He wrapped his chafed fists around my neck
cradling me as if showing me how I was held as a baby
but I couldn’t remember that far back,
he shook me
my neck bounced like an errant throw
the walls shivered out of focus
the feel of carpet slipped in and out of the gaps between my toes
I felt myself swallowing the same pockets of air I was desperate to spit out
warm leather slabs of lint -
now I know how a cat with a fur ball in their throat felt.
The world stopped making sense.
But then something clicked in him
his eyes, his ears, his mouth softened,
he no longer resembled a red balloon with an unhappy scribbled face
his hands retracted and he went to put them on my chest but stalled
resting them in his pockets instead,
his pupils swelled like goldfish in a bowl under a forgotten malfunctioning tap,
he wetted his mouth
looking desperate to say something
and I was so desperate for him to say something - anything
for him to say sorry
for him to say ‘I love you’
but he never spoke a word.
‘…and how does that make you feel?’
my therapist asks me and I bite my lip
back in the leather of the sofa
a recollection of sweat clinging my trousers closer to me than I dare to hold any person,
I want to tell her that I love her
that I wish for the every depth of my personality to encapsulate her soul
so I bite my lip hard
and don’t say a damn word.