I saw Tom again last Thursday for the first time in nine days. We haven’t been apart for that long in ages, so I was slightly nervous before he came and had to get used to him again. It struck me how much I love his smell and how incredibly sweet it is to hug him. It’s what I missed most when my illness kept us apart. I think we also kissed a little and that was nice, too, but didn’t cause such a strong reaction. It was lovely to look at him and talk to him face to face across the table at dinner.
After dinner, we hugged for the longest time, kissing now and then. Tom said once more that he cared about me so much. Oh, it’s so good to hear this, and hear it again and again! It silences my doubts and my inner critic quite effectively. But I still find it hard to believe. I said, ‘Me, too,’ and we kissed a little more passionately. After a moment’s hesitation, I said, ‘I somethimes can hardly believe it.’ I want him to know how I feel, and yet worry about sounding submissive or needy. I’m just insecure, though, and it’s still so new and seems like such a wonderful, incredible thing to me. I also remember saying that if one couldn’t have something for a time, it was all the sweeter afterwards.
After ages of kissing and hugging, standing beside my bed, I made the first move to lie down and we continued kissing. I was half on top of him and held his head and sometimes kissed his neck. He kept very still and turned his head a little and I assumed he liked it. I wonder why he never takes off my clothes anymore. Was he truly disgusted by my skin? I am, and I would be if Tom’s skin was like that. Or it could be that he noticed how uncomfortable it made me and doesn’t want to press me, wants to give me time. The thing is, I can’t imagine ever undressing on my own for him, however much I may want to feel his touch, without strong signals that he doesn’t mind the skin and that he wants me to. I need that from him. But I fear that if I ask, he will tell me what I want to hear and I won’t know if he truly means it or just doesn’t want to hurt me. So I wait. But what if he’s waiting, too? We’ve played this game too many times before, and it was always me who broke down first under the pressure of uncertainty and took the first step. It was like that when I asked him if we could text more frequently, when I asked if he wanted to be more than friends, and it was like that with our first kiss, which was our first non-platonic touch. But this time, I can’t. He had a period where he was more bold, around Christmas, but now it’s been weeks where we always do the same and don’t go further.
We held each other close and sometimes talked, sometimes were silent. Our hands met and let go again, and he stroked my arm, my hair, and I his neck, his collar bones and the dimple where they meet the sternum (I think that place is one of the most beautiful parts of a human body), his ears and head and face. Once I said that I had wished for just that when I missed him: being close to him and talking about everything and nothing. He said among other things that he isn’t planning a visit to his family until Easter. And he finished an important exam with top marks where most people fail. I kissed him because he was so clever and I was proud of him. His talent makes him attractive, definitely. From my viewpoint on his chest, I saw his mouth and chin. His lips were mostly smiling faintly. I also said, ‘Oh, it’s so special, such a luxury, to have you’. I find it easier to say such things when we are not looking into each other’s eyes, but are close. And to say them, not write them down. They sound so weak and sentimental written down.
After some time, we got up and got ready for bed. I was very brave and wore my new pyjamas with the shorts and sleeveless top. The shorts are very short and show my thighs with their loose skin. But it’s hot with another person in the bed. And in this way, I can take a step towards meeting Tom half way, showing more of my body in a way that isn’t sexual, so I can actually do it. And I also would never wear such revealing things in public, so pyjamas it is. Nevertheless, I felt self-conscious and took off my dressing gown and got under the covers as fast as possible. But it’s lovely to caress his naked shoulders and feel him do the same to me. Once when I awoke, he was turned the other way and I sleepily kissed his shoulder and the nape of his neck.
When I was ill and missed Tom so much, and now over the weekend when I remembered the last night with him, it struck me how strongly the smallest things make me feel. Things like him touching my waist now and again while I prepare dinner. Rubbing the tips of our noses together, smiling. Half waking up and reaching out to caress his face, or him drawing close and making a sleepy humming sound, or the shoulder kiss I described above, or simple hugs. Yes of course, kissing, holding hands, tenderness, intimacy, all those are wonderful as well, and things I have long wished for and dreamed about. But it’s those small ‘everyday’ things that many people are used to and take for granted, that I have NEVER had, and always witnessed on the screen or with other people, and wondered and dreamed about, that now seem like such a blessing, an almost unbelievable luxury.
It was Valentine’s Day yesterday, but Tom had to work and we couldn’t meet. Valentine’s Day is not traditionally celebrated where I live, but the media have made it popular and I think it is now expected to do something special for your lover on that day. Tom brought up the topic on Thursday and said he was sorry but he had to work, but we would meet the day after. And I said it was ok, and it was. I had no idea for a gift or special date with Tom, and I find the pressure surrounding it daunting, so I was glad that he didn’t make a big deal out of it. We both agreed that the whole ‘flowers and chocolates’ thing was cliché, but that we were happy to have each other. For me at least, every Valentine’s Day so far was filled with a touch of sadness, even when I knew I wasn’t ready for love yet. Now just knowing Tom is in my life makes all the difference. (I almost felt guilty towards everybody who is lonely, just as I feel towards obese people. I know what it’s like.) Nevertheless, a small part of me would have liked him to surprise me with a card or a visit, but I didn’t expect it. I wrote to him, though, and told him that I wanted him to know that he was great and unique and it was wonderful to have him in my life, and that I cared about him so much. And he wrote back that he cared about me, too, and was very happy we had found each other.