He'd just made us some rice and chili for a late night snack. Brought two big glasses of milk over. Settled down on the floor in front of a fire and a movie playing in the background. His housemate was asleep on the couch. We'd all had a pretty fun and long day. A lot of sun, quite a few watermelon mojitos.
We started wrestling a little bit, just jokingly. When he seemed ready to stop letting me pin him, like he was about to really prove who was stronger, he said something about not wanting to hurt me. The words slipped though the laughter and my automatic response cut through it right back:
"You can't. You can't hurt me." I stared right into his eyes.
A few moments later the same exchange happened again. "You can't hurt me." I felt physically compelled to state it again, with an unblinking gaze.
"Okay. You have a heart of steel then?" he asked amiably but laced with understanding.
"Yep." I replied.
I can feel the reflex. Vulnerability peeks over at me from it's far away retreat, and I throw daggers and flying kicks to send it back to hiding. Don't mess with me, I tell it. I tell him. But from the other direction creep in my very real feelings and a sense that I shouldn't miss out on something. Even if it's just fun.
It's been a couple months now and after a bunch of back and forth, ignoring him, reconsidering, distraction... even a conversation after two days on a boat together about the fact that I don't feel enough to respond as affectionately as he wanted me to since we aren't dating and I am not in a place to date...
After all that, um, here we are this week... Looking like I'm going back on things I said and thought. Goodbye kisses, inside jokes, meaningful looks. Whoa, how did that happen. Somewhere between him telling me exactly where he stood and our singing along to Jack Johnson and the talk about WWII history on the ride home, I suppose...
Crap. Get me out of here. Wait, hold that thought... I'll hang out for a bit.