you sit in your new bedroom alone, in the middle of east london. the hairless, obese cat stella is walking away from your door, toenails making clicking sounds that fade into the distance after she realizes she cannot enter. she is unable to continue lying on your new duvet and blankets, leaving her signature musty scent. your door is closed. you already know her smell well despite having lived there for only a week by now.
the last seven days have held a lot. you left the temporary home that you and your former partner of eleven years lived in, in brixton, after shedding many tears. you moved for work, for him, and the constant and reliable things in your life are now work, your body, your mind.
you saw your old friend adam, who was in london for a work trip from brussels, who you thought would have been open to kissing or cuddling or even fucking now that you were single. but it turns out that he wasn't — isn't — attracted to you after all these years, despite a major premise of your friendship (in your eyes, at least) that you would flirt with each other constantly with the idea of something potentially happening if only you were both single. after asking him directly if he would stay in your bed if he came to visit london, and asking him if he would be open to kissing you, and open to fucking you, he said no three times. you thought you didn't mind rejection. after years of wondering, the surprise of this one stung.
you also went out, dancing, late and two nights on the weekend in a row. you kissed a person the first night who followed you after on instagram, but who didn't initially reply when you thought you non-committally yet flirtatiously wrote “Lovely to meet you x”. the person who invited you to the rave, marie, probably would not have suspected that you would kiss their friend. you felt bad, but the kiss felt good. the kiss was surprisingly tender for a dancefloor. after it, you said “whoa,” out loud and looked him in the eyes and kissed him softly again.
the second night out, you didn't kiss anyone but knew that you could have, which made you feel powerful and feel pleasure at the subjunctive potential, and instead you casually hung and danced all night with a young mixed malaysian and cantonese queer boy with a mullet and sheer shirt named vincent and his two white, long-haired lesbian flatmates who clearly wanted to fuck but instead just spoke closely in huddles all night, bodies always touching. you all put cocaine on your gums in the bathroom stall, because vincent said it would help it last longer that way. your entire mouth went numb; the high was more subdued, though your nose did not drip after.
that night, you texted a twenty year old art history undergrad named elliot who you met at a rave in montreal a month before leaving for london:
“i am in love with you elliot”
those words have destroyed everything you thought you knew about yourself on the inside. you feel free, but totally unmoored and like you are at sea and might never go back to dry land. you also only slept two handfuls of hours of sleep the last three nights, and your body is swaying even more because of it.
your head feels unhinged, like elliot could walk into the room and consensually untie the green ribbon around your neck and walk with your head like a prize he's claimed as his own, while you watch the whole time and wonder what the fuck is happening. “take the rest of me,” you'd say, “take the rest of me with you.” you know you won't feel whole anyway unless you know he is about to be around you imminently. unless he is already there, in front of all of you.
he told you he fell in love with you the night you met. he came up to you in the makeshift bathroom at the venue for the latex-y and kink-themed rave chosen by its organizer, who would later learn that the person who owns the venue doesn't give a shit about addressing sexual harassment or the physical safety of his patrons. you see on instagram that the same event won't be hosted there again.
elliot was aggressive, unmoored, unhinged, high on molly and dexedrine; full with the unearned confidence of the young (his words, that he would later write on instagram after he found you the night after meeting you). you were supposed to be monogamous. you didn't think that dressing how you did in nude fishnets and a vaguely kinky-looking strappy, black and tight top would be an invitation to anyone. you did it to please yourself, you wanted to feel good.
you continued to talk since the night that you met nearly three months ago. short sentences, chosen for surprise, bursting with the desire to know and be known with extreme intimacy despite the distances between you; the chasms.
you feel like you should not have let yourself fall in love, no matter how pretty and interesting elliot is, how he makes you feel, and despite the possibility of what you could be and what you likely never will be nor ever share with each other. you are now no longer in control, and you left your former relationship because you wanted to hold every aspect of your life in your hands and tweak things as they fit your desires. your life was to be your own, living for no one and nothing but yourself after feeling your entire life that the purpose of your existence was to make other people — and especially men — happy, comfortable, pleasured.
but you remember that you also want the distances, the chasmic unknown. and the waiting to see elliot now — a few days before you fly back to montreal and eventually see him after you arrive — is completely and utterly unbearable. your hold your head in your hands and write at your desk, surrounded by white and as yet unadorned walls. you feel exhausted and like your body hurts, and you think about how he said he felt wounded and wonder what it means; that you also feel so much pain yet so much longing and an inexplicable and overwhelming sense of curious and electric love all at the same time.