fear of falling

I don’t want to say what I’m about to say for the sake of being sweet or so that you will think I’m nice after I’m done talking
Because the most basic recipe for tragedy is two lonely people blended together with a liberal dose of fiction
And I’ve gotten sick on too many sugar-coated hallucinations to get sucked into another gingerbread house of addiction.

Tonight is not a safe feeling. See how I’m staring you down like the edge of a canyon wondering what it would be like to just fall.

I have a history of falling. I was the kid who trusted the ground enough to not look down when they were tying my shoes together. I was the walking sucker-punching-bag kids came crawling to beat on after the bullies kicked their asses at recess.

And you would think that this would have made me tougher but instead it just made me more sensitive. Not sensitive in the sense of listening to yoga tapes and crying during romantic comedies. Sensitive like twenty-year-old sores you still can’t touch without me smacking you without meaning to.

So I say these things for the sake of explaining that when I think about falling I also think about landing. About the impact of skin that still burns when we touch. About the road rash memories I can’t just brush off because I happen to think you’re the best thing that’s happened to me in years. (Possibly ever.)

See how I’m holding my breath for the sake of not screaming. See how I bite my tongue until it’s bent into a question.

I can see wishing wells in your eyes that keep asking for more. And it isn’t fair for me to ask them not to. But it isn’t fair to not show them how when I think about falling in I also think about falling out, and how both can end with a hard landing.

I’m not nice and I’m not sweet. I’m the firstborn son of an open wound. The words torn from a mouth that never quite knew when to shut. The forest fire struck from stones colliding in all the wrong places.

I could be your little wet tragedy; I could be your hot-damn hell-peddling blow-job Jesus-junkie; I could make you cry and tell me all your secrets on the first date.

So DON’T call me nice. Call me careful. When I say I don’t want to rush in, it’s not because I believe in old-fashioned marriage. It’s because I don’t believe in modern divorce. I’ve had my heart peeled off the sidewalks of too many lovers who dared me to jump to believe that gravity is anything but unforgiving.

And the most basic recipe for dignity is two wounded people who know how much it hurts to be touched in the wrong places so please let’s take this slow. And I’ve got faith that when the taste of freedom is breathed into the space we leave between us, that wind can hold us up and there is room to fall safely.