01-05-08| 8:07 am

There is a man sleeping next to me. For the last eight hours. I have slept perhaps four of these.

I understand. I had to grow but I had to do it slowly. I had to let him bruise me, a little at a time, because at I was the girl who would never be hurt. Can't we finish, though; the learning process is over and can't we just enjoy it?

I stared at the ceiling. He pulled me close and landed unconscious apologetic kisses on my shoulder. My head rested on his arm and it grew sticky with tears that escaped despite regulated breathing and clenched teeth. His body over mine was a vise and I imagined breaking free, writing the things I had to write. Do not spend the morning with him. Do not forget that this is wrong. Recounting for hours what I was going to say when we woke up.

He broke away, innocent and asleep. Suddenly his heat was not at my back and a shift of my leg made it so that only our ankles touched and right then I wanted nothing more than his body to drape back over mine. The small strip of skin on skin burned furiously and so did the tears trying to force themselves out, so did the breaths trying to stream ragged from my lungs.

I had to let him bruise me, a little at a time. Necessary measures--chip away at the enamel coating on my heart. He has painstakingly taught me what it is to be brave and not get hurt, and also what it is to be brave and get hurt. Maximum gains, minimal pain but I don't think there was a way to move on without hurting.

I did not expect love to come so easily; much easier to start than to stop loving. Still, he sleeps. I want to love him until he wakes up.