After Mr. Makeout Music realized he was unavailable, I told him a little bit about my poly background, about why it hadn’t felt weird to have to schedule time or to have another woman in the picture. I wasn’t telling him this as a way to argue his decision but just to share my perspective and think aloud about where the heck I am in relation to poly, anyway.
“If it were just you and me, it might be different, but I get really jealous…” Etc, the standard straight monogamous guy speech, I know it well and respect it, but I didn’t have the heart to tell him it’ll never be just him and somebody, it so very rarely is.
And I’ll pause here to realize that whether it’s a poly situation or just a family already in progress, “just you and me” is not what I want. Good to acknowledge.
We sat on stone steps on a secluded corner of campus, talking through a brisk and bright afternoon. I had to interrupt the very important conversation to Instagram a tree with sunshine lighting up every leaf.
We sat there for three hours, getting progressively more chilly and talking about all the things you can’t really get into at work—our families, his military history, my teacher/divorce meltdown, our imperfect and sometimes-intersecting paths to relative social awakeness.
But the topic that made him lose almost all of his nervous and relax into a curious smile, was confessing to him my various forms of sluttiness. His eyes lit up in a decidedly not-vanilla way as he asked me about Nude Years Eve and what BDSM relationships are like. I got his porn search terms out of him and told him my own. (Still lots-of-guys-one-girl; my time on lesbian island still hangs heavy.) He really wants to read my book, and he’s really not going to until we work in separate places. (It should come as no surprise to longtime readers that he’s got his firefighter’s exam coming up this weekend. Then he’ll know how to restrain AND carry people.)
There’s something about him that makes me lose all my filters (he has suggested that it’s my open heart) so I even told him that I’d had fantasies of dominating him that I’d already been sort of dominating him without meaning to. He said “I guess I’m so good at following directions that I didn’t notice.”
“Yes. You. Are.” I said in my best bossy/slutty voice.
Though he was still very clear about not being ready for things, he was sweetly curious and didn’t seem at all horrified. When I told him that the man for me would have to learn all his knots, he said “Oh, so it’s like scouts?” and I giggled for a long silly time.
Friends, it WAS chilly. After a little while of freezing and wishing I had socks on, I asked if I could sit closer just for warmth, and he said “I know what you really want.” And pulled my into one of my top ten favorite snuggles of all time. He put his arms around me and I lay my head on his knee.
“What are we going to do to make the world better, Ms. _________?”
I sighed a deep dreamy sigh and said “This is a good start.”
I felt as sunny and golden as the pretty fall trees. The horror and fraughtness and drama of the election fell away and I felt as warm and cared for as I ever have by a man.
I asked where his nervousness was on a scale of one to ten (I was at zero.) He said he was at a four, but that was the world, not me. Then I confessed something I’d been thinking about hard for weeks, especially as I’d fretted about voter suppression dangers on Election Day:
“You know you have a permanent human shield now, right?”
“Thanks,” he said, and I know it was a weird and maybe wrong thing to say, but I’m glad I told him. The world had just gotten so much scarier for both of us and I wanted to fight and scrape and elbow to keep him safe. I wanted to give him my whole body, my life. I wanted to be the sacrifice, to bleed in the dirt in hopes that things might be healed so that he and his family could walk around safe.
That’s love, I guess, and hopefully it isn’t too colonizing, but whatever it was it was way too much to be thinking about a thing that wasn’t even going to be a thing. Our not-date was almost over, the glow was about to leave us, and I never wanted to move from that spot. He traced his fingers over my shoulder, I felt his beard graze my hair, and I felt at once strong and all the way broken open.
“I’m just gonna be near you as much as I can.” I said, and I think maybe that’s what broke the spell.