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When I am standing by the railing, you come up from behind me. Like in some epic romance, your arms wrap around my waist and your cheek fits snugly at my temple. I can feel the warmth of your chest rising and I can feel the hollow it leaves between us when it falls. I think you feel it too and you shuffle closer; I think you are encouraged by my non-response; I think you think it means nothing is different.
Now with each breath you take you push me forward slightly. With each breath you take I feel the pressure of the railing beneath my ribcage grow, then ebb. When our breathing falls into rhythm, when it begins to coincide like it always does (like our bodies don’t want any more distance between us than humanly possible, not even the fraction of a breath), I feel the rail, it’s painful, it doesn’t let me breathe.
You wrap me into a close embrace, you drop your chin and you whisper in my ear, “I missed you.”
The railing is leaving a welt in my abdomen. The railing is red-hot.
I turn my body one hundred and eighty degrees. I turn so that when you breathe out, I breathe out as well. Our bodies cave away from, then into each other. We are so close. I feel our breaths mingling. I taste your breath in my mouth, my lungs. I see nothing but your face. I am surrounded on all sides by your embrace. I am surrounded on all sides by red-hot iron rails. I am telling you that you didn’t miss me, you couldn’t possibly have, that missing someone means calling every once in a while, or writing. Missing someone means wanting to talk to her, it means your heart skipping a beat when you receive word. Missing someone, I am saying to you, is something I did, even when I began to realize that it was futile.
Now you are gripping the railing on either side of me. Now your long arms give me a little breathing room. I reach my hands up to cradle your face. It feels familiar. It feels like I want to kiss you softly until softly is not nearly enough, until we’re all teeth and claws and iron grips, it feels like I want to forget the world exists while I’m alone with you, whenever I’m alone with you. It feels like I want you to be everything I always dreamed of.
You are looking past me, nuzzling my right hand when I duck under and escape the bewitchment of your embrace. Everything is cooler when you are gone. I have room to think. You are not as tall when you are not holding me. You are not what I imagine. You shed my imposition when you are not so close to me. You are the person you always were, whom I refused to see. You are no elegant nineteenth century gentleman you are no songwriter or brilliantly emotional artist. You do not love me passionately, you do not write beautifully worded letters. You are neither temperamental nor tempestuous. You are not romantic, and you do not understand me.
You are raging testosterone; you are red-hot iron in your pants. You are primal. You are one-sided. You are two-dimensional. Your personality allows for projections like mine, it leaves room. I am sorry to leave you, I think, but you are not the person I have been missing.