CTK Carrico’s ” For Gwen”

                                             For Gwen
                  Thank you for helping me understand

I woke up shaking again. All I want to do is curl up and disappear into nothingness when that happens. The origin is long past, but, I can still feel his large hands causing the ache through my body when I sleep. Fragments of memories, laughter submerged in pain. How the past affects us is undeniably etched into every bit of our being. The circles always under my eyes, weighing them down, the contrast of light skin and eyes with the  darkness. I guess it’s a reflection of me.


I see her walk into the room, smile at me as her eyes light up a bit and she pulls me in for a hug. I melt  a bit and hug her a bit more gently than she me. Her Texas Cowgirl lips wrap themselves around my name in her greeting. All I can do is sigh and bashfully ask how she is as I feel my blood shoot its way though my body to my face. If my flush weren’t enough of a give away of how I feel, my eyes changing colors to a vibrant turquoise while my pupils dilate will definitely be an indication.

I can’t afford to have feelings for anyone, the possible pain behind it and my nature to protect others, even from me, keeps me at a distance. My joking and smiling all the time is to put others at ease.


We lower ourselves into our seats across from each other, I fold my legs under my chair to make sure she has enough leg room. I’m completely engrossed in her mundane, responding to her questions, in a bubble, our own little biosphere that the lanky waiter invades to take our beverage order. We each get Thai Iced tea and continue our conversation. Her playful laugh is out this evening. When I start to feel as though I’m looking too intensely at her, I cast my eyes down to the table between us.

It would be wrong to hold her hands or make any physical contact. She doesn’t see me as more than a friend. I’m just lucky to have the people I have in my life, her included. Her happiness here is what really matters.


She glances over my shoulder, her eyes smile, she looks back at me and softly says “please don’t be mad.” Confusion shrouds my face as she stands and her hands fly up, a huge smile planted in Texas Cowgirl red, as I turn to see what she’s seeing, her hands in the air pop the bubble that was surrounding us, I feel coolness speckling my skin as my blood chills a bit as if the bubble had splattered all over me from its imagined existence. I see two guys walking briskly towards her and understand, she’s setting me up, the flash from disappointment and sadness to a pleasant, greeting smile on my face transitions quick enough that I hope the former goes unnoticed. I turn back towards her and rise to my feet, she answers the question in my face with a wink.

Appearances, expectations, no one sees me as I am. The Mona Lisa’s smile took 12 years to paint on, I take mine off occasionally, but, can slap it back on in an instant.


She introduces me to the two guys, we smile, shake hands, one slides in next to me, the other next to her and I see the pick has been made. I take a deep breath and we converse. I’m good in social situations. I can feel myself burning as she flirts, giggles and touches the guy to her right. I play interested in the spewing coming from the guy to my left, Mike. Conversation like this has a formula, by one reaction you can tell what is going to be added in next. I’m a quarter listening to him to know how to respond, a quarter listening to her and her guy, Jeff, a quarter trying to figure out what Mike’s going to try for and my exit strategy, and the last quarter, how we’ll split the bill. Maybe this will be a free meal, that would be worth a kiss for him if he pays, but, I’m getting dessert if that’s the case.

When a man starts discussing sex, there usually is something behind it. What has our society come to where if a woman likes sex, she’s supposed to want it with every man? If a woman is bisexual, she’s supposed to want it with every woman AND every man, orgies galore.


Mike places his hand on my leg when making a joke that’s not extremely funny or clever. I smile politely and move my legs over a bit, he doesn’t take the hint. I look over, she’s laughing wholeheartedly with Jeff, glances over to make eye contact with me and lifts an eyebrow slightly. I give a little smile to put her at ease. She’s enjoying herself, I won’t ruin that for her.

Giving up happiness for others is something I do naturally. I will be left as little, possibly, but, her smile is real, deep, from the heart.


We finish our meal and got up to leave. She and I had already discussed going to the movies, so, it’s the four of us. Boy*Girl*Girl*Boy. I turn to her and whisper “you should have told me.” She softly asks “I  know you would have said no, he’s a good guy.” Mike’s hand is back on my leg, looking for my attention, we get back into a conversation, answering the trivia questions on the screen. Banter is easy, safe, it’s hard to get too close when you’re joking around. I keep from putting a hand on him when laughing, he doesn’t do the same, oh well.

The idea that “no” means “yes” has gotten out of hand. I hope that he understands the limits others haven’t. I’m not in the mood for a fight tonight. Not in the mood to have to degrade him, defend myself, physically or verbally.


The lights lower, the previews come up, I feel Mike to the left of me lean in,take a deep breath and whisper in my ear that I smell good, his breath licking my ear and throwing chills down to my toes and back up. I turn my head in shock, finding myself face to face with him. When I realize how close his face is to mine, I just mutter “thanks” and look away.

Being too close to people makes me uncomfortable, people I know, people I don’t. Physical contact is something I long for and push away. That goes for any kind of contact. I fear rejection and being alone almost as much as I fear being close to someone.


I feel him looking at me for a moment longer as I let myself get “deep” into the preview as if I’d really like to see the movie about aliens taking over the bodies of people in a ship. Mike’s hand slides over the arm of my seat, lands in my lap, linking his fingers in mine. I feel her on my right, tap my leg, I close my eyes as I feel the static from her touch running through my veins. I imagine her hand being in mine and squeeze it unconsciously, I feel Mike’s finger caressing my hand and shutter, he mistakes it for excitement.

False hope is worse than no hope at all. I don’t know how she sees me when she says she’s done dating men and wants to go back to women, yet, here we are. I keep closed off.


I hear her kissing Jeff to my right. Mike must have noticed as well because I feel him nuzzle in closer to me, he takes his hand out of mine and pulls it back over the armrest, whispers that his hand was falling asleep, I whisper back that it’s ok, he asks me what, so I turn towards him and repeat what I’d said, we’re face to face again, he folds the arm up from between us and leans in, kissing me, taking my hand again.

Public displays of affection should be kept to a minimum. They are a way to point out to the rest of the population that you don’t respect for anyone but yourself and your desires


I pull away gently, say I have to use the restroom, walk out as quick as I can. I get to the ladies’ room, go into a stall and start taking deep breaths. I can’t do this. He’s a nice enough guy, but, I can’t do this. The door creeks open and I hear my name, her voice, I sigh and respond, step out of the stall, her
standing in front of the mirror, reapplying her lipstick, looking at me in the reflection. I wash my hands to keep up the show. She asks me if everything is alright and turns to me. Face to face, I shudder, smile.

If you can’t accept what life gives you, ask for more. Fear can be considered taking care of others or letting yourself down.



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