Fantasies of that idyllic day: The kitchen island stacked with wine and cheese, pie and eggs, and cocktails, made by his mates—A couple in the bliss of togetherness for years now, sitting across that island from you and him.
There's an expectation of equality, between them who have everything—in their award-winning apartment and fulfilment already found—and the two of you, you and your lover. Despite your only year long romance.
But this is what it's like to have a little piece of bliss. Pretending or partaking? Lounging in the glow of him, as if the outside world didn't matter at all. Talking of the little troubles, never the big ones, because all the shadows seem minute in the face of this radiance. It's not a contest, but you want to impress, to show them that you're a worthy mind, a worthy lover for their friend.
And the space between the two of you narrows with every drink, every bite, every kiss. Until the closeness lulls you into that peace longed-for since you were little and knew you wanted to love and be loved.
Then comes the interloper to your garden, who knowing your lover's history, his lingering romance of the past, who asks: What are the two of you? Are you dating now?
And him, your lover, turns to you and says, you get to decide.
And all of this day catches in your throat. Because you want to answer yes.
You want to pretend that this is a thing that could last.
That you don't have plans this evening to meet and fuck another boy.
That he is yours and you are his.
That you could draw out this taste, draw out these afternoons with him, those nights spent gazing into each others' eyes under the blazing lights of the city, those mornings you spent clinging on to him in bed.
But you hesitate, and give into uncertainty.
And your answer comes so much like acid: Why would you say that?
And the moment ends, question lingering. You've never given me the impression that I had a choice—you want to say—that you were within reach with the gulf of old loves and unforgotten trauma between us. But these words have no place here.
He only laughs. So do you. As you lie against him, and as the contentment of your day slips under a roiling black of sunset. You leave the apartment lightheaded, still heady from the wine. Pondering this.
The words will simmer in you like a little taste of what could be. A beautiful lie or paradise within reach?
You will throw his words at him in tears months later. When confessing your feelings, you ask him why he was ever cruel enough to give you the illusion of choice, this little piece of everything, if he'd only wrench it away now. He throws in your face the reason you left that evening, for another boy.
You will look back, thinking of how you could have answered differently. Yes, he's mine. Yes, we're dating. Could pretending it was have made it real? You will look back, wishing you never left behind that little piece of bliss for another fleeting embrace in the night. You will wonder if it even matters that you did.
You will press him for this longed for certainty, and his answers will never be enough. You will wonder, what rift separates the man you want to be, and the man that you are. Did he ever or never love you? Or did love turn cold in the wake of decisions such as these?
You will never know, and for that will remain poisoned forever.