You take me to the cliffs for our second “official” date. You tell me a couple of weeks ago, how you stumbled into the cliffs at the sea and I wanted to be there with you the next time you go, I wanted to be there sharing the ocean with you, sharing myself with you.
You are more courageous than me, more daring, more explorative. I am always drenched in anxiety. Always looking for things that can go wrong. Always waiting for things to burn and set me on fire when I least expect it. You are the person gently pushing me to heal, to survive, to live fearlessly.
The journey to the cliffs I’ll admit, I can barely remember. My anxiety was riding shotgun in a daladala ride I’d convinced you and myself that I’d be fine with. I felt safe being with you, but a woman sat next to me and her body kept touching mine and i wanted to ask you if we could switch seats, I wanted to re-tell you how I do not like being touched, I wanted to offer my seat next to you to someone else so I could stand and have more control of how other people’s bodies crashed into mine, but I didn’t. And so I spent my entire journey trying not to feel violated by strangers bodies.
My body trusts you. She is not scared of you, she does not shrivel up into a seven year old girl or a fourteen year old teenager when you reach out to touch her. She likes being close to you and held by you. She feels safe next to you.
I remember the cliffs, the journey from the cliffs. I remember laughing and smiling. I remember licking the top of my lip and pointing out how salty my skin had become, we decided that it was probably because we were sitting close enough to the ocean for the wind to transfer its salt onto our skin. I remember you laughing at me licking my arm in three different spots to see if it too was salty. I remember laughing when you took off your glasses and became in awe of all the colors of the ocean that your (now tinted) spectacles had deprived you of. I asked if you could see the little fishing boat in front of us and you said on a bad day, my eyesight is at 144p and i laughed at that reference.
I remember you kissing me. Not courageously, but softly. I remember my mind doing the math of the last time my body had set itself on fire only to melt in someone’s mouth and I cannot remember. I cannot remember feeling desired without being taken advantage of. I cannot remember being touched or kissed without the urgency of having to give my body back in exchange.
I remember the bus ride back home, mostly because i had relaxed enough to allow my anxiety to take a back seat. Mostly because i had a cherry flavored popsicle in my mouth and you by my side. Mostly because when we were leaving the cliffs you kissed me (i leaned into you for a kiss) and you looked into my eyes when we pulled apart and i felt a longing, a loss, a what does this mean?
I know all of this is temporary now. I know you will not be here in a few months. I know it will hurt and maybe i will cry. I know i will miss you, i know you will be close by and yet far away. I do not know if you will ever come back, but i will hold this, these memories, these feelings, i will keep writing and writing and writing them to remember the time and the months we spent together.