That time I slept with G last summer, it wasn’t like I’d imagined.

We had talked about it, G and me, what it would be like to see each other again after so long. “We would probably fall into each other’s arms.” He said, more than once. I grasped at those words and stapled them to my heart.

It had been two years since we last undressed together. Our bodies had changed in that short amount of time. I was less muscular, softer, and he was thin—thinner than I remembered. Time had worn on us. I sensed that he didn’t find my figure attractive, not like he did before. Before when, he used to say things like, “I just couldn’t stand to be away from you a second longer.” That time, four years earlier, I found him naked in my living room, waiting for me.

But this time, sitting in the kitchen of my sublet, self-conscious, and unsure of what I could offer, I explained away the changes with stories of stress and travel. He nodded and said, “You’re still super slim.” I think, to make us both feel better. Then he said, “Come here.” And I went to him, and he kissed me hard and full on the mouth.

Years ago, when we were lovers, he would hold me close and we would sway side to side, dancing, my face pressed into the skin of his shoulder. His hair was a bit long, and with a single finger, I would twirl a lock of it, making a small curl at the nape of his neck. I think he liked it. Sometimes, he would twirl me around. I must have been very beautiful back then because he would pause and take a look at me and say wow. And then, an hour later, sometimes less, he would go home.

In the kitchen, we re-created that moment and it felt crude and ill-performed. I remember how, when he twirled me, I moved slowly—not to lengthen the moment, but because I didn’t want him to see that I was crying. I didn’t want him to know that I was regretting the very thing that I had been dreaming about, longing for. Suppose I was also trying to hide from myself the fact that I was doing it again—harming myself, reproducing the very injury I’d sought to redress.

Later on, in bed, he told me that he and his partner broke up. I admit, I felt heartsick for him but also hopeful that now would be our chance. And so when he said, “It doesn’t change things between us.” I ignored it. I thought, he doesn’t mean that.

Once, at the start of our affair, he described me as a little path of lights, daring him to go down. But the thing is, once the matter of the body is penetrated, things change. The body is no longer habitable— a vessel does not pump blood.

Still, I miss those old days when I just an idea, a figure with a specific function—his refuge, and he, my saving.

At least, I believed that.

Jocelyn M. Ulevicus has a background in Social Work, Psychology, and Public Health. Her work focuses on exploring the terrain of family violence and re-humanizing oneself after trauma and has been published in magazines such as Mindful Matter, Entropy, and Life in Ten Minutes. Ms. Ulevicus currently resides in Amsterdam and is finalizing her first book, a memoir, titled The Birth of A Tree.

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