She looks at me as if she’s never seen anything like me before. Like I’m more than just a mass of flesh with skin stretched carelessly over the lumps and curves, rising and falling in monotonous repetition. Like I mean something, not just to her, but to the world. She leans over and I can’t decide where to look; her eyes are beautiful, but they want so much from me. She looks at me like she’s desperate to devour something hidden deep within me.
Sometimes when I’m alone I feel the urge to crumble. I imagine her finding me, and tilting her head, surveying the pieces. I imagine her kneeling delicately on the ground and separating them into various glass jars. I imagine her making labels in her spidery scrawl; ‘lies’ ‘truths’, ‘doubts’, ‘certainties’, ‘fears’, ‘strengths’… I imagine the sky outside growing dark. I imagine her crossing to the window, throwing it open and leaning on the windowsill. She would breathe in a few times, and think very intensely about important things, and then she would withdraw and close the window and marvel at how warm the room was against her cheeks, still flushed with cold from the nighttime air. She’d line the jars up carefully on a shelf, turn off the light, and go to sleep.
She looks at me like she’s waiting patiently for me to fall apart, so that she can inspect every inch of me. I know that one night, her breath hot against the crook of my neck, the skin of her waist slick with sweat, I will break, and she will get her chance.