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pandemic aftermath

blurred reality

2005, 852 words.

1. It's been going on for a year. I mean, nothing is, or was, really going on, but the undercurrent is always there. At first I was repelled, a little horrified, and I also thought it was just me. I'd linger after the others were gone, contriving to get inside his personal space, and there it would be. That very nearly tangible vibration, which definitely caught me unaware. And I knew he was pretty clueless about it. He, being a man, found himself mildly attracted to a woman, big deal. That happens all the time, right?

A couple months ago, we were all hugging goodbye. We always hug, it's the East Coast thing to do, you know. He and I hugged last, and longest. It felt closer, and I know for certain that he felt the same energy. It was a sudden deliberate recognition that we shared, and things have not been quite the same ever since.
 
 
2. The goodbye hugs grew longer and closer. Once I accidentally ran my fingers through the hair at the nape of his neck. Found myself thinking about it later with something like horror, though it had been a rush at the time. He'd pulled me in so close that we were pressed up against each other like, well, like new lovers. Only I had no intention of thinking of him that way. I felt dishonest, enjoying the sensation, knowing I'd never really let it lead anywhere, even if he admitted desire.
 
But then there was the beer. Beer is followed by a lot of hand play; that sort of fiddle-faddle nonsense that people engage in when they want to be touching but won't truly allow themselves the luxury of it.
 
There's definitely no kissing goodbye, not even a hint of it. That is a dangerous territory neither of us seems willing to approach. I don't even really wonder about it. In fact, I'm not wondering about much of anything. There's no conscious desire here, other than to keep feeling the sensation that draws us toward each other. I cannot even bring myself to imagine us together, unclothed. Maybe I simply cannot allow it.
 
 
3. He called me over to do some research on his computer, on which he is practically illiterate. He sat behind me, looking over my shoulder, occasionally leaning in to touch my arm, and I just leaned right back, until we were almost up against each other. He grazed his fingertips across my back, and, quite without thought, I said, "Oh, that feels great. Keep going."

I already wanted him to keep touching me, and had almost given in to the realization when he mentioned the wine. Being fairly picky about wine, my mind jetted off in a new direction, wondering what on earth he was going to offer that I'd feel obliged to accept and pretend to enjoy. Most people know even less about wine than they do about beer. I may not know all that much about it, but I do know what I don't like. To my surprise and relief, though, he'd asked the advice of someone I'd trust, and came up with a pretty decent and quite drinkable red, and then there we were, two people who should probably not be alone together, drinking wine and touching hands, arms, shoulders; pushing or pulling away, then beginning all over again.

God, I couldn't believe it. I had my hands inside his shirt and his were inside of mine. Something shocked me into remembering where I was, and I practically ran out of there, don't know what I said or how I said it, don't know if it really matters.

I've only seen him one time since, and it was all ordinary and pleasantly friendly as usual. No "touching," only a strong hug goodbye.

I guess I'm avoiding him. Part of me wants to, part of me is just so curious that I know I won't stay away for long.
 
 
3.1 I never choose to feel guilty about anything. I simply don't do anything that I know I'd feel guilty about later. What does that even mean, anyway? Why make a decision you don't plan to stand by and feel good about later? And we don't all have the exact same hangups, you know? I don't even feel guilty if I have a couple too many mochas in a week, and if I can't make myself be too bothered over that, I'm sure as hell not going to get worked up over having a little fun with somebody I like and trust.

I'd only feel guilty if I felt I was forcing someone into something they didn't want. Which I would never do, because that would be a poor decision. I just don't work myself into the same kinds of conflicts people seem to spend so much time and energy on. I have other issues, mostly related to not getting enough done in my day, feeling like I'm not quite adequate for all my tasks. But the rest of life? Whatever. It's 2005, hangups are way last millennium. Sex is good, discretion makes it better.

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