“How do you still have anything to ask me?” he sighs, but I see that little smirk of his move up till it reaches his lips and eyes. I can tell he’s more bemused than irritated. And he’s using that purring voice of his, with just a hint of sarcasm under his breath. The one he knows he can drive me wild with.
He has a point.
I made up this game when we first got back together, and I was trying to make up for having been such a selfish prick the first time around. Once I’d realized how I really felt about him, never-experienced-before-depths-of-burning-love which I’d stupidly mistaken for lust, I developed an insatiable hunger to devour every detail about him. To know all things that made him Kay. To possess him in every way.
That was 2 years ago.
He’s humored me by playing the game more times than I can count by now.
He gets his questions in too, but I know he doesn’t need the game for that. Not Kay. He has this ice-cool way of getting anyone to tell him anything he wants to know. He never has to ask. Fuck if I’ve figured out how he does it, but sometimes even I find myself telling him stuff I know I didn’t plan to or didn’t initiate.
He’s a sneaky bastard.
But he’s my sneaky bastard.
I still find it hard to wrap my head around sometimes.
That he forgave me, that I found the courage to even ask him to.
I sometimes catch myself worrying it may all be some incredible dream that I’ll eventually wake up from. And it would all disappear; being with him every day, sharing our lives, being able to touch him, to love him whenever I want with no limits or reservations.
Back when he’d first offered me all that on the balcony of his stuffy little apartment in Ludwigsburg, I barely even acknowledged it. I blew him off without realizing the meaning of what he’d been suggesting. Or how hurtful my brush off must have been.
I did a lot of things that hurt him back then. So many inconsiderate, unkind things. Things that cannot be excused. No matter how difficult that time had been for me with what I’d been dealing with at home, or my existential identity crisis, I had no right to treat him the way I did.
I still don’t fully understand why he stayed as long as he had.
And that’s the real reason I keep going back to our game.
When we’re playing, I can see his guard drop. His beautiful eyes become clearer and I know he’s letting go of any worry or tension he may be feeling, as he focuses just on us. His furrowed brow smooths and I can see that he’s intentionally clearing his mind, pushing away any thoughts outside of our questions and answers.
The game becomes our little haven from the outer world. For the precious time we’re playing, it’s as if we’re the only people who exist.
He plays because he believes it gives me a sense of safety and security in his love and our relationship. And I admit that’s how it started.
But over time, my reason for wanting to play has changed.
These days, I use the game as a way to try to make up for the past. A way to smooth away some of those hurtful memories I caused. What I want more than anything is to dull the pain that must still live in his mind.
So we play.
The questions I ask are very deliberate, meant to tee up those situations that need to be acknowledged, explained, apologized for and forgiven. I give him answers to questions I know he’d never ask but deserves to have answered.
“How did you feel that day on the road, when I gave you a bloody lip?”
“A little surprised but not shocked. Angry. Hurt. Frustrated.”
I brush my lips tenderly against his, then trace the soft supple lips I had punched with my fingertips, trying to erase the memory of the assault.
“I was such a coward. I still get sick to my stomach whenever I think of it.”
He reaches for my hand and squeezes, forgiving me for the umpteenth time. Then whispers wryly, “you have a terrible right hook, so it wasn’t that bad anyway.”
“Why did you stay after that?”
He looks a little surprised by the question.
“I hadn’t really thought of leaving at that point. I just wanted you back.
I knew cornering you like that might make you lash out. It wasn’t the first time.
And I wasn’t blind, you know. I never thought your situation was easy to handle.
I just wanted you to see that we mattered too.”
I move closer to him and place feather light kisses on his eyelids.
“I was the blind one thinking I could shut you off in my mind. That never worked, not for one second. I forced myself to stay away from you, but you still consumed every thought in my mind.”
I pause, then add, “I don’t know how you put up with everything I put you through.”
He turns to face me and says, with no trace of irony:
“I put up with it because I was in love with you. I did everything I could to force you to realize that you were in love with me too.”
I place soft kisses from his jawline to his neck.
“It took me too long, but I got there.”
He gives me one of his genuine, loving smiles, the ones he saves for special occasions, that make my knees turn to jello, and agrees,
“it took you too long, but you got there.”
He would never bring up these events from the past. It’s not his thing. He’s more of a ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ kind of a guy. But I know that I need to ask his forgiveness for each and every one of them. I owe him that.
So we play the game.
And with each round, the memories of Ludwigsburg grow a little bit duller and our heartbreaks a little less potent, all the while, our love and commitment to one another continue to deepen and grow.