The same thing happens almost every month.
A week before my period, I get either depressed or horny or an embarrassing combination of both. The ideal way to cope with my PMS would be to smoke or to suck dick. Unfortunately—or fortunately—I promised my boyfriend to quit smoking and decidedly unfortunately, he’s not available all the time. So, when he’s not around to fill me up, I fill myself up with chocolate instead. It’s a cheap and effective substitute, except on the worst days when I end up flushing all the sugar out of my system by crying. They’re rare, but they’re there.
Only yesterday, in fact.
He genuinely wanted to help. He listened to my bitching and even offered to come over from the other side of town so we could cuddle. It was all so sweet, I forgot about my chocolate cake and cried in the bathroom at Starbucks. I knew he meant it, the way only a man who loved me the way I deserved to be loved could mean. He was making it all so dangerously easy for me, promising to come at a call like that. I imagined him slipping into the chair beside mine, a seat for four I’d purposefully picked just in case he wanted to join me so late in the evening because that was what I secretly wanted. My hands were cold. The whole cafe was cold. Don’t they have a heater? I looked up at the ceiling and saw that it was turned off.
He has warm hands. Even in winter. As someone who has cold hands and feet all year round, he’s the closest thing to a god I’ve ever touched.
I debated an answer for six minutes, wiping tears.
And then declined.
I put my phone down, threw myself into work, and rode it out for three hours at the desk. For milder cases like mine, work is a good painkiller. It involves no casualties, no opinions lost, no hours of time and energy sacrificed in the cold to visit my side of town. It was, after all, his first day-off after a grueling week of work and travel. I hadn’t forgotten his happy text that afternoon: I’m reading a new book. Finally getting to relax! I wanted him to relax.
This is the careful engineering of mind over matter to keep him by my side as a young woman. A specific form of love that can only be given by those who bleed on certain moons. It is one of those rare moments when it takes all my strength to love him the way he deserves to be loved.
By the time I got up to leave, I was lighter. The tears and headaches and inexplicable stones in my chest were, for the moment, gone. Having proved to myself I could beat my body on my own, I deserved to feel better. I could never bear the thought of developing a dependence, on gods or drugs or people. Especially on people. Especially on the person I loved. I would never give him the excuse to think, what a handful.
He doesn’t seem to think I’m a handful. I can tell by his texts. I totally understand where you’re coming from, but I still want to give my babe a hug ASAP. You know I love you. So what are you doing tomorrow?
Only then do I eagerly reply, nothing, nothing at all, which really means I’d been craving his hugs and kisses all day long but that I’m sane enough to wait one more night.
Back home, I sit on the toilet and realize that it’s begun early. The words come spilling out of me onto the ceramic bowl in cursive letter goo.
I love you, too.