A good long while ago I liked a man, the reasons for which now somehow inexplicable. But such is the kindness and clarity of time—of knowing just enough or just a-little-too-much when all is said and done.
Because when the said-and-done had come he was not the right guy. He was not even a good guy. But before I knew too much or even just enough, I thought maybe.
And he thought maybe.
And together we lived in that delicious and fertile place that a maybe is--until we found ourselves on opposite sides of the same answer: no.
And there in the wake of the said-and-done in the land where maybe became a no was the exposed mettle of a man just not good enough.
But I was lonely and had so long accepted his meager kindnesses that I confused his not good enough with my not good enough and that became the story I told myself. That I was not good enough.
Of the few men I’ve known and loved and cared for in this life I’ve stood before each and every one of them and asked them to love me. Not really asking, of course. Not giving voice to what fear rendered silent and desperate. But asking in the absence of those words. Asking in the silence of what I was too afraid to say. I asked by simply not having the courage to assert my worth.
And then I accepted their small and selfish answers.
Yes, but not now.
A little, but not enough.
Not really, but I’ll do what I can to make you think that I do.
None of these things stated explicitly, but derived from the morse code that is shifting feet, hands in pockets, half-smiles, gentle bows of the head.
But it was the asking that was the problem. Even more than the answers. It was the asking that unraveled whatever might have been.