrust, and you’re not sure what to make of that.
You reach over and play with her hair, hoping that maybe she’ll be sparked to ask something, ask anything, ask for the world so you can give her the universe, but she simply places her hand on your face and kisses you. And you’re wondering why you’re here, laying in this bed with yet another girl that you’re going to regret when she’s had her fill of you, and you’re not sure how to answer yourself. For all your brilliance and argumentative nature, the one person you always lose an argument to is yourself.
You’re a smart man, you’re something that no girl should ever pass up on. You’re pretty decent looking, you think fast on your feet, you’re often humourous and sometimes sarcastic. You’re loyal to a fault, and you give a hundred and ten percent of you in every relationship – but you’re starting to realize that you should only have to give fifty percent, and giving a hundred and ten is only a license to make the other person not have to give anything at all.
So you shift over, and now you’re laying inbetween her legs, and she wraps her legs around you and pulls you inside her, and closes her eyes. And you wonder what she’s thinking of, and then you wonder if she’s wondering about what you’re thinking of. All you want is a family and a wife that loves you just as much as you love her, but you’re stuck always doing it by yourself. Always, always always, doing it by yourself. Even as you move inside her, you wonder if she’ll text you, if she’ll call you, what she’ll do. If you text her, will she respond even in the same day? Or will she just respond to get you back in her bed again, or maybe not call you at all because your position has already been filled?
Maybe, just maybe, she’s just as afraid of being hurt as you are, and all you are, are bad news. You’re not safe. You’ve been hurt too much and you’re too much at risk for being an asshole too. You’ve been torn apart and scarred, and everybody knows from a young age that young men with scars are the most dangerous kind of men. But you’re not like that, and you want her to know that, you want her to see that you’re the kind of guy that she’s always been waiting for, the kind of guy that any girl would kill for, the kind of guy that any girl wants to die for. But instead, you just close your mouth, close your mind, and kiss her mouth, and hope that one day she’ll open up to you, and share more than just her bed.
And so when it’s over, you lie in bed for a few seconds, and you’re about to cuddle her and you remember one of the first things that she told you months and months ago, back when you first met. That she doesn’t like cuddling. You remember everything that she’s ever told you, all her likes and dislikes, because it’s important to her so it’s important to you too. So you know if you cuddle her, she’s going to feel uncomfortable. Quietly, you get out of bed and get her a glass of water, and come back to bed, finding her pensive and distant. Suddenly she looks at you, and she looks like she’s going to say something.
And you close your eyes, waiting for her to finally open up to you, waiting for something more than skin deep, waiting for the relationship that you both seem to keep hinting at. Waiting for the spark to turn into an open flame, a burst of red in the otherwise gray life that you both are leading, something, anything.
You want the girl that she used to be, and she wants the man that you’re going to be. You want the girl that stayed up till three o clock online on Facebook talking to you, trying to find out how such a good guy can’t get a girlfriend, and not concluding that something was wrong with him, or that he was just pretending to be a good guy. You want the girl that wanted to be with you to understand you for the guy that you are now, not just for who you want to be and who you used to be. You want the girl who was about to uncover a grand treasure – you – hidden in plain sight for other girls. You want the girl who was about to take you off the market for good, and make every single other girl jealous on the opportunity that they missed in you. And she wants the guy that you claim to be, the guy that gives and gives and gives it all and never asks for anything back. Is it selfish to say, that you would give and give and give it all and never ask for anything back, but still want to not have to ask? Because you’re a realist – you’ve had relationships that have ended in massive wrecks, and you know that even though you don’t ask, you still need something, anything. And then you realize that you haven’t asked her for more, and that’s exactly what started your downward spiral in the first place, and worse still, you need her to help you out of it – to help you fix this relationship and turn it into something real, something amazing, something that the whole world has been wanting ever since we figured out that our genitalia was connected to the matters of the heart, but you just can’t find the fucking words to tell her how you feel, tell her that you need her to fix this. Tell her that you both need to fix this, not just you, because if it’s just you, then it’s always going to be just you. And that you shouldn’t have to ask her, but unless one of you asks something, it’s the relationship that’s getting axed.
But worse still – you don’t even know if that’s what she wants. You guys have talked, yes. She showed interest in you, yes. But now you’re together, now you’re in her bed, or in yours, and it seems that you’ve hit a plateau on her feelings. Maybe she’s just emotionless – but that’s not true, because she showed so much more emotion before. So you have to conclude that she just doesn’t care, and you don’t want to make an ass of yourself for trying to explain this entire essay of feelings to her, because if you do, then not would she still not care, but she might also conclude you’re a clingy freak, and nothing says unmanly like being a clingy freak. You’re a man, aren’t you?
And somewhere, trying to cross back and forth and let that spark turn into an open flame, between your ego and her pensive nature, staring into her eyes, and you into hers, and both being lost in some other plane of existence, you realize that the true problem isn’t that you’re not sure how to go about asking for love, it’s that firstly, you’re not sure that you should have to, and secondly, you’re not sure if she wants that from you. And as she pulls her panties on and gets ready to leave, you’re thinking that if you open your mouth, you’ll ruin this too. So you shut it. And you don’t text. You don’t call, you don’t do anything. And your heart shuts down, because you’re afraid of ruining it or getting hurt, and those two things seem like the only two possible outcomes from this ridiculous situation, and you’re still not sure of how you got here again.
In another realm, in another dimension, in some other alternative universe, she is the girl that you’ve always wanted and needed. Her lips are to die for, her eyes mesmerize you, and her hands hold yours tenderly, rocking back and forth when you’re inside her. She plays with your fingers as if they’re the most interesting thing in the world when you’re shopping, and you don’t even mind shopping anymore because she’s being her when she’s with you, and you love her. And just being with her, seeing the real her, all the time, is all you could ever want. In another life, you run your hands through your hair and then you recline in her lap, and she plays with your hair, running her fingernails across the back of your neck and ears, and you doze off happily. Somewhere else, in another time, you never let guilt and games and plays and mistrust and lack of effort ruin the spark.
But right here, right now, you’re trying to light a match on a windy beach in the pouring rain. And she’s standing right there, and in your eyes, she’s refusing to help you at all.
And so you bring her close before she puts on her bra, and you kiss her navel, hoping that something will change in the next thirty seconds that will bring the two lives together, bring your two lives together. And she looks at her phone, and bites her lip, and pulls off her panties and jumps back into bed again, not even realizing what you were trying to do. Thinking that you just want sex. So you’re mad. And you’ll fuck her hard, you’ll clench the headboard under your hand so hard that your knuckles will actually pop. If she wants sex, then sex is what she’ll get, and you both respond viciously to one another, nipping and biting, angry at each other for not loving, not giving, not asking. Somewhere between biting at her lip and wrapping your arms around her and burying your head in her neck, you’ll realize that this is the death of your relationship.
You aren’t making love to celebrate love.
You’re fucking at a funeral.
And later on, she’ll tell her friends how amazing sex it was, and how you just turned animalistic out of nowhere, but how unreliable you are. She’ll wonder at why you’re not texting, why you’re not calling, and slowly, she’ll start thinking that you’re nothing different from any other guy, that you’re just another asshole who wanted to fuck her and leave her.
Later on, much later down the road, after the hearts have already been broken, after you’ve both taken something perfect and destroyed it, she’ll look at you and think that you’re the man that she wants, but shouldn’t want. And you’ll be a footnote in her love story, until she finds another guy and the stars happen to line up perfectly and they both get caught with their guard down. All she’ll remember you for is being another part of that broken road, an emotionless bloodsucking vampire. Maybe if she knew that you had been thinking about names for your kids together at one point in the relationship, maybe if she knew about how much you liked to draw her but you never could draw her just the perfect way that she actually was, maybe if she had read one of the things, just one of the many, many things that you had written about her, but kept to yourself because you were embarrassed about how much you liked her. Maybe if she knew that you too, wanted to travel the world, and that you were thinking of maybe travelling with her, visiting Spain, visiting islands in the Caribbean, laying under a night of stars and not ruining it with sex – just laying together, looking up at the warm sky and talking, random, stupid thoughts that only you two could ever talk about and be happy talking about it.
And as she puts her panties again and again, you’ll wonder what you’re doing. But you already know what you’re doing, and you already know why you won’t stop – because you still have hope. Hope that maybe this will change, hope that maybe this spark will flare up. And that one tiny bit of hope is worth more than all the misgivings in the world. So you continue living your life, knowing that love isn’t there, and you see the writing on the wall, but refuse to read it.
In the end, you’re just another asshole. In the end, she’s just another bitch. In the end, both of your friends hear two different stories about how emotionless and horrible you both were. In the end, what should have been two people bringing out the best in each other, you became two people who brought out the worst in each other.
In the end, there is nothing but an end.
“And I, can’t do this by myself – all of these problems, they’re all in your head. And I can’t be somebody else – you took something perfect, and painted it red.”
– Daniel Merriweather, “Red”