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i lost myself yet i'm better not sad

I hug him tighter, and we stand for an age in a strange embrace, he naked and me wrapped in a robe. I am once again floored by his honesty. He knows nothing about relationships, and neither do I, except what I’ve learned from him. Well, he’s asked for faith and patience; maybe I should do the same.

“Come, let’s shower,” he says eventually, releasing me.Stepping back, he peels me out of my robe, and I follow him into the cascading water, holding my face up to the torrent. There’s room for both of us under the gargantuan showerhead. He reaches for the shampoo  and starts washing his hair. He hands it to me and I follow suit.Oh, this feels good. Closing my eyes, I succumb to the cleansing, warming water. As I rinse off the shampoo, I feel his hands on me, soaping my body: my shoulders, my arms, under my arms,my breasts , my back. Gently he turns me around and pulls me against him as he continues down my body: my stomach, my belly, his skilled fingers between my legs—hmm—my behind. Oh, that feels good and so intimate. He turns me around to face him again.

“Here,” he says quietly, handing me the body wash. “I want you to wash off the remains of the lipstick.”My eyes open in a flurry and dart quickly to his. He’s staring at me intently, soaking wet and beautiful, his glorious, bright gray eyes giving nothing away.“Don’t stray far from the line, please,” he mutters tightly.“Okay,” I murmur, trying to absorb the enormity of what he’s just asked me to do—to touch him on the edge of the forbidden zone.

I squeeze a small amount of soap on my hand, rub my hands together to create a lather, then place them on his shoulders and gently wash away the line of lipstick on each side. He stills and closes his eyes, his face impassive, but he’s breathing rapidly, and I know it’s not lust but fear. It cuts me to the quick.With trembling fingers, I carefully follow the line down the side of his chest, soaping and rubbing softly, and he swallows, his jaw tense as if his teeth are clenched. Oh!My heart constricts and my throat tightens. Oh no, I’m going to cry.

I stop to add more soap to my hand and feel him relax in front of me. I can’t look up at him. I can’t bear to see his pain—it’s too much. I swallow.“Ready?” I murmur and the tension is loud and clear in my voice.“Yes,” he whispers, his voice husky , laced with fear.Gently, I place my hands on either side of his chest, and he freezes again.It’s too much. I am overwhelmed by his trust in me—overwhelmed by his fear, by the damage done to this beautiful, fallen, flawed man.

Tears pool in my eyes and spill down my face, lost in the water from the shower. His diaphragm moves rapidly with each shallow breath, his body is rigid, tension radiating off him in waves as my hands move along the line, erasing it. Oh,if I could  just erase your pain, I would—I’d do anything—and I want nothing more than to kiss every single scar I see, to kiss away those hideous years of neglect. But I know I can’t, and my tears fall unbidden down my cheeks.

“No. Please, don’t cry,” he murmurs, his voice anguished as he wraps me tightly in his arms. “Please don’t cry for me.” And I burst into full-blown sobs, burying my face against his neck, as I think of a little boy lost in a sea of fear and pain, frightened, neglected, abused—hurt beyond all endurance.Pulling away, he clasps my head with both hands, tilts it backward, and leans down to kiss me.

“Don’t cry,  please,” he murmurs against my mouth. “It was long ago. I am aching for you to touch me, but I just can’t bear it. It’s too much. Please, please don’t cry.”“I want to touch you, too. More than you’ll ever know. To see you like this . . . so hurt and afraid, . . . it wounds me deeply. I love you so much.”He runs his thumb across my bottom lip. “I know. I know,” he whispers.“You’re very easy to love. Don’t you see that?”“No, baby, I don’t.”

He gazes down at me, his eyes wide and panicked, and all we can hear is the steady stream of water as it flows over us in the shower.“You love me,” I whisper.His eyes widen further and his mouth opens. He takes a huge breath as if winded. He looks tortured—vulnerable.“Yes,” he whispers. “I do.”I cannot contain my jubilation. My subconscious gapes at me open-mouthed—in stunned silence—and I wear a face-splitting grin as I gaze longingly up into his wide, tortured eyes.His soft sweet confession calls to me on some deep elemental level as if he’s seeking absolution; his three small words are my manna from heaven. Tears prick my eyes once more. Yes, you do. I know you do.It’s such a liberating realization as if a crushing millstone has been tossed aside. This beautiful, fucked-up man, whom I once thought of as my romantic hero—strong, solitary, mysterious—possesses all these traits, but he’s also fragile and alienated and full of self-loathing. My heart swells with joy but also pain for his suffering. And I know in this moment that my heart is big enough for both of us. I hope it’s big enough for both of us.

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