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rule 1

December 10, 2003

it's a complicated ritual and the rules are endless and shifting.

rule 1. he can touch me but i can't touch him. i don't know whose rule that is, his or mine, or maybe both. a mutually agreed upon mechanism to keep this survivable. maybe that part is in my head. maybe it is something that i simply understand without needing to ask or tell.

one night i did touch him. it was at one of the dark warm bars we used to hide in together. hide and talk for hours. lately we talk in restaurants or coffee shops. but there was that night when we both had too much to drink and he said what he always says about not knowing why i always listened to him so patiently (can he really not know how that feels like saving and being saved at the same goddamn time) and i told him how i had felt the way i felt since the first day. and once i had started then all the stopped up everything just flooded all over the place, and i said "i think you will always be the one i loved the most."

and that was the night i touched him because there existed no possibility of not touching him. it wasn't a choice to be made. i leaned my head on his shoulder and i asked if that was okay. when he said yes and he bent his head down turned towards me eyes closed i traced the lines of the bones in his face with my thumb, i studied his face, i smoothed his eyebrows. the sound he made then still resonates inside me and it feels warm and pulling. i can still tell you about the geometry of his face. it was the most expanded moment you can imagine.

i don't know whether he remembers all that. i don't know whether it was the same for him. i do know that i want to be able to touch him gently and unthinkingly each time i see him. i despise this rule. there are others, of course. but when his fingers grazed against my wrist tonight, the rule of not touching him was the one i hated furiously.