When I attempt to interact with people, I feel like I’m blindly stumbling along in absolute darkness. I have no idea what I’m doing and I feel like I need to hold the other person’s hand at all times while they tell me that what I’m doing or saying is okay. I never know if I’m saying too much or not enough. I never know how my words are being received on the other end. I can’t begin to explain how unsure and shaky I feel with other people at all times. Everything is a risk. Every word that I dare to express is a risk. Every move that I make is a risk. One wrong step and the entire relationship blows up in my face.
Three years later, a new girl sits cross-legged on your bed.
She tastes like a different flavor of bubblegum than you are used to.
She opens up a book that you had to read in high school, and a folded picture of us falls out of chapter three.
Now there are two unfinished stories resting in her lap.
Inevitably, she asks, and you tell her.
You say: I dated her a while back.
You don’t say: Sometimes, when I’m holding you, I imagine the smell of her vanilla perfume.
You say: She was younger than me.
You don’t say: The sixteen summers in her bones warmed the eighteen winters my skin had weathered.
You say: It’s nothing now.
You don’t say: But it was everything then.