There are tiny bugs dive bombing the patio light, dipping too towards my bare arms and face, their whirling bright bodies like small dervishes dancing. It is past dark and again I can’t sleep, again I’m outside watching the moon, thinking about space, not of that above me in the heavens, but the kind we make in ourselves for another person, how I often wonder if I’m just too damaged to do so.
“I don’t form attachments the way most people do,” my friend says at the bar when we meet one evening for happy hour.
“Neither do I,” I tell him. “I invest in very few people, and it usually takes me at least 3 months to start to do so, and by then most are already gone. It’s great for self-preservation but terrible for connection. Because people don’t want to stick around that long waiting for me to let them in. That’s how the last one tricked me, you know. He stuck around longer than 3 months, waited until my guard was totally down before pulling his vanishing act.”
And on the drive home I think of how it is that I can make time for someone. How I can show up when they call and answer their texts. How I might share an evening, some laughter too. But how making space is a different thing altogether. Because my hands still recall the feel of holding someone I had loved and yet tonight all they hold of him is that space. My heart holds that empty space.
I would fill my hands instead with someone’s skin, stopper their words with my tongue, put my arms around another body, feel that other heart beating against my own. I would fill the world with something wholly rooted in flesh, fill up my time, maybe even go running down the sidewalks in this dark until my lungs ache from the strain of it, until my legs relearn all rhythm, until I feel my feet pounding into concrete like drums, steady and synchronized, leave no room for thought, leave no empty space.
Leave in my heart no space. Not where something might be taken away. Not where something might grow. And in the dark, as the small bugs dance around me in moonlight, their bright bodies alight, I wonder again if, when it comes to making space, I’m just too damaged to know anymore how to do so.
Or if the real answer is that I’m just afraid.