He's confused. Too shy. His sister died of leukemia when he
was thirteen. He's not over his wife yet. He's intimidated
by your sarcastic sense of humor. You're smarter than he is
and he can't handle it. He's lost. He doesn't know
what he wants. He's never had a long term relationship. He's
young. He works too hard. He's brilliant, contemplative, needs
to learn that it's okay to be vulnerable. Immature. Terrified.
He needs to grow out of his Peter Pan syndrome. But you know what?
She really hurt him.
Remember when he pushed your hair out of your face and tucked in behind
your ear just like in the movies? And worked hard to make the perfect
tuna casserole, sweat gleaming from his forehead under your kitchen
light. He admired the dew on spider webs and knew his fauna well.
That one time, he said something so funny you almost peed your pants.
Remember when you studied together at the Café Gourmet and
you pretended to read The Color Purple and he was so beautiful, looking
down at his book, his hand resting on his cheek, writing in the crooked
left-handed way of his. He admired your Betty Page poster. He says
your name before he comes. He's affectionate after. You both
love Annie Hall, making fun of stupid movies, sushi, Indian food.
You agree you're not sure what happens when you die, but the
two of you verge on hopeful atheism. He said you are the sexiest woman
he's ever met. He did the dishes without you asking. He's
not bad in bed. If only he would read something besides Nietzsche
or Jack Kerouac.
He's in medical, dental, law, graduate school, trying to finish
his dissertation on Chaucer. He can't leave, Maggie, his golden
retriever, overnight. He once had major surgery. He doesn't
realize he's homosexual. They moved around a lot when he was
a kid. His mother was a bitch, cold, too protective, insane, unsteady,
emotionally abusive, demanding, a martyr. His father made him play
football when he didn't want to. He's an only child.
He taught you how to identify a deciduous flower, appreciate the artist
Lempicka, comprehend Aristotelian philosophy, admire alternative country
music, pick a good avocado, appreciate vintage Spiderman comic books.
His parents divorced and he still blames himself. His parents have
been married for thirty-five years and he's afraid he'll
settle for a love less bright or some shit. He's an Orthodox
Jew. He's moving to New York in three months. He has a yet-to-be
diagnosed personality disorder.
He would never hit you. He's a feminist, a vegetarian, a fallen
Catholic, a poet, a canoe-maker, a yogi. He said, You're the
smartest person I've ever met. He bought you a beautiful red
dress and took you out to dinner and then fucked you over a chair.
He knows how to talk to babies. You look prettier without make-up,
he said. His life--it's too complicated right now.
You shouldn't have slept with him the first night. You shouldn't
have waited. You confessed too much. You didn't tell him how
you really feel. You shouldn't have said that thing.
It's not him; it's you.