The question hangs over me like a mobile, answers spinning around my head like the slow, dizzying rotations of tiny airplanes or planets.
“Well?” I say it aloud, pondering the possibilities, weighing how bare I should be.
My eyes scan the mottled ceiling above me, but there are no solutions there. A more leading question might tell me where to go. A slightly less vague quandary might offer me an inkling. That single word and its indeterminate nature, however, just stoke the immeasurable cauldron of molten emotion bubbling inside.
“Well, I’m scared,” I whisper, the words hissing out. “I have this fear–these fears. And they’re numerous.”
I take a deep breath before letting the slow rumbling begin spewing out.
“I’m worried that we’re in different places, or that we’re in the same place only for a moment and headed different ways. I’m worried it’s been too long, that I’m out of practice, that the rules have changed, that I never learned the rules right in the first place.
“I’m afraid that I’m not hearing things right, that I’m not seeing them for what they are, that I’ve misinterpreted or ignored signs along the way and now I’m lost. I’m scared that there’s no manual, no jury, no team of experts correcting my mistakes and helping me get better at this. I’m scared that you’re the one who has to tell me I’m doing it wrong, and if I’m doing it wrong, you might not stick around to tell me.
“I have this fear that I’ll wake up one morning and things will be different. Hell, I know I’ll wake up one morning and they won’t be the same. I’m scared that next time, I won’t recover from heartbreak. I’m scared that there could be a next time, that I couldn’t say whose heart might break.
“I’m worried that everything feels so easy, so comfortable. I don’t have butterflies in my stomach, nor do I jitter when my heart beats. I’m worried that I’ve changed too much, that I’m broken, that things aren’t working like they used to. I’m scared that, once again, I was wrong. And I’m worried I might be wrong again.
“I’m scared that I’m too fat, too old, too inexperienced, too wrong, that I’m too stupid, too verbal, too competitive, too simple, too awkward. I’m scared that you’re too young, too vibrant, too busy, too strong, too driven, too different. I’m worried that together, it’s too much.
“I’m scared of what happens next, of what happened before. I’m worried that I haven’t learned from history, that I’m doomed to repeat it. I’m afraid that books and reading weren’t good enough, that I’m unprepared, that I won’t be able to learn, to adjust, to correct what might go wrong. I’m worried that no matter how many times I’ve done this, it always seems so alien.
“I’m scared that one of us might be making a mistake, that perhaps there really are limited chances and we’ll miss them in our ignorance. I’m scared that I might be right.
“I’m afraid that I can’t do enough, that I’m not good enough. I know you could do better; to be honest, I probably could too.”
I feel hot laying on the covers, flushed from steady flow cascading out of me.
“But,” I rasp, the last sparks flitting into the ether, “I don’t want better.
“I want you.”