Just One

I see a picture of two guys I follow on Twitter —a couple— hugging each other. Embracing.

And I switch off Twitter idly, and start thinking about something else. And there’s this sour, sick feeling stewing lightly in my stomach. And I don’t know what it is. It takes me a minute— to name it, to realize. It’s jealousy. I’m jealous.


I’m sitting on the matts at a rock climbing gym, watching one of my best friends scale a wall with impossible, spider-like ease, and trying my hardest not to look at the guys all around us.

But I do. I look at the men, the guys in t-shirts and shorts, with deeply lined shoulders and graceful, sleekly bulging forearms and calves, and bright smiles and clean, wholesome haircuts and hipster beautiful tattoos.

And all I can think is “I just want one”.

Just one of them. Not all, not bunches, not a succession, not two or three at a time in a sweaty, sordid tangle.

I just want one.


Because I’m alone.

I go home and turn on the lights and there’s no one there. There’s no one to give me a look when I drop my coat on a chair instead of hanging it up, no one to get exasperated with me when I eat cereal for dinner because I forgot about it until it was too late to cook.

No one to enjoy the way the apartment smells when I finally do cook, no one for me to gush to when something I bake turns out better than I expected and I want to brag. No one to enjoy how good my body looks when I wake up in the morning or the days when my hair works out just right.

No one to hear my laugh while I read Twitter or to lean up against while I watch TV.


I want someone to take care of me, I want someone to like me.


Because I don’t right now.


But even more because, maybe I do.


Maybe I’m just starting to, and this thing, this feeling about myself, is starting to grow, and I’m so scared to raise it by myself.

I don’t know how. I’m not allowed, I don’t know how to care for and like myself, I don’t know if I can. I want someone else to take over, to take control and then I’ll just like them, take care of them, let myself wither in the corner and hope they water me once in a while (or not? That’s fair, I don’t mind).

That’s how relationships work, right? That’s what they’re for. I take care of you, and maybe you take care of me, if you’re not too busy, or too grossed out.


This is so delicate, such a small thing beginning to grow, this self that I’m raising, and I don’t know how to care for it.

I don’t know how to care for me.

So let me lose myself in someone else.

Let them carry the burden of me.


I just want one.


I have no idea what I’d do with him— I know exactly what I’d do. I just want a smile or a touch— I want everything, I want sex and trust and wedding bells.

I want to feel a rush of fear and tingling and shock when he first slips his hand into mine, I want to feel a bloom of familiarity and comfort when he does it thousandth time.

I want to cup the smooth ball of his shoulder and run the tips of my wandering fingers down his cheeks. I want to mope when he cuts his hair or shaves and then come around once I get used to the new look.

I want to cock my eyebrows suggestively and light a secret fire in his eyes, I want to feel his hands idly trace over my body and feel myself relax completely in his arms and against his chest.

I want to hear him laugh and watch from the sidelines while he gets distracted by something he’s fascinated by. I want to listen to him get absorbed talking about something he’s passionate about, watch him laugh when I gush about TV shows or rattle off bird facts.

I want to feel the burning sizzle of his scrutiny as he examines and memorizes every inch of my body, feel the heat from his skin as I do the same to him.

I want to run my fingers through his hair and drape my hands across his forehead while he lays his head in my lap.

I want to curl up against him while I watch TV, and do my favorite thing with my favorite person.

Sit with him in the dark in a movie theater, walk through the city with him at my side, lit by streetlamps and passing headlights, have him across from me while I (we) eat, to talk to on the lightrail or the bus.

I want to listen to him complain about his classes or his job, accept the stories from his childhood and pester him to tell me what he was like in college, and in highschool, because I want to know them too, those past versions of the man I love.


I just want one.


And I don’t know how to sit with that desire, what to do with it, if I should smother it to death with a pillow or let it grow and breed. Because there are more desires, more things to want, and I’m afraid if I want them I’ll never get them. That I need to cross my fingers and close my eyes, because wants are like spoilers. Because what if when I want something I imagine it too big, and then the real thing turns out be smaller, and weaker, and not as rich and satisfying as I imagined it to be.

That has to be true, right? How could real life ever match what’s in my head?

If I want things, all I’ll ever get is disappointment.

Because maybe I won’t even get the smaller thing, the little, shriveled thing. Maybe all I’ll ever get is nothing at all.

But I still want them so badly.

And I don’t know how to handle that.


I’m so hungry, and all I can think about is food. But I don’t know how to eat.

I’m starving, and I’ve been starving for so long my stomach has shrunk. And if I eat anything, anything rich, anything real, I’ll vomit it all back up.


This— he— would all be too much. Sometimes even just the hunger, just the fantasies, are too much, and it hurts.


But I just want one.