It’s the first time you think it’s going somewhere, since Parker. The first boy in six months who makes you envision a relationship together, something that’s without the doubt of other meaningless hookups that you momentarily mistake for the start of something.
There has been six people in six months since Parker. Two were dips into history—men whose bodies I knew but hadn’t visited for some time. Was I trying to forget you in them? Maybe I was just hoping I would feel something enough to hope one of them would stay.
You walk him to the entrance and he bends down to put on his brown leather shoes, shoes that have been lived in, shoes that have walked a hundred miles to get to you. He opens the door and hovers in the doorway, leaning against the wall.
I had a really great night, he says.
You take a step forward and smile, fumbling with your fingers because you’re not sure what to do with your hands. And he’s close enough now that you both can just slightly lean your heads in to find one another lips.
These are doorway kisses. Moments the morning after when you’re both hovering in a doorway, teeth unbrushed, hair a mess, smell of sex and sweat protruding from your pores, and he leans in, hesitant, to kiss you. There’s something magical about doorways, they’re an in between, not going, not leaving, like a space where you can live immobile for a few minutes. Those kisses are special because you’re not quite there yet. Doorway kisses don’t often happen when you’re already in love, those kisses happen on the bed, in the kitchen, in the bathroom with a toothbrush still in your mouth.
Or there’s the unfamiliar kisses in a club, drunk, outside before you get on the bus. But doorway kisses, they’re on the bridge between unfamiliarity and comfort. They’re awkward, but passionate, vibrant, full of potential. They have a slightness about them, the way your hand gently touches his chest, or maybe caresses the line of his jaw just before his ear lobe and neither of you are sure when it’s supposed to end or if it’s gone on for too long, or if either of you want it to end. It’s the kind of kiss that leaves you excited, that leaves you on one side and him on the other as he says goodbye. It’s the kind of kiss that tells you he’ll be back again, that it wasn’t just a onetime thing, that there’s room for this to grow. There’s room for you to grow together.
Parker, how many bodies have you touched in the past six months? How many lips have you licked? How many doorway moments have you had since we left each other at the airport all those months ago? I hope you’ve found your doorway kiss, or I hope you do, someday. You were once my doorway kiss after a sloppy night off one too many shots of tequila. You were many doorway kisses before you came permanently into my room, like a vampire I had to invite you in.
You were even once a came back in a few seconds after having left to kiss me again kiss. Now that was magic. Maybe that was when the walls came down and you stopped being just a doorway kiss.
I wonder when I’ll stop feeling you after a boy has left my bed. I wonder when I’ll stop comparing the feel of your body lying next to mine to his, stop comparing the way you touched me, held me, made me laugh. I wonder when you won’t be someone I still long for. I didn’t know how good we had it. I forgot how good comfort and passion together was.
But baby it was all so beautiful. All of it. You, me. That summer. The love we formed. It was the most real thing I’ve ever had in my life and I can’t stop thinking about you. I can’t not compare him to you. Even as he lingers in my doorway all I can see is your body leaning over mine and that blonde hair falling over your left eye. I can’t forget the way you made me feel. I can’t forget it because you tattooed your mark onto my skin in all sorts of places. My hands, my neck, my elbow, my thighs. When I catch my own reflection in the mirror, all I see are your your eyes looking into mine and I can’t help but miss you.
When did we slip into the room, together? How many semi-awkward dates and drunken sex does it take for stranger to become familiarity? How many hours of conversation and text messages back and forth need to happen before that man becomes home? Until his name becomes almost as regular as seeing your own, until he’s the first one you think of to tell anything to, until you stop telling your friends things about your relationship. When do two become one? I don’t remember exactly when that all happened with me and you, one day it just kind of did.
I remember when you first called me your girlfriend. You’d just picked me up from the train station and we were sitting on the metro platform and you were telling me a story where you had told someone you were picking up your girlfriend from the station. Then you stopped yourself and said, “I hope that’s okay I called you my girlfriend.” And I wanted to smile so big because it was beautiful and amazing and definitely more than okay, but I still wanted to play it cool, so I think I shrugged and said, “Yeah.” I don’t really remember because that’s one of those moments where whatever is happening inside is way, way bigger than whatever façade your portraying on the outside.
I don’t remember exactly when I knew I was going to fall in love with you. I kind of do. But it’s too impossible to pin point one moment and I don’t really believe there’s one moment where you stop and go: “It’s happened I’m in love!” But if I’m going to be honest I knew I was going to love you from our first date when you were standing behind me at the bar and there was something so natural in that moment there I just felt like we were going to be good together and I could see it all ahead of me.
I think that’s what I’m waiting to happen again. Slow is good, too. You do have to give people chances and get to know them. But with you, baby, that was magic. That was love. Right from the goddamn beginning. And it didn’t matter that we were drunk and that I didn’t even remember your name. Like I said in my goodbye letter to you: In one sense, what happened between us was gradual and subtle. On the other hand, you came into my life like a fat man cannonballing into a swimming pool and the ripples in the water never really seemed to fade. You laughed when I read that part. But I don’t know if you ever fully understood what I meant.
What you meant to me. What reading you that letter meant.
The water’s still rippling, Parker. It’s almost still. But if you sit and watch it very closely, you can see the movement still there, ever so slightly. Kind of like waiting for you in a doorway, waiting to be kissed by you.