There is this guy that I used to know. He can sometimes still get away with leading me into a room, firm hand on the small of my back. I don’t know, maybe there is a particular spot there that will always be his domain. It’s a solid, familiar touch – one that used to give me comfort. Enough that I can momentarily forget the pain that came later. I can’t stop him and part of me doesn’t want to.

But he is only this guy that I used to know, most of the time.

He forgets himself on occasion and will look at me – the deep, piercing gaze of a man who knows secrets you would rather he didn’t. And then he will try to speak that secret language, the one that would propel me into a room before his hand had a chance to rest in its place.

The one that died when he walked away.

In those moments, without fail or hesitation, I turn swiftly and grab that hand away.

Say, “You’re not allowed to talk that way anymore. That language is dead and you do it a dishonor to speak it now, with another woman’s kiss on your lips.” Years later, this dance still turns.

I wonder if it ever entered your mind later, when you would grab my hand at a party to lead me away from him, that someday you’d share this space in my mind.

Touch, but don’t look.

I can tell you honestly it never occurred to me. Until right now. When my hands instinctively clamped around the words you’re just not allowed to say to me anymore, with another woman’s kiss on your lips.
I go too far and I know it. You can’t stop me and part of you doesn’t want to.


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