I’ve had people claim they need me. More than once, whether repeated by the same individual or proposed by someone new. Over time, I realize that I’m a sucker for dramatic proclamations, all these facsimiles of love born from convenience and not the heart. Perhaps some part of me purposefully brings men into my life who are confused about their own desires. I need two hands to count the number of times I’ve been told they don’t normally open up, how surprised they are to have told me some secret of theirs. What I don’t need is a single limb to count how many have reciprocated the closeness I felt in hearing their stories, in seeing them vulnerable. I’m just a vector, it turns out. And for what precisely, I don’t know. I’ve just come to see myself as a halfway house, a place to rest as they search for themselves among whatever wreckage they’ve brought into their lives.
Once they put themselves together, they’ll move on. The art of letting go before they fall away is something I will never learn. And I will lose my footing, and I will break in places both known and unknown to me each time. Because love, at least for me, is nothing more than pain.