I watch you drink cold water from a bottle, and lean in to kiss you quickly, while your lips are still cold like strawberries.
It is hot in the subway station, and I am sweaty from my work out. The kiss electrifies me. Your hair is damp, your forehead beaded, but you do not seem to mind the temperature. Relaxed, your eyes are on the tracks, but your mind is elsewhere.
In the restaurant I stare openly, one graceful hand is cupping your chin, while the other rests easily on my knee. You don’t notice or don’t mind me looking, eyes tracing and retracing the shape of your brows, the fullness of an earlobe. At times I am jealous of your daydreams. I try to bring you back, poking and nudging. Impatient, like a child tapping at the glass of a sleeping gerbil’s cage.
Tonight I sit and watch, thinking thoughts of my own.
Is it my imagination, or have you begun to gaze less at me, and more into the sky? Do you watch me when I am unaware, or have I become a backdrop, common and utilitarian as a dinner plate or a wooden pencil? I remember those early dinners, the way we leaned over our salads in animated talk. Those early visits to your Manhattan apartment when I liked to lay my head in your lap and watch you watching me. In those days I feared that you loved me more than I loved you.
I move my hand to meet yours, hooking my forefinger over your thumb. Your fingers reply with a small caress, one finger is petting my knuckle. I have always loved the way you touch me. When I wake up in the night with your chest against my back, toes tucked into the arch of my foot, I don’t wonder what you’re thinking.
It is the daytime when you leave me, in the house or on the train, standing warm beside me with your eyebrows raised and your eyes unfocused. In the daytime I try not to ask again and again,
“What are you thinking?”
Perhaps I am a pest, like a dripping faucet or a tenacious fly, diving and humming around you. An annoyance just waiting for a swat.
Sometimes these days I worry that I love you more than you love me.
And then you show me what you’re doing, and I sniff your ear. And then you laugh and bury your face in my belly to make a loud raspberry.
And then I go to bed smiling, knowing that when I wake up your hand will be on my shoulder, and your toes will be tucked into the arch of my foot.