I have to try to be the kind of beautiful I want to be for you. And it is so hard. It’s not just about what I look like; it’s about what I have to offer. What if my bandwidth is broken? I used to have lots of interesting things to say; now, I’m consumed with diapers and duties and dance lessons. I have to try so hard to be the beautiful I think you desire. And some days, I don’t have the energy. So I just roll over so you’ll think I’m asleep.
But I’m afraid that one day, you’ll stop touching me.
I know it makes no sense – I discourage the touching but I’m secretly afraid it will stop. It makes no sense to me, either. Inside of me says yes but outside says no. I’m afraid that you will really see who I have become and decide you’d rather not, you know, see me. I’m consumed with the thoughts of what it means to be a good mother and while I want more time with you alone, I desperately miss our girls when I am not with them. I feel guilty for neglecting you because 98% of my energy goes to the kids and sometimes, I can barely muster that last 2% for you. And when I do, there is nothing left for me. In tending to you, I neglect myself. And I resent you. Then I resent myself. So I lie there with my eyes closed, listening to the TV, not acknowledging your advances.
And still, you want to touch me.
I can’t even begin to understand why. I’m not the fresh faced, bright eyed girl of my youth. But I can’t help but wonder if that is what you see when you look at me. Because when I look at you, I see that boy – existing solely on artificial confidence and authentic intellect. The boy I fell in love with when we were sixteen and again when we were twenty-six. You’ve barely aged and yet, I see some gray. Perhaps the filter with which I see is what hasn’t changed because time, I know, has not stood still. Your hands feel the same as they did when we were teenagers – the strength in your arms just as committed, just as sincere, just as safe.