He takes my sounds, my words, my too cute catch phrases and makes them his own. As if he thought of them, brought them up from the depths of his memory, his creativity. When he does this - makes these sounds, says these words - I give them back to him. Reinforce that they are his. Like a stingy toddler I want to declare that they are mine.
"Yes, you can use them, but remember that I gave them to you. Tell others."
I hear the sitcom laugh-track break into me, telling me I'm being ridiculous. I am so often ridiculous.
Some couples are smooth together, noncompetitive, a good fit. We are not most couples. We live for originality, nonconformity, a sense that we are not normal. In this endeavor I suppose we succeed. It's an awkward state we cling to like the lifeline of two rock climbers who have just fallen a hundred feet. The safety rope is saving us, but we can't swing in to reach the mountain. We move neither up nor down.
While we hang I count the seconds, the thoughts and the gestures. I measure his moves against what I would have done or how he had done it in my mind. When did this start? In the beginning there was a small spark of interest. He thought I was funny and thought he was a nice guy. The first time we kissed was symbolic of our relationship to come. We were both incredibly nervous. My mouth was so dry that I really should have kept it shut (when do I ever keep my mouth shut when I really should? when will I?). Lust and love propelled me, his rapid heartbeat pulled me, and I couldn't be stopped. I was the tallish, blonde woman dressed all in black. He was the 32 year old guy dressed like the perpetual college student that he is. He kissed me back and held me close. I stood behind him while we waited for his luggage. I forge ahead, look for him to be engaged, then stand back and wait for him to take control. He does not take control.
That small first spark bloomed into a full and beautiful flower of love, but neither of us is an outstanding gardener. The tending of this flower is haphazard and erratic. I can see the browning tips of our petals and, as with all of my plants, I am helpless to stop the process. I overwater and underfeed. We both want to be directed and resent being told what to do. We want to be supported, but do not pursue anything requiring real support. He is a man trying to extend the angst of teendom. I am a woman trying to unearth the drama in the details. I use my independence like a weapon. Silence is his. We are alike in our differences. Our similarities are unique from one to the other. The fit is not comfortable, but the colors are beautiful and I can't seem to justify cutting down the plant and putting its pot away.