e eat dinner and watch a movie and drink a bottle of wine and I am ready to tell you that I love you, but saying the words out loud is difficult. I have even practiced my reaction, or lack of reaction, if you do not say the words back.
Will you take a shower with me?, you ask.
You have seen me naked, but only by candlelight. I’m sure you’ve seen the scar; you’ve just been too polite to ask about it.
I hesitate before saying yes. I am not physically perfect; I am not as breathtaking as I think you are. You will see the scar that wraps its away around my body, the only sign of a series of surgeries I’ve had to remove the skin left behind after I lost 110 pounds during my sophomore year in high school. You have seen me naked, but only by candlelight. I’m sure you’ve seen the scar; you’ve just been too polite to ask about it.
You undress and turn the shower on. I wait for you to get into the shower before I take off my clothes. I turn off the lights. You have lit candles, so the room is not completely dark. What are you doing rabbit?, you ask.
Mood lighting, I say.
I get in the shower, and you get out of the way so I can get under the water, and it is hot, the way we both like it, and I wipe the water out of my eyes and shake my head to get the water out of my hair, even though my hair is short and very little water is in it. You kiss me. And I like kissing you under the hot water in your shower. We are each getting hard. You get on your knees and you take me in your mouth and you suck me off until I come.
Thank you, I say.
I should thank you, you say. I like your come.
I tell you about my surgeries and how the belly button I was born with was cut away during one. My surgeon made the belly button I have, I say. He did a good job on it. You stick your finger inside my belly button and you laugh.
It feels weird, you say.
I could have had him leave it off, I say.
No, you say, that would have been even weirder.
My doctor was very proud of this belly button, I say. He said he sculpted it to be fairly perfect.
You should pride yourself on sculpting a fairly perfect you, you say. Then you kiss me.
I don’t look like a page from a magazine, I say.
That’s all right, rabbit, you say. You look like a page from a magazine I have been waiting for, and now that my first issue has arrived, I am not going to cancel my subscription.
I like this, you say, rubbing the hair on my chest, stomach, legs, and arms. You can never shave any of it off.
OK, I say. I laugh. I think you like the hair on my body because you have mostly dated Asian and Latino men and they did not have very much, if any, hair on their bodies.
We finish our shower, and after we dry off, you raise my arms and roll deodorant in my armpits and then you do the same to yourself. You wipe the roll of deodorant above your cock and you do the same to me.
It is after 1 a.m. when I tell you I have to go.
Wait, you say. Let me pee. Don’t go until I come back.
While you are in the bathroom, I tear a piece of paper out of a notebook you have on your computer desk, and I write that I love you.
I have fallen in love with six people in my adult life. When I write I love you to you, I think that this will be the last first time I tell someone that I love them. I put the note in my pocket.
You come back, and I tell you I need to pee too. In the bathroom, I hide the note under a towel in your linen closet. I can text you after I leave and tell you I have left something for you. I walk back to your bedroom. I can hear you running and jumping into your bed. Inside your room, my bag does not look like how I had left it.
What?, you ask me. You look guilty.
I kiss you, and I grab my bag. I’ll talk to you later, I say.
I had a good night, Will, you say. I wish you could stay.
I do too, D, I say.
Outside, I text you to look in your bathroom. You respond that I should look in my bag. I wait until I get home. I open my bag. Inside is a note: I love you! D. I fold the note in half and put it in my wallet. I want these words in your handwriting with me.
I know why I chose that moment to tell you, but I don’t ask you what in that moment caused you tell me, or, if you had known for a while, why you chose to tell me then.