Personal Stories | Relationships
To Every Man Who’s Ever Used Me
It started with hands.
He laid his hands out on the table with his palms facing upward, indicating that I should lay my own on top. I was hesitant, an eczema flare-up had left dark scaly marks where there had once been smooth skin on mine, and I was insecure.
I yielded. He rubbed the marks and told me they didn’t bother him. It was music to my ears.
Then he wanted to touch my face. No one hardly ever touched my face, not even my own mother. He sat adjacent to me, and a table sat between us. It was the first time we had seen each other in person in over a year. Later, he would call our outing a “date.”
As he reached for my cheek, my body stiffened. I must have not hidden it well because his disposition made him look as if he had reached out to pet a snake. As out of place as the gesture was, it felt warm, so I yielded. And I continued to yield.
Before our date, he told me that he wanted to make us work, that if we both put in the effort, we could start a relationship. I agreed, but not after some trepidation because I did not think that I was ready to date. And I think I remember telling him that every guy I talk to loses interest in me — I was being humorous, but it was true. He still wanted to pursue creating an us. I’ve never been good at intimacy — I mean real intimacy, the kind that keeps couples together for decades. You might as well try to explain quantum theory to me. I’m sure I’d understand that faster than the underworking of a properly intimate relationship. Regardless, I yielded. And I continued to yield.
After the date, some weeks passed, and we had talked practically every day. I was honeymooning. And I began to unravel for him. When I like someone, my affection knows no bounds, and I think that’s the way it should be. So, I showered him in affection, built up his ego even.
But eventually, as my heart began to swell for him, his began to shrink for me. And I felt it. It burned.
It was abrupt, like ripping off a band-aid, only in this case, the band-aid did not help heal the…