You want to be perfect for him.
That’s the first thing you remember, from your old life (that was your new life.)
Of course, he was always smarter than you, taller, stronger, always, always more. But you were lighter, brighter, more alive. You found out that he needed you, it made you happy because it was such a grasping need, selfish. He wouldn’t let go.
You got captured. And then tied up, and held. The danger was real enough, though it was painted in bright colors that you’ve grown to distrust. (This happened, week in, week out.)
He always saved you.
Oh, you loved him, you love him still. You gave more than you received, gave all you had, and when he praised you (coded in your regular conversations, a prize toy in your cereal), it made you flush with joy.
Then you grow up, you leave.
But still you want to be worthy, you want to be loved. You never stop wanting. You’re as hungry as he is, for different things. For the same things that you call by different names.
He tells you not to be so dependent.
No, you say, look. Look at me.
You force him to look, to acknowledge you.
Never in your wildest dreams have you imagined that you would do this, that you would press him down and take and he would let you, with a little half-smile on his lips, the one that used to drives you crazy, the one you wipe off his face with your own hands.
Alright, so you watch him, sometimes, on the cameras he doesn’t know about. Oh don’t look so offended, that holier-than-thou attitude won’t get very far with me. Yeah, you do it, biting your lip when he stumbles in, strips off without much thought for modesty. He doesn’t slouch, even when the spotlight’s turn off. He gets dinner together, humming to himself. He watches tv, sprawled on the couch.
You want to be happy that he’s alone, but it’s more interesting when he’s got someone. A woman you don’t know (Nicole Parkman, lives in the East Side, a law student, bright red hair that reaches her waist), laughs at his corny jokes. He distracts her, she doesn’t notice the scars.
(You know the provenance of every mark on his body.)
He’s good at pleasing people, and he’s so eager to please.
His hands wind through Nicole’s red hair.
You twist your fingers around your own hair, sucking on the ends.
(It’s a dirty habit you thought you had left behind.)
He’s so good with his hands.
(You are too.)
When the girl leaves, he’s still for the first time all evening.
He turns to the camera, and winks.