“Tell me what you did today. You’ll sleep better.”
There was one very early morning where I stumbled over to your place and wanted to be under warm sheets because I had been sick of the world. All I could croak out was a raspy “hey, please - ” at your doorstep before I nearly fell over and hit my face at your metal gates. You wordlessly pulled me into your house, pushed me into the bathroom and turned on the showers in my face. It either happened too quickly or my mind was too slow to register what was happening, but I remember the initial drops hitting my face like a slab. I remember struggling like an animal in your arms, desperately trying to escape from within the glass doors (it’s always so easy for you to hold me down). But if there’s something you have, it’s patience and determination and if there’s something that I have, it’s tenacity and stubbornness. And together, we make a perfect pair.
I gave up and spent the beginnings of an inconsequential month slumped on the floor of your cubicle, crying in your arms while you repeatedly told me that it was okay, it was okay, it will be okay; your shirt was eventually soaked through by a mix of tears and the still running shower.
“Tell me what you did today. You’ll sleep better.” I was lying on my side on the edge of the bed and you crouched by the side of the bed and smoothed the hair on my head. I squeezed my eyes shut so that the exit for tears would seal up, and I said, “Nothing happened today.” You moved closer and this time, you said softer tones, “Tell me what you did today and you’ll really sleep better, I promise. The walls won’t even hear.”
I said it just now. Nothing ever happens. And if there’s anything that I have a lot of, it’s stubbornness.
You sighed and placed your hand on my face, your second and fourth finger resting on my lids and said to go to sleep. For the briefest moment, I could feel your scarred palm on my lips.
“Does it still hurt?”
“Did it ever hurt?”
“Only during the moments where my flesh tried to heal itself.”
“Will it ever hurt again?”
“Only if it gets ripped apart again.”
I tugged your hand closer and pulled you into bed. As you settled into the curves, you rested your chin on my shoulder and said from behind into my ear, ‘Maybe you should learn from your body. Tampering with the healing process by digging your nails into the open flesh never does anyone good.”
I turned around to face you. “It makes me feel good.”
You said nothing and I know you agree. I ended the conversation by pushing my head down into your chest and intertwining our legs so that we cannot and will never run away from each other.
That messy night, I thought about us and them. Lying in bed and touching a specific mound of rough skin on a certain palm, I realised that pulling apart my flesh and stitching it back together again and again to try and make myself into a certain broken being could only be worth it if the person I had intended it for could see it. But in that process, what if somebody else had seen the ugly and fallen for the ugly?
I had wanted to extricate myself from under the sheets because it was getting too warm but I decided that maybe for a while, two bad people sticking together as bodies can’t be any bad.