The Requirements of Being Sincere

You and me. The phrase just doesn't sit right. It topples over like a weight on one side, wrong by every angle, every detail, every noticeable flaw of us.

Even though we're sitting at a table for two people, which is an intimate thing in itself if you really think about it, we must look strange together. Our eyes are across from each other's, but they haven't met for the last five minutes. Our lips, the same distance, but it's been a while for them too. Somehow, I can't figure out whether our conversation is in a lull, or if this silence is more of a permanent thing.

"How are you?"
"I'm fine."

That was the extent of our conversation. And does it really matter who said what? I tried to bring up something else, some random topic that I deemed acceptable, but you brushed it off with a smile. Just one. I know that you pull up the corners of your mouth only on occasion, but I wonder if you really realize what it does to me. A tiny slit on your face, so small but saying so much, and let me just frame it on my wall? That way I can look at it every night and every day and I won't be able to tear my eyes apart, because that's what you do to me. You only have to look at me once, and I'll never need a razor to suit my masochistic tendencies again. All I need is that one smile of yours that loves to break, break, break my heart, but somehow can never break it all the way.

And what about this? Even this. The picture of you and me walking together on the street but falling away. We gravitate apart by an inconceivable force, the two of us, like there's a magnet pulling you towards your world and there's one pulling me towards mine. And I always turn around, because I can feel that distance between our bodies getting bigger. It is small, maybe, but I've learned to stop measuring space in inches and feet, because what will I do when the distance between us grows too large to count in any kind of measurement? How will I trace my being back to you, find myself in relation to you, know how many heavy breaths I'll have to run through just in order to touch you?

I can't let you go.

I've already given you a part of me, and I would like it if you would hold it gently cupped within your palms like you're holding water, and it won't seep out slowly through the cracks of your fingers if you're careful. And if you feel like stepping on it, give it a little something before you do. That way, at least, it'll have a piece to hold on to when it's hurting. And when you finally break it, I'll find a way to repair it myself. Whatever it is, I'll do it because I can't exist anywhere without you.

Sorry...I might have to say that one more time. I can't exist anywhere without you.

And I'll stay beside you until you make it final, hoping stupidly that something will change. Like how maybe one day, you'll take my hand when I get lost. You'll take off those stilettos, detach that horrible clacking noise, and pad softly onto my apartment floor and into my bed, where we'll make love not sex for the first time. And afterwards, I'll hold your hand and kiss your lips, and you won't pull away. You'll draw closer and kiss me back, and your lips will be full and warm on mine. When that day arrives, I just want to be there.

It might be strange, this whole situation. You and me, if I can just say that one more time. The man is supposed to pull the woman around, carry her on his arm like an expensive Rolex, send her away when he's through. He isn't supposed to cherish her. He isn't supposed to long for her. At the very least, he must pretend like he can live without her. But somehow, I can't do this and somehow, thinking it makes me want to cry.

If I finally discover what the requirements of being sincere are, I'll be sure to write them down a thousand times, not stopping until they're ingrained in my memory. That way I'll be able to spot them on your lips and in your eyes, and by every fragile place that connects us. And if you are lacking a couple of those requirements, I will make up for them with my own sincerity. So at this very table, if I work up the guts to say "I love you," and you end up smiling that heartbreaking thing that kills me, I'll say,

"You have a beautiful smile."