He’s making fried chicken from scratch, dredging each piece. I catch his process out of the corner of my eye and wonder at how elaborate and gentle it is. He catches me looking, and I avert my gaze quickly.
“You’re so cute,” he says.
And I have no idea what he means by that, but I can’t work up the courage to ask him. I don’t know if he’s complimenting me. Or being sarcastic. Or dismissing me. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the last thing I said to him. Or what I’m doing right now. Which is loading the dishwasher.
Or was. Until I got distracted by his cooking process.
Fuck, I think. He’s using a ton of different dishes. He probably wants me to hurry up and finish this and stop dawdling. So he’ s got a place to put the dirties. Do you really want fucking salmonella death juice everywhere, Page? HONESTLY.
I know it’s my mom’s voice in my head. Well, her sentiments, but in my cadence. Our language never quite lined up, part of why communication has always been difficult with her. And why if we weren’t related, if we lived next to each other at an apartment complex or something, that we would have locked eyes when we took out the trash, avoided each other. Silently judged one another by small indicators: Her by how many times I miss the pick-up date. Me by how forced her smile is. And how quickly it turns when she thinks I’m not looking.
The dishwasher’s unloaded. I grab a dirty from the sink.
“Honey,” I ask him. “I popped into your life out of nowhere. Why do you trust me?”
He smiles. Lets out a little laugh. Gets that look on his face that he does when he says I’m cute. I still haven’t learned exactly what it means. We haven’t been dating long. Introverts are always tough for me to read. And of course, I’m a big ball of issues, and that’s an obscuring mist over everything.
“Because I do,” he replies.
And I’m so confused that I ache. But too afraid to ask any more questions.
The fried chicken he makes is delicious.
The Trust Fall Point
Like a lot of us, Skyspook has a lot he can’t say that he can’t find the right words for (he’s actually a better writer than he thinks he is, Dunning-Kruger/impostor syndrome, more on that later). And even when he does say the right words, I find lots of ways to argue against it that are really unhelpful to both of us (Martin is also a lawyer).
It doesn’t matter. I have to trust him anyway.
It’s a trust fall point. It’s just like that wacky teambuilding exercise. The really dorky one. Where one person falls back, and the other has to catch them. Y’know, like the Nestea Plunge.
It’s terrifying. And crazy. And you might get super hurt. You have no way of knowing.
Time helps. But at some point you gotta just let go.
It’s the price of risk you pay for the reward of being loved.
I hate it. But I do it.
And I bet you do, too.