I have stopped dating. I have cut them all off. I just can’t go through these motions anymore. I’m sick of the cocktails, the text messages, the poorly-chosen restaurants for the second or third dinner, the nervous jokes, the lies, the abrupt honesty… And I don’t miss being in a relationship. Maybe I’ve forgotten how. It doesn’t matter what I remember and what I don’t, anyway. I’ve sunk myself too deep into my cynical isolated cut-off New Yorker shell.
Last week I found myself in an intense conversation with a travel writer. And after a discussion about Amsterdam, or Prague, whatever we talked about, the canals or the Vltava, and after his lips grazed mine, I pulled away and crossed my arms. His hand slowly brushed my cheek and he shook his head, searching my eyes for signs of life. My thoughts, my eyes, whatever fire I had in them, were drifting. I was drifting. It happened so quickly he was caught off guard. He leaned in again and press his lips to mine. The warmth was gone. I was gone.
How does it feel to kiss a girl and lose her in the same instant, I should have asked. Tidal? Is that the inertia of romance?
Excluding minor exceptions, I have been alone for the last year. I sleep in a cocoon of quilts, paperbacks, pillows and the white noise hum of a box fan. I rarely think about the past, the hands, the breath on my neck, or the sweaty early-morning snow angels we became in my sheets; the fog of the smoky darkness as the evening thrashed unrelenting, beneath the covers, between my legs. I almost completely forget the flinching gasps or the slow-stroking fingers tracing my spine.
These transient men across the table at the bar, the restaurant, wherever they plan on seducing me, have no idea how I lie in bed now: alone, curled up, the white noise of the box fan soaking the bedroom, my warm back pressed up against a future fantasy’s arms.